Much like its predecessors, Xenoblade Chronicles just loves to pile on the content that makes its T rating seem like maybe the ratings board wasn't really paying attention...
All spoilers are unmarked, proceed with caution.
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- The fact that the setting is literally on top of two continent-sized titans is pretty unsettling, especially when the titans in question start moving and attacking each other and dealing mortal damage while literally everything else lives on their bodies!
- The effects of the Monado on incompatible users are pretty gruesome in that if it doesn't kill you outright, it electrocutes and slowly destroys your body. Dunban used it for some time and it cost him the permanent use of his right arm, multiple scarring and a coma that put him near death, and eventually caused him to vomit blood. When Shulk lost control of it before the final confrontation with Egil, he was left screaming in unsettling agony.
- Mechon Invasions are pretty horrific, with hordes of killer machines coming out of nowhere and slaughtering or kidnapping any Homs they find. Originally it was described how the machines ate the Homs they captured, but in truth the Homs were kidnapped for a fate infinitely worse and much more painful.
- The process of just making a Face Mechon is the stuff of nightmares. First generation Faced Mechons only had their brains and a few other organs preserved when they were transformed, leaving the poor Homs victims pretty much insane while trapped in murderous machine bodies. The Second Generation have Face Units consisting of Homs who've undergone painful modifications like having their insides hollowed out and organs removed, their blood being used to circulate through a Face Mechon, and mechanical parts grafted onto their bodies in various disturbing ways before having their memories and emotions removed so they wouldn't be a hindrance to being used as weapons. They also have their brain stems and remaining organs directly integrated into their Mechon bodies. Oh and don't forget they're being mass-produced!
- Metal Face, just Metal Face. A close up of his horrible face is shown in the page image. A big and bulky Faced Mechon with a huge grudge with Dunban and an unhealthy obsession with the Monado. Due to his nature, he can No-Sell the Monado's attacks making him a Hopeless Boss Fight in every encounter with him until Shulk gets the Monado II. He also kills Fiora with his claws. The horror is magnified when Shulk and his group discover that he is Mumkhar, Dunban's Evil Former Friend whose obsession with the Monado turned him into a monster, both figuratively and literally.
- For the first half of the game, Shulk's sudden bouts of rage when fighting Mechon can be pretty unnerving, especially given what a Nice Guy he normally is. Special mention goes to the prelude to the third fight with Metal Face, where he screams like a madman, demanding Silver Face "give back" Fiora.
- Throughout the game, Shulk gets visions of horrifying events that he tries to stop before they happen. Among others, when he meets Sharla, he sees her getting crushed to death by a Mechon's claws, who also kidnaps her brother Juju. In another vision at the Tephra Cave, he sees the Arachno Queen brutally killing Reyn with one of its fangs. And in another, he sees Otharon fall to his death in an ether river.
- Some of the Face Mechon are pretty horrifying, notably Xord who explicitly states he ate the Homs he kidnapped from Colony 6, the people in question consisting of children and the elderly, with notable splattered pools of blood around the area. Even creepier when you realize Xord Was Once a Man and essentially ate members of his own race after being driven insane due to being an experimental prototype with all the pain but his emotions in tact. Some like the refitted Gadolt are pure Body Horror with explicit Mind Rape being part of the procedure. According to a Machina doctor, even Fiora experiences immune system breakdowns in many areas of her body after becoming a Face Unit, and without repairs along with Lady Meyneth's help she wouldn't have lived long.
- The slaughter of Colony 6 becomes more disturbing when it's revealed by Fiora that Faced Mechon only need water for their remaining human parts to function, raising the question of why Xord even ate all those people. It's likely he was driven so insane by his new Mechon body he was willing to divulge in cannibalism For the Evulz.
- Xord in general is pretty nightmarish. He's first presented in a brief cutscene when Shulk and Reyn reach the Bionis' Knee, which shows a small Mechon spying on the two and cutting to this hulking, mysterious figure in an almost completely dark room. The game treats the player to the only vague peak they'll get of a Faced Mechon actually devouring a human, with the Mysterious Face slinging a soldier's body into the air, which we can see land around the area of his head for a moment before suddenly being consumed with a violent burst of electricity. The cutscene ends on a brief reveal of Xord's face jerking upwards, illuminated only by his glowing red eyes, after just having the aforementioned spy Mechon relay the heroes' location right to him.
