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Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Impressions: Deep Dive

This is not the full review for Xenoblade Chronicles 2, but it is certainly coming. As mentioned in my preview of the game, this is the hardcore JRPG Switch owners have been craving and I have a better understanding after putting in a lot more time with it. I'm not quite finished, but I do want to share a few takes for the time being.

Monolith Soft spent a lot of time making every facet of the game valuable. In many RPGs, at least in my experience, a lot of gameplay elements and/or collectibles would become uninteresting and tedious quickly. With Xenoblade Chronicles 2, every item down even the darkest corners of my inventory has a purpose. It can feel overwhelming at times and you'll surely pull your hair out trying to decide what to sell, if anything, but hardcore players will be rewarded kindly if they want to spend the time. More casual players will find some fun too, but won't be punished if they decide to obsess over every little detail.

The music in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is pretty great so far. It's not uncommon to catch me humming excitedly as I move from area to area and things ramp up when they need to. There is one misstep, though. There are some cut scenes called Heart-to-Hearts where your Blades and Drivers grow closer. Those scenes don't have their own scripted music and just adopt whatever is playing when you encounter them, which has resulted in a couple moments when character's voices are drowned out a bit. Chatty user ghost in my shell, I have yet to encounter any music as cringey as what you linked from Xenoblade Chronicles X. Nothing even remotely close. 

Blades are the life blood of this game and, though you will certainly accrue many generic Blades from the many Cores you bond with, there's an additional gameplay mechanic that makes it all worth it. I'm not going to spoil exactly what that is in this impression, though, because it betrays a pretty significant plot point. Unique Blades appear often enough to excite and have intriguing personalities of their own, but the clone Blades will serve their purpose. You'll even grow attached to a select few of them, despite probably never taking them with you in your party.

While the full review isn't going live just yet, we're going to do a Please Take A Look live stream of the game for our community on Twitch. Keep your eye on Shacknews for a post letting everyone know when we will go live, but expect it sometime around 5:30 P.M. central.

Keep an eye out for the full review of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 in the near future and our Walkthrough & Guide hub that will go live as soon as the game is available for consumers. 

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