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Xenoblade Chronicles: You Will Know Our Games

StericaSterica YesRegistered User, Moderator mod
edited April 2022 in Games and Technology
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Xenoblade Chronicles is a decade-old series of action JRPG games by developer Monolith Soft. Considered a spiritual successor to the Xeno games, it is not necessary to have played the older Saga/Gears games to understand what is going on here, but it may help clarify the themes and allusions the games are trying to make. And the games are pretty good, if you're into older JRPGs (they are NOT retro; I am NOT old). Also Xenoblade does have a few references to the older franchises, so you might get more mileage if you know what KOS-MOS means. Alternatively, you can read a big book on Gnosticism to get yourself in the right mindset. The Xenoblade games are known for two things, the first being massive regions with a lot of exploration, sidequests, and high-level Rotbarts that would prefer you not be in their territory. While the main stories can be wrapped up in about 40-60 hours, you could easily plunge a hundred more exploring everything the game has to offer. What's nice is that the games are perfectly fine if you opt to bypass the fluff. You get the full story, the game rarely forces you to slow down and grind, and it doesn't feel like a lesser experience. But you'll probably at least dabble because of the second reason: the combat.

Xenoblade Chronicles is an action RPG, and is often likened to a single-player MMO. You have host of actions with cooldowns, a party with their own roles, and things like auto-attacking that help that vibe. I've heard some compare it to Kingdom Hearts' gameplay, which I have not played so I cannot confirm nor deny these comparisons. Each game offers its own twist on the gameplay, to the point where the third game layers a second system on top. It's got a learning curve, no doubt, but once it clicks you will have a fantastic time beating up the worlds' wildlife, right up until New Game+ and its massively overleveled superbosses.

Wait there's a third thing the series is known for: the jammin' sound track. The games bring us legends such as Yasunori Mitsuda (Secret of Mana, freaking Chrono Trigger) and the GOAT Yoko Shimomura (Kingdom Hearts, like EVERY Mario game that has hit points, Street Fighter II, Breath of Fire, the fucking Little Nemo game for NES, she has done it all) along with folks such as music duo ACE+ and vocalist Yasunori Mitsuda who both have portfolios mostly within Xenoblade, but they're incredible. It ain't a Xenoblade game without a killer soundtrack.

Also Nopons. And British voice acting.

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Released: 2010, 2014 (Port), 2020 (Definitive Edition)
System: Wii, New 3DS, Switch (Definitive Edition)

The first game in the series, and so incredible that a fan campaign was created just to get the game a western release. It's about a young man, Shulk, who lives with his people on the corpse of a massive, long-dead titan. He has a special sword which could be instrumental in the war against the invading Mechonis from the other titan in their world. Things get more complicated than that. The game is highly praised for its likable characters, incredible villains, and it's plot that sticks to conventional JRPG structure including the Big Twist That Changes everything, but pulls it off admirably. This is where the game is at its simplest (relatively speaking), so it's an excellent jumping-on point for newbies. If you play just one game in the series, I would recommend it be this one. It's awesome, and I'm reluctant to say more so your experience can be as pristine as possible.

And good news! in 2020 the game got a remake, updating the graphics, interface, and offering quality-of-life changes to make the experience significantly better for newbies. It has some features to lure in vets, such as the ability to store XP so you level at your own pace, a remixed soundtrack (the original is still there), and cut content from the original game rebuilt into a bonus chapter framed as taking place after the original story. It's not 100% an improvement over the original, as some may not jive with the game's art style more closely matching later titles, but it's still enough to be a worthy replacement. Oh there is also a 3DS port that was made in 2014 to show off the power of the New 3DS (and thus can ONLY be played on it or the New 2DS) and is more of a straight port of the Wii version except with lower resolution and the UI being less cramped thanks to the second screen. I would honestly not recommend it since you can get the Switch AND Wii version for cheaper, but hey if that's all you have then that's all you have. Just buy Xenoblade Chronicles in SOME format, please.

