Seemingly in response to the criticism of the English voice acting, the Nov. 7, 2017 Direct announced that there'll be an update that allows gamers to play it in Japanese with English subtitles.
Also seemingly in response to criticisms of the first game that doing sidequests would make you vastly overleveled for the end game, all experience you get rewarded from sidequests and Merc Group missions are added to a bonus experience pool that can be optionally added at an inn.
Timed Missions in the first game were generally panned, forcing players to postpone story progress to deal with tedious sidequests before they are Permanently Missable Content. There are only a handful of Timed Missions in 2, and even some other features that would otherwise be Permanently Missable Content get relocated entirely.
The sidequests in the first game were considered to be very annoying, since you were basically told something along the lines of "Get me 20 Bear Asses" but you had no way to tell where they were short of poking around the game's very large world. In contrast, this game allows you to track quests which will show you where the objectives are.
Patch 1.1.2 added the ability to skip voice quotes for liked pouch items and Merc Missions allowing to speed up clearing blade affinity charts.
The Tirkin on Bionis were nothing more than Always Chaotic Evil mooks to kill. On Alrest they're still recurring mooks, but some of them have speaking roles and a group of them have jobs as professional chefs.
Patch 1.3 added a New Game+ feature that can be started at will on a save file that has reached the endgame. New Game+ adds the ability to send story-centric blades on mercenary missions, bards who will accept excess bonus EXP in exchange for various goods (such as Ether Crystals, Legendary Blade Cores, and Overdrive Protocols), and adding the Torna blades and flesh-eater members to the random Blade pool.
1.3 also added the ability to completely skip the Core Crystal resonation animations. Previously you could only skip after the Blade intro animation started which meant resonating with a crystal would take almost a minute even if you skipped at the first possible opportunity (previously you had to wait for the intro animation to load and start playing before you could skip). Given how low the chances are of getting a unique Blade and the number of Core Crystals a player will likely need to resonate with to get them, this is a major time saver.
Awesome, but Impractical: Blade Nia. While they're a very solid healing blade, using them reduces the total number of Blades you can have active (making ability checks more difficult), and the fact that they're only usable on Rex (who's generally more effective as an attack-oriented character) means many players will just continue to use Nia as a driver.
Rex for being a Vanilla Protagonist. He's praised in-game for his strength and "heroic eyes" without further explanation. Unjustified Character Shilling, or the game setting him up as a normal person doing great things with the people and opportunities that land in his lap?
Mythra for her Tsundere tendencies. Is her character sufficiently-developed over the course of the story, or are her interactions with Rex a bit too unfair?
Ursula is one of the best healing Blades in the game, but the fandom splits on whether it's worth going through her long and grindy sidequest.
Dagas is another example. His haughty attitude bothers many of his haters, not helped by his sub-par initial affinity chart. His fans argue that he's a beast in combat once his second affinity chart is unlocked after his quest, and that he has an Awesome Ego.
The first half of chapter 5 sees the party trekking through the Leftherian Archipelago and visiting Rex's hometown. The archipelago is fairly linear and none of the monsters are too difficult... if you go left. Going right at the fork takes you down a path with enemies nearly guaranteed to be 5 to 10 levels higher than your party without deep grinding.
Kora's Blade Quest has no battles in it and is mostly just a humorous vignette series.
Catharsis Factor: There's some dark pleasure in releasing weak, unwanted, or hated blades. Hearing their pleas or angry outbursts is just the icing on the cake.
Complacent Gaming Syndrome: Playing as Rex, or using the Rex, Nia and Mòrag team from Chapter 5 onwards. Unfortunate, because Tora has two story segments where he's by far the better option to control.
Complete Monster: The egotistical, giggling Dr. Castrofari has children all over Alrest drugged and kidnapped as fodder for his twisted experiments, which aim to forcefully augment his specimens into artificial Blades. When Perun confronts him on his deeds, Castrofari offers to let the children go if Perun surrenders herself as his next subject—only to laugh and confess he'll murder all of the children anyways, giddily announcing his intention to experiment on Perun until she’s nothing but a withered husk.
Contested Sequel: Debate on whether it lives up to the original started even before it released. Detractors call out the use of modern anime tropes and the story's tone, mourn the loss of selectable gear, and rip into the new affinity system and "gacha" mechanics. Supporters praise the battle system, the main companions, the subtlety in the story and character interactions, and the story's later twists. Both groups largely agree the area design, exploration and music remain up to par.
Vandham is dark-skinned, green armored mercenary with an x-shaped scar between his eyes and firm opinions about the nature of war. Comparisons to Locus from Red vs. Blue naturally follow.
The main party members play similarly to the cast of the original Xenoblade.
Rex uses a sword with position-based attacks, just like early-game Shulk. The Aegis also picks up New Powers as the Plot Demands, just like the Monado.
Nia, like Fiora, dual-wields daggers. Her high ether stat and starter Blade also means she's similar to Sharla and Melia.
Tora is obviously this game's Riki. Tora's also like Reyn in that both use shield weapons, are the early game tank, and have a strong friendship with The Hero.
Vandham is another Fiora by dint of dual-wielding weapons and being a Sacrificial Lion.
Mòrag is similar to Dunban, as they're both agility tanks that are members of the military, further cemented when Mòrag gets a unique Chroma Katana. Similarities to Melia also exist, insofar that both are members of royal families where the younger heir inherits. It is lampshaded by Fiora if you have her as a Blade in party.
Zeke has Dunban's sword moves and Reyn's comedic, bombastic personality.
Jin and Malos are respectively similar to Dickson and Mumkhar as early temporary party members who betray the protagonists.
Jin is also remarkably similar to Egil story-wise as both of them were once kindhearted individuals who became evil as a result of losing their homes and people close to them due to the actions of Amalthus and Zanza respectively. Both eventually have a Heel Realization over their actions and ultimately end up pulling a Heroic Sacrifice to help the party stop the very being that made them evil in the first place.
Pyra has been compared to Moka Akashiya, being the Badass AbnormalDeuteragonist of a female lead who's powers involve the protagonist using a specific, connected item (Rex wielding Pyra's sword, and Moka's rosario being removed by Tsukune), and who switches between a cuter, more deredere redhead form that was created as a Split Personality, and a tougher, more tsuntsun light-haired form that was actually the original. On top of that, both end up having a Split-Personality Merge, though Pyra and Mythra's isn't permanant.
When it comes to optional Blades, Azami has been compared to Tharja. Both are dark-haired women with creepy demeanor, use dark magic for their attacks, are very ruthless on the job and have romantic feelings for someone in command of them regardless of gender (Her Driver in Azami's case, and Robin in Tharja's), all the while stalking them.
Bana is generally compared to Sundowner, as they are villains who believe in War for Fun and Profit and both attempt to assassinate political leaders and use children-ish cyborgs (Artificial Blades in Bana's case) to cause as many atrocities as possible, for money.
Akhos has been compared to H.B. due to their similar appearances and arrogant, narcissistic personalities. It also helps that they were both voiced by Nobunaga Shimazaki in the Japanese version of their games. One joke has been made where the two meet, in which Akhos says that he's H.B. but with two swords, to which H.B. would respond, "Will I ever stop excelling?"
Niall has been compared as a younger version of Alfonse and/or Marth.
