Xenoblade Chronicles 2, known in Japan as Xenoblade 2 (ゼノブレイド2, Zenobureido Tsū), is a role-playing video game published by Nintendo and developed by Monolith Soft for the Nintendo Switch. The game was announced during the Nintendo Switch Presentation 2017 on January 12th. The game was released on December 1, 2017 in Japan, North America, Europe, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 uses a similar approach to gameplay mechanics as Xenoblade Chronicles and Xenoblade Chronicles X, such as the freedom to explore the world of Alrest, the ability to run to virtually anywhere seen in the distance, and the return of a Arts battle system which involves both auto-attacks and a cooldown timer for each Art. In this installment, playable characters are called Drivers, and they are supported by weaponized lifeforms called Blades, which determines their currently wielded weapon and available arts. Blades appear as characters on the field, although they cannot be controlled directly, and establish a tether to their Driver while supporting them during combat.
Unlike in the previous games, Arts must be built up overtime through auto-attacks. Arts are divided into Driver Arts and Blade Arts. Executing Arts, in turn, will fill up the Special gauge. These Specials deliver a powerful attack and feature four levels of intensity (from I to IV). Instead of an Art palette, Arts are assigned to the face buttons of the controller. A Driver can have up to three Blades equipped and may switch between them in battle as the situation warrants. The game introduces the new Driver, Blade and Fusion Combos battle mechanics.
A mechanic called Blade Resonance allows Drivers to resonate with Core Crystals to awaken new Blades, with some being rarer than others, and increase their possibilities. The Blades created cannot be anticipated, however the Rare Blades are unique while the Common Blades are randomly determined. Each Blade is associated with a type of weapon and element affinity. It is possible to switch Blades in order to obtain more combinations allowing more playstyles. A Driver can bond with multiple Blades, enabling flexibility for encountering enemies while on the field.
- Party Gauge: A three-bar gauge filled as the party characters fight together. The energy gathered in a full bar is necessary to revive an incapacitated member, and the full gauge is necessary to initiate a Chain Attack, where each member attacks in succession with one of their Blades.
- Party: Names, levels, and HP of the Drivers in the party.
- Blades: The Blades currently driven and mapped to the corresponding buttons of the controller.
- Arts Palette: The Arts the Driver controlled accessible from the current Blade, each one mapped to the corresponding button of the right controller.
- Special Art Effect: The duration effect of the Special Art inflicted to the enemy. During this time, other Special Arts can be used for Blade Combos.
- Blade Combo Tree: The Special Arts available to be chained together to continue the Blade Combo.
- Enemy Info: The enemy's level, name, HP bar, and elemental weakness.
- Available Elemental Arts: Icons displaying another Driver using a Blade, here Nia driving her Water Blade Dromarch, who can continue the Blade Combo with "Venom Water". When this move is charged and available, a controller button will appear inside the icon.
- Main article: Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (plot)
Several free updates have been released for the game on Switch. Each update can expand the game content or fix bugs and glitches.
The Patch (Ver.1.1.0) released on December 1st, 2017 brings:
- "Event Theater" function to watch cutscenes
- Unlock access to content from Expansion Pass added to the main menu
- Game balance adjusted
- Various fixes to improve gameplay
- Complete Patch Notes
- Added the “Events Theater” feature.
- Allows you to view event cut scenes you’ve previously viewed whenever you like.
- Requires save data played up to the event cut scene in question.
- Added the ability to turn Japanese character voices on or off to the Sound Options.
- Added the ability to receive items distributed via the Expansion Pass.
- Downloading the Expansion Pass will add “Expansion Pass” to the main menu, allowing you to receive associated items.
- The main menu can be accessed during play by pressing the + button.
- Adjustments have been made to better balance aspects of the game.
- Adjustments have been made to make for a more pleasant gaming experience.
The Patch (Ver.1.1.1) released on December 22nd, 2017 brings:
- Bug fixes
- Easy mode for Tiger! Tiger!
- By pressing the X Button, the Skip Travel screen will open the map to the current location. This will make it easier to spot Skip Travel locations and Salvage Points on the map.
- An additional 1:1 zoom on the mini map will be displayed by pressing the L Stick. This will allow improved visibility of your surroundings and make it easier to check quest locations.
- Complete Patch Notes
- Fixed an issue occurring in the Gormott regular quest “One Step Ahead,” where acquiring the Healing Herb quest item at 12:00 caused the item to fail to be counted in the quest log, preventing completion of the quest.
- Fixed an issue occurring in the Gormott regular quest “A Young Man's Prize,” where acquiring the Snow-White Rhino quest item at 7:00 caused the item to fail to be counted in the quest log, preventing completion of the quest.
- Fixed an issue occurring in the Gormott regular quest “The Riddle on the Wall,” preventing quest progression.
- Fixed an issue occurring in Perceval’s blade quest “Failure and Success,” preventing quest progression.
- Fixed an issue occurring in Gorg’s blade quest “Follow Your Passion,” preventing quest progression.
- Fixed an issue occurring after viewing the “Something in Common” movie in the “Chapter One: Encounters” section of the Events Theater causing the camera to continue shaking after returning to the game.