Nopon Ratingpon: 10/10, Riki truly is heropon.

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Released: 2015
System: Wii U

The next game in the series is a spin-off unrelated to the main series (for now???), although it is still a full game with all of the exploration and combat you could ever want. It's about humans fleeing aliens to a distant planet after the destruction of Earth. Here you must help the fledging colony survive on an alien world. Things get more complicated than that. The game gets a fair share of criticism on a few fronts. The art style is different and some would say off-putting. The characters and plot are weaker, notably due to the game featuring the franchise's only custom player-avatar, although the story is absolutely not about you which doesn't help things. The quest system tends to force certain party members to tag along which can be annoying. It's also system-dense, throwing a lot of stuff at you very early on, which might be a tad bit intimidating. Also the game has an entirely different soundtrack from a different crew this time, which I personally thing is plenty solid but it's definitely not everyone's cup of tea.

Having said that, the game is still Xenoblade so far as gameplay is concerned. It definitely feels like a hostile alien world, with massive dinosaur-like creatures, dangerous monster hidden away in the world, and even features the only vehicles in the game, Skells, which change the gameplay up a bit once you acquire them. There is still an absolute mountain of fun to be had here, and while I wouldn't recommend as your first Xenoblade, if you still got a Wii U and find a copy, then give it a try!

Nopon Ratingpon: 1/10, Tatsu does not fight, frequently hurts party. Part of worst running joke in game. Shameful, bad nopon.

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Release: 2017, 2018 (Torna the Golden Country DLC)
System: Switch

The third game in the series, but the second in the mainline series for those keeping track. It's about a boy, Rex, who lives in the world of Alrest, whose peoples dwell upon the backs of massive beasts known as Titans. Rex is a scavenger of Alrest's vast cloud ocean, and on a special job he discovers a special sword. Things get more complicated than that. We're back to basics here, with a more focused plot, the game easing into its systems a bit more gently, and we're back to a less controversial soundtrack from the OG team. Game is still divisive among the fans, so buckle up. One thing people tend to agree on is that the combat is excellent despite changing so much it may seem unrecognizable at first. It layers on a secondary "blade" system, which splits your skills across additional party members, and honestly it's not super hard to understand, but this is already going to be a lengthy OP without combat primers. If it has ONE downside, I will say combat in XBC2 is way more built around fighting big enemies with shitloads of HP, so fights against lesser enemies tends to be a bit more boring since you can't do the flashy chain attacks as often like in prior games.

Onto the controversy! First, the game was released in 2017, the first year of the Switch, so the team had less experience with the hardware and it definitely shows performance-wise if you compare it to XBC1's remake. Also, it's pretty well-known at this point that Monolith Soft got pulled from the team to aid with Breath of the Wild development. This results in the game feeling a bit uneven in places, and even a bit rough around the edges at times. Of course, if you played the original Wii version, which was also pretty janky by virtue of taxing the Wii hardware to its absolute limits, then you'll likely feel right at home here. I may be overselling it a bit, but if you come Definitive Edition you'll notice it so just a heads up. The game also has the infamous gacha system, which isn't monetized so it's only annoying in that your game experience may vary depending on pulls...a system that is quite literally broken meaning "pity" pulls are worse than intended due to a bug. Also, the game offers DLC for a bunch of better pulls, so what I meant to say is that isn't monetized as badly as gacha games. Then there's the character design, which (barring a few designs, hello Mòrag, hi Zeke) are either stupid, excessively horny, or both. Like, I am going to be very blunt and say some of the main characters are so ridiculous in their sexy designs that it's sincerely hard to take some cutscenes serious. Which is a good pivot into the dub, which is...not great. Honestly, I like the voice actors, they seem talented, but the direction is garbage, and it seems clear that the VAs were not given proper context or input on how they should be performing. Awkward deliveries, unnatural pauses, it's messy but you can switch on the Japanese track if you can't handle it. But you'll be missing out on a particular performance that you uh...aren't likely to forget.

