Over the last seven years the Studio Monolith Soft has become one of the main domestic developers of Nintendo. The company took part in the creation of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, A Link Between Worlds, Animal Crossing, Pikmin 3 and both parts of Splatoon. She helped open world The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, sending to the development of several dozen of its best specialists in the structure of levels and graphics. While Monolith Soft managed to release three major jRPG for Nintendo and two additional projects for Bandai Namco Entertainment. Fresh game Studio – Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – the subject of this review.
Obviously, the employment of a team of “Zelda” and influenced the change in the concept of Xenoblade 2, which is a fully seamless world demonstrated surrounded by clouds of peace Arrest. It looks like a vast white sea, the center of which is outgoing to the sky the World tree. Around it like a planet floating huge titans.
According to the story, the people once lived on top of the World tree under the protection of the Architect, the Supreme deity who created the Universe, but then was exiled and sent to wander among the clouds. Body massive giants became their new home. On their backs they built villages and cities that has allowed humanity to survive in the vast ocean.
Centuries later, the titans started dying, sinking to the seabed, and together with them into the abyss leaving whole ecosystems – forests, lakes, animals and human settlements. Sushi is becoming smaller, which leads to military conflicts.
The main character – Rex – live on the tiny Titan, the old dragon, on the back of which is his house. The hero works as a diver and catches in the deep bosom of the ocean antique stuff and any useful items that can find. Selling these items Trade Guild Argentum, he sends money to his family from a distant village.
Once Rex arrives unusual order in person from the Guild master – he will accompany a group of people and help them to pull from the interior of the ocean some old artifact. Customers are the Drivers – people who know how to awaken the power within crystals and to materialize it in the form of Blades. Each Blade is associated with the Driver and has a weapon of extraordinary power and supernatural abilities, which can be sent to the owner via the essential communication channel. If the Driver dies, then the Blade returns to the state of the crystal as long as it does not awaken the next Driver, but forever lose the accumulated memories.
An artifact that was looking for customers Trade Guild, was the ancient spaceship, inside of which a glass capsule sleeping a beautiful girl and an old sword. Touching the sword, Rex engine starts, but immediately dies from a treacherous stab in the back.
The consciousness of the Rex-tolerated in the vast green meadow, where the hero finds the girl. She tells him about the Elysium, the Paradise at the top of the World tree, and asks to take her there, instead of offering half of vitality. The discovery of the Elysium will help to solve the problem of shortage of land and to save the world from the looming war. Agreeing, Rex resurrected, receiving the companionship of the Pyre – ancient powerful Blade Aegis, created by the Architect.
The game’s plot develops with each new Chapter, revealing a shocking history of the planet and touching many different topics: resource wars, genocide, loss of loved ones, racism, disappointment in people and humanity as a whole. The main character acts as a good Samaritan, positive attitude which raises morale within the team and helps to overcome the difficulties that stand in their way.
Following the laws of the genre “Shounen”, Monolith Soft created the beautiful and dynamic screensavers with excellent choreography of the fights. In battles the characters perform spectacular blows in the air with cinematic time dilation and beautiful camera angles. These moments are interspersed with calm scenes that delight well written dialogues, revealing the depth of the characters.
There are also purely humorous episodes, which are created in order to lighten the atmosphere, but sometimes they get controversial. Some scenes, like the moment with a wardrobe in the home of one of the characters, jokes about the one-eyed snake, a sleepwalking heroine or the advent of robot maids is really funny and unexpected. But a recurring joke Zeke in the first half of the game look like a stupid and clearly unnecessary fan service. Not to mention the monotonous phrases of the military of the Empire of the sea Again, but the latter is likely just a bug, not a feature.
Developers do not have enough time to work out all the episodes have the same quality, and some headpieces or even whole sections make no sense whatsoever. The sixth Chapter was a very strange episode, which was clearly demonstrated a problem in the logic of behavior of the main character.
In turn, the villains, in spite of the excellent design from Tetsui of Nomura, is pretty formulaic. Some answers to questions we never received and probably won’t get to the additions.
Fortunately, the final Chapter did not disappoint and was really fun thanks to the beautiful and unexpected unfolding of the history of the world. The eighth episode of pleased powerful atmosphere, and ten had completed the whole picture of the universe of Xenoblade. Fans of the first part with the Wii (and New Nintendo 3DS) will be happy to know that the story XC2 has a direct relationship to the original. The world of Xenoblade 2 and his story is perhaps the strongest point of the game. However, all that is connected with the relationship of the main characters, got pretty formulaic to complete. On the other hand, connoisseurs of anime will appreciate.