- Once Xord begins actually speaking, most of his delivery may be delightfully hammy, but there's an especially twisted and horrifying quality to hearing such a jovially boisterous voice coming from an enormous, bloodthirsty brute who's impervious to anything the heroes can do and intent on butchering and eating them. The design of Xord's face itself has a different kind of scary puppet-like quality that can't be said for the more unique faces, with a giant, unhinging jaw that makes his mouth a gaping void. And there's something to be said about finally leaving the Ether Mine only to have an enraged Xord still come flying back and halting the elevator, right when you finally thought you were safe.
- The music in the Ether Mine, both the original iteration and new Definitive Edition take on it, is an ominous mechanical track with an eerie, discordant chiming melody that gives the entire area a truly unsettling feel. Doubly so given the fact it's crawling with Mechon on top of the aforementioned Xord's presence during your visit, and the fact you're travelling right down towards him through the entire thing. And speaking of travelling down, the Central Pit is huge, with a foggy view of the massive drop below being more or less omnipresent during the party's time there.
- This game, or at least parts of it, is not friendly to those who have arachnophobia. Infamously one early sequence of sidequests will have you trying to find the "Giants' Mirror", located in a ruined shrine on the edge of a cliff on the Bionis Leg. Simple enough, right? Well... The moment you pick it up, you'll see legs emerge from the abyss, and suddenly a huge spider pulls itself right up in front of you. And if you're doing the quest as soon as you can, you'll probably be too weak to fight it, as it can kill you horribly in one hit(luckily, the game gives you just enough time to run). Then, when you have to go to the place to offer the mirror, the same thing happens. But then there are three giant spiders. On top of that, that first spider will show up if you explore the ruins no matter what, even if you haven't gotten the quest. You might just be exploring the area and discovering everything around the Bionis Leg on your first time around, well under half the level needed to actually fight it. It also attacks on sight, and takes a while for it to get over the edge of the cliff, so you could very well walk to the edge, turn around, and not know you're under attack until the music kicks in.
- Similarly, this game is not very friendly to people with acrophobia. Since the world the players live on is the body of a great titan, suspended in the sky, there are areas where you will walk on narrow precipices with endless sky below you, with one wrong step sending you on an endless plummet to your doom. This is really brought home in one quest, where an NPC wants to get a present for his girlfriend, but is too afraid of heights to go and get it himself. As you go through with the quest, you find that the NPC has a damn good excuse for being afraid. First, you have to climb multiple ladders, each of which are extremely high — higher than some of the mountains in the game. Then, you have to walk on a metal grated catwalk, which gradually rises even further into the sky. At this point, there is nothing between you and the ground — perhaps thousands of feet below — but a metal grate. Then, to get to the item, you have to go fairly literally out on a limb — a metal grated metal plank, actually — standing on the very edge, thousands of feet in the air, to reach out and take the McGuffin. Oh, and to make it even better, you have to do this during a thunderstorm.
- Incredibly high level Unique Monsters when you're low level ends up being this. They usually come out of nowhere when you're not expecting it and can one shot you. Besides from Clifftop Bayern, the earlier-mentioned spider, there's the Gaur Plain's infamous Territorial Rotbart, a giant dragon and others that do this. Hearing "You Will Know Our Names" start up when you donít expect it is one of the biggest jump scares in the entire series.
- The true nature of the High Entia and the Telethia, wherein the former are fated to transform back into the latter. Not only is it Zanza and Lorithia's Moral Event Horizon, but the transformation sequence is shown in detail to be gruesome and painful, Body Horror incarnate and a Fate Worse than Death as well.
- After killing Meyneth, Zanza marks his grand return to the Bionis by sinking Prison Island into the Eryth Sea, releasing such a massive blast of Ether that every pureblood High Entia in the region, including those in Alcamoth start contorting and transforming into Telethia.