I can say that you can start with XBC2 and go backward, I certainly did, and it honestly doesn't spoil all that much but will still likely give you a weird experience starting with the more complex combat and systems of 2. Start with 1, move on to 2, and then...get the DLC! Yes, XBC2 has DLC that you can technically play whenever as it is standalone, but I highly recommend you finish XBC2 first as the DLC is a prequel and you'll get way more mileage going into the DLC with that prior knowledge. The DLC also changes combat YET AGAIN, and it's a bit simpler and pretty neat, so play through XBC2 first so you don't have to keep track of two combat systems in your brain. I think I will close on XBC2 by saying that I think you get way more out of it by playing the post-game. I played both XBC1 and 2 straight to the end with little sidequests, and 1 was a significantly better time. The postgame is the real strength of the series, and that's why I think the devs made the changes the did to the sequel in order to really maximize what you get out of that. So if you get into New Game+ and completing everything, you will find a much deeper and richer experience than 1. Otherwise you will have a decent time but feel it can never rich the highs of the first game and feels just a bit hollow in places.

Nopon Ratingpon: 2/10, Tora fights but Tora is also creepy. Exceedingly generous in this score. Poppi deserves better.

And that's all the games in the series! You can also find more Xenoblade goodness in Super Smash Bros., which features characters from the series lik-

A VISION!

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Release: July 29th, 2022
System: Switch

There's a new game coming! The third in the main series, and fourth overall, it will be out early this fall to the delight of many. It's about a young woman, Mio, and a young man, Noah, who live on the world of Aionios, during a war between two nations. It's probably gets more complicated than that. But we don't know because we only have a trailer, although based on that we can surmise that perhaps [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] are [REDACTED] after the [REDACTED]'s actions that were hinted at in [REDACTED]. Furthermore, some have surmised that [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] have returned based on [REDACTED]. Oh shit right, discussing the plot of even the trailer is a one-way ticket to Spoilerland. As a decent number of people might be starting the series due to the announcement, please spoiler speculation and all prior games' plot beats. Using fan conventions for discussing spoiler characters should continue, so all hail Seven.

Recent trailers show seven characters in a battle, with a special mode where pair of characters fused into a skell blade persona thing and likely gain extra power for its duration. Maybe akin to Overdrive in XCX? Is limited to specific pairings? Does it impact chain attacks? Who knows!

It's looking like a good time to be a Xenoblade Chronicles fan. You might even say that I'm really feeling it.

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    StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    Once again, it's Reyn time.

    (Reserved for useful tutorials and such)

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    Zilla360Zilla360 21st Century. |She/Her| Trans* Woman In Aviators Firing A Bazooka. ⚛️Registered User regular
    I've still to actually finish any of the games, I always get stuck on some boss or other, and/or get frustrated/bored and lose interest. I made it further than ever before, trying again with the definitive edition:
    Defeating Mumkahr, getting stranded on that island and then meeting Vanea.

    Never even got a Skell in X, despite putting ~30 hours into it, and with 2 the tedious Pokemon-style combat put me off after only 10 hours or so.
    And I really like a lot of JRPG's, so, I have no idea why I keep being unable to motivate myself to finish any of the games in this series.

    Hoping that they port X to the switch so I can give it another go, my Wii U's gamepad is busted.

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    SyphonBlueSyphonBlue The studying beaver That beaver sure loves studying!Registered User regular
    Who the hell has compared Xenoblade's combat with Kingdom Hearts? They are absolutely nothing alike.

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    StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    I have had several people tell me that, so I dunno!

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    rahkeesh2000rahkeesh2000 Registered User regular
    edited February 2022
    Xenoblade combat seems pretty atypical for JRPGs. 1 felt derivative of tab-target MMOs and 2 just kind of layered this rhythm game on top of it. And also most of the higher-level boss stuff being about setting up big chain combos. Haven't played X but I'd be surprised if the only actual multiplayer game in the series took a hard turn there.