Rare Blade Kasandra, or rather the creepy Mask of Power she keeps on the back of her head, has been compared with Majora's Mask due to their dark cursed powers and tendency to make rattling noises when their powers are active. In addition, Kasandra's Lv. 3 Special has her actually wear the mask on her face to bring out her true power, causing her to lose consciousness while the mask takes over her body, but unlike the case with Majora's Mask, at least there's no threat of her mask wanting to destroy the world. Just cause random acts of misfortune to random, but sometimes well-deserved victims.
The dynamic of Pyra, Mythra, and Pneuma is similar to the heroines of Fate/stay night. Both Sakura and Pyra are shy but act sweet to the main protagonist and they experience an unfortunate amount of pain throughtout the story, Mythra and Rin are both Tsunderes that were trained for combat and scold the protagonist for being too incompetent, and Pneuma and Saber are both the most powerful beings that are referred to a nickname for most of the story, are confident yet polite, and end up being dead by the end of the story. Pyra even sees Mythra as her sister.
Flying enemies. They're aggressive, can easily spot you, move fast, and usually have long-range attacks, and are typically higher level than other enemies nearby. Taken together, you either die quick or have a grueling battle ahead of you.
Enemy Drivers, both humans and Unique Monsters with a Blade. They have access to Blade Arts and have extremely high block rates when using Arts, making your Arts hard to charge. Enemy Blade Arts can apply the same status effects as yours, heal, or otherwise make your battle unpleasant.
Scouts/Runners. Though not tough on their own, they will make an attempt to summon nearby enemies, up to and including Unique Monsters.
In Tiger! Tiger!, the red sharks are the only enemy that actively pursue the player. They also take multiple hits to take down (usually two, but the faster ones in later stages take three). If one of these foes get too close, the player is bound to take damage, losing their power up or treasure in the process.
Finch for being an agility-boosting Shield Hammer Blade, thus making her viable on Mòrag. She's also a super adorable anthropomorphic bird whose forgetful nature is actually a useful skill in battle, giving a chance for arts and specials to instantly recharge.
There has been a huge call by fans to make Haze, Lila and Dughall's Dolmes into playable blades. With the first batch of new blades via DLC coming fairly soon, these calls are becoming louder.
Fandom Berserk Button: Calling the game a "waifu-pandering" game is a fast way to start a flame war. Spoiler alert: it's really not.
Fan Nickname: Similar to the first game's seventh party member, aptly nicknamed Seven, Blade Nia and Pneuma will often be respectively called Catalyst and Coffee-with-Milk to hide their existence from new players. Catalyst is a reference to the name of their weapon, while Coffee-with-Milk to a conversation early in chapter 8.
Fan-Preferred Couple: While it was settled amicably in game, much like Shulk/Melia in the first Xenoblade at least some fans would have preferred if the final canon couple was Rex/Nia since they too were interacting with each other since the start of the game and visually are much closer in age than Pyra or Mythra. In the New Game+ title screen, Nia jumps in to hold hands with Rex (or push Rex out of the way to hold hands with Pyra and Mythra), edging this ship closer to canon, albeit with Nia as an addition to the canon romance rather than an alternative.
A lot of the female character designs in this game can be rather Fanservicey, especially the recruitable Blades. Given that many of them are drawn by various guest artists, including hentai artists, the quality of the artwork can be rather... mixed, depending on your particular tastes. In terms of artwork, modeling and character design you're bound to find someone you'll like, but you're also bound to find someone you'll find ridiculous-looking or just plain unappealing.
The game uses rather generous Jiggle Physics for a few characters, which fans consider comical, as opposed to sexy.
Pyra gets a lot of flak for looking simply ridiculous, which is a problem considering she's the game's main heroine. Namely they point to the fact that her breasts are almost as big as her head, and jut out at a distractingly odd angle. Notably, a big part of this is her clothing; Mythra actually shows more skin than Pyra, but still comes off as less ridiculous because she doesn't have the black underlayer that emphasizes her breasts. It's to the point that one scene where Pyra covers up in a poncho is considered an improvement to her design.
So long as you don't mind grinding, the Salvage mechanic can make increasing each town's Development Level, as well as obtaining lots of cash, extremely easy. Sure, it'll take a while, but you'll soon become the landlord for every shop you come across in short order (On top of having enough cash to get the expensive-as-crap Inherited Core Crystal, and its unique Blade, as early as Chapter 4).
Mythra is one of the best Blades in the entire game, as befitting the Aegis's 'true' form. On top of her semi-unique element of Light, her passive abilities and Blade Arts make her ridiculously powerful. Her Blade Arts are the ever-useful Recharge Boost letting you unleash Driver Arts faster, and the Critical Up art which does exactly that. The Foresight passive effect increases accuracy and evasion by up to 50% while at maximum affinity, making her surprisingly survivable for an offensively-focused Blade, and her Glint ability further boosts her critical hit ratio, but her final passive ability, Lightspeed Flurry, is where the real power is; on landing a critical hit, you regain a portion of the charge for the Art (be it Driver or Special) - from 20% at the start to 100% at level 5. This, with a critical-boosting Core Chip (the Moon Matter Chip is the best choice, but basically anything will work) and Aux Core, lets you endlessly spam Arts, making her not only deal so much damage that you're probably outdamaging the rest of the party's Specials just with Driver Arts, but also makes her the only Blade capable of reliably pulling off a solo Blade Combo in the early-mid game; in postgame, with the right loadout (such as a few accessories that heal or charge the party meter on a critical hit), it's possible to solo superbosses with her.
The best attacking wind Blade in the entire game is Zenobia. While not quite as effective as Mythra when it comes to critical hit rate due to not possessing Lightspeed Flurry, one of her arts has Critical Recharge where at Level 5 it restores 100% of her art if she lands a critical hit making it a weaker version. She also does more damage than Mythra to make up for her lower critical hit ratio. Her passive arts all increase the damage output she is doing onto dangerous enemies such as the Superbosses, and her affinity chart is extremely easy to fill out, as all you need to do is hunt Unique Monsters and complete her Merc Missions. She can also use Launch and do more damage to Toppled enemies in a single moveslot. She also possesses a Blade Art that will increase her critical hit rate in battle and give Recharge Boosts similar to Mythra. While most Greataxe Blades are really good, Zenobia can be the best out of all of them due to her insane attack power and passive abilities.
Poppi QTπ has the highest attack power out of all Blades possible when maxed out on Poppiswap with Master Mods and at S+ (Even more than Pneuma and Zenobia). She also possesses the most customization out of any Blade in the game and can be any element, including the light element. She possesses the Overclock ability which is a weaker version of KOS-MOS' Hyperclock which means at max affinity Poppi QTπ can do double the damage amount in the game. She also possesses the power to force Break (And all three of her hits do so) and can do double damage to Toppled enemies and force Launch (Tora is the only character besides Jin to do all 4 combos due to Poppi QT's Dented Shield and Poppi alpha's Big Boost) and Poppi QTπ possesses the ability to heal when at 30% health or below and has a chance to reflect attacks. The only difficulty with her is that her Level 5 affinity chart is extremely hard to fill out, as some tasks are doing 9,999,999 damage in a chain attack, and finishing an enemy with a Driver Combo 250 times. Put in the effort though, and she can solo the Superbosses like Mythra.
