- Lin's opening narration doubles as Fridge Horror. The habitat gives the people of NLA a false sense of normalcy, 'cuz just outside those walls is the inescapable truth that they're stranded on an uncharted alien world, with limited resources. Made worse, given they're being pursued by a hostile alien race that's hellbent on wiping out what's left of them. Imagine being one of the survivors to be awakened to that reality. To make the horror even easier to relate to, the destruction of Earth and the endangerment of humanity as a species happens in 2054, which is within the expected lifespan of the game's player demographics.
- Sylvalum sometimes gets covered in a spore fog so thick it's near-impossible to see anything. It's also home to a ton of Jump Scare monsters and very powerful roaming monsters with a bad habit of jumping into a fight in their path. They're normally fairly easy to see coming, but with this weather active...
- To make this worse, there's a certain tyrant that only spawns during the spore fog. Have fun fighting a monster you can't see.
- The way the reveal of every human currently in New LA being a mimeosome is handled gets pretty horrific, because the game exploits the technicality of the player being a "robot" to push the T rating way further than it could otherwise go. Specifically, your character's arm is blown clean off by a mech-mounted gun - and, well, we say "clean" but the injury is absolutely horrific, with the establishing shot showing a huge trail of blood and char along the route you got knocked back, and then the camera rests on your mangled, bleeding stump while you writhe in agony. We also get a nice, long shot of the also-bleeding remains of your previously-functional arm. Mimeosome "blood" being blue and this not being a "real" human body allows the game to do all this within a T rating, but the game presses home that the experience is, for Rook, exactly as if a biological arm was blown off (Lin has to turn off the player's nervous sensation in that area and then ultimately turn them "off" just to provide some relief), and the presentation is more like something out of The Pacific than a family-friendly Nintendo game.
- The game also points out how horrific this must be for Rook: they had no idea they were a robot, and so they get the full shock of this on top of the trauma of such a brutal injury. It's a testament to Rook's mental fortitude that they keep it together after all this. And really, just imagine finding out you and everyone you know is a robot when you previously had no idea, especially when you're already unsure about your own identity.
- The otherwise normal side mission "Lakeside Getaway". It starts off as a mundane and petty request by Rosie to get some payback against Ajoa and Ian for setting up the Biahno Water Purification Plant in Primordia and running it without her (and suspecting that their relationship is more than just professional). But then things get really disturbing once you get to the plant. First off, it's being attacked by Cantors - four-armed humanoid creatures that are already creepy enough when they are posing as statues, have uncannily human-like skin tones and are usually found in the northern continents of Sylvalum and Cauldros - except they are smaller than normal (as opposed to being about the size of an adult Simius) and hatch out of cocoons. As you look for other survivors besides Ajoa, the Cantors drop ID cards as you kill them (something that can make players of past Xeno games wary). Once you read Ian's ID card and look at the plant's security recordings, it is revealed that the Cantors there are actually the rest of the plant's staff mutated as a result of a previous Cantor laying its eggs in their bodies from its attack and being exposed to water from that point, with the parasite compelling the host to crave water through symptoms such as dry skin, a reproduction method similar to parasite wasps from Earth as mentioned by Ian's recording. The really scary part can come off as a result of what you the player decide. Before checking the recordings, Ajoa will ask to take a shower while you check the recordings. Players wary enough of survival horror tropes will tell her not to be left alone for her safety as she was already attacked at least once when she did so (she'll just go to a doctor in NLA to get the eggs planted in her surgically removed), but if you let her take a shower to cut her some slack, Ajoa will come back into the control room mutated into a Cantor still begging for water just after you finish watching the recording, forcing you to kill her in defense. That's right, you just caused an NPC death that could have been prevented from one dialogue choice with very little warning. Suffice to say, Rosie becomes regretful for her earlier attitude once you tell her about this incident. Along with other side quests where you have the potential to get named NPCs killed as a result of your bad decision-making, the negative outcome of this side quest has prompted many players to to save their game before starting quest-related conversations that have player decisions with potentially fatal consequences (this game has only one save file).
- Some more Fridge Horror comes in after completing Chapter 5 when you learn that you and the human inhabitants of NLA are actually android avatars that simulate being a human near-perfectly without aging. The simulation is done too well when you realize that mimeosomes still have some organic components and thus are not immune to biological illness, parasites and mutations. In the main story, the most apparent example of this is Lao in the final chapter, who gets mutated into a chimera.