- Even worse is that the player has the option to return to Alcamoth after this happens. Walking around the city with monsters that used to be people everywhere (and all the landmarks for fast traveling disabled) is bad enough. But what makes it even worse is that the music is exactly the same as it was, almost like it's in denial that anything wrong has happened. Somehow that's creepier than if they'd changed or removed the music.
- The whole situation is even more nightmarish for Melia, who must serve as the ruler of the High Entia after her father's death. Not only does she find out her God Is Evil, but her people, including her brother and stepmother, are being mutated into Animalistic Abomination creatures due to a genetic trigger in her species' genome that she was spared from due to being half-Homs. She has to watch her kingdom fall apart and her culture be destroyed as what remains of her people are being attacked by the ones that have been painfully mutated.
- What Zanza intended to do with them is also horrifying. If Shulk had failed to defeat him, he would've used the Telethia to kill every living thing in Bionis, starting with the Homs and the Machina, whom he considered too dangerous to keep them alive. The revelation of Zanza being such a monster potentially paints Egil's actions and all his horrible atrocities to destroy the Bionis alongside him as the lesser of the two evils! That is, at least Egil intended for there to be something besides himself living in the end (namely the life on Mechonis would survive).
- As noted above, Zanza is an unpleasantly evil god that sees all life as food to sustain him. His uncanny resemblance to Shulk is just the beginning.
- How Zanza is freed is very awful and traumatizing. Just as Shulk and Egil had finally managed to make peace with each other despite Zanza's influence, Dickson appears out of nowhere and shoots Shulk In the Back, to the horror of everyone present, especially Fiora. From the party's perspective, the closest person Shulk had to a father literally tried to kill him, and decried him as an Empty Shell that had outlived his usefulness. Then Shulk's eyes go blank and he starts convulsing, and everything goes to hell shortly afterwards.
- Zanza's last awakening before the events of the game was this for Egil and the Machina. Egil's best friend, Arglas, gets possessed and turned into a raving lunatic that wants nothing but the death of all that lives to perpetuate his own existence, and the Telethia devastate the Mechonis, almost exterminating Egil's people. Zanza once again shows how monstrous he is by turning friends against each other. He also made sure to exterminate Arglas' people, the Giants, in the process. You only find their ruins in the present, and Zanza is the reason why.
- The true form of his sword, the Monado, which is ironically the most sword-like of its forms, is bigger than his body, yet he wields it like it was made of air, gracefully clashing with Meyneth during their fight.
- The form he takes as the final boss are terrifying. His first form, he wears an armor resembling the Bionis, wielding both Monados, and wings resembling both titans. His One-Winged Angel form after he's angered enough is even worse, with the wings turning into massive arms, his helm morphs into a Telethia's head, and his legs turn into a weird, winged extension that don't resemble legs in the slightest.
- The revelation that Shulk, the main protagonist and player character, has essentially been dead for 14 years, having died along with his family when they first discovered the Monado, and been a walking meat puppet for an evil God the whole time. The player essentially plays as a walking corpse throughout the game and must eventually watch Shulk be killed again when the god in question no longer has use of him. Shulk takes the news as well as expected.
- The finale reveals this universe came from our universe, or at least one very much like it, transformed by a scientific experiment Gone Horribly Wrong (or right). Two scientists involved became Zanza and Meyneth. As for everyone else... It kind of makes the ending feel more bittersweet when you realize Shulk could have easily had Alvis bring them back (assuming this is possible, as nothing like such a mass resurrection is ever shown or mentioned to be possible), but instead just creates a new universe because as far as he's concerned they're just ancient history. The Earth That Was will go down as little more than an origin story myth that near nothing is known about, and even that's only if Shulk bothers to tell anyone about it. Albeit, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 reveals there is more to the story/fate of the old universe than Alvis is aware of.
- Gael'gar is absolutely terrifying, not helped by his jolly façade. He constantly stalks Melia, though this is not because of Lust, but because he is a zealot who despises pure blooded High Entia and worships Half-Homs High Entia. While it is true that Sorean and Kallian wanted to dilute the bloodline so there can be no more in the Telethia gene, Gael'gar takes it way too far. He also only gets worse from here.