If you have not played project 2011 release, it does not greatly affect the perception of the sequel – the plot XC2 quite self-sufficient, even in isolation from the source.
Although Xenoblade 2 is nominally an open world, but it is arranged quite differently than previous games in the series. If Xenoblade on Wii , the world has steadily expanded as you progress through the story, and the planet in Xenoblade X was initially fully open and seamless, like in Skyrim and the new The Legend of Zelda, then the sequel is more like Mass Effect.
World map in XC2 looks like the solar system, and you can choose any of the available titans to visit. Move between them to happen in the story in the cutscenes on the ships or using manual teleportation to previously open areas.
The world of Xenoblade 2 consists of 13 unique locations. At first glance, only three of them on the scale comparable with the areas from previous games in the series and offer in-depth study. In this case, you get a complex multi-level area, which is truly breathtaking.
But as you explore the environment, you can find passages in the new area even on a seemingly small titans. For example, Temperantia when you first visit looks like a microscopic location with the beautiful backdrop that is entirely dedicated to one story battle. But you can jump off the arena and down at the foot of a huge dead beetle to get to the rocky valleys of incredible size, populated with enemies, chests with loot, collection items and secret passages. There you can find a military camp huge lizards, secret cult, the side of the boss level 100 and the whole area of the excavations of the ancient city, in which there will be a small saver. As a result, even the smallest titans are great. Their isolation from each other has allowed developers to create truly unique levels. Especially pleased with the inside of the titans Uria and Tantalum, which represent whole continents inside a giant turtle and a huge whale, respectively, with their special climatic conditions, landscapes and cities.
A system of bridges and hanging platforms in the middle of snowy mountains, ancient fortresses, which sit like rays a monster the size of a five-storey building, next swim even more impressive squid – looks simply unforgettable.
The archipelago of Letterii with his hovering above the white haze of the giant jellyfish turned out to be incredibly beautiful and spectacular.
The variability of locations Xenoblade 2 is at a high level. The game world is no time to get bored, delighting in new discoveries, plot twists and huge monsters.
The last was particularly impressive. Enemies are beautifully drawn and flaunt voluminous textures of shells and scales, nicely reflecting the glow from the energy sword and other light sources. Most of the enemies blended into the scenery and is constantly moving within the limits specified by the authors of the zones. Opponents turn or even ignored. In some places the level designers have even created open the shortcuts and workarounds. But even if you killed in the game there are no penalties for death – characters just teleport to the nearest fast travel location.
Compared to XCX enemies in XC2seems to have disappeared from the hearing, so they will not notice if you move to the side or rear. System of magnetism strikes in the style of Final Fantasy XII left, but given the fact that the Studio has shortened the distance of hits, run away from the monsters became much easier. In fact, you can only get certain ranged attacks – usually flying opponents.
Monolith Soft has abandoned the structure of Xenoblade X with its obligatory implementation of sidquests to open new chapters of storyline: the promotion of history in XC2 reminiscent of the first part. So you may even forget about the secondary missions, and devote themselves to history, which will take approximately 70 hours. And you can explore the world, complete all the side quests, open and pump with new Blades. In this case, you run the risk of playing the game in about 200 hours. And at the end of 2018, the developers promise to release story addition.
Many additional jobs are most often associated with unique Blades. Quest can act as their receipt, and the job that is available as they are pumping. The quality of these missions varies: someone was clearly paid more attention, someone less. Most often quest unique of the Blade affects only on field skills, or any one branch of abilities, but sometimes these tasks depends directly on the game entirely.
Some quests are unlikely to be completed before the end of the storyline, as they require high levels of skills. Strict execution sequence of certain tasks throws the hero into the most remote corners Alresta, where suddenly it turns out that the skill of the Blade are underdeveloped and need to go to another location for further pumping begins with the natural world.
You can learn more about your favorite Blade – each have their “Heart-to-Heart” conversation, the quest with fully voiced scenes, which somehow complements the knowledge of the world and mainly on the nature of the Blade. Thus, each unique Blade is more than a tool in battle.
Developers familiar with the types of side quests in the course of events in the first half of the game. This includes not only the quests from NPC, where you are asked to find some items, talk to other characters or to kill certain enemies, but the control group of mercenaries. Under this there is a separate menu where you choose the area and a list of available jobs.
For each region, a list of missions for mercenaries. You choose specific, select group of Blades, the skills of which meet the required parameters, and send a detachment to perform a certain task. Thus, it is possible to pump Blades, are not involved in your party, to develop the regions and to obtain useful items, experience, gold for successful completion.