- Another horrifying episode comes from a mission given by an isolated Harrier outpost in Sylvalum. It starts out as a total milk run monster hunt, followed by comically looking after the squad princess's demands. When your get back, the squad rookie is the only one left. He tells you the Prone killed their captain and dragged the other girls of the squad away. When you catch up, only one is left, beside herself with grief and fear. If you press her, she reveals her companion, the aforementioned diva, had nothing to live for with the captain dead and provoked the prone so she would die first... whereupon they started skinning her alive in preparation to eat her. And when they realize she's a Mimeosome, they started torturing her to death via dismemberment. So not only do we have off-screen torture and dismemberment added to the pile, but this is where it's confirmed that the Cavern Clan Prone are, in fact, cannibals of non-Prone sentients. Missions likely encoutnered prior to this one will hint at the "hunting" nature of the Prone, but this makes explicit that the thing which makes the Caverns particularly savage is their willingness to consume other sentients. Even more disturbing, two pairs of psycho launchers are dropped from the Prone you need to kill, and they are named Grette and Adelbert, after the two Harriers who were dismembered. You might be quick to assume the launchers belonged to them, but a comment from Kupee mentions that the Prone made weapons out of mimeosome parts (and the Definian Jisanne, from the Affinity Mission "A False Hope", implies that the Prone aren't the only Ganglion race that do this).
- The above also throws a key event early in the game into a whole new light: Tatsu, in all likelihood, wasn't just being saved as a vegetable. The Prone at that base were perfectly aware he was sentient and really were going to eat him anyway, and simply stored him in a convenient place. Tatsu (as well as a few other NPCs) also mentions that they eat Nopon on a regular basis. Even worse, one of the holograms you can display in the BLADE barracks shows a Cavern Clan Prone trying to eat a Nopon alive by using his facial tentacles to force him into his gaping mouth.
- Lao's final boss form is just a humanoid mess of various body parts, including the heads of various animals. Take a look◊. Even worse, due to being merged with the DNA, memories and consciousness of Luxaar and several other Earth animals, he's unable to control his own body while the other consciousnesses of feral creatures use it destroy everything around them. The only thing he can do on his own volition is communicate. Unlike the previous game (and past Xeno games), you're not fighting a god. You're putting an old friend out of his suffering while protecting the future of humanity. Oh, and it also resembles the horrifying third form◊ of William Birkin. Have fun.
- Marcus' death scene during the Ganglion's attack on NLA. Despite his best efforts, he could only stare helplessly as his monitor repeatedly flashed: WARNING: Incoming Missiles - which he could already see were gaining on him, directly below his cockpit. Half of it is shown from Irina's perspective, as she desperately tells him to evade them. The other half is from his perspective, with the monitor continuing to flash as the warning siren intensifies... until the inevitable moment of impact.
- The Millesaurus' long neck is actually an extended mouth they can use to feed and cutting it off reveals its actual face◊. (Spoiler Warning for unrelated post-game content in screenshot!)
- The lyrics of the standard battle theme "Black Tar", which tells of an alien lifeform killing off soldiers, taking over their bodies, and forcing them to fight amongst one another. Doubles as Paranoia Fuel by the end of that particular verse.The tar inside, stealing their body and breath
'Til only a shell is left
Witness to Hell in the flesh
A fight to the death
Screaming "Where's the relief?!"
Maybe no more sleep!
All is swallowed in grief
The images start to stalk like a beast
I hear voices, but no one's talkin' to me...
- You know Talon Rock? That massive prominent geographical feature that dominates the Primordia skyline? Well it's home to one of the most powerful Tyrants in the game: Elvira, the Talondrake. It can often be seen floating above the summit during the daytime - only a thousand feet or so above NLA. If this monster wasn't just content to pace back and forth above Talon Rock, it could easily attack and destroy most of the city.
- What's more, because of its location atop the most striking landmark in Primordia, the player can actually catch a glimpse of the Talondrake very early on in the game - even before entering NLA for the first time. The player casually glances up at the rock formation looming over the city, only to see a giant monster floating away off in the distance. It really establishes the kind of world Mira is.
- Worse is the fact that Elvira is a Colubrim, which the enemy index says tend to stay dormant for decades at a time... but when they do awaken fully, they go on eating sprees that include just about anything they can get their (multiple) mouths around. Elvira might be content to fly around the summit for now, but when it finally gets hungry...
- The ending to Yelv's final Affinity Mission implies that he's not even a mimeosone with human consciousness, but an android. He has a single minded desire to find his missing partner, something that leads him to becoming a Reclaimers. The theory being that these are false memories implanted into him to make him more efficient as a Reclaimer, and that Eleanora may be his handler.
- Squallo, the Sand Mirer is a massive Tyrant hiding underneath the sand in Northern Oblivia, so unlike many of its fellow Tyrant, you might not see it coming yards away, aside from the ominous Dangerous Area theme playing when you're close to it.note You can be walking along and it will erupt from the ground catching you completely off guard. Its Sylvalum counterparts Atreides, the Distinguished and Gesserith, the Wileworm are also frightening. Atreides is more out in the open during the daytime and consistently jumping from one hole into another, but generally ignores you until you try to pick a fight with it. At night, however, it just sits in the sand with only parts of its mouth visible like a Sarlacc, waiting for some hapless prey to walk into its maws.