KOS-MOS also wields the Light Element and while slightly Overshadowed by Awesome if you're using KOS-MOS on Rex (Because you already possess Mythra), KOS-MOS possesses one of the most powerful passive abilities in the game, Hyperclock which whenever KOS-MOS is at max affinity, the user of KOS-MOS gets reduced damage by enemies and you can do up to double the amount you were previously doing. Combine with the Crit Heal status and Healers are almost entirely un-necessary (Except for the healers below). Also KOS-MOS contains the ability to reduce the amount of Aggro build up with arts and auto-attacks. She also has an extremely high damage output that is only boosted up with Hyperclock. While Ether Cannon users have the lowest Critical Hit chance of any weapon, some of her arts hit multiple times, meaning the chance to get a Critical Hit is very high still. KOS-MOS last passive ability goes through enemy defense and increases the damage of Blade Specials to the entire party, and her H-Effect R ability restores HP by 50% to the entire party at Level 5 whenever she lands a hit. She only has 1 big flaw, she is the rarest Blade to get in the game.
T-Elos is an amazing Greataxe user with the same damage multiplier as Zenobia, and has many incredibly powerful passive abilities. The first one is Phase Transition Tech which nullifies enemy defence and doubles the damage at Level 5 in specials. This means she can hit damage cap very quickly. She also possesses the same moves as Zenobia due to being the same weapon type (Including a move which gives a 100% crit recharge at Level 5). One of her abilities is doing more damage after killing more enemies when there's a larger fight and one ability gives a 500% boost every time a partner dies in battle. She also possesses a way to give a higher crit rate through her Blade Arts and a way to boost the power of the next art. Combine this with Crit Heal and it is very easy to heal up damage from anything other than a One-Hit KO. She is also one of easiest Blades to get in the game, as long as you finish the story and besides from her Leaping Level 3 her affinity chart is easy to fill out.
Shulk is potentially the best Blade in the game (Not counting Zeke's Eye of Shining Justice ability). He posseses the highest auto-attack value in the game which is 1974 at S+ trust, meaning he's capable of doing more damage than Poppi QT Pi and normal Pandoria. He also has many good passive abilities such as Monado Speed which is a slightly weaker Foresight, and Monado Enchant which gives a 40% strength bonus to the entire party when he is switched in. He also possesses the Light element just like KOS-MOS, Mythra and if you're lucky Poppi QT Pi. However the real reason why he's so good is his ability Vision. When a dangerous attack is coming such as an OHKO attack, gaining a vision will allow you to No-Sell it on the entire party, and it even works on defensive arts that can cause Shackle Blade or Doom. He can also cure Debuffs through Debuff Cancel. Monado Purge can also get rid of the Awakening status in Challenge Mode, which can make fights a lot easier and Monado Cyclone has a very high crit damage rate, and it hits lots of times in an AOE. While he isn't as good as critical hits as Mythra, Fiora or Zenobia and doesn't have a way to recharge his arts as quickly because of this, his damage passives are so high and his Vision ability is broken that it doesn't matter. It is very easy to solo Superbosses with him.
Boreas is considered by many to be one of the best, if not the best, healers in the game. Being a healer with the defense rate to rival many tanks and has skills that give surprising tanking options such as increasing the block rate of the driver at max affinity and having a chance that whenever an enemy lands a hit it gets knocked back. In addition his level 3 special is essentially a full heal to the entire party. Progressing through his affinity chart depends on how much food is stored at the Goldmouth Warehouse, which has the potential to be completed immediately (and the vast majority of his unlockable skills also relies on simply using food pouch items). And the cherry on the top is that Boreas also has access to Salvaging Mastery, making the previously mentioned salvaging even more profitable.
Ursula, once her affinity charts is filled out, has enough power to rival Boreas. One of her battle skills allows her to immediately heal the party once she's switched into battle. Her special arts are also devastating, her level 2 being an AOE attack that heals the party. Her affinity chart (minus the final tier) is also quite easy to fill out, as taking her many, many music lessons is pretty much guaranteed to fill out just about every node on her chart. Finally, she also has access to Fortitude, which is a rare field skill indeed.
Depending on the loadout Chain Attacks can quickly become this. By setting up and breaking four or more orbs during Blade Combos the player can accomplish a Full Burst which can do so much damage that only the Final Boss and superbosses can manage to survive it. Such a set up can be ridiculously easy if the player can master fusion combos, combos that combine reactions like Topple with Blade Combos which increases the Blade Combo time, even more so with skills like fast switching.
Fiora is a healing Blade, but she focuses on Critical Hit DPS and is by far the best Critical Hit Blade in the game beating even Lightspeed Flurry Mythra. She hits 72% critical hit rate with Moon Matter Chip + Critical Up VI and has arts on every driver (Except Tora) that recharges arts every time a critical hit happens. Her passives all increase the damage of crits and increases the amount of critical hits on the party (This means her damage increases the longer she is battle), as well as increasing Fiora's damage in Horde Battles which can come in use due to most of Fiora's Blade Specials being heavy Ao E. She also comes in a 15% strength mod. Her Blade Specials also allow healing, and combined with Crit Heal means any Driver can live for a long time. Unless there is a One Hit K.O attack it is very hard to knock the person using Fiora out as they will just heal too much of most hits.
Pnuema is the combined power of Mythra and Pyra, and therefore is busted. While this form is only for a select amount of time and can only be used when the party gauge is full, Pnuema has the power to abuse all elements in the game and does even more damage than Mythra. This means that Full Bursts can become even more dangerous than normal and she also has Lightspeed Fury and Foresight. Also worth noting, is that when Pnuema is active, Rex can never die.
In New Game Plus, you get access to Zeke's "Unleash Shining Justice" in his Hidden affinity chart. This is Zeke's equivalant to Pnuema on Rex. Once unlocked, by holding R and pressing the + button with Pandoria as his current blade with max affinity, Zeke will go into a state where he will become immune to reactions and debuffs, gain increased damage, reduced art cooldowns and his arts are sped up to ridiculous speeds. It is possible to sweep the floor with most of the superbosses with little effort. The only thing is that it requires a ridiculous amount of skill points to obtain.
The Overclocking Bangle is a must-have on any player-controlled Driver. What it does is accelerate the cooldown for switching Blades depending on how many Driver Arts could have been used before the switch. This can make the Driver combo incredibly spammable.
The Fast Blade Switch VI you get from KOS-MOS quest can reach up to similar speeds by reducing the switch time of 35%, and is generally considered the best item for Ursula.
Avant-Garde Medal has created an infamous strategy known as "Crit Heal" as it is an item that heals over 20% of the damage done if you get a critical hit. With the high damage Blades above, you can potentially take a lot of damage only to heal it back up again in an instant. It is generally considered the best healing in the game for Fighters, even better than Boreas and Ursula.
There are some Common Blades that have the ability 'Orb Master'. This allows you build three elemental orbs in one simple combo, which can mean you can get 8 elements in about 3 minutes, and destroy the enemy in a full burst a lot quicker than usual.
The names of the Titans are the Seven Deadly Sins. In Japanese, they are simply the traditional Latin names of said sinsnote Avaritia, Superbia, Gula, Invidia, Ira, Acedia, Luxuria. The English localization also keeps the theme naming, but it's not as obvious because you'd have to have good knowledge of multiple languages to get it:
Argentum: Derived from the Latin word argent meaning silver, associated with greed.
