De­vel­oper Mono­lith Soft Pub­lisher Nin­tendo For­mat Switch Re­lease Win­ter


There’s a rea­son Nin­tendo has lim­ited our glimpses of

Xenoblade Chron­i­cles 2 to a lot of footage of peo­ple run­ning around – and it’s not just been to show­case the va­ri­ety and beauty of the game’s world. Com­bat has, in a way, been stream­lined for this se­quel. But it’s a dif­fi­cult thing to get your head around.

Your avatar per­forms their ba­sic at­tacks au­to­mat­i­cally, as in the first game. And you still se­lect from a pool of spe­cial at­tacks, known as Arts. But where pre­vi­ously Arts were gov­erned by cooldowns, here they are charged by per­form­ing ba­sic at­tacks. Per­form­ing Arts, in turn, charges your Blade abil­ity. Once the me­ter is full, you can in­flict a sta­tus ef­fect – but hold on to it, and you can power up a level-three at­tack, and watch as the dam­age out­put rises into the thou­sands.

Each Blade has just three Arts, se­lectable us­ing face but­tons and shown in the lower-right cor­ner. Yet there are mul­ti­ple blades (a menu screen sug­gests you can hold a cou­ple of dozen at once), shown in the bot­tom-left cor­ner and switch­able with the di­rec­tion but­tons. It’s a flex­i­ble sys­tem, then, but com­bat is slow, and lacks weight to make up for it. The story may be the main draw – it’s why this bears the

Chron­i­cles name while Xenoblade X, with its fo­cus on an open world, did not – and it’s an in­trigu­ing set-up, where you travel along the backs of Ti­tans or in air­ships, never set­ting foot on truly solid ground. A show-floor demo was never go­ing to go too deeply into the nar­ra­tive; it’s that, rather than the over­hauled com­bat, that has us mark­ing off the days un­til the game’s re­lease.

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