Naturally, while this is happening, you can go exploring the world, advancing the plot and other sidquests, but in principle, nobody forbids you to leave your console on and from time to time to confirm successful completion with the subsequent delivery of Blades for the new same mission.
It is worth noting that perform special tasks in the missions of mercenaries, the player receives a key that opens unique items from sellers in shops, which improve some parameters of a hero, like run speed and the radius of collecting loot, or extend the gear for you. The latter, in turn increase the chance of receiving Blades of a particular element.
One of the strengths of the game is the variety of cities and their complex structure. An extensive network of lanes, often hides many small interesting locations and new quests, and the vertical orientation of such settlements, as the capital of the region of Uria, makes their study even more exciting.
Xenoblade 2 develops the idea of X with special field skills that open new paths, areas, and hidden chests on the locations. Exploring the game world, you may notice the field of energy for the closed doors that require the skills of a Blade of a certain level. Exposing the heroes of the Blades with the right skills, you add up the values of abilities and open the lock or passage to a new part of the scene.
But even if the Blade is in the list of the Driver, the player still need to manually add it to the active command. To get to some places, it is necessary several times to change the Blades, in order to have the necessary skills. It’s pretty tiring.
If you have no sword or skill is pumped high enough, you can open it later. However, looks very strange decision 7 and 9 chapters, where you need the plot to unlock the passageway with a special skill of high level. Despite the presence of the desired Blades, you may not have enough flow field specific skills. In this case, you will have to raise them.
Fortunately, the developers did not close the possibility of traveling around the world at any point in time, and necessary to the plot of the ability to sway simply and quickly – literally in 5 minutes. Moreover, we’ve got all the necessary guides.
The development of Blades is possible. In the first place is pumping Affini – radial-circular grid special skills, divided by type of action. Sphere with the lock open up new levels. Red and yellow areas represent skills that are useful in combat, like increase damage, ability to put a magical seal already in the middle of a combination or additional abilities, like lowering agro and automatic recovery of health under certain circumstances. In turn, the green sphere – the field skills that help during the study of the locations and missions of mercenaries.
To open the abilities you need to perform a certain task, under the specified skill. Of the skill is opened already during the passage, mostly different abilities that require the destruction of enemies, using certain skills in battle and collect resources at the locations.
Others can be tied to the consumption of favorite food, the shopping, getting new Blades, and even optional story scenes, which are opened in the locations marked with the icon “Heart-to-Heart”.
A second important component of the leveling Blade is modification of weapons chips that fall out of enemies are on location and can be bought in special shops. Using a particular chip, you peroxide the arms of the Blade, changing its appearance and characteristics. Some raise the damage of auto-attacks and the chance of a critical damage, others increase the likelihood block the enemy attack. Naturally, the first option is perfect for attacking Blades, and the second for tanks and healers.
Additional improvements can be hung using crystals Aux auxiliary Cores that work as accessories for the Blades. There may be a variety of bonuses, from increased protection and attacks on certain types of opponents in order to renew the effects of the elemental combinations.
Battle Blades passed his gun to the Driver, be it swords, disks, wands, axes, axes, spears, guns, hammers, Katanas, balls or gloves. Some of them are just standing close to the enemy, and the part works well from a distance.
Each type of weapon unlocks four unique techniques for the study of Driver that can be upgraded using earned battle points. Switching between pre-set Blades directly during the battle, characters change class, weapons, and sets of active and passive skills, opening up new gaming possibilities.
Xenoblade 2 continues to develop the idea of combining techniques from the original game, so part of the martial arts can change the physical status of the enemy. Competently moving around the enemy and applying the techniques in the correct sequence, you will not only deal more damage, but destroy the armor, turn and throw the opponent into the air in the style of Devil May Cry to in the end to defeat the enemy on the ground. Each new status is increasingly weakens the protection, allowing you to quickly destroy enemies.
Moreover, XC2 there is a new interesting special attacks. Each Blade is tied to a particular element: fire, water, earth, electricity, air, ice, light or darkness. In a timely manner using the basic techniques of the Blade and right into the rhythm, the Driver accumulates a special attack first, second, third or fourth level. The higher the level the more damage the enemy. But if you use these abilities wisely and perform the right techniques in the right sequence, then magic items will start a chain reaction which in tens times will increase the damage.