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    PolaritiePolaritie Sleepy Registered User regular
    Xenoblade not being great at explaining how to really go nuts is pretty consistent, but I think XC1 was better at explaining how to do good enough. (The basic break>topple setup it taught you very well, and that was the main thing you actually had to understand, besides using the Monado to negate things).

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    StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    One of the series’ greatest failings in teaching new players is that they always stick you with a tank, healer, and dps setup for your first party. This sets the expectations that this is required and makes the players feel more limited (albeit less so in 2 thanks to roles being tied to blades). While I get that the series can chew you up fast, it leads to the game feeling slow and dull which makes for a bad first impression.

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    rahkeesh2000rahkeesh2000 Registered User regular
    I think that's more like, intended. Blades in 2 were explicitly divided into tank/dps/heal. And we've already been told as much that the two player parties in Xeno 3 each roughly follow the same trinity. Sure it tends to not actually be optimal and there's lots of tools provided to get around it, but they do keep treating it as the baseline of design.

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    DemonStaceyDemonStacey TTODewback's Daughter In love with the TaySwayRegistered User regular
    edited February 2022
    I think that's more like, intended. Blades in 2 were explicitly divided into tank/dps/heal. And we've already been told as much that the two player parties in Xeno 3 each roughly follow the same trinity. Sure it tends to not actually be optimal and there's lots of tools provided to get around it, but they do keep treating it as the baseline of design.

    What are these two player parties you are referring to in XC3? Have they talked about gameplay somewhere?

    DemonStacey on
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    RamiRami Registered User regular
    I don't know if it was talked about explicitly somewhere else, but the reveal trailer definitely gave the impression that Mio & Noah would be the protagonists/leaders of two different groups of characters that you'd switch between. The are from rival factions after all.

    I'm sure at some point they team up of course

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    DemonStaceyDemonStacey TTODewback's Daughter In love with the TaySwayRegistered User regular
    Ohhh i didn't pick up on that at all. Do we know which is each group?

    And yea they show the two of them together which is probably why I didn't pick up on it.

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    LordSolarMachariusLordSolarMacharius Red wine with fish Registered User regular
    edited February 2022
    Ohhh i didn't pick up on that at all. Do we know which is each group?

    And yea they show the two of them together which is probably why I didn't pick up on it.

    Noah, Lanz, and Eunie (main boy, Machina dude, High Entia girl) are the Keves side.

    Mio, Taion, and Sena (not-Nia, origami guy, hammer Blade) are on the Agnus side.


    From the trailer it seems that you play parts with both groups, as well as at some point being able to make a party of four from the six.

    LordSolarMacharius on
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    StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    Oh god please do not saddle us with a third AI character

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    PolaritiePolaritie Sleepy Registered User regular
    Xenoblade 2's AI was SO bad at some things. Like, not picking up the healing drops right next to them bad.

    There's some really basic routines it doesn't even try to do, like Tora being able to just put up the shield block and do nothing else, which handily outheals all incoming damage while you wait on other cooldowns. Or just, forever, because the self-heal is hilariously OP.

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    DemonStaceyDemonStacey TTODewback's Daughter In love with the TaySwayRegistered User regular
    edited February 2022
    On the one hand I do like 3 people parties. On the other hand 4 people would make picking pretty easy here.

    Use Noah's crew and add Mio.

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    StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited February 2022
    For whatever reason, Nia AI was very good about grabbing healing potions. Every other character treated it like poison.

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    KupiKupi Registered User regular
    edited February 2022
    Sterica wrote: »
    For whatever reason, Nia AI was very good about grabbing healing potions. Every other character treated it like poison.

    The HP potions healed your entire party on collection, and the Healer class got a bonus to the effect of potions collected. So from the standpoint of the rules as intended, the Healer is supposed to be the one running around picking up the potions, while the Fighters and Defenders don't want to break their attack strings with extraneous movement.

    Further from a wiki entry:
    AI-controlled Drivers will only move to pick up HP Potions if they have at least one healing Blade equipped. Without any healing Blades equipped, they may still unintentionally pick them up.

