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Xenoblade Chronicles X: Survival Guide 3 (Skell)

Xenoblade Chronicles X

Xenoblade Chronicles X is coming out on December 4th in Europe and North America, and to prepare for this long-awaited release, Nintendo has launched a series of “Survival Guide” videos. In those, the various elements of the game will be introduced, so that players can prepare themselves in order to save Humanity, stranded on Planet Mira.

Survival Guide 1 (New Los Angeles, quests, B.L.A.D.E.)
Survival Guide 2 (Battle system)

In the third episode, the focus is on the battle system.


On Planet Mira, you will find some rather menacing creatures, which are extremely deadly. To deal with those, you will need a Skell: a giant mecha you can use to explore the planet and fight the most terrible creatures. They’re quite powerful: in fact, you can damage small enemies simply by running over them.

But before you can hop on your own Skell, you first have to get a licence. This is something you can do after progressing up to a certain point in the main story. After that, you will be free to get your own Skell, and discover how it works. It has several modes (you can switch between them simply by pressing a button):

  • walking
  • driving
  • flying (unlocked by progressing even further in the main story)

Of course, such a large vehicle requires fuel to operate, and some actions (battles, flight, special attacks) use more of it. To refuel, you have two options: go back to the B.L.A.D.E. barracks to refuel or simply exit your Skell (but this takes significantly longer).

Types of Skells

There’s three types of Skells, and each one has its own stats and tradeoffs:

  • Light = can only equip light armor, most mobile, more evasion, but less fuel available;
  • Medium= can equip light/medium armor, carry more fuel, but less mobile;
  • Heavy : can equip light/heavy/medium armor, carry more fuel, but is the least mobile.


Skells can equip a lot of weapons:

  • left/right side weapons
  • side arms (used for auto attacks)
  • back weapons
  • shoulder weapons
  • arm weapons
  • spear weapons

Each Skell has 8 weapon slots, which are used for Arts. You can check out a description of each Art and its fuel cost before equipping one. One important thing to keep in mind: you can only equip weapons which are of the same level as the frame level of your Skell. In other words, if you want to equip really powerful weapons, you will have to upgrade.

Battle screen

You can get onboard your Skell before or during battle. You can use Auto Attacks pretty much the same way you would on foot, thanks to the side arms. On the top right corner of the screen, you can see the Fuel gauge: keep an eye on it, and avoid running out of fuel during battle, if possible!

On the left side of the screen, you can see the Vitality gauge (with the HP of you and your teammate’s Skells): when it reaches 0, your Skell ceases to function. Right next to the Vitality gauge, you can see the amount of GP (Gear Points) of the team’s Skells: those allow you to go in Overdrive mode.

The good thing about Skells is that even characters who are not riding one can enjoy some nice benefits. For example, if you have one Skell in your party, all the characters get a Defense bonus. The more Skells you have, the greater the bonus: for example, if you have two Skells, the Defense bonus is +40%.

Binding enemies

If you inflict break on a monster while in Skell, you can then bind it for a few seconds. When you do so, they cannot attack, and your own attacks deal more damage. To bind a monster, get near to it when it’s staggered and follow the button prompt. You can complete the Soul Challenges in order to extend the duration of binding.

Cockpit time

At one point during battle, you will switch to a view from inside the Skell. During that time, you can use all arts repeatedly, without having to wait for them to cool down. Also, you cannot take any damage… pretty handy! However, there’s a catch: Cockpit time doesn’t last very long, and is triggered randomly.


When you collect 3 000 GP, your Skell can go in Overdrive: it significantly enhances its abilities for a short period of time, and it can be extended.

Skell damage

Your Skell may be extremely powerful, it’s not indestructible… far from it. In fact, the individual parts of the mecha can be damaged, but as long as the frame HP don’t reach zero, it will keep functioning. However, you will lose access to the weapons/arts tied to the damaged parts (for example: the left arm). You will also lose GP.

At the end of the battle, your Skell will self-repair, but that’s only if it didn’t get completely wrecked. If the frame HP reaches zero during battle, you have to complete a Soul Challenge in order to avoid repercussions:

  • if you get a Perfect, you will safely exit your Skell, which will then be towed back to the B.L.A.D.E. barracks (where it will be repaired for free);
  • if you get a “Good” rating, you will safely exit your Skell, but the price of your Skell insurance will increase;
  • if you fail the Soul Challenge, you will not only have to pay for both the insurance and the repairs, but you will also lose almost all your HP (you will only have 1 HP left).

When your Skell is wrecked, you have to use insurance to repair it. You can recover it three times, but after that, you will have to use a salvage ticket or your own gold to repair it. Be careful: Skells are extremely expensive, so try to be careful when using it.

Skell garage

You can go to the B.L.A.D.E. barracks hanger to manage your Skells. You can use the console there to:

  • register a Skell to a specific team member
  • change selected Skell gear
  • use Miranium to refuel it
  • change its colour
  • sell your Skell (not recommended)

Here’s the third episode of the Xenoblade Chronicles X Survival Guide:

The next episode will focus on the Frontier Nav, investing in companies, and developing gear.

Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U) comes out on December 4th in Europe and North America.


Founder and main writer for Perfectly Nintendo. Tried really hard to find something funny and witty to put here, but had to admit defeat.

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