Mor Ardain: Mor means "big" in Celtic, and "Ardain" is derived from ardan which is Gaelic for pride.
Gormott: Derived from the French word gourmand for gluttony.
Uraya: Derived from the Japanese word 羨望 senbō, except written in hiragana as うらやむ, urayamu for envy. For bonus points, Uraya is a giant whale, a species often associated with Leviathan, a demon who itself is tied to envy.
Torna: Derived from the Dutch word toorn for wrath.
Indol: Derived from the English word indolence for sloth.
Tantal: Derived from the English word tantalize for lust.
Leftheria: Rex's hometown is Liberalitas in the Japanese version, while "Leftheria" is derived from the Greek word λευτεριά lefteriá which in turn is a shortened version of the word ἐλευθερία eleuthería for liberty. The original Latin meaning of liberalitas is similar to charity, which is one of the Virtues.
Temperantia: This wasteland is named after the Latin word for temperance, another Heavenly Virtue.
Judicium: Yet another Latin name for a virtue: justice.
Spirit Crucible Elpys is named after Elpis, the Greek personification of Hope, another Heavenly Virtue.
The names of Mòrag's Driver Arts with Brighid may look a bit odd to the casual player, being all some variant of "Azure II" and then another word. However, there are a handful of times where she actually calls out the names in cutscenes and more significantly during special moves, and she specifically says "Azure Striker: Form the Second/Third: [Art name]." This is actually derived from Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) manuals which categorize stances as "form the first/second/third/etc" and allow the combatant to string several fighting techniques together in a continuous flowing movement.
In the Heart-to-Heart "Growing Up", Tora proudly announces the name of Poppi's planned 3rd form, "Quantum Technochampion π", and mentions that the idea of the name came to him when he was deciding whether to enter a swimming pool with his right or left foot. While this story might seem completely irrelevant at first, a fact lampshaded by Poppi, one of quantum's physics fundamental principles is the idea of superposition, which in short states that a quantum system can be in several states at once, even if those states are seemingly contradictory. Such as, entering a pool with both your right foot and your left foot.
Killing the boss of the Ancient Ship without ever drawing your weapon (only possible in New Game Plus thanks to spike damage) will briefly show the normally unmentioned name of the next location on your compass: Dreamworld Elysium.
It's possible to complete Electra's sidequest in Chapter 3 of a New Game+ run. Electra's "Mastery of Thunder" task progress carries over to New Game+, which means that Electra can completely bypass the tasks that require her to explore much of Alrest. There's no stopping the player from proceeding with the quest without Mòrag and Zeke, as they aren't technically marked as requirements.
Goddamned Boss: The Phantasms in chapter 7 are easily one of the most frustrating boss in the game. They aren't particularly difficult, and a properly levelled party will never be in any real danger of dying, but the battle will last forever because the Phantasms can summon new Phantasms, which can then summon new Phantasms themselves. Thankfully after killing a certain number of them, they will stop summoning new ones, but the battle will still leave you drained. Alternatively, you can end the battle prematurely by killing all of them in short succession without letting them use the art than summons more. Your best bet of doing this is a chain attack, but since its impossible to use a Blade combo finisher in this particular area, it's not as easy as it sounds. What doesn't help this fight is a case of Most Annoying Sound where they will spam Rogue and Everbero over and over again while multiple of them are onscreen. It's generally compared to a less horrible version of Lorithia's boss fight in the first game.
Harsher in Hindsight: Blade Nia's Fortitude skill. Quoth the first line of it "The power to endure hardships." She had her share before the game and even after it since she doesn't really get what she wants in the end. Especially given how it levels up - by entering battle alongside Pyra or Mythra. She is improving her Fortitude skill by facing the truth of her situation.
The main heroine houses two main personalities in her body. One of them is gentle and red-haired while the other is more brusque and blonde. Are we talking about Pyra and Mythra or Toki and Towa from Time and Eternity?
It Was His Sled: Zeke being a party member. The trailers and promotional material made no effort into conveying this. This does have the side effect of obfuscating the fact that Mòrag becomes a permanent party member first though.
Just Here for Godzilla: A lot of old-time Xenosaga fans took a better liking to the game after it was revealed that KOS-MOS was in it as an extremely powerful rare Blade. Indeed, most fans' goals with collecting Core Crystals and summoning Blades is to gain KOS-MOS (among other "good" rare blades) as soon as possible.
Like You Would Really Do It: Chapter 7's climax involves Pyra in an apparent vegetative state, her memories stolen by Malos. Considering what the party had gone through earlier in the chapter, it's unlikely that many players (if any) actually believed she would stay that way.
The aforementioned scene, in turn, made Pneuma's apparent Heroic Sacrifice in the ending hard to believe.
Memetic Badass: Turters, despite being a Ridiculously Cute Critter that only shows up in a few scenes, is frequently depicted by fans as a being of immeasurable power, and often gets declared the best character in the game as a joke.
"THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?" "DON'T FORGET ME!" "YER DONE!"Explanation The masked soldiers of Mor Ardain love calling their attacks with incredible frequency, and are usually encountered in large groups, meaning that their quotes overpower even the party members. The Scottish accent helps to make them more memorable. There was much mourning when this was patched out.
Has become an Ascended Meme as of the introduction of Challenge Mode, at least in the english version. The description of one of the challenge battles is this: "Imperials mostly small fry, get forgotten easily. But these ones not done! Friends think friends can take them?"
This picture of Mòrag◊ is often used alongside the phrases "This is the culmination of years of training!" and "There's a reason why I'm Special Inquisitor."
"I am Roc! Always have been, always will be!" Explanation Roc's summon quote in battle. However, it's memetic due to the context that he's not defined as male or female when it comes to mercenary missions, often referring to this quote as an explanation.
"I often wonder whether we are growing as a people... or in fact, regressing." Explanation This quote of Amalthus is sometimes used on internet forums as a response to particularly questionable posts and comments.
"These 'I got KOS-MOS!' posts keep getting smarter/subtler..." Explanation In the game's early days, there were many people posting screenshots of KOS-MOS' post-pull screen, excited that they had finally obtained the extremely rare and powerful Blade. Although such posts have died down considerably, people will use this to poke fun at ANY screenshot that includes KOS-MOS in it, no matter the context, even if it comes from official sources.
Bana crosses it when he attempts to force Lila to get back up- looking akin to torturing her with the control device- and fight even knowing full well that doing so will overload her circuits and cause her to shut down for good. Despite her breaking the control device and the subsequent beating he's given, his attitude remains unrepentant and It's All About Me. He goes even further with his attempt to assassinate the leaders of Uraya and Mor Ardain all to start a war so he can rake in more profits.
Despite having a legitimate Freudian Excuse, Amalthus is probably one of the most morally bankrupt characters in the game. His main cases of breaking this are his goal or him taking control of and overexerting the Titans, knowing they would lose all energy meaning people would die, while not letting the civilians escape just because he considers himself "perfect" and everyone else pathetic, and his using war orphans as test subjects for turning people into Blade Eaters, then discarding them after they were no longer useful.
If you didn't hate Malos' guts before Chapter 7, then subjecting Pyra to the Aegis equivalent of a lobotomy by stealing and erasing her memories just to restore his own power and gloating about it to the heroes certainly will.
