Today, Nintendo finally opened the full official website for Xenoblade Chronicles 2 in Japan, providing us with plenty of additional details, but also quite a lot of gameplay footage, some pictures, and more.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – Footage, Introduction
First, let’s start with the gameplay footage. We went and grabbed all videos, and merged them into a single one, for your viewing convenience:
And here’s some pictures from the main page of the official website (nothing really interesting, so keep reading!).
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – Story
The game takes places in Alrest, a world located in a sea of clouds, where the World Tree can be found. A long time ago, mankind used to live on that tree, alongside the Architect (the God said to have created the world). It was a true utopia, where people could live a peaceful live, in a land of plenty. They called it Elysium.
But one day, mankind was driven out of that paradise, for unknown reasons. Did they occur the wrath of the Architect? The problem was, mankind could not survive long in Alrest, and so when it seemed makind was on the verge of annihilation, the Architect had mercy and sent the Titans to save it. Only a small number of people eventually survived until the arrival of the Titans, and those who did went on to live on them.
Fastforward many years later, and the very Titans who once saved mankind are about to die (of old age). And so begins the journey to find another paradise, for mankind to survive.
Rex is a young scavenger, who left his hometown in order to settle on the back on a Titan he calls Gramps (its real name is Azurda). He makes a living from the various materials and other treasure from ancient civilisations that he finds in the sea of clouds.
One day, he finds Pyra (a mysterious Blade) in a ship. But right after that, Jin (from Torna, a secret organisation looking to capture Pyra to further their own goals) appears and kills Rex on the spot. Fortunately for him, Pyra offers him half her life force, allowing him to come back to life. In exchange, Rex has to bring her to Elysium, the fabled paradise.
As a Driver who shares Pyra’s fate, Rex then works towards fulfilling her wish and finding Elysium. But on the way, the pair will have to deal with the many people trying to capture Pyra for their own goals, but also the conflicts opposing the various nations of the world.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – World
As mentioned above, the game takes place in Alrest, a world located in a sea of clouds. Giant lifeforms known as Titans live there, and mankind actually lives on those very Titans. Unfortunately, they are now extremely old, and about to die (when that happens, they sink into the sea of clouds). Naturally, such a dire situation is creating tension among the various countries around the world, as mankind is once again facing extinction.
Here’s details about the various Titans (from the English website):
- Gormott, and the Imperial Province of Gormott: home to the Gormotti people, who mostly live in the town of Torigoth. It is under the control of Mor Ardain, who makes a tidy profit off the export of timber. This Titan is covered in lush plains and forest. The movements of the Cloud Sea determine which areas are accessible;
- Uraya, and The Kingdom of Uraya: a cave-like region, with bio-luminescent plants, and clear sacs that let some light in. Its inhabitants live in the very stomach of the Titan. The country is known for its advanced bio-technology;
- Mor Ardain, and the Empire of Mor Ardain: a Titan with literally no plant life, and much more barren than the others. Using technology, the Empire expand its territory in order to claim resources and survive. There is always a conflict going on at the borders of the Empire, which comes to no surprise given how belligerent it is;
- Argentum, and The Argentum Trade Guild: a rather small Titan, which is only large enough to hold the manmade structures of the city, and where no wildlife is to be found. A trading hub, home to a wide variety of people… Nopon, for the most part. There, many salvage and trading shops can be found. The Titan is not affected by the Cloud Sea;
- Indol, and the The Indoline Praetorium: a Titan that is home to many refugees fleeing dying Titans and wars. That’s where the Praetorium can be found: all Blades in Alrest are officially tracked and controlled from there. The Praetor also happens to be the ruler of the people living on the Titan. A religious state, that is also pretty involved in military matters due to them controlling the Core Crystals Blades are born from;
- Luxuria (English name TBC): said to be inhabited by the descendants of a hero. People who live there have kept intact the culture from an age long past. The Titan is covered in cold, mountainous areas, but inside, temperatures are pretty high and the climate harsh.
Just like the previous two Xenoblade Chronicles games, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 offer various quests. You can get them from the many people living on the different Titans, by talking to them. Those task you with defeating enemies, collecting items, finding people, and more.