    So, yeah, intentional on the devs' part.

    Kupi on
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    rahkeesh2000rahkeesh2000 Registered User regular
    edited February 2022
    The official Japanese twitter account has been dropping a bunch of info that other regions are not. They produced an official infographic summarizing the info which fans have translated to English. It is mostly focused on character relationships but there's some suggestions about party roles too. Open spoiler for pic.
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    As far as roles go, the short version is:

    Noah: DPS
    Lanz: Tank
    Eunie: Heals

    Mio: Evade Tank
    Sena: DPS
    Taion: unspecified support


    There are one or two shots of three-person parties which are all one faction. But there are also two or more shots of 4-character parties that feature 2 from each faction. I think there could be some kind of partner mechanic that appears at this point, based on some story speculation from trailer analysis. Though I doubt it would be Torna style where partners mostly sit out and take turns, since its only a 4-character group. I guess I will spoiler trailer speculation below, although it's leaving XC1/2 alone.
    Throughout the trailer most of the weapons used by the armies have a large black circle in them. It also appears on buildings and some of the mechs. These circles are filled by a half-circle of light, blue for Keves and green for Agnus. These colors can also be seen on the party characters in the early parts of the trailer, especially when they seem to be fighting each other. There's good odds that these are the flame or blade clocks mentioned in the trailer, especially since at a later scene where Mio and Noah prep to take on a large Agnus mech, it has an obvious green half-circle at its head and Mio says something about "the flame clock, it has to go."

    Later in the trailer the party members weapon clocks feature a different icon... a purple oroborus symbol. Its easier to see in some official artwork than the videos. So that's probably what Melia is referring to. There are also two cutscenes where party members from opposite factions stand close together (while seeming to work together) and blatantly show off oroborus. There's Eunie with her staff rasied while Taion is just behind her surrounding her with oragami. And then against the Agnus mech, there's Noah and Mio back-to-back like sitting ducks for a moment, but maybe they didn't do that for mere dramatic effect.

    My guess here is that opposing faction's weapons can somehow pair up and create the oroborus symbol on their clocks, which gives them some kind of extra power. In both of the 4-player shots there's two characters from each faction, and it might even look like one character is following the leader more closely (and is opposite faction) while the other two are their own pair a little further off to the side. There's plenty of ways they can go to make mechanics out of this synergy, like partners powering up with proximity like the XC2 blades, having special combo moves with each other, or gaining temporary buffs every time the get close, meaning they can separate for a while before needing to get close again to buff up. However they implement it, it could be a way to square the circle on XC2's combat mechanics being so blade-dependent vs XC1's individuals acting alone and all at once.

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    StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited February 2022
    I wonder if Taion will be more like Riki with a grab bag of debuffs and buffs.

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    Dark Raven XDark Raven X Laugh hard, run fast, be kindRegistered User regular
    edited February 2022
    Hmm, think I'll start XC2 as my next big game after Indivisible. Any protips? Does it have missable content like the first one?

    Dark Raven X on
    Oh brilliant
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    PolaritiePolaritie Sleepy Registered User regular
    Nah, I dont recall XC2 having any of the big content lockouts?

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    rahkeesh2000rahkeesh2000 Registered User regular
    It's not nearly as big as XC1 but there's some missables near the end.
    Finish up your business in Indol before pushing further into chapter 8. There's just three sidequests to do. Don't worry about the mercenary missions, they will still be available in another way.

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    DemonStaceyDemonStacey TTODewback's Daughter In love with the TaySwayRegistered User regular
    Oh shit Mio is the tank and not the DPS? I thought hammer girl was gonna be the tank on that side.

    Ok that makes team picking much easier.

    Even if its 3 member I can use Noah, Eunie and Mio. Done! Those were my original picks but I thought I didn't have a tank.

