Reviews: Xenoblade Chronicles 2
A good game, but probably my least favorite Xenoblade game
As a standalone game, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is great, though its predecessors were both tough acts to follow, in my opinion, and when a game is part of a series, I am understandably inclined to compare it to its series-mates. I could say more than I do here, but the 3000-character limit prevents me from covering everything. Where I found 2 to be better:
- The combat system is similar enough to those of 1 and X that I was able to adapt fairly quickly, though I will concede that there are enough new mechanics, such as Blade Combos, that took some getting used to. While I didn't care for how slowly everyone moves in combat, I found the button-mapped Arts system preferable to the old system in which I had to scroll along a list at the bottom of the screen.
- Alrest felt like a much more diverse and immersive world to me than Mira or the Bionis and Mechonis. The wider variety of accents in the cast likely helped with that.
- While the art style may have also contributed to one of my issues with the game (see below), I do think it allowed for more expressive faces, which I considered a good thing.
- Without spoiling anything, I did enjoy the overall story, even if said story did need more time to get moving than I would have preferred.
- Some of the common anime clichés wore rather thin, in my opinion. On a similar note, while I liked the story in general, I do think it wasn't executed as well as that of 1 or X, and that is partially because of the aforementioned clichés.
- The total lack of appearance customization was a major letdown for me. 1 had multiple armor sets to choose from, allowing for a variety of appearances. X took that even further with Fashion Slots. I'm usually rather averse to the more common forms of Fanservice, so I sorely missed having the option of putting characters in outfits that were at least somewhat practical.
- Frankly, the fanservice in general bothered me. Fanservice is nothing new in the series, as Sharla demonstrates, but this game strikes me as having turned it Up to Eleven. I can like Ms. Fanservice when her personality suits her design (Sonya from Fire Emblem Gaiden comes to mind for me), but most, if not all, of the fanservice-y designs I saw in this game felt gratuitous rather than meaningful to me.
- Blades in general are an integral part of 2's story and mechanics and don't have a proper counterpart in 1 or X. Rare Blades can make for fun and interesting secondary characters. Common Blades, however, were of little interest to me; the game can talk about how "Blades are people, too" all it wants, but the mechanics and their cookie-cutter designs encourage me to treat them as tools.