Scoring pretty good so far, as we expected, though not quite as high as the first game (85% between 44 reviews at the moment... original had a 92%, X had an 84%...)
Trying to decide if I should read some reviews or just come in totally clean. Either way I'll probably wait on buying it for a bit, want to actually play some of the smaller stuff I've been holding off on for awhile (both new and stuff I've started) before getting into another beast of a game.
I watched Tim Rogers's video on the game earlier today. (Yeah, apparently Tim Rogers is still around! Seems to be a much better writer than he was back in the day.)
When I played Breath of the Wild I realized that it was everything I wanted from the original Xenoblade Chronicles and more. Don't think I'll be playing XC2--looks like more of the same for people who loved the first one, but even crazier and complicateder and animer.
Oh my sweet lord. I got a notification that I had to pick up my collector's edition instead of having it delivered to me, since it wouldn't fit in my mailbox. So I went to pick it up, expecting something roughly the same size as other collector's editions I have, like three or four DVD cases put together, but this thing is huge! Similar in size to my torso. And it's gorgeous! Unlike my torso.
The outer cardboard sleeve is red and black on one side, and white and gold on the other. The inner cardboard box is black with shiny silver symbols printed on it, and to open it up you slide its sides apart to reveal the amazing art book lying snuggly in the middle. Around 220 pages of production artworks on nice, glossy paper.
Underneath the book is a kind-of-hidden compartment that you open up by pulling on a string, revealing the retail box and steel case, with the soundtrack selection CD lying under those.
I'm blown away by this, and I haven't even started the game yet.
Playing the first chapter now, and everything is fucking fantastic so far!
The art is absolutely beautiful already! Such an impressive attention to detail, and just the right amount of whimsy to go with the realism! Being someone who was disappointed with Xenoblade Chronicles X's art direction in some ways, this is such a great feeling! Even though Rex's design is a bit heavy on the anime for my tastes (and I'm bound to get hung up on the fan service characters later on) it all looks so much better than it first did, and it's all coming together perfectly! And the characters as such are likeable too!
Also, the soundtrack is brilliant! It's like listening to the love child of the first Xenoblade's soundtrack and an old Miyazaki film or something. Ooooo, I can't handle this shit!
I've only played through the first four hours, so with any luck Monolith will have screwed up the sidequests and skill trees and things will take a nose dive real soon and you won't have to worry about this again.
I've got my first complaints, and I'm sure these are things people who've followed the game coverage have been aware of for some time.
No armor customizations. What the hell. I've always loved mixing and matching armor pieces to adjust stats and appearance, and since they looked so awesome in the original Xenoblade, this is a huge step down for me.
Also, I haven't seen anything resembling the affinity system with the NPCs that was present in Xenoblade, and to a lesser extent in X. That system was genius, so I hope it will come back into play at some point soon. Five hours in and I've still got parts of my menu locked.
The collectibles don't seem to have any descriptive texts or pictures either. You're fucking up my immersion, Monolith.
Well, I've officially gone from "holy shit this is perfect" to "damn this is disappointing", just like that. Seems like Monolith has turned the battle system into something even more complex (which may or may not be a good thing), but has streamlined and cut back on all the other stuff I loved. This does not seem to be the Xenoblade 2.0 I wanted. It's a beautiful world with great music and atmosphere, but what does that matter if they're just gonna let it be a collection of set pieces instead of living, breathing environments. Even X had shown off a better integrated social system at this point. As in, it had one.
Gonna have to sleep on this and decide whether I want to keep going or not right now.
Yeah, I got to boss fight (the first one after the introduction chapter), and holy cow the battle system is very complex. And of course the boss fight was actually back to back fights, so I lost in phase 2. Granted, I was underleveled.
I actually like that the battle complexity is there, and that the other fluff, like armor customization/people affinity has been streamlined or eliminated. I wasn't a fan of all that stuff. I'm also happy with the transition to "collection points" instead of wandering around to collect random glowing orbs. Just seems like a better system to me so far.
@TheOldManFromZelda The battles aren't bad at all - I especially like the longer fights, like boss fights and stuff - but I still prefer the old system. Like, the old one was flexible enough that you could circumvent being underleveled by clever use of equipment or strategy. If you wanted to play it straight and just level up you could, but you'd also get rewarded for learning the ins and outs of the system.
I can definitely see why others prefer this system, but to me it feels wrapped in so many RNG events that I almost feel isolated from the actual gameplay at times. The resources you find, the blades you unlock, the materials you salvage. And while I don't mind the collection points system at all, I don't quite see the reason why it has to be an animated affair and especially not since the game needs your current animation to end completely before you get to press the A-button and actually activate the collection point. It's a miniscule gripe, but there are so many of these in this game.
The way they've pulled complexity from the social events/sidequests, the gear customization, the exploration and poured it all into the blade system doesn't sit well with me at all. I could have accepted it if the plot had sucked me in, but unless there's some major plot twisting around the corner this is one of the tropiest RPGs I've ever played. I loved it when the game started, because I thought they would play around with it and with our expectations, but now I get the feeling that they're truly meaning business with the clichés.
If I'm the only one bothered by these things, great, 'cause I like this series and I want it to do well so that it can live on. Maybe I'll have better luck next time. Maybe a Xenoblade Chronicles X 2 would be more up my alley, as weird as that seems to me.
EDIT: But please tell me I'm not the only one having a problem with the map/compass/menu in this game. These are things I will claim are objectively bad. Really terrible designs. The map and compass are borderline useless in this game. Xenoblade Chronicles was exploration perfection, why the fuck would they tamper with it like this?
EDIT 2: In order not to complain too much: I do love the soundtrack and the general art direction, though. Especially the environments. The architecture in Torigoth is amazing, and those golden, glowing raspberry type things that serve as lanterns in the dark are gorgeous. Despite being so disappointed with the game overall I'm very happy that I got my art book.