- He finds out about Teelan's research to find a way to turn the Telethia back into their High Entia forms and tries to kill him and Tyrea, for trying to protect him. When Melia stops Gael'gar, and he realizes that Melia was helping Teelan, he goes ballistic and attacks the party.Gael'gar: Oh, Lady Melia! The hope of our race-
Melia: Gael'gar, what is this treachery?!
Gael'gar: As you can see, I'm sweeping away some pebbles. Their research is blasphemy, against the co-mingled blood.
Melia: Don't you comprehend the import of what you're interrupting? The very future of our race hinges on their work!
Gael'gar: You think this is the future?! This reactionary struggle to revive what is long buried? The future of the High Entia is US! We are what the race ought to become! We are the true face of the High Entia!
Melia: If not for our ancestors, we would never even have drawn breath!
Gael'gar: Ancestors?! I recognize them not. You, Lady Melia, are our progenitor. You were our beginning, and you will be our future!
Melia: Senseless drivel. If you would interfere with this research for the sake of spouting your nonsense, you do not deserve MY mercy!
Gael'gar: Why won't you understand... WHY WON'T YOU ACCEPT THAT WE ARE THE ONES DESTINED TO LEAD?!
Melia: You will not so easily refute our history!
Gael'gar: SO BE IT!! I reject you! I will take the mantle, and become the father of our KIN!!
- Once Melia beats him down, he blows up the house that contains Teelan's Telethia research. Melia and Shulk charge inside and there's another explosion. Thinking them dead, he proclaims that he is now the Emperor of the High Entia and he instantly attempts to kill Teelan. Not many villains other than Xord have instantly targeted and attempted to kill a child, and Xord was more because he attacks anyone in Colony 6. Not even Metal Face has done this, as Fiora is 18 by the game whereas Teelan, who's 43, is roughly a 9-10 year old in High Entia age. If it wasn't for Teelan's Telethia mother shooting him in the face and blowing him away, he would've killed him without hesitation despite the fact that Teelan is a half-homs High Entia.Gael'gar: HAHAHAHAHAHA!! The crown is mine now!
Teelan: Big Sis, HELP!
Gael'gar: Better safe than sorry. The pure-blood meets its end today!
- By the time Shulk and Melia meet Gael'gar for the last time in the sidequest "The Fallen", he's completely lost his mind and attacks them one last time. Once defeated, he starts Laughing Mad when Melia decides to let him go due to her feeling pity for him, and kills himself by jumping off the Companions' Cape, completely unrepentant over his actions.
- It should be noted that his insanity is fully exposed when he opens his eyes, which are Red Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises by default, and when he gets really pissed off, his pupils shrink even further.
- He finds out about Teelan's research to find a way to turn the Telethia back into their High Entia forms and tries to kill him and Tyrea, for trying to protect him. When Melia stops Gael'gar, and he realizes that Melia was helping Teelan, he goes ballistic and attacks the party.
- The Fog King is terrifying in that it is very similar to a Lovecraft Monster. Virtually nothing is known about it, other than that it came from the rift and is intangible until Shulk gets the Monado Replica EX+, and it has the power to corrupt monsters and turn them into Fog Beasts, which causes a lot of deaths. What is this thing?
- The Rift the Fog King came from. First it appears on top of Alcamoth and shoots down the Junks, stranding Shulk and his group in the Shoulder. As long as it exists, the Fog King is completely immortal, unable to be killed permanently. Also, the rift is expanding, and the bigger it grows, its corruption range also increases. It also seems to form a Hive Mind of a sort, as the Fogbeasts are under its full control and launch a concentrated attack on Gran Dell. If the rift isn't closed, it will grow so big that the new world Shulk fought so hard to create will be in a terrible danger.
- Did we mention it bears an eerie resemblance to the Infernal Guldo?
- Alcamoth in its ruined state. While there's no longer high-levelled Telethia acting as the city's monsters, there's something unsettling about seeing the once-bustling capital reduced to a ghost town. There are still various birds and nebulae to fight, and later, the Fog-King's influence introduces larger, fog-infested birds. The music has also changed to resemble Zanza's theme...
- The Forbidden Hushland is the most unnerving area for the franchise since The Land of Morytha, there is hardly anything there other than some strong high level enemies and a quarry, which is filled with Arachnos and Antols, plus there's literally no music in the background