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Old 08-25-2017, 05:44 PM   #1
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Gamescom 2017: Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Is Beautiful, Confusing, and Captivating

It's going to sell regardless since it's one of the very few RPGs for Switch.

Gamescom 2017: Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Is Beautiful, Confusing, and Captivating

Hands-on with Monolith Soft’s monstrous new Nintendo Switch RPG.

At Gamescom 2017, tucked away in a small room in Nintendo’s press area, I got to spend forty minutes playing Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Monolith Soft’s monstrous new Nintendo Switch RPG.

I was dropped into a save file more than a dozen hours into the game where my eclectic party of level 20 warriors were nudged to start attacking the first enemy we saw. “This should be easy,” I thought. “There’s five of us and one of whatever that thing is, so I should be able to fly through this quickly.” I was quite wrong.

Xenoblade’s battles are a frantic mix of charging icons, switching characters, finding and mashing buttons for short quick time events, and darting your eyes around every corner of the screen to manage a set of interconnected systems. There's a lot going on here, and I immediately realized even this low-level grunt was going to take some strategy and perseverance.

In the lower right corner, a series of attack icons take turns charging up at various speeds as an numbered symbol slowly counts up. Get it to level three with the proper combination of moves, and you’ll be able to unleash an impressive and cinematic “summon”-style strike. The hardest part about waiting for this to happen is that you’ll be tempted to summon smaller, less effective versions of that attack at level one or two. The game prompts you with a giant “Hit the A button” cue that I really, really wanted to press before it reached level three, like having a big piece of candy sitting in front of you that you’re not allowed to eat yet.

In the lower left, you’ll switch characters - something you’ll want to do often, as they take turns charging their individual attacks. In the upper right is a small “skill tree”-style menu that displays how the right combination of various attacks can flow to create bigger ones. Don’t expect to just tap the A button over and over to win battles here, especially against tougher enemies. Xenoblade’s combat is smart and strategic and really damn satisfying if you’re patient enough to maximize it. This is not a passive RPG battle system by any means.

The environment I traversed in this sprawling demo (an area that will most certainly only represent a tiny fraction of the game) was not only gigantic, but teeming with bizarre creatures and plant life. Weird armored lizard men roamed in packs, orange horse creatures stood on small islands, and adorable cow-sized armadillos grazed a pasture. Panning the camera up and around revealed lots of winding paths, waterfalls, and massive trees that increasingly bloomed with pink flowers as the demo’s day/night cycle progressed. My goal was to reach a castle-like structure high up in the distance where my party could buy some gear, food, and hopefully get some rest. On my way up, I waded through luminescent pools, over rocky, narrow ridges and giant stone walls. I wanted to stop and explore more, of course, but I was determined to reach the top.

Standing with my party at the end of the demo, I was able to look around and survey just how far I had traveled. Not since Breath of the Wild have I seen a setting this vast on my Nintendo Switch. I’ve adored playing the dozens of quirky and interesting indie games filling out the library on Nintendo’s new hybrid console/handheld device since it launched, but Xenoblade’s scope and scale is on a whole other level.

I walked to the cliffside, leaped off, and landed on a mile long ramp-shaped waterslide that launched me into a lake and brought me back near where the demo started. There I landed with a splash and watched giant bird-like enemies soar over me and terrifying fish swirl around me, all of which were more than 50 levels ahead of my party’s current stats. It’s going to be really satisfying to come back and kick all of their asses when I’m finally strong enough, but for now, I got out of there before they could tear me apart.

I left Xenoblade’s world a little bit bewildered, a little bit overwhelmed, but ultimately completely absorbed in its wonder and promise. I’ve got much to learn about the combat system and mastering the rhythm of its battles, and while it all feels a little daunting, the world here is a beautiful one and I’m excited to train my party (and myself) to be strong enough and smart enough to conquer it. If Monolith Soft sticks to their promise of launching the game by the end of 2017, we’ll all get to explore it soon.
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Old 08-25-2017, 10:16 PM   #2
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Well... i'm sure it's gonna be good, but i still got Xeno X to play and i'm not gonna pay 360€ just to play one game.
"Only those with narrow minds fail to see that the definition of Impossible is "Lack of imagination and incentive"" - DUNE:BJ
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Old 08-26-2017, 01:54 PM   #3
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That game is more of a side story really, you can skip it.
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