Xenoblade Chronicles 2: First Impressions (No Spoilers)

Pyra in Xenoblade Chronicles 2

My $300 Zelda machine is no longer just that! I picked up Xenoblade Chronicles 2 on a whim, firstly because it looked like Anime: The Video Game and secondly there is a side quest in BOTW that references Xenoblade, so I thought I would check it out. Here are my thoughts and first impressions.

So far I finished Chapter 1: Encounters. I should also mention I never played or even heard of the first game in this series before I picked up the sequel but I’m thinking I maybe should have. The game opening is cutscene heavy and then jumps into tutorial mode. Even with such a thorough tutorial, I was still having trouble getting used to the mechanics of the game and feeling totally immersed. I’m not sure if the world takes some time to learn about or if they are relying on the player’s familiarity with the first game. So far I feel like I know very little.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2, NPC examples
The range of art

I’m also very unfamiliar with the game’s auto attack feature, and sort of confused by the battle mechanic in general but I seem to be doing alright defeating enemies and it’s still pretty fun. However, I do feel like I’m button mashing when not using my special abilities or what the game calls “arts.”

Quickly into my playtime, I got access to the game’s marketplace called the Argentum Trade Guild. This is where I feel like I needed to have played the first game, or maybe more RPGs in general, as I didn’t fully understand all the benefits of the items for sale.

Cleo's cosmetics menu in xenoblade chronicles 2
For example, I don’t really know what affinity even is and how much I should be buying at this point in the game

The Elephant in the Room (With the Huge Rack)

Pyra in Xenoblade Chronicles 2
Her top half is by far her most modest aspect

You simply can’t talk about this game without mentioning the obvious.

From the start, you see several female NPCs scantily clad in the marketplace, but they’re not very distracting and blend well enough in. More gratuitous exposure occurs when you wake Pyra, the main heroine of the story.

From whale tail inspired garb, to the not-at-all-discrete 4-second long shots of her breasts, she’s not doing a lot to normalize women in games. And I’ve heard she’s not the worst of it. But I think overall, representations of women are getting better in games and stuff like this will be par for the course for a while, I suspect.

To Sum Up

Besides hoping I don’t see any jiggle-physics soon, I’m enjoying the game so far. Obviously, I have a ton to discover and so while I’ve been nit-picky in this post, I don’t hold any of it against the game. I really like the number of cutscenes and I’m excited to discover new worlds. Stay tuned for more on Xenoblade Chronicles 2!


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