The villain of Perun's sidequest, Doctor Castrofari, crosses this, not only for kidnapping children from all over Alrest but having no qualms in turning them into Artificial Blades For Science!.
The inconsistent English voice acting is only accentuated by the Lull Destruction of no one shutting up in battle. This can result in things like enemy soldiers in the early game repeating with every single attack, "YOU'RE DONE!", "THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?" and "DON'T FORGET ME!" Every other second, and even clipping over each other at that.
Another one is that the Phantasms during chapter 7 will not stop repeatedly yelling "EVERBERO!" and "ROGUE!!" during battle. Not helped that it is a fight where you have to kill them quickly, lest they multiply, leading to even more overlapping voice clips.
Their "MULTUS." voice clip doesn't occur nearly as often, but it's arguably even more annoying because it warns you they're about to multiply.
Voice clips that indicate another enemy has joined the fray, either through stray AOE attacks or them just being aggressive Goddamn Bats as per usual.
Tora's "MEH MEH MEH MEH" frequent cries become quite grating after a while.
The sound that an enemy barrier makes when blocking a player character's attack, especially when up against enemies with absurdly-high block rates.
Due to being That One Sidequest; the line "We are, Ursula's New Groove! And we'll do what we can!" was once very grating overtime for completionists since the spoken line was also a time sink and could not be skipped prior to version 1.2.0. Kora's mercenary quotes were also quite grating, although at least she wasn't required to be appointed leader for any merc missions.
Opening core crystals only to find a common blade is another source. Putting salt in the wound are blades with obnoxious voice sets, especially female sets 7 and 8 ("I made the A-team! Score!").
The unique theme that plays when drawing most of the Rare Blades.
Any prompt from your Driver teammates whenever they carrying out the Break-Topple-Launch-Smash combo. Tora's "Tumbly-Tumbly!" comes to mind.
The "Down!" voice clip that plays when a Chain Attack finishes an enemy and enters Overkill mode, especially if it's against a tough unique monster or a superboss.
The short tune that plays when you defeat a Unique Monster.
The metallic ding sound that plays when enemies attack you during a state where you're invincible (during the third Special of a Blade Combo, a level 4 Special, or a Chain Attack), since it means the enemy's attack just got negated. Especially satisfying if it was one of the enemy's more annoying or powerful attacks.
Gamers have frequently snarked on Rex's battle cries of, "Chaaaaaaaaarge" and "Taaaaake THIIIIIIS!!" as sounding bored, or his VA not even trying. His screams when confronting Jin and Malos over their initial betrayal sound particularly wooden to the point of being a Most Annoying Sound. These specific lines, at least, were redone for the final version of the game to sound much less cringeworthy.
Rex's VA strikes again for a particular scene in Chapter 7. What's worse is that this is a very emotionally-charged moment, and the VA does a good job of hitting the proper tone until the climactic line's delivery falls flat.
Some of the cutscenes in the English version, and to a lesser extent the Japanese version are a Hong Kong Dub. While this may result in a more natural performance, there are many instances where a dramatic line is delivered before the character's body actually reacts, which just looks plain silly especially when said line is Punctuated! For! Emphasis!, such as Zeke's Establishing Character Moment.
While most of the game's English voice acting is at least passable, Patroka's line delivery is often rather bizarre. The same voice actress plays the Rare Blade Agate, who doesn't suffer this issue, so it may very well be intentional.
The completion of sidequests ends with a victory jingle. This skews dramatic quest conclusions, such as Vess' quest, which ends with her Driver dying and her returning to her core crystal.
There's also mercenary missions often completing after dramatic cutscenes, guaranteed to create a Mood Whiplash.
Near the end of Chapter 10 you can access a Heart-To-Heart with KOS-MOS where Tora, Drommarch and her driver are looking down over Alrest from the orbital space station, talking about how beautiful the view is. What turns the scene unintentionally hilarious is that this is all happening while Malos is using the artifices to rain down death and destruction on Alrest. Something that the characters are just casually watching. To make it worse, if you already had KOS-MOS before reaching this point in the story, then you access this Heart-to-Heart mere seconds after the characters were saying they had to hurry to stop Malos.
As opposed to previous Xenoblade entries allowing you to move while attacking (since some Arts require specific positioning in relation to the enemy), this game's auto-attack requires you to stand still. Plus your movement speed in battle is significantly slower than normal.* Oddly enough, you can move at your normal speed while your Blade is performing a Special.
The fact that unlike the last game you can't revisit combat tutorials have irked some, especially given the more complex nature of the combat. The game mitigates this slightly by letting you buy hints through Informants, but even those leave a lot unexplained.
Getting Rare Blades randomly. Most of the game's Rare Blades are acquired at random from Core Crystals. While Core Crystals aren't hard to find, not knowing who you're gonna get makes it very difficult to get a team composition that the player is satisfied with. It's possible to draw nothing but the least powerful rare Blades early on, leaving the player to use unsatisfying generic Blades to fill out the gaps. This is made even worse due to the fact that the only way to transfer Blades between characters is through an extremely rare item, Overdrive Protocol, which can be obtained via chests, completing a Driver's affinity chart, or releasing a 4-star common Blade with its affinity chart maxed out, all of which are daunting tasks. Even getting the right common blade from cores is an absolute chore, as there's no means of control of which weapon they'll end up with or which field skills they'll have, if any at all.
The map system and pathfinding have also received complaints. While the more complex layered areas allow for more in depth exploration the map has a poor showing exactly what vertical level of the area the player is on. It's one place where the follow ball would have done wonders.
Not being able to release the first common Blade Gramps gives Rex, since it will never be very useful.
Having to almost constantly swap Blades in and out of the team to be able to utilize appropriate Field Skills, especially when several appear in a row that require different skills, while exploring.
Unlike previous games, you can't collect collectible items simply by walking over them. In this game, you need to stop and select the Collection point in order to get items. This becomes an issue as it stops the game's flow, especially when your equipped blades' bonuses activate, with each blade saying a few selected lines, with no way to skip them entirely (you can merely speed up the process a little). The same issue pops when you go salvage with Rex (with Rex himself saying his lines before you can actually begin to input Action Commands), slowing down an already repetitive process quite a bit in the long run. The good news is that each area is separated into categories, making it slightly easier to collect a type of collectible that you need for a quest or some other reason.
Prior to patch 1.1.2, dealing with your mercenary groups coming back from missions: the game goes to their affinity chart, allowing you to see what is unlocked. However, you couldn't skip or speed up the process, and every time you have to sit through every blade's dialogue before being able to move to the next one. It can lead to a situation where you have to wait for each of the 18 possible blades you sent on missions to finish their generic, bland and annoying lines before finally being able to do anything.
Each time you get an achievement message regarding a node on the Affinity Chart of a Blade, you actually need to go their Affinity Chart to unlock the new bonus and allow progress on the next node if accessible. Should you forget to check one blade's Affinity Chart, new bonuses won't apply, and you won't be able to unlock the next ones, making it mandatory to check Affinity Chart each time you get a notification, something which can get quite tedious after several hours of gameplay.
When party members come and go at the beginning of a battle, it's impossible to tweak which Blades each Driver is paired up with at the moment, and it's also impossible to convert bonus Exp, skill points, and weapon points before being thrown into the fray. This often makes the first go at bosses far more difficult than it should be given that your loadouts are often underprepared for the fight.