Rapid combination promotes a two-button system of orders to the party members, who are also hoarding magical attack and help in the ligaments. Bringing the combination to completion, you not only strike the enemy huge damage, but also put a special seal that blocks him or that ability. Element map with available development options combinations displayed in the top right corner.
Creating different combinations of the elemental attacks, you take on the enemy all types of seals, which can destroy the special chain attack. This gives you the opportunity to go to second, third and fourth round chain attacks, turning the battle into a riot of special effects and beautiful finishing. In this case, the damage is increased several thousand times, and allows you to destroy bosses in a matter of minutes.
Given the fact that most bosses, like in Bloodborne, include rage mode upon losing half health, this mechanic becomes critical.
Developers continue to add new game features until the final, making the combat system of Xenoblade 2 most perfect in the series.
You are constantly discovering new Blades and thus set up your squad to taste. As noted above, the Blades are divided into three specializations: attacking the treating tank. Each of them gives its Driver improvement class, like a bonus to attack, defense or treatment. And since heroes can carry three Blade at a time, you get a significant boost in these metrics, if you choose Swords a profession that can greatly help in difficult times.
Additional improvements you also get from food, which is bought in retail shops, bakeries and cafes and is valid time.
Developers didn’t forget about the gear that in Xenoblade 2 greatly simplified compared to previous games of the series. Slots only two, the clothes are not displayed on the character models. From enemies it falls rarely and then mainly falling only accessories and weapons running chips. So you don’t spend so much time on the selection of equipment. It might disappoint fans of the loot.
Surprisingly, the Japanese Studio continues to ignore the most convenient gambit system of Final Fantasy XIIand Xenoblade again disappointing lack of settings, the AI teammates. Most of the time they behave appropriately, but still can make a crowd in one place, getting under heavy enemy strike on the area, sometimes don’t notice the drop down with the monster kits and never pick up the wounded comrades, paying attention only to the fallen in the battle of the protagonist. As a result of run you have.
The setting of the party in the initial stages can slow down the restriction in the transfer of Blades to other characters, though later Blades is so much that you always have plenty to choose from. Even at first glance, the faceless ordinary Swords can be interesting and very useful skill that will help in difficult times.
Sometimes it is Xenoblade 2 seems to be quite overloaded from the possibilities. Unique pumping one of the characters involves completing mini-games “Tiger Tiger” in order to earn special points that you can use to create a strong improvement. Given the fact that the developers don’t end up to explain how best to collect bonuses and kill enemies in this mode, you have to understand yourself. However, fully understood, can significantly improve the character, turning it into the ultimate Blade.
The disadvantages also include not always obvious solutions to the many side quests. Sometimes it’s just not clear what to do and where to go, so to complete the game 100% you will have to use online databases of knowledge on the game.
Graphically, Xenoblade 2 looks uneven. Sometimes you marvel at the work of artists and level designers who have created the magnificent scenery with beautiful clouds and lighting effects, cute characters and a complex three-dimensional surfaces. And sometimes see blurry picture with flat textures, square surroundings and dull NPC.
In portable mode, the game sometimes looks quite weak due to the low dynamic resolution in heavy scenes and unscrewed the filter definition, so the TV play much more comfortable. It is hoped that in the future the technical part will improve with patches, including fix crashes in the main menu system. For example, one of the last updates the developers were able to optimize the location of the fourth Chapter, in which the previously observed strong subsidence FPS.
The soundtrack of the first part of Xenoblade Chronicles was received very warmly and got many lists of the best, therefore, to write the music for the second part, called the same composers, with the exception of Eco Shimomura, which was busy with other projects. The process was headed by Yasunori Mitsuda, who managed to realize his dream and work with the eminent singers of the Irish choir ANUNA, thanks to which the usual for the genre direction in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was diluted rather unusual European medieval compositions. Overall, the soundtrack of the new game will appreciate the variety. Some tunes, such as theme locations Gormot, in common with the music of XC1, bringing a nice touch of nostalgia. Separate locations, for example, Tantalum, accompanied by absolutely amazing compositions: you will appreciate the winter theme, performed on acoustic guitar.
The main vocal themes in the game, “Last One You” and “Drifting Soul“, written by Yasunori Mitsudo and ACE , respectively, was performed by British singer Jen bird. Words composed personally by the head of development Tetsuya Takahashi.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – the most ambitious game Nintendo Switch, which is not enough polishing of individual items. However, due to the unique world, the best combat system in the series, beautiful music, developed characters and spectacular cutscenes from the game play. Despite some plot oddities, gameplay limitations and excessive animenorth, we had 2 Boxes of 150 hours and look forward to new games Monolith Soft.