Is Xenoblade Chronicles 2 worth it?
I was about halfway into The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild when I started to rethink my Nintendo Switch purchase. I wanted to play BotW so bad that I just bought my Switch on a whim. I didn’t have any other games and had no other want for another game that was currently out. As I was scaling the sides of countless cliffs, I opened the side quest screen and saw a random side quest labeled [Xenoblade Chronicles 2]. The quest told me to look at the sky at three random locations and follow where a red star lands. NONE of this made sense to me. What even was a ‘xenoblade’? I finished the quest and got this weird blue diver gear armor thing that had that super bulky helmet and pants that were also shorts. I thought it was just ridiculous – especially for brave Link to wear. So, I thought, why not look up what the heck Xenoblade really is?
I read about it for hours. The stills from the game seemed reasonable enough for me to drop $55 on it from Amazon. I was super nervous because I didn’t know if I had to play the first one or not – which I ended up finding out that you don’t (thank god because I was not breaking out my dinosaur of a Wii). When it came in, I immediately popped it into my Switch, happy I could abandon Zelda one last time before I went to save her from Calamity Ganon (she held him off for 100 years she can wait).
I honestly did not know what to expect with Xenoblade Chronicles 2 upon starting the game. All that I knew was that the voice acting was terrible and if it wasn’t going to pick up in the first 20 hours of gameplay I was giving up on it. The way the dialogue held up was not worth it. The sentences were choppy, they talked slowly or too fast and didn’t pause where there were quotations. It’s every dubbed game’s nightmare. But I stuck with it – because I knew something was bound to happen. About 16 hours into the game, they got the back stories all out of the way and you were finally with a “Blade” and could essentially kick ass.
I’ll save myself (and the reader) some time about going into detail about the driver/blade background of Xenoblade and link an article to the curious that appropriately explains it. But long story short, the protagonist – better known as charismatic Rex, gets ahold of the strongest blade known to mankind (I mean, he’s the main character, why wouldn’the get her?). Rex starts with Pyra, a blade who is a personality stemmed from the Master Blade Mythra (Pneuma). I’m going to be 100% honest. I hated Pyra. She was way too nice and not strong enough to help Rex in his travels. It wasn’t until her true self, Mythra, comes into play that the game truly starts getting interesting.
Of course now, this far into the game, I’ve cried a lot due to a sad character loss and the awful dialogue, but oh boy did Mythra make it all worth it. There’s nothing more fun than a game where you are the strongest character. I was starting to fully enjoy the entire game at this point and wasn’t even near the end at 60ish hours through. There were tons of sidequests – and even sidequestswithin sidequests (sidequestception if you must). The main characters could all wield multiple blades and there were tons of rare blades you could find or fight for (see a list of those here).
When Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna the Golden Country popped up as an advertisement on Instagram, I immediately purchased it when it was released as well as the DLC. Torna the Golden Country was to come out as a prologue to Rex’s adventures and give a little back story to the “antagonists” that are a part of Torna that would butt heads with Rex from time to time (and royally piss you off). Now, the DLC, almost completely different from the main story. You’re visited from Xenoblade (1?) characters and are brought to some alternate world where you can challenge yourself to be a better driver and ultimately gain enough rewards to purchase different outfit styles for your characters. I was thrilled. Who doesn’t like changing their characters’ styles!? But, alas, after many failed attempts, I put the challenge side of the DLC down and went on to finishing the side quests I had gained. I had beat the story of the game all until the final battle (around 80ish hours depending how fast you whip through it) and was mainly focusing on leveling up and side quests if I could finish them in time.
I would draw out side quests or stay in certain areas just because they were so incredibly beautiful. I give my utmost respect to Monolith for creating the prettiest game I have ever played. Uraya, a Titan (a ‘world’ in another words) you visit in the game has this massive glowing waterfall area filled with gorgeous creatures that just make you want to stare at it for days. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was probably the most “open world” of a game you can get nowadays. Breath of the Wild is definitely up there since everything is connected in one world, whereas XBC2 is more like sections of the world, but it is definitely breathtaking. The game easily works well playing it on the Switch dock or as a handheld – even though I preferred on the dock, it was just as easy on the go.
In short, if you’re looking for a compelling story that’ll get you hooked and too emotionally invested in the characters, go ahead and pick up Xenoblade Chronicles 2. It was worth it to me even when I had doubted the purchase so many times. Now, I’m halfway into Torna the Golden Country and am even considering purchasing Xenoblade on Wii so I can get more driver and blade action.
Guest post written by @necessarycherry. You can follow her work on Instagram