Monolith Soft, years later and through long but not overly frustrating development periods, finally releases its third title in a recent yet beloved series: Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Between Titans, World Trees and Heroes, we spent countless hours in the world of Alrest, and it's finally time to take stock of what could be the definitive RPG on Nintendo Switch
After the success of Xenoblade Chronicles e Xenoblade Chronicles X, Monolith Soft certainly could not stop in the exploration of fascinating worlds and creatures like the ones it has given birth to in recent years. There is always a need for RPGs that are so big and full of elements, especially if seasoned with real-time action mechanics that replace long shifts. It is only part of the reason for the success of the franchise in such a short time, but enough to understand why, ever, you could remain idle ... especially if in your hands there was such a promising console like Nintendo Switch.
Carrying such a large game world and similar adventures in your backpack would have been unthinkable until a couple of years ago, it took Nintendo to prove that it was possible thanks to a technology that was more innovative and intelligent than "powerful". At the price of some compromise Xenoblade Chronicles 2 it is also enjoyable on the small tablet of the Kyoto House hybrid, even if it is clear that it was designed to stand out on home televisions. The privileged place to fully enjoy the adventures of Rex and Pyra.
At the top of the World Tree
In a world shrouded in clouds, humans lived together with the Architect, the creator of all things, at the top of theWorld Tree: the so-called Elysion, a sort of earthly paradise. For a series of unfortunate and unpredictable events, things quickly got worse. The architect closed the door of the house and sent humans to live in the surrounding world, on the backs of the gigantic Titans, whose backs turned out to be necessary and improvised shelters. As if that were not enough, after centuries of peaceful coexistence between Humans and Titans, the latter inexplicably began to die, jeopardizing the survival of the former as well.
The personal story of our protagonist, Rex, fits into this rather dramatic context. A boy who lives practically as a diver, recovering sunken treasures, in the company of a friendly Titan who gave him his back as a home. One day Rex receives an important mission by President Bana of the Argentum Guild: the man wants the boy to recover for him a very special treasure in the depths of the clouds.
This is Pyra, the girl that you also find on the cover and that you will probably remember from the countless trailers that Nintendo has bombed us in these days: the fate of the two boys unites, as they explore the kingdom of Alrest and discover the mysterious secrets of the past of their land. A mission that, in a chain of pressing and tense events, will lead them to search for the legendary Elysion and save the world from the death of the Titans.
Fresh, deep and fun
We could spend another half day singing the praises of the plot of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, which with the right mix of tension, drama but also funny scenes manages to satisfy all types of players, without ever falling into too obvious clichés. (a recurring danger for the RPG genre, at a narrative level). The second strength of the new Monolith Soft title is exploration. The world of Alrest is made up of ten freely explorable titans, most of which are mammoth in size. And of things to do, even if we don't want to just wander around aimlessly, there are plenty of them.
We risk forgetting the plot quickly when we can devote ourselves to grinding, finding precious resources and experience points with which to upgrade, or the many secondary missions obtainable by the inhabitants of the human settlements on the backs of the Titans. Secondary missions that, for once, do not simply consist of "go from point A to point B" nor in "kill tot monsters and then come back to me giving you a cookie". Through them, through credible stories, we will learn about the uses and customs of certain populations, as well as the background on the characters of our party. Not to mention that thanks to the secondary missions we will be forced to explore the backs of the titans in every ravine.
The combat system is also satisfying, revived in the mode with continuous self-attacks and player support for the placement of the party on the battlefield and the activation of the special skills of the fighters. This means that, at the moment of the appearance of an enemy, our characters will rush to attack and that we will have to direct them by exploiting their potential to the maximum, according to the possibilities of each. Above all, the introduction of mechanics related to the Ductor and Gladius, or, respectively, the active characters of the party and those of support. The former are able to make the nucleic crystals resonate, to awaken the Gladius within them: extraordinary beings that give the bound character extra abilities and a certain elemental power.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2, the verdict of the review
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 took a bit of a wait, but it's the title that will make RPG lovers happy on the Nintendo Switch, beating all the competition. Long-lived, deep, fun, with a satisfying combat system (when we can master it adequately), Xenoblade offers an interesting but at times dramatic story, and will in short be able to please all palates within that genre, never flourishing as in recent years, of the RPG in salsa action. We advise you to enjoy it mainly on your home TV, even if even in portable mode the proposed offer is not to be neglected.9 The Ultimate RPG on Nintendo Switch
Points in favor
- Interesting plot
- Renewing and functional gameplay
- Incredibly vast game world
- In portable mode it loses some charm
- Combat must be properly studied
- Side missions get repetitive from time to time