- Made adjustments to improve the stability of performing certain actions.
- Due to these adjustments, time required for Skip Travel and loading event cut scenes has become longer in some instances and shorter in others.
- A Pro Controller can now be used when the Joy-Con Controllers are attached to the system in Tabletop Mode.
- Added an Easy difficulty to the Tiger! Tiger! mini game.
- Added a new size of map to the mini map.
- Pressing X when in the field to open the Skip Travel screen, the map of your current location will open.
- Added functionality to allow players to receive the second round of items associated with the Expansion Pass.
The Patch (Ver.1.1.0) released on January 18th 2018 along with the "New Quests Pack 1" and the "Helpful Items Pack 3", it brings:
- Bug fixes
- New functionality added to receive the "New Quests Pack 1" and the "Helpful Items Pack 3"
- Voiced segments in menus can be skipped
- Complete Patch Notes
- Fixed an issue in which parts set to a specific Skill RAM failed to provide their intended effects.
- Adjusted the Gormott regular quest The Riddle on the Wall to make it completable regardless of player progression in the main story.
- Adjusted Finch's Blade Quest Birds of a Feather to make it completable regardless of player progression in the main story.
- Fixed an issue in Agate's Blade Quest Precious Yearnings preventing quest progression.
- Added functionality to allow players to receive the first round of quests and the second round of items associated with the Expansion Pass.
- Voiced segments in menus can now be skipped with the A or B button.
Although it was not officially indicated, this update modifies the voice lines of the Ardainian Soldiers:
- "Think you can take me?" becomes "Take that!"
- "Don't forget me!" becomes "Don't forget!"
- "You're done!" keeps as such.
The next patch will be released on January 2018, it brings the second playthrough elements, a kind of "New Game +":
- Ability to recruit certain Blades to the party.
- Possibility to dispatch Blades like Pyra and Dromarch in Merc Groups.
- The "LV 4 Special" of a certain Blade can be unlocked.
Japanese-voice Pack Free DLC
- December 1st 2017: A free day-one DLC adds the Japanese-voice Pack.
An Expansion Pass was made available upon the release of the game. Currently, it requires 600MB of space.
Helpful Items Pack
December 1st, 2017: A series of adventure support items:
- War Chest Contribution from Bana: 50,000 G
- Super-Useful Pouch items Sample: 3 x Cream Orange Parathas
- Gift from Mr. Rurui: 10 x Silver Cylinders
- Newbie Driver's Core Crystal Set: 5 x Common Core Crystals
Helpful Items Pack 2
December 22nd, 2017: A series of adventure support items:
- Driver Essentials Set: 10 x Rare Core Crystal, 1 x Legendary Core Crystal, 3 x Overdrive Protocol
- Upgrade Parts for Poppi: 30,000 ether
- Pyra's Favourite Things: 5 x Jenerossi Tea
- Nia's Favourite Things: 5 x Ardainian Bear Carving
Helpful Items Pack 3
January 18th, 2018: A series of adventure support items:
- Driver Essentials Set 2:
- Tora's Favorite Thing: Juicy Samod x 3
- Poppi α's Favorite Thing: Fizz Juice x 3
- Charming Driver Gear: Auto-Balancer x 1
New Quests Pack 1
January 18th, 2018: A series of additional quests for the main game:
- Passion of the Artisan (available from chapter 2)
- M.I.A. Nopon (available from chapter 3)
- Industrial Sort of Tour (available from chapter 5)
- Midnight Feasting (available from chapter 7)
- The Lone Watchman (available from chapter 10)
- Spring 2018: A new rare Blade.
- Summer 2018: A new challenge battle mode against powerful enemies.
- Fall 2018: A brand-new story and adventure.
Several tie-in products have been or will be released. These include:
- A limited special/collector edition of the game with the following extras:
- A special Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Nintendo Switch Pro Controller.
- A 1/7 scale Pyra figure made by Good Smile Company and based on a concept art designed by Masatsugu Saito.
A DLC for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild bringing Rex's costume to Link was released on November 9th, 2017. It offers the new side quest Collaboration: Xenoblade Chronicles 2 where Link has to discover three red treasures across Hyrule, containing the Salvager Headwear, Vest and Trousers. These three pieces of Rex's costume, when worn together, grant Link the bonus effect Swim Speed Up.
- Official page on Nintendo Japan website
- Official page on Nintendo of America website
- Expansion Pass on Nintendo of America website
- How to Update Xenoblade Chronicles 2 from Nintendo website
- Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Behind the story development by Yuichiro Takeda
- Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Message from Director Takahashi
- Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Director Takahashi on the first post-launch update
- Nintendo Support - How to Update Xenoblade Chronicles 2
- Official page on Nintendo UK website
- Expansion Pass on Nintendo UK website
- Masatsugu Saito discusses main character design in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – part one
- An introduction to Xenoblade Chronicles 2 from director Tetsuya Takahashi
- Upcoming updates by Tetsuya Takahashi
- Masatsugu Saito discusses main character design in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – part two
- Nintendo Switch Presentation 2017
- Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Wikipedia page