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    StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    Hmm, think I'll start XC2 as my next big game after Indivisible. Any protips? Does it have missable content like the first one?
    If you plan on playing the DLC, then get it now as it gives you some goodies that will make the game more pleasant, such as core crystals with better rates.

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    KupiKupi Registered User regular
    Hmm, think I'll start XC2 as my next big game after Indivisible. Any protips? Does it have missable content like the first one?

    The Chain Attack system is both vital to your enjoyment of the game, intuitive once you finally understand it, and difficult to express comprehensibly in text (and in typical JRPG fashion, explained to you once, in a giant text dump). That said, this is my attempt:

    The battle system is a pyramid of resources, with the use of each lower resource building the next higher resource.

    Auto-attacks charge your Artes.
    Using Artes charges your Specials.
    Specials, used in specific sequences by element and level, place Orbs on an enemy. (You may only place one Orb of each element on an enemy at the same time.) (This is the hardest step to get your head around, since only specific element sequences actually work in base XC2. This really has to be experienced directly to be understood.)
    The Chain Attack consumes all Orbs on the enemy, and the more Orbs it uses, its damage increases geometrically.

    It's possible to kill bosses without setting up huge Chain Attacks, but it is going to be a grinding and miserable process. The sooner you master the sequence outlined above, the less frustration you're going to experience with the large enemies.

    My favorite musical instrument is the air-raid siren.
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    PolaritiePolaritie Sleepy Registered User regular
    edited February 2022
    Kupi wrote: »
    Hmm, think I'll start XC2 as my next big game after Indivisible. Any protips? Does it have missable content like the first one?

    The Chain Attack system is both vital to your enjoyment of the game, intuitive once you finally understand it, and difficult to express comprehensibly in text (and in typical JRPG fashion, explained to you once, in a giant text dump). That said, this is my attempt:

    The battle system is a pyramid of resources, with the use of each lower resource building the next higher resource.

    Auto-attacks charge your Artes.
    Using Artes charges your Specials.
    Specials, used in specific sequences by element and level, place Orbs on an enemy. (You may only place one Orb of each element on an enemy at the same time.) (This is the hardest step to get your head around, since only specific element sequences actually work in base XC2. This really has to be experienced directly to be understood.)
    The Chain Attack consumes all Orbs on the enemy, and the more Orbs it uses, its damage increases geometrically.

    It's possible to kill bosses without setting up huge Chain Attacks, but it is going to be a grinding and miserable process. The sooner you master the sequence outlined above, the less frustration you're going to experience with the large enemies.

    The game does give a chart in the corner of what elements can continue the element combo (blade combo iirc?).

    There's also the driver combo, which is break>topple>launch>smash, and being further in that also applies a damage multiplier (well, topple and launch do, smash ends it with a massive hit). Having both combo types running causes a fusion combo, which lengthens the timers of both and does some other stuff I can't remember, but basically it's even more damage.

    Maximum damage more or less comes in two forms - either a fusion combo to set up massive multipliers, or a chain attack with several orbs (breaking orbs extends the chain attack, letting you get in more hits and higher multipliers. Breaking enough orbs spikes the bonus significantly and will lead to a level 4 special as a finisher for extra damage). Both of these aren't really feasible to do completely for much of the game, depending on blade access, since you need to be able to get a good spread of elements (the AI will switch to enable continuing a chain, thankfully) and access to launch etc. (Tora is very useful for fusion combos because Poppi's element can be changed and she eventually can be set up with all four stages of the driver combo at endgame, which I'm pretty sure nobody else can do).

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    StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    Kupi wrote: »
    [It's possible to kill bosses without setting up huge Chain Attacks, but it is going to be a grinding and miserable process. The sooner you master the sequence outlined above, the less frustration you're going to experience with the large enemies.
    You will reach a point in the game where you are pretty much expected to chain attack and kill the boss before they use a super ability to insta-kill you. I guess you can use a level 4 special to cancel it and grind forward, but I am pretty certain later bosses have attacks that are ONLY stopped by a chain attacks.

    Chain attacks are fun regardless, so just learn them once they are available to you.