From Collection Points, you can get various items: plants, minerals, etc.. Those are required for quests, creating Rare Blades, and more. And from Salvage points, you can get some treasure, which happens to be unique to each Titan.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – Blades
There are special individuals who can create and use the power of living being known as Blades: they’re called Drivers. Blades provide weapons and powers to Drivers, and together, they share the same fate.
The act of creating a Blade is called Tuning, which happens when the Driver touches a mysterious crystal known as “Core Crystal”. As mentioned several times before, the appearance, abilities, attribute, and even name of Blades is randomised. The only exception: Rare Blades, with a special appearance and stronger abilities than regular Blades.
But Tuning is just one aspect of Blades. Once they’ve been created, Blades can be strengthened via various methods. Here’s some more details about that:
- Affinity Chart: the more a Driver uses a Blade, the deeper the bond the two share. Naturally, the stronger the bond, the stronger the Blade (and therefore Driver) becomes. As you meet requirements on the Affinity Chart, you can unlock various abilities for your Blades;
- Aux Cores: accessories you can equip the Blades with, that strengthen their abilities;
- Core Chip: items that can strengthen Blade weapons (rather than the Blades themselves).
There’s a lot of Blades to get in the game, and while a character can have up to 3 Blades at a time, you will eventually be faced with a problem: you will end up with too many Blades, not knowing what to do with them. And that’s where the Merc Groups system kicks in: you can set unused Blades to Mercenaries units, and then send them on missions. This allows them to earn some precious XP, and they bring back money and items.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – Characters
Here’s details about the main characters found in Xenoblade Chronicles 2:
- Azurda / Gramps (Titan. Voiced by Shigeru Chiba): the Titan Rex lives on, who basically serves as a guardian for the young scavenger. He used to be a bigger Titan, but he became smaller following a certain incident;
- Rex (Driver. Voiced by Hiro Shimono): a pretty active boy, who makes a living as a scavenger. When he sees someone in trouble, he just cannot leave them alone, and he feels he has to help them. After meeting Pyra, he gets to play a central role in the future of Alrest;
- Pyra (Blade, Fire attribute. Voiced by Shino Shimoji). A Legendary Blade, known as the Aegis. She’s desperaly looking for Elysium, and together with Rex (her Driver), she goes on a journey to find that fabled paradise;
- Mythra (Blade, Light attribute. Voiced by Shino Shimoji): Pyra’s alternate form, shrouded in mystery;
- Nia (Driver. Voiced by Hitomi Owada): she’s from the Imperial Province of Gormott;
- Dromarch (Blade, Water attribute. Voiced by Tetsu Inada): he’s been with Nia since she was but a child. He looks like a beast, but he’s actually extremely polite, even going as far as calling Nia “Lady” (which makes him sound like a butler). Nia can actually ride on his back in the field;
- Tora (Driver. Voiced by Ai Nonaka): a young Nopon who admires Drivers, who craves for calling Rex “Big Brother”. He’s pretty skilled when it comes to robots, and he’s the one who completed Poppi: an artificial Blade his grandfather first worked on;
- Poppi (Blade, attribute unknown. Voiced by Misaku Kuno): an artificial Blade created by Tora. Unlike other Blades, you can remodel her using Poppiswap, in order to improve her abilities, change her attribute, and more.
- Poppi α (Blade, attribute unknown. Voiced by Misaki Kuno): a powered-up version of Poppi;
- Zeke (Driver. Voiced by Kenjiro Tsuda);
- Pandoria (Blade, Electric attribute. Voiced by Ryou Hirohashi): Zeke’s Blade, that grants him a giant sword as a weapon. She takes great care of her Driver.
Here’s some characters from the Kingdom of Uraya:
- Vandham (Driver, voiced by Tesshou Genda): the leader of a Mercenary group known as Fraseberg (English name TBC). He’s a pretty strong and muscular person, but he also happens to have a big heart;
- Suzaku (Blade, Wind attribute. Voiced by Takahiro Fujimoto): a dual bow-wielding Blade, who can create strong gusts of wind. He’s Vandham one and only Blade, and the two deeply trust each other.
