Recently, I got a Nintendo Switch, and I have to say I absolutely love it. Altogether, I have an Xbox One X, Playstation 4, and Nintendo Switch now, and they are all great in their own respects. I chose to take on a JRPG first thing on the Switch, and I found my way to Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Let me start by saying I am thoroughly enjoying this game. The characters are fun and interesting, and the plot… well, the plot and world building is in true Japanese fashion. Maybe one day I’ll figure out how they come up with some of this stuff. I’m about 7 hours into the game right now and ready to share my first thoughts on it.
Should You Play It?
Well, that depends. It’s a JRPG… Japanese Role Playing Game. Do you like Japanese stuff? If yes, then play it because you’ll like it. If no, you probably won’t care for it unless you are attempting to get yourself into Japanese stuff. As far as JRPG’s go, this one is pretty great so far in my opinion
The game takes place inside of a world called Alrest. In Alrest, humanity relies on Titans to stay alive… Titans are massive creatures (who also speak) that are able to host entire ecosystems on their backs. It’s in these ecosystems that humans are able to build cities. The reason humans have to build cities on these Titans? I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but the entire world is covered by what’s called the Cloud Sea. The Cloud Sea seems to be a massive ocean with a layer of clouds directly above it. It actually is water as you’ll find out from cut scenes, and you can swim in it… I found out when I accidentally jumped off of the city Torigoth in the Gormott Province.
Rex is our main protagonist. You could also say that he’s the plot Driver (hehehehe). If you didn’t get that joke, don’t worry about it, I’ll talk about Drivers here soon. Rex is pretty typical for a male anime character, and for me, that’s fine. He’s what’s known as a Salvager. He makes a living by diving into the Cloud Sea and bringing back valuable loot to sell.
Rex somehow has his own Titan, named Gramps, who takes him around… but Rex sends all of his money back to his home village in order to help take care of them. By the way, this is as good a time as any to say it; you’re probably gonna want to download the Japanese audio for the game. The English dubs aren’t bad; I think Pyra’s voice actress is actually pretty good (we’ll talk about Pyra soon), but I don’t care for Rex’s voice actor at all.
In Alrest, the Titans are dying out, and humanity is losing places to take up residence. Early into the game, Rex actually witnesses a Titan’s demise. Rex’s dream is to find a way to get to Elysium, where Titans are born. He believes that if he can get to Elysium, the world can be saved. The story is legend of course, and is not believed by most. Elysium also happens to be at the top of a tree that rises out of the Cloud Sea… as soon as I saw this, my thoughts went straight to the World Tree from Alfheim Online, not gonna lie. But that’s alright, we can roll with it.
Blades and Drivers
The game takes you in slow… it took me a while to start getting a handle on how everything works and actually understand what a Blade is. But that makes it more enjoyable in my book. A Blade is a sort of magical creature which spawns from what’s called a core crystal, and every Blade must have a Driver.
The Driver is the human element to the pair and fights with the weapon and element of his or her Blade. You can end up having more than one Blade, but Blade’s have a rarity associated with them, so some are more powerful and important than others. Currently, I think I have 5 Blades total, and I’m still working through the best way to go about using them… which brings us to Nia, Pyra, and the plot.
Nia and the Driver Team
Long story short— at the beginning of the game, Rex is approached with a proposition. 100,000 gold fronted to him for a job, and 100,000 gold paid to him upon the jobs completion. This is a massive sum of cash for him and he doesn’t even bother asking what the job is, which consequently leads us into the catalyst for the plot. Rex is introduced to a team of Drivers, and this team of Drivers needs a Salvager on their mission. Of course, Rex is told nothing about the mission.
Nia is one of the Drivers on the team that Rex is embarking with… she has a badass tiger Blade named Dromarch. Nia’s English voice actress is rocking a Scottish accent… it’s not bad, but again I think the Japanese fits better. Nia is absolutely adorable and she’s the only member of the team that warms up to Rex during this trip. Nia and Rex seem to take on a sort of brother sister relationship before long. Jin and Malos on the other hand, well, they turn into the antagonists of the story rather quickly.
The Expedition and Betrayal
The expedition, which Rex still knows nothing about, takes the team into the Cloud Sea to recover the Aegis, which up to the point I am in the game, hasn’t been fully explained. However, the Aegis is definitely a Blade… and her name is Pyra. Rex has completed his Salvaging job successfully and upheld his end of the bargain, but he didn’t know what he was getting into. When he steps forward and touches the Aegis, Jin and Malos are unhappy, which leads to Rex getting stabbed in the heart from behind. Yes, he dies. But with death, he arrives in Elysium… enter Pyra.
Rex awakens in Elysium, but it is only inside of Pyra’s dreams. Pyra is a Blade… the Aegis. She is gorgeous, and her outfit is amazing. Props to the designers. No, I don’t care that her armor doesn’t cover her entire body. How does she fight then? She’s magical, that’s how, so shut it! Pyra saves Rex’s life by giving him half of her emerald core crystal, and she confirms that finding Elysium will save the world. Boom, their is our plot, and we’re ready to go. Rex is now a Driver and has his very own Blade, and to be clear, Pyra is already best girl in the game. It’s been done, I’ve decided.
Rex and Pyra defeat Jin and Malos with the help of Nia, who betrays her crew to help Rex… and then Gramps saves the day and everyone escapes. The issue is, Nia and Dromarch are no where to be found when Rex comes to. Also, this is the point in the game that I started fiddling around with pictures. Notice I have no photos thus far. Remember, this is my first game on the Switch, but I’ve got photos from here on out. So, in case you were curious, here is Rex and Pyra. We can also have a customary moment of silence to recognize Pyra’s…ahem… fantastic character design.
Gramps ends up “rebirthing” himself too. It’s a feat that apparently not every Titan is able to do, but what he has done is revert back to being a young Titan. He says it would take him 300 years to get back to the size he was previously… well, looks like Rex is gonna be homeless.
Now, we’ve got to find Nia.
We locate Nia and Dromarch, and the immediate goal is to reach the nearest city, Torigoth. Then what? Well, Nia intends to meet back up with Jin and Malos. This makes no sense at all right now, but I suspect that Nia will come around eventually. She’s way too cute to be evil…change my mind. By the way, this is the point in the game where I first started getting a better hang of the combat system… so if you need any help with that, let me know.
We finally make it to Torigoth, and the world kind of opens up here as we get a taste of exploration. I didn’t spend a terribly long time exploring the area in front of the city, but it was fun for a good while. There are plenty of collection points, and no shortage of creatures to fight. I ended up running away from a level 81 creature at one point… fun stuff. There are also creatures out here that you can kill that are specific to leveling up your affinity chart for Pyra.
Make sure you check that affinity chart often, because those buffs are a big deal.
I may even write a guide on leveling up Rex and the Blades, and the combat system in the near future, if that would be helpful to anyone.
That’s all for now, folks! I’ll pick back up from Torigoth for the next post, and there will be lots more pictures next time, promise! Have you played Xenoblade Chronicles? Let me know what you think about the game in the comments, subscribe to my Newsletter below, and be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram! If you have any questions about the game, feel free to head over to the contact page to send me a message. Until next time!