Xenoblade Chronicles was quite a surprise for me. Heck, I was a second-winger, a Johnny-come-lately, who only expressed interest in the series after Shulk showed up in Super Smash Bros. 4 and was not only a super-cool designed character with a wicked sword and awesome playstyle, but holy crap the soundtrack’s awesome and wait they all live on giant Titans who died after fighting a bajillion years ago!? That’s awesome! And then it was also a good game with intriguing combat, a great setting, and characters who actually learn and change over the course of the game. By the end of the game, it really felt like I had accomplished something and gone through an amazing adventure.
Unfortunately, its successor, Xenoblade Chronicles X, was a huge step backwards. The setting was much more boring, a generic sci-fi “world got blowed up humans are adrift in space” story. The characters were much flatter, not as endearing, the soundtrack was – aside from a couple standouts – pretty awful, and the combat just not as engaging due to the lack of Chain Attacks, which made it feel like it was missing something. Oh, and your protagonist doesn’t really feel like they matter much over the course of the adventure! To this day I still haven’t finished the game.
So with a return to a more fantastical setting and yet more modifications to the combat, as well as actually having something that can be described as a “xenoblade” central to the plot, it’s time to see if Xenoblade Chronicles 2 can pull things back. (Huh, two games in a row with the Xeno- prefix. That’s… strange.)
(Full disclosure – I haven’t actually finished this game yet, unlike every other game I’ve reviewed. I am, however, over thirty hours in – which I know isn’t a lot in Xenoblade time. But I definitely feel super-strongly about the gameplay in this game at the very least and that’s the part of the game I love the most. If things change after I’ve finished, I might make an edit, but fair warning.)