XENOBLADE CHRONICLES 2
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.