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    DemonStaceyDemonStacey TTODewback's Daughter In love with the TaySwayRegistered User regular
    XC2's battle system is the weirdest combination of both complicated to explain but the SO SIMPLE in practice that its kind of a drag.

    There's like no actual decision making of any kind in combat. Its just like you pick your blades and then you have a series of moves you repeat ad nauseum.

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    StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    The system boils down to setting up a combo that takes out 50+% of the enemy’s HP. It’s fun to execute, but it is so boring against normal enemies.

    I tend to prefer 1’s combat that reason, but chain attacks continuing off random percent change is not particularly fun when you low roll and your huge buster attack setup died prematurely.

    Torna may be the best of both worlds. It’s like a weird mashup of 2’s combat with fucking MvC of all things thrown in. The talent arts add more engagement since they have drawbacks so you can’t just spam them.

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    PolaritiePolaritie Sleepy Registered User regular
    The decision making in XC2 is mostly just routing your orb setup. In theory, each orb also seals certain types of enemy moves... but trying to specifically set up the right one is not worth the hassle and you're trying to explode them all for massive damage anyways (and if you manage to hit an 8-orb full burst it's glorious overkill). A lot of a fight is won at party setup in enabling the combos to begin with.

    Endgame gives you some tools that make it dramatically easier to do all this.

    Normal enemies it's not worth bothering for sure - you're normally going to just build up a level 2/3 special and explode them horribly.

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    TcheldorTcheldor Registered User regular
    I'd like XC3 to use XCX's system as a base, and then add in some stuff from XC2. I liked the more of the fly combo and decision making with respect to the ground combat is XCX, and the resource building in XC2. We'll see what they actually do.

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    StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    Maybe the two parties join up and we get Torna-style swap ins? I dunno, I really liked that system.

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    Dark Raven XDark Raven X Laugh hard, run fast, be kindRegistered User regular
    I started XC2! Good lord there's a lot of systems here, huh? Feels more complicated than XC1.

    I have the Expansion Pass with all the random goodies. Should I redeem all that stuff now, or wait til I know what I'm doing? Like is it worth cashing in these core gems in the early game at all?

    Oh brilliant
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    rahkeesh2000rahkeesh2000 Registered User regular
    Anything you redeem is either going into your inventory or a side quest that will show up later. So you aren't forced to use them right away.

    The two semi-valuable things I remember getting is legendary crystals and overdrive protocol. Legendaries are rare enough you might want to wait until later when your driver stats are higher (improves odds of pulling good stuff) + the pool of rare blades is smaller since you got so many. Rares and especially common crystals are pretty common so just pop them whenever you need, especially to avoid overflowing from having more than 99 in inventory. Overdrive protocols let you switch blades between drivers, you only get a limited supply of these before New Game+ so I would use them sparingly and on rare+ blades only.

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    StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    I started XC2! Good lord there's a lot of systems here, huh? Feels more complicated than XC1.

    I have the Expansion Pass with all the random goodies. Should I redeem all that stuff now, or wait til I know what I'm doing? Like is it worth cashing in these core gems in the early game at all?
    Blades are stuck with the Driver you unlocked them on, so you may want to wait until you have the full party. There is an item to swap them around, but it’s not something you’re gonna know how to get so best to get an idea of your composition first.

    The game is basically two overlapping systems with extra cruft attached that you can largely ignore.

    Drivers: The ones you control. The skills they use are driver arts, and you can perform Driver Combos inflicting special conditions on an enemy in a set order. Break, Topple, Launch, then Smash. Besides preventing the enemy from doing stuff, they allow for more damage and also generate health pots of increasing restoration. If you can set up these combos on the regular, you won’t even need a dedicated healer.

