Xenoblade Chronicles on the original Wii still remains one of my favorite RPGs of all time. It had a sense of wonder and scale that was in a class of its own. It had a bunch of likable characters and the story had enough twists and turns to keep me captivated through its 100-plus hour journey.
Its sequel, Xenoblade Chronicles X on the Wii U was absolutely wonderful as well. It took the world building of the original and made it even larger with tons of exploration and magical places to discover. In that game the world was the story device and it focused less on traditional story-driven mechanics.
Some people didn’t like that change and enjoyed the original game better. It looks as though Monolithsoft has taken that to heart with this new game for the Nintendo Switch. In addition to straight up naming it Xenoblade Chronicles 2, the short trailer seems to signify a return to the original’s focus on character-driven story. One of the main complaints leveled at both prior games were the character models, which often seemed sort of lifeless. This new title takes the art in a completely new direction and goes for a more anime look, which I think suits the game well.
Also a positive sign is that many of the developers who worked on the original Xenoblade have returned for the sequel. That includes the music composers, which comprise of Yasunori Mitsuda, ACE, Kenji Hiramatsu, and Manami Kiyota. That’s a good thing because Xenoblade Chronicles X’s soundtrack was very divisive among gamers. I personally loved many of the tracks in the game, especially the music that played while traversing the world. However, I didn’t care for some of the music, particularly the songs that played in New L.A. and some of the ones with vocals. Contrast that with the original game where almost every single track was great, and I’m excited to hear what they come up with for the new game.
In traditional fashion, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 features sprawling landscapes and humongous creatures roaming about. It looks like players will be taking to the skies in airships this time around. More than once I got a little bit of a Skies of Arcadia vibe from watching the trailer. Not shown yet is the combat system, which hopefully stays intact from the prior two games as it’s one of my favorite battle systems ever. According to Nintendo’s fact sheet, the game is only single player this time around, so it looks like the online elements seen in Xenoblade Chronicles X won’t be making a return.
The trailer gave us a quick sneak peek at the game. Nintendo lists the game as a 2017 Switch title, but I could see this one easily getting pushed into 2018. No matter what, I’m pumped and can’t wait to learn more!