Here’s some characters from the Empire of Mor Ardain:
- Morag (Driver, voiced by Mitsuki Saiga): a special executive officer of the Empire of Mor Ardain, and the Empire’s strongest Driver. She’s after the Aegis, which is why she frequently crosses paths (and blades) with Rex and Pyra;
- Kagutsuchi (Blade, fire attribute. Voiced by Shizuka Ito): she assists Morag, by providing her with useful advice. She uses two long swords, that can extend like whips.
And finally, here’s characters from Torna:
- Jin (voiced by Takahiro Sakurai): the leader of Torna, and a mysterious individual always wearing a mask. For some reason, he’s trying to get his hands on the Aegis. He always keeps his cool, but he’s ready to do whatever it takes to achieve his goal;
- Melos (voiced by Yuichi Nakamura): Torna’s second-in-command. He makes quite the contrast with Jin, as he can be quite rough. His skills as Driver are without pair;
- Akhos (voiced by Nobunaga Shimazaki): he’s pretty skilled when it comes to gathering and analysing intel. He’s pretty loyal to Jin, and performs his duty as Torna’s brains.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – Battle system
Drivers can use up to 3 Blades in Battle (with the exception of Rex, who can have 4… thanks to Pyra and her alt form!). Blades support Drivers (who fight on the front line) by providing them with both weapons and powers.
There’s three types of Blades in the game:
- Attackers: their job? Attacking. Attacking, Oh, and attacking.
- Tanks: their job consists in attracting the attention of enemies, and taking damage themselves to protect their teammates. They boast higher defense compared to other Blades;
- Healers: they can heal your party with health-related Arts.
Depending on the Blade you choose, you get access to different Driver Arts. It’s pretty important to switch Blades, in order to use the one that’s the most efficient against the enemies you’re facing.
Here’s some of the actions you can perform in battle:
- Auto Attack: when you encounter enemies in the field, the Drivers start attacking automatically, using the weapon provided by the currently equiped Blade.
- Driver Arts: by auto-attacking, your charge up special techniques known as Driver Arts. There’s several types, including some that can “break” enemies, others that deal more damage from a certain position (front, back, sides, etc.), those that make enemy drop health items when hit, and more. It’s up to you to determine which Driver Arts are more suited to a given battle and enemy!
- Blade Arts: those are basically “Support Arts”, that increase the abilities of the Driver (increase attack, increase hit rate, etc.);
- Special: you can use them after using Driver Arts enough times. With those, it’s the Blades, not the Drivers, that attack. There’s 4 stages for Specials.
Naturally, by chaining attacks, you can deal even more damage:
- Driver Combo: by successfully combining Driver Arts, you can literally wreck enemies. Break their defenses, then topple them, then send them flying, and finally, bring them back to earth… literally. If you complete that chain, enemies will not be able to move for a while, allowing you to dish damage like crazy;
- Blade Combo: after a Blade has used a Special, you can chain it with another Blade’s Special but only for a limited time. If you can chain Specials of the right elements (as shown in the top right corner of the screen), you can protect yourself by sealing enemies’ ability to cause certain effects. If you complete the chain you can make an elemental orb appear, which are the key to Masterful Techniques.
- Fusion Combo: you can trigger it by using a Blade Combo while a Driver Combo is in effect;
- Chain Attack: available after filling up the Party Gauge (located at the top left corner of the screen). Blades then take turn using Specials, one after another. Time stops in-between Specials, so you can take your time to decide which Special to use. There’s only 3 turns to a chain attack, but you can keep it going by bursting the elemental orbs mentioned above.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – Expansion Pass Download Card
Finally, in Japan, Nintendo will release an Expansion Pass Download Card on December 1st. It’s a download card for the Expansion Pass, allowing people who do not like to make purchases on the internet to buy it at their local (convenience) store instead of the Nintendo eShop or an online store like Amazon. It costs the same price as the pass (check out this post for more details about the Expansion Pass and DLC).
Here’s what the card looks like:
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Switch) comes out on December 1st, worldwide.