    Blades: the ones behind you. As you perform Driver Arts, you build up a meter for Blade Arts that are basically super moves. Perform a chain of level 1 (or higher), 2+, and then 3+ that follows the elemental chart, and you finish a Blade Combo and generate an orb. The orb gives the creature resistance to that element that finished the combo, so you want to vary how you finish Blade Combos. You want orbs because when you start a chain attack, orbs can be broken to give you are another round of chain attacks. You can also mess with enemies by sealing moves via Blade Combo, but that requires memorization and builds that you won’t need to invest in.

    How they overlap is if you do any portion of a Blade Combo during any duration of a Driver Combo, you get a fusion combo which mainly results in more damage and adds time available to proceed to the next step of the Blade Combo. This is key, as generating orbs gets more difficult as you run out of unique elements. So if Rex needs to perform a Fire level 1 to start the combo, and then build up to a level 3 to finish it because you have no other fire blades, then fusion combos provide sufficient time to get there.

    Everything is secondary. Upgrade characters every so often, sleep in inns to give yourself additional levels you’ve earned (this is to prevent outleveling of content but shouldn’t be relevant on your first playthrough), and give everyone pouch items that recharge arts by X seconds.

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    Dark Raven XDark Raven X Laugh hard, run fast, be kindRegistered User regular
    I am 20 hours in and liking it a lot!

    But man I don't think I've successfully generated an orb yet. That system is... oof.

    Oh brilliant
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    The Dude With HerpesThe Dude With Herpes Lehi, UTRegistered User regular
    Earlier in the game (yes, 20hrs :) ) orbs are fairly uncommon, unless you already know what you're doing.

    By the time they're even necessary, and not just a nice bonus, you should have access to skills and traits that make them easier to get and use.

    Basically don't sweat it. If you're starting to do super bosses and are still struggling, I'd watch some guides.

    Also, at some point you might notice that one or two of your primary blades are suddenly feeling grossly overpowered. Don't mistake that for cheesing, take advantage and enjoy it!

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    TcheldorTcheldor Registered User regular
    The game is breakable very quickly if you know how to use the systems. It's the learning curve that keeps thing balanced honestly.

    League of Legends: Sorakanmyworld
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    Nintendo ID: Tortalius
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    KupiKupi Registered User regular
    Now that you mention it, that Blade power-up grid (where every Blade has like six tracks on three tiers) was one of my minor annoyances with XC2, because all the bonuses sound insignificant individually, but actually add up to a lot of effectiveness in practice, and that winds up such that you never feel like you got a new tool that's making you powerful, but you definitely feel their absence if you've been neglecting those objectives. Which isn't to say that you don't feel powerful when you've got them all unlocked, but it's not tied to anything visible like a new usable skill, just... your numbers slowly got big, and now you're doing a lot more damage because ???.

    My favorite musical instrument is the air-raid siren.
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    PolaritiePolaritie Sleepy Registered User regular
    edited April 2022
    Kupi wrote: »
    Now that you mention it, that Blade power-up grid (where every Blade has like six tracks on three tiers) was one of my minor annoyances with XC2, because all the bonuses sound insignificant individually, but actually add up to a lot of effectiveness in practice, and that winds up such that you never feel like you got a new tool that's making you powerful, but you definitely feel their absence if you've been neglecting those objectives. Which isn't to say that you don't feel powerful when you've got them all unlocked, but it's not tied to anything visible like a new usable skill, just... your numbers slowly got big, and now you're doing a lot more damage because ???.

    As an example of this? Mithra is actually kind of easy to have be very, very dumb. She has a trait that caps out at critical hits completely refresh the cooldown of the skill. It is not hard to get her crit rate very high, and one of her skills hits twice, with each hit able to crit. Rex regularly just keeps linking a skill into itself, which fills gauges fast and drops healing pickups like crazy (that double hit skill is also a potion drop...). Bonus - both Fire x 3 and Light x 3 are valid chains for orbs, and Mithra can easily make both of those completely on her own (by swapping to Pyra for specials for fire, but).

    The scary thing is I don't think Mithra's even in the top 5 most gamebreaking blades. (granted, many of those are from the DLC... but Poppi and Kos-Mos both surpass her)

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