The Twin Rings have the dubious distinction of not having any rare Blades assigned with such weapons aside from Dromarch. The result is a weapon type that practically no player invests in other than Nia. Further cementing this is that Nia's the only Driver that gets a Driver Combo Art from it; Mòrag only gets a Healing Art and Rex and Zeke's arts with the Twin Rings are abysmal. This is only further exacerbated by Bitballs having similar arts, yet having rare Blades assigned to these weapons.
Shield Hammers are a mild example of this. Tank blades come in two categories: Shield Hammers, who boost HP, and Chroma Katana, who boost Agility. The party has two Tank Drivers: Tora, who cannot equip Blades other than Poppi's various forms, and Mòrag, who is better off using Chroma Katana Blades due to her benefiting from high Agility more than HP. Other Drivers can use them in mixed builds, but they are generally better off using three Blades of the same class. This leaves Shield Hammers in an awkward spot where they are not exactly terrible, but everyone would just rather use something else. Worth mentioning is that, aside from Mòrag, Shield Hammer Blades don't provide the other Drivers any means of carrying out the Break-Topple-Launch-Smash combo (Zeke getting a redundant Launch art that Pandoria already provides and Rex and Nia getting no such arts at all). The rare Shield Blades Finch, Electra, and Kassandra are the exception to this, with Finch being the only Shield Hammer to boost Agility instead of HP, thus considered one of the best blades to have on Mòrag, Electra being tied with Poppi α for the highest block rate in the game and boasting a deadly reflection skill that's a godsend for the phantom party members in Chapter 10, and Kassandra having the best aggro generation. Poppibuster is another exception, being a rare light Blade that can be used by anyone (sans Tora) and is not affected by places that restrict other blades like the Spirit Crucible Elyps. That said it isn't a complete Game-Breaker like the other Light element blades are.
The Tiger Tiger 8-bit game that Tora owns can be surprisingly addicting. It is even actively encouraged by the game by rewarding you with ether crystals to upgrade Poppi. It's somewhat subverted into a Scrappy Mechanic however as due to the RNG system, getting the Master Mods and Light elemental core can quickly become a case of That One Sidequest. Especially because you have to do the highest Level of Tiger Tiger (And therefore the hardest) in the process.
Salvaging can also be pretty addicting, especially for those who don't mind grinding. It helps that it can be very profitable.
Sidequests are everywhere. New ones frequently appear during gameplay, and even show on maps, inviting the player to divert their attention from the main story for a while.
Gathering all rare Blades in the game is a common goal for completionists. Gathering tons of rare Blades early in the game is a very distracting goal.
Slow-Paced Beginning: A criticism by some is the plot goes on a pretty relaxed pace, at least compared to the first Xenoblade until around Chapter 5.
In Chapter 2, Rex devises a plan to depower Mòrag by exploiting Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors and sending a tank full of water clattering to the ground. When the top falls off, it looks a lot like a bowl filled with jelly instead.
When falling below a death barrier with ground underneath (such as Uraya's tail), your character's model will still be in their falling animation, but awkwardly floating above the ground, letting you move them around a bit for a few seconds before respawning.
Female characters will sometimes have their breasts briefly jiggle for no apparent reason when the camera cuts to a new angle during cutscenes. This is likely due to their model being relocated during the cut, causing the game to count it as movement.
The game in portable mode suffers from a severely low resolution, which combined with the game's usage of anti-aliasing makes everything a lot more blurry than intended. Bizarrely this doesn't apply to menus or the HUD, creating a very glaring contrast.
During low-resolution cutscenes (cutscenes that use stock animations and poses rather than the high resolution animations in more elaborate cutscenes), there is an invisible field around the party that prevents background characters that perform their walk cycle from photobombing the scene. However, this results in said background characters disappearing in plain sight a number of times.
For some, the romance between Rex and Pyra is this. Mayfly–December Romance aside, Pyra has the appearance, mentality, and voice of an adult woman in her twenties, while Rex is considered by other characters to be a child, and is at least young enough to pass for 12. In English, at least; her voice and mannerisms in Japanese have her seem a bit closer to Rex's age.
Tora has a maid fetish, programmed Poppi to have a maid personality, and has a closet full of maid clothing that he presumably dressed Poppi up in. Poppi's intial appearance is also that of a pre-pubescent girl, implying he has a thing for young girls. This is slightly mitigated by the fact that he seems to be a similar age as well as the existence of Poppi's other two forms.
Arts that summon reinforcements or inflict Blowdown are an obvious example. The former can make a simple fight far longer and more brutal, while the latter can easily interrupt one's attacks and stun the player momentarily. It's for this reason that the Dark and Wind Blade Combos are the most sought after in the game.
Bonus points to Blowdown in areas where you're in danger of falling. What is normally just a nuisance becomes a potential One-Hit Kill.
Shackle Driver prevents ANY action that requires your Driver to do while it is active. You can still block attacks, activate Blade Arts, and benefit from max Affinity... but that's pretty much it. And considering you cannot attack the enemy in any way, it's not like those will be useful, except for blocking.
Later in the game there are bosses that will attempt a One-Hit KO on your entire party. It's advisable to attempt to finish it off with an extended chain attack or use the animation in a Level 4 Blade Art to negate the damage before this can occur. Such examples are Artifice Aion's Prometheus, and Artifice Ophion's Falak Buster.
Stunned Swallow. And for that matter, any enemy Art that induces some kind of counter or spike damage effect when they're attacked. This is partially because you'll have little warning as to when an enemy uses it, if any, but also because even if you do anticipate them, your AI-controlled party members will fall for them every time they're used. Similar, although much rarer, are enemy Arts that temporarily create environmental hazards, since, like counters, the AI isn't very good at avoiding them.
Chapter 10's phantom party members easily fall into this. For starters, Rex is on his own, and without Pyra/Mythra to help. He must fight all of his other party members in sequence, and they're usually a higher level than he is (and these bosses are indeed the same level as your party members when you last left them). Without many ways of healing himself, it takes a certain strategy to get through each phase of this nightmare. The worst by far would be phantom Mòrag, who attacks fast, and without mercy. It's highly advisable to make use of a Shield Hammer Blade just to survive.
All of Jin's boss fights. If he isn't completely avoiding all damage and hitting the entire party with Blowdown with Empty Moment or forcing Launch with Stunned Swallow, he's running through the entire Driver Combo at once to deal ridiculously high burst damage with Heavenly Disrupt, cancelling any affinity bonuses with Skyward Slash, sealing off healing with Zero Zone, and dealing high damage to the entire party with Bladeless Blade. On top of that, his high natural evasion rate means even hitting him is difficult. The only thing really holding him down is that he's a Glass Cannon supreme; the fight where this isn't the case (the Dual Boss fight with Malos atop the Cliffs of Morytha) is generally considered one of the most difficult bosses in the game not only because Malos is quite difficult on his own right when you fought him alone before but also for the first phase of the fight it's the only Jin fight you don't have Pyra/Mythra.
