Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is poised to release exclusively for the Nintendo Switch on December 1st, and if its predecessor is anything to go by, it’s teed up to be yet another critical hit for the hybrid home console.
- Release date: December 1, 2017
- Platform: Nintendo Switch exclusive
- Genre: JRPG
- Official Website
The first game in the series, Xenoblade Chronicles, released on the Nintendo Wii in 2012 but the universe the game takes place in has roots all the way back to the PS1 era.
And with its release poured in critical adoration from the gaming press leading to a cumulative Metacritic score of 92.
But it wasn’t just the press that placed the game so high among the Wii’s lineup, and JRPG games in general. Many fans of the genre fell in love with the game’s visual collage of sci fi and fantasy, wrapped in a grandiose ARPG affair.
This is why I’m so reticent to see how Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is received by players and press alike, as a new owner of the Switch. I don’t have any experience with the series or metaseries, and don’t have much experience with JRPG’s in general.
Even so, I’m excited to see how it pans out when it officially releases.
Xenoblade is something fresh and ambitious, a type of game that many gamers haven’t experienced. Read below for my take as to why this game has the potential to be one of the Switch’s best games, and why you should keep tabs on it even if you don’t usually gravitate towards JRPG’s.
Why You Should Keep Xenoblade 2 In Your Crosshairs
Let’s face it, the Switch is lacking at the moment when it comes to RPG’s.
And Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has arrived at the perfect time to fill the slot for an expansive RPG in an otherwise stellar first party lineup from Nintendo. If you’ve enjoyed RPG’s in the past, even if they’ve been western, this game has the potential to fill a void currently felt on the Switch.
While Breath of the Wild is monolithic and grandiose by design, it isn’t truly an RPG, swinging more towards an adventure game. And while Zelda and Xenoblade share some similarities, they also tread their own distinct paths.
Apart from both being monstrous in scale, the two games also share the fact that they can be enjoyed by series veterans and newcomers alike. You don’t have to preface the experience at all, whether by playing previous titles or reading countless wiki’s, if it’s something you don’t feel like doing.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 offers content the size of continents. You’ll be enjoying yourself for over 100 hours, easily.
Want to dive in completely blind? Have at it. Your experience with the game is not contingent on prior experience whatsoever.
And if you’re looking for a Switch game packed to the brim with content, something akin to the antithesis of a modern mobile cash grab, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a game that can satisfy your most primal gaming needs for over 100 hours.
Previews have already been rolling out over the past few weeks and journalists have had a go at over 20 hours of playtime while barely scratching the surface of the beast that lies beneath.
Those that have played the game have stated that the vast landscapes of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 are not only rich with content, but also feel lived in. There are towns that coalesce with their surrounding environment, as well as offer a true relationship between you and the ecosystem of the locales.
Towns in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 are punctuated with variety and and serve to facilitate a relationship between residents and you, the player.
This sort of unique splash to each location is a sure fire way to introduce a great deal of not only novelty, but also long lasting appeal. Who wants to visit areas that homogenize into one giant amorphous blob?
Variety is one of the keys to reeling in our attention spans, especially in a game where you’ll be spending dozens of hours or more, invested in the world.
When questing, exploring, or messing about, you’ll battle with enemies in real time fashion with a unique twist. The game never pauses outright but there is a certain tempo to button inputs.
Mastering a rhythm between basic and special attacks seems to be the key to getting the combat to “click”, based on impressions from quite a few journalists.
So while you won’t find Dark Souls or Bloodborne level of gut punching real time combat, there’s still a certain level of skill and room for mastery at play with Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
An interesting style of combat is at play here. It’s real time with an emphasis on exploiting a certain rhythm, while still retaining a certain level of skill.
In terms of story, those who have previewed the game state that it is interesting, although it does take a little time to pick up steam. Apparently, this is a hallmark characteristic of JRPG’s and while Xenoblade Chronicles 2 sings this tune, it apparently isn’t as bad as it is with many other JRPG’s.
Based on my 20 or so hours playing Persona 4 Golden, I would say that this element of foreplay concerning stories in Japanese games rings true.
So far, impressions are incredibly positive nearly across the board. To be fair, impressions are glowing more often than not in the mainstream gaming press, but it still shows promise for the upcoming Switch exclusive.
As mentioned earlier, reviews and gamers’ impressions after the initial honeymoon period passes are going to be the tell all. But then again, when it comes to games, and movies, the passage of time can do some truly whacky things to the consensus about any one particular title.
Future events aside, keep you eye on Xenoblade Chronicles 2 in the days leading up to and after release. Whatever your relationship with JRPG’s may be, you owe it to yourself to open up to exploring quality exclusive games for the Switch.
The console truly is something kickass, dope, awesome – whatever your verbal flavor is. And signs are pointing to Xenoblade Chronicles 2 being the next killer app, aside current giants like Super Mario Odyssey, Breath of the Wild, Splatoon 2, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
Looking for official channels to follow the game? Be sure to check out the official website and the Japanese Twitter account (don’t worry you’ll quickly be prompted to translate if you don’t speak Japanese).
You can also check back here at Click Press Play for more coverage on the game.