- Duoguills in general. From the top down they look similar to manta rays, but underneath their mouths look like zombie faces.
- So you've just gotten the flight module for your skells, and you've decided to take a flight around Sylvalum in order to reach some of the higher up probe sites, when you notice that one of those massive spheres hanging in the air has an opening in the side. Obviously you decide to take a look inside, and once you enter you notice the large amount of level 60+ indigens floating around. Rather disconcerting, but they're non-aggressive so you ignore them. And then you look up and notice the level 97... THING hanging from the roof of the sphere like a bat. Congrats, you've just met Pharsis the Everqueen, the second most powerful enemy in the game.
- The Enemy Index description for the Yggralith species reeks of Cosmic Horror Story. According to the description, Yggraliths are from the depths of outer space and come to feed on the world's Ether as well as any other creatures it may come across before leaving the world as a dead husk and flying off to another one, which sounds like a mix of what the Telethia of the original Xenoblade and Lavos do. Worse, it is said that if two Yggraliths were to meet, they would engage in a battle that could potentially destroy the entire solar system they are in. Fridge Horror settles in when you realize that Pharsis isn't the only Yggralith you can fight on Mira. The battle with the Global Nemesis Yggralith Zero takes place far in Cauldros, but the fight with the squad mission-exclusive Tyrant, Phanatos, the Netherlord takes place in Sylvalum's Lake Ciel, which is not very far from Pharsis' nest in the Noctilucent Sphere.
- Even with the end of humanity looming if BLADE doesn't get its job done, some humans are still prone to committing atrocities, such as purging NLA of (friendly) Xenos, being murderers in some other capacity, betraying allies in the worst manner possible, or running scams for money. It's safe to say that the realities of mankind can't be assumed to have improved in the wake of desperate times.
- Enjoying Noctilum for its beautiful colors, upbeat music and lively environments? Ready to fly up that waterfall and see the last of the cool stuff the continent has to offer? Because boy oh boy, once you reach the Divine Roost, it's all downhill. The music is flat out unsettling, the single tree in the center bears roots that wrap around the enviornment like tentacles, some of (including THE) most powerful indigens hang out up there, and the whole place has a very eerie, disturbed feel. Oh yeah, and all the water looks like blood.
- A musical example: the second half of the track aBOreSSs, the "music" accompanying the first phase of the Zu Pharg fight. It just sounds wrong with the heavy percussion, weird synth sounds, the almost total lack of any harmony and the random piano stings. But don't worry, it gets much more melodic later on, and trust us, you'll wish it hadn't.
- But don't worry. aBOreSSs isn't the only ominous track in the game. z30huri2ba0tt12le1110 (which, decoded, translates to Z30 Free Battle 2012/11/10, giving the cruel illusion that it'll be the more laid-back sounding kind of battle theme), which plays for the second fight against Rexoskell and Dale Gibbon's Skell, Interfearance, is somehow even worse. It opens with a repeating Scare Chord accompanied by what sounds like dial-up internet screeching in your ear uncomfortably loudly, making one assume it might simply be a non-musical track like aBOreSSs, but no, it gets worse as it transitions to a synth verse. Thought it couldn't get worse than that? WRONG. The Scare Chord returns alongside the sounds of Nightmare AOL. Then there's some sort of horrible moaning, alongside what sounds like distorted robotic voices whispering in your ear. Then the song finally closes, with a sudden transition to terrifying silence accompanied by electronic clicking.
- Another musical example is in the second section of "z12e201v2e091n4t", an incredibly ominous track that plays in key areas, particularly in the territory of notably powerful Tyrants, areas heavily inhabited by dangerous enemies (such as Dead Man's Gulch in Noctilum, which is infested with Tainted Indigens), or generally uncharted territory. Even when the Indigens aren't that powerful or hostile, the Tyrant isn't available at the moment, or there are no enemies around, it gives off a sense that something is very wrong with the place it plays in and that you shouldn't be there, especially when you're low-leveled. It also plays during some darker plot points, such as when you learn where the Cantors that attacked the Biahno Water Purification Plant came from during the "Lakeside Getaway" side mission.
- Z23 Sama-ru is an ominous track that works well with providing the necessary atmosphere to a scene of a looming danger or a passed tragedy. And the first time you'll hear it is during "Renewed Will" when Irina is getting heckled by two smart-mouthed BLADEs. It makes you wonder what happened in Irina's past that makes the back-talk cut deep under her skin and what might've happened if she really got into a fight with them.
- The reveal that the mainframe that is supposed to control every mimiosome has been destroyed since right before Elma rescued the protagonist, which means not only are all of the humans supposed to be dead, Rook shouldn't even exist at all.
Nightmare Fuel / Xenoblade Chronicles X