As mentioned above, the fight against Malos is similarly hard. Just like the Jin and Malos fight, Rex doesn't have Pyra/Mythra, so if you use him, your damage output is severely dampened. And all of his moves are frustrating to deal with. Striker Edge can deal heavy damage and inflicts knockback, so if your tank gets hit while they're on the edge of the crater, they're bound to fall. Monado Cyclone inflicts Blowdown on the entire party and Malos can use it far more often than his other arts. Jail prevents you from using your specials which is incredibly obnoxious if you were in the middle of a blade combo. Armor reduces the damage Malos takes and also reduces the time you have to do your Blade Combos. Monado Eater deals heavy damage AND lowers your Blades' affinity. And finally, Monado Buster deals heavy damage and inflicts Blowdown on his target, although he typically only gets to use this once during the boss. All in all, this equals to a boss that can continually hamper your damage output and is difficult even a few levels above his.
If the player doesn't set up orbs quickly enough to finish him off with a chain attack, Amalthus can be quite tricky. Guilty Road deals high damage to one character and inflicts blowdown, which can potentially launch your character straight into the bottomless pit in the middle of the arena. Domination shackles your Blades, God Rage makes him temporarily invincible and launches the entire party, Sacred Arrow can KO your entire party if your are too close too him, and Resurrection will restore a good portion of his health. In addition, his auto attack is one of the most powerful in the game, meaning that if your tank ever loses the aggro he can run through the other characters in seconds.
Uraya's stomach can be a labyrinth for players unfamiliar with the place. To get to Fonsa Myma, the gang must dislodge a dam in order to open up a floodgate (which happens to be heavily guarded by a few enemies that can deal Blowdown and Knockback, which has the potential to ruin a lot of progress), plus there are a ton of hostile, aggressive enemies on the road. Word of advice: Ignore the giant staircase seemingly leading up to the city; there's no way to access it without getting to Fonsa Myma proper first.
Going through the old industrial district in Mor Ardain is a chore. It's another labyrinth full of windy turns, locked doors, and misleading passages, along with high level enemies watching the outdoor path.
The journey through Tantal can be quite the journey in all the wrong ways. Like Uraya, it's a cryptic maze with misleading passages, often going through Guide Dang It! levels of design. The gang must hop from island to island on the way down the lower levels, often needing to make improvised bridges to get across. This place is also full of obstacles that require a lot of ice mastery to overcome.
Chapter 7 is That One Chapter's worth of this trope:
The Spirit Crucible Elpys is one long, twisted dungeon full of narrow pathways, a wide variety of hazards surrounding them, and enemies that have easy access to the Blowdown effect. To make things worse, the interior of the cave inhibits Blade abilities, preventing you from using past level 1 specials and thus sealing off the Blowdown (unless you somehow managed to equip one of Poppi's forms with a Wind Elemental Core) and weakening healing Arts. To top everything off, the first time you go through the area you'll be doing so without Pyra and Mythra, meaning Rex isn't dealing nearly as much damage.
The Cliffs of Morytha are even worse. Full of aggressive fliers at high levels (including a deadly Unique Monster, no less), windy tunnels, cryptic passages, and well as having two of the hardest story bosses in the game, this place is an absolute nightmare to trek through. Like the Spirit Crucible Elpys, Pyra and Mythra will be absent the first time you get through this area.
Chapter 8 specifically the Land of Morytha. For one you are restricted to only Rex for most of it, and while he does have the master program and a new form of the Aegis, the player still won't be able to use chain attacks and special combos are harder to pull off. The area is also comprised mostly of enemies with high HP, can change their element to match your current element, and have a suicide attack if you don't kill them fast enough. The area is also full of thin hallways where you are guaranteed to encounter multiple enemies at once.
Chapter 9. There is a section where you cross a long open air pathway to get close to the next story point but there are a ton of flying enemies circling around. Getting into a battle with one especially in certain areas draws several of them into the battle overwhelming you.
Every rare blade has a quest chain that must be completed to either receive the blade or unlock their power on the affinity chart, and the worst by far is commonly agreed to be Ursula’s. Her affinity chart is one of the most heavily integrated with her personal quest, and most people agree that if you want to use her, you might as well leave the last tier locked. Her quest neither requires completion of a difficult task nor continuous effort on the player’s part, but if you want to complete it, Ursula needs to be sent out on special mercenary missions so many times that you basically won’t be able to use her at all for nearly the entire length of the story.
Another worthy mention is building Vess' Dumpling cooking skills. She must make 100 Dumplings, and the primary ingredients for them aren't the kind that are commonplace all over Alrest. The best place to farm Salty Soil, for instance, can possibly be made much harder to access once the mission "Farewell Good Friend" is completed, which spawns level 90 Drivers all over.
A more commonplace example would be "Deal X Damage in one hit", especially for Healer blades. This is the only quota that cannot be filled through mercenary work, and it can be a difficult deal to deal damage in one strike.
Included in the Expansion Pass Quest set is "Midnight Feast", where the player must gather various ingredients and experiment with them. Only one recipe works. Good luck figuring which one it is without looking it up, all the while wasting valuable food items!
Getting 50,000 points in "Tiger! Tiger!" needed for Poppi's Affinity Chart is not an easy feat for those who are not good at the game. It requires a near-perfect run of having full health and have collected (and held on to) all of the ether crystals and treasure chests in the level, which is no walk in the park even on the easiest level (Level 1). The score also has to be obtained in a single go, which will result in a lot of runs consisting of trial-and-error in order to get it.
Unlocking Perun's second tier in the Affinity Chart is major Guide Dang It! that has very vague details on what to do. You basically have to go around in every town and find a person with a trophy icon above them and do a mini-sidequest that will increase the level. There's one problem with this: not all of them add to the affinity count. Thankfully, if you get Perun late, the game will count any good deeds you already did, and some of the good deeds are repeatable, preventing her Affinity Chart from being Permanently Missable Content.
Late in Godfrey's Blade Quest requires to find four civilians and get to them to safety during a monster attack in town. While the monsters themselves are marked on map and the quest bar, the civilians are not which is the problem. This can force the player to run around all over the city until you run into them by accident.
Perun's and Nim's sidequests can take a particularly nasty turn if one attempts to complete them during Chapter 10. After Rex defeats the phantom party members beyond Elysium's church, the Superbosses of the game spawn, in addition to various high-level enemies in two areas of the game, the Abandoned Factory in Mor Ardain and the Aegishammer in Temperantia. The problem is, an important part of Perun's and Nim's sidequests also take place here, which may involve the player being absolutely blocked off by dangerous monsters in an otherwise mundane location, putting sidequest progression to a screeching halt.
Customizing party members' outfits is gone, meaning you're stuck with the default outfits. This is quite a letdown when Xenoblade Chronicles X previously introduced fashion gear and separate fashion slots.
The Affinity Chart in the first two games tracked NPC locations and relationships. In this game it's an individual's Skill Tree.
Enemies now aggro based on sight alone, unless they're non-hostile. Earlier games had a variety of triggers for enemy aggression.
You can't make changes to your loadout before boss fights anymore.
Roc. Rex inherits his core crystal and resummons him in chapter 4, after which he and his 100% unique field skill play no further role in the story. Especially bad in chapter 7, where Rex wields the Dual Scythes during a cutscene.
Vandham. Cool Old Guy with a unique design and good chemistry with the party, who falls victim to the Mentor Occupational Hazard the same chapter he's introduced. His death is supposed to be a major turning point for Rex, so it's surprising how little he's brought up.
