13 hours into Xenoblade Chronicles 2, which is a good time for a break. The first of many such breaks, if my record with the original is anything to go by. It’s good that I waited 13 hours before posting because now I have a better handle on the battle system and controls. Now I can write something more positive and fun.
Why a break, then? Two reasons. One, I’m starting to enjoy the system but the story is just…………….. ….. yeah. And the cutscenes are way too long and pointless. Xenosaga-level.
In fact the direct trigger for the break was when I found myself skipping a post-boss cutscene that just wouldn’t end. I didn’t mean to skip, but before I knew it I had subconsciously pressed the buttons. As a result, I have no idea how Rex and his team ended up all buddy-buddy with the guys at the Garfont camp. All I know is it’s a bad sign when you find yourself skipping story scenes this early in a game’s life. Hence time to take a break and recover my movie-watching capacity.
The second reason for the break is because I want to spend the 9th-14th grinding up two FLB Fimbuls in Granblue Fantasy. Granblue Fans are already familiar with this special form of torture. Those who don’t know are better off not knowing. Either way the less said the better.
Regular Xenoblading activities will resume in a week or two. In the meantime I’m not sure whether I should give my thoughts on XC2 or not. It hasn’t been long since I started and I only just found my feet, so my opinion is bound to change as I go along. I guess it can’t hurt to note a few things that stood out to me (mild spoilers below).
✱Let’s start on a positive note: Bright, happy colors! And a great soundtrack too. And the battle system is starting to get interesting with all these combos and arts and blades and affinities and on and on. It’s very promising so far.
✱My biggest problem with Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and the reason why I can put it down so easily is that the whole map is drawn for you at the start. I was looking forward to swimming and climbing for hours to get all the maps filled out only to find out 90% of the work has been done for me already. I’m still interested and motivated, but it’s gone from a Must Play to a Sure I Guess now.
✱Btw, just because the map is available doesn’t mean it’s actually useful. If anything, it makes it easier to get lost because now it’s really difficult to tell where you’ve already been vs. where you have yet to go. It’s faster to count the times when I didn’t get hopelessly lost on my way somewhere than the times I did.
✱The hero Rex is yet another plucky, feeble-brained hero who dares all things and believes all things just because a pretty girl told him so. Seeing as the JRPG industry couldn’t exist without these fine, gullible fellows, I don’t want to be too hard on Rex-Rex but… He’s even dumber than the usual examples. Not only does he not question anything Pyra says or does but he won’t allow anyone else to do so either. Have it your way, lover boy. Just don’t come crying to me about how she tricked you or hid the truth further down the line.
✱Minor nitpick: If you’re hiding from some unsavory dudes and you have distinctive looks, maybe you should disguise yourself? Not just once in a while but all the time? Or does that make too much sense, Pyra?
✱I hate that thing RPGs do where we beat the boss resoundly in battle but in the cutscene afterwards everyone’s on the ground panting, “Huff, huff, they’re too strong! We can’t take them!” I WAS TAKING THEM! Didn’t you see me taking them? Where do you think all this EXP came from?! GRRRHHKGKKK! It’s not just one boss, it’s almost all the bosses I’ve fought so far. Why do you think I started skipping the movies?
✱It’s really funny how the gameplay works against the story when you’re supposed to be trapped or on the run but you can warp out at any time and go rest, do sidequests, level up, anything you want. The story is all like “How do we break out of here?” then five seconds later Rex and co. are at the mall getting some burgers and restocking, then another five seconds later: “We’ll never get out of this dungeon!” XDDD
I understand why Monolith designed the game that way, because otherwise you might get stuck on boss fights. I experienced it myself in an early battle when Rex was only level 6 or so. Dead in 30 seconds, never knew what hit me. A quick trip to the inn to level up and readjust my accessories after respawning and I went right back to the battlefield where the bosses were kindly waiting for me. It was an easy fight this time so yeah, I get why they made that option available. It’s still silly, though.
✱I was all fired up to do lots of sidequests but each one is so lengthy and the rewards are so poor that I’ve put them on hold for now. “Get me X” -> “Okay, now get me Y” -> “I forgot, I need Z too” -> “Oops, my A is broken, I need someone to fix it.” The quest doesn’t end until you’ve done every chore they had on their To Do List that day. Lazy wretches.
Welp, that’s enough for the early thoughts on Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Sometime this weekend I hope to find the time to do a few more La Corda d’Oro 2 routes and start Atelier Totori Plus. I haven’t forgotten about Tokyo Xanadu eX+ either, but I’m okay on the ARPG front for now so I’m kicking it down the road to March. See you guys next week!