Tora. Fairly prominent in the first half of the game, his arc basically ends after chapter 4, even though Artificial Blades are important during the endgame.
The Garfront Mercenaries after chapter 3, despite Rex being named their leader, come up once more during the story and rarely in sidequests.
Rex becoming the Master Driver lets Rex engage any Blade in the party except Poppi. The party never remarks on the ability nor the costume change, and the term Master Driver is mentioned exactly once, in a different context.
In Chapter 10, Rex faces visions of his party during a Secret Test of Character. A perfect chance for Vandham to reappear and for Rex to question his growth, wasted.
The first common Blade Rex gets is a guaranteed wind element Knuckle Claw, almost guaranteed to be the worst quality (due to character level playing a direct factor in how many crowns a common blade will usually get). Rex's Knuckle Claw Arts aren't the best, and it's stuck on Rex forever, even in New Game+. note The game doesn't automatically save when it's activated, meaning that it's possible to Save Scum until it has more than one crown's worth of quality and/or has good field skills or stat boosts.
Godfrey is a Shield Hammer Blade with low HP buffs and a damage buff against higher leveled enemies—an unfortunate combination. Going one step further, all three of his Field Skills are only used during Merc Missions and his personal sidequest.
Newt, as a fire-element Chroma Katana who boosts HP. Katanas are the dodge tanking weapon, and they're best wielded by Rex and :Mòrag, who both use fire Blades.
Kora, as a Knuckle Claws blade, has her battle skills rely heavily on gathering potions and moving in combat to heal. Movement in combat is slowed to a sluggish crawl and is thus often discouraged, and potions are easy to come by anyway. She also lacks any healing potential in her special arts, and unlike Adenine, she doesn't gain any significant damage boosts or item farming boosts.
A respectable mentor to the main protagonist, a badass leader of a mercenary group with a clear understanding of the Grey and Gray Morality of the setting, has a unique weapon and Blade, can't have core crystals bonded to them. Yep, Vandham's got a Death Flag.
Haze/Fan la Norne. Her Blade-nulling abilities made her capable of holding off Torna almost on her own, and forcing Jin to operate on level ground with the protagonists - thus, she's only around for a chapter or so before Jin kills her. Not to mention the fact that Mythra was aware something was wrong with her Core Crystal - if she'd stayed alive long enough, the Praetor's ruse might have been uncovered early.
Tough Act to Follow: Considering the near universal praise of the first game and the great praise of X, 2 had a lot to live up to and opinions comparing it to its predecessors vary.
Meeting and talking to the Archiect better known to fans as Klaus and the subsequent recontextualizing of the entire game is probably the most significant and most talked about scene in the game.
...except for The Reveal that Nia is a Flesh Eater Blade, which is probably the game's emotional scene and its narrative high point.
Uncanny Valley: Averting this trope (which was also a criticism of previous Xeno games) and allowing for more ease of facial expressions was the reason this game has an anime art style. Played more straight concerning the designs of the Blades, which aside from the plot important Blades are all designed by different artists, creating a very noticeable clash when viewing their profiles. Thankfully this is averted for the most part with their actual character models.
The Monado, and belonging to That One Boss, this catches players by surprise in more ways than one.
Very few, if any, expected Klaus to appear again.
Shulk (specifically his voice) is heard reciting his lines during the final battle against Zanza, showing that both Xenoblade games take place at the same time.
The Zohar, under the name of "the Conduit", is revealed to be the object used by Klaus to create the universe of Xenoblade.
Version update 1.4.0 introduces two new blades that blindsided players: an artificial blade named Poppibuster that can be equipped on any member of the party sans Tora, and KOS-MOS' rival T-elos.
Challenge Mode brings us two characters that nobody could ever expect. That is to say, Shulk and Fiora as Blades for your party. Which means that you can have Rex and everyone (sans Tora) use the Monado.
One of the challenges involves Tora fighting other Nopon. This starts from minor characters from Xenoblade 2, then advances into fighting Nopon from Xenoblade Chronicles X, including Tatsu, then moves onto fighting Nopon from the first Xenoblade Chronicles, including Riki. The final enemy in the challenge is Monopon, the Nopon mascot of the Xenoblade 2 Twitter page.
Unfortunate Character Design: Dahlia/Tsuki has been hit with a bit of this due to her extremely large breasts. Not helping is the spread of this◊ infamous picture, in which a player who objected to her design deliberately glitched her model's rigging to make her back appear unnaturally hunched forward.
Amalthus' final moments come across as this to many due to his actions causing many of the events in the story, and that his supposed generosity to refugees is undone by his desire to secretly kill them all with sadistic glee, eventually becoming even worse than the ones who killed his mother or took for granted his generosity.
Malos' last stand can also come across as this due to carrying out Amalthus' most violent desires without any mercy or question, refusing to defy what Amalthus has shaped him into, and often gloating about his various atrocities. When Rex attempts to shake Malos out of it, the latter shoots the former's proposal down in flames. Like Dickson in the first Xenoblade, despite evidence to the contrary, some people believe Malos too is in total control.
Generic Blades can easily fall into this, gaining no sympathy when being released because they're often The Load and assigned pointless/useless stats from the RNG system.
What The Hell, Casting Agency?: While her voice acting itself is not bad at all, at least some fans raised an eyebrow on how Nia sounds like she has the voice of a woman in her 30s even though she looks only a little older than Rex, even with the revelation that she is a blade that has lived for a while.
The Woobie: The Architect Klaus, who as a consequence of desperately trying to save his own world from destroying itself ends up destroying the world himself and sending his colleagues into parallel universes, including his friend Galea and half of his own body into the world of the first Xenoblade. And despite successfully recreating life on the planet he becomes despondent when seeing the new humanity follow the same path as the old one, including their own worst traits. This makes him not even try to stop Malos from activating Aion to destroy everything he created, seeing it as proof his atonement was doomed from the start. Thankfully seeing Rex and Pyra/Mythra's determination and optimism as well as hearing Shulk's Pre-Mortem One-Liner to Zanza, allows him to finally make peace with himself and create a new Elysium for his created humanity to live in.
Woolseyism: Quite a few instances of Dub Name Change were pretty well thought out. Overall, the English translation takes liberties to transform the world into a British-isle-centric mythology, especially with Welsh influence.
Numerous characters have their names changed completely from Japanese to English, but retaining their Meaningful Name tropes:
Homura and Hikari are simple Japanese words that are already known names in the West. Here, they are transformed into Pyra and Mythra — same meaning behind the name, but from European sources instead.
Byakko, a fairly well-known (in the West) Japanese mythological character, is translated to the more obscure Welsh hound Dormach (or Dromarch in this game).
As discussed in the Funny Moments subpage, Zeke being called Shellhead and the accompanying One-Eyed Monster joke was taking a Japanese pun and retaining both the turtle and the sexual parts, just separated in the conversation instead of awkwardly translated literally.
"Flesh Eater" was originally "Man Eater" in Japanese. This change was almost certainly done because the term "maneater" has very differentconnotations in English, as well as to better emphasize the cannibalistic aspect.
At the end of Chapter 7, Malos refers to himself as an "Eraser" in Japanese. The English dub changed this to "Endbringer" most likely to make a connection to the Telethia superboss from Xenoblade Chronicles X.