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Xenoblade Chronicles 2


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Made a start on this yesterday, but managed to put about 3 hours into it today.


It really eases you into things, the game starts out really slow and for the first couple of hours I was just exploring the Trading Guild. You can't do anything else but chat to folks whilst you're here, you can't even shop at the many stalls until you progress the main story enough. 


Every few steps the game will pause and explain something to you. There's a brief Battle guide right at the very beginning then all through the Trading Guild segment it is explaining how quests work, what certain markers mean, how you can look up the controls, how to dive for salvage, stay at Inns and find treasure chests and shit. I do like how they've done this but I still couldn't help but be bewildered by it all, there is just SO much information to take in, it feels like you're reading a 10 page instruction guide at times.


The tutorial stuff and information overload continues with the Battle system explanation. It explains the basics at the beginning, sure, but it gets ridiculously complicated the further you get into the game, drip feeding new mechanics to you as you reach certain story sections. It does this to avoid bamboozling you, but doesn't quite achieve it as I'm still confused about what certain combo's do and how to get various meters up - and keep them up - at the right times. It's a long-ass game though, I'm still in the tutorial almost 4 hours in, and I'm sure it will all become second nature, but at the moment it feels incredibly bewildering.


The first thing I noticed about the game is the music - it is phenomenal. Just running around the trade guild there's a certain section on the track where some wind instruments come in that almost made me tear up a bit, and I was just running around the damn trade guild!


The combat feels very simple at first, but gets more complex the further I got into the game, by the end the strategies needed will be pretty damn complicated I'd imagine. It auto-attacks enemies with you pressing some of the face buttons to do 'arts' which are like special attacks, once you get a 'blade' you can do blade arts, blade combos and stuff and there's a party meter up the top left which if you fill up you can do some gangster chain attack or something? But yeah, I still can't quite get my head around all that yet and just push buttons at random when I think I can affect a fight, all the enemies are very easy so far so I haven't had any issues doing just that.


A lot had been made of the voice acting - I did download the JP voice pack, but have stuck to English for now - but I think it's all rather excellent really. The lead character - Rex - speaks with a midland-ish accent sounding a bit Yorkie at times, there's other characters which sound typically American anime but there's one other girl that's Welsh which I just absolutely adore the accent of and quite a few different Scottish accents. Most of the NPCs seem to have some variety of UK accents too. The writing has been pretty good so far, very Japanese/anime, but pretty decent all the same.


The story purposefully starts off really slowly, but the end of Chapter 1 went fucking batshit crazy, it was like the finale of some other games I've played in the past, some truly crazy shit goes on there. I can't believe I ended up weeping just in Chapter 2 :blush: Don't want to ruin anything, but yeah, it sets things up perfectly, and ramps the drama up to 11 right out the blue, there's a mystery to the world and story already that I want to poke and prod at more.


So yeah, I do like what I've played so far but it still feels like there's so much information I need to digest before I can feel fully comfortable with everything. It's damn beautiful too!


I think this is the first game on Switch that I feel a bit reticent to play in tabletop mode. I still think it'd be great but to be able to appreciate the size of these worlds, see all the text and HUD info I kind of think you need to see it on a TV.









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Played another 2ish hours yesterday, 6ish total.


Despite my fears about Tabletop/Handheld mode, I had a fantastic time today, the colours actually seemed better on the Switch screen than my TV - where they looked a bit washed out at times, so yeah, I was wrong about that.


Really started to click with this today, I got a new party member pretty early into my session and reached the first mammoth open world area and town. Had an absolute whale of a time exploring everything and everything just seemed to come together.


The biggest plus was getting to grips with the battle system. The added party member helped proceedings tremendously, having another Driver/Blade beside you to help you out and time attacks with but also having a whole field-full of enemies to wail on anytime I wanted was pretty handy, when you get the hang of it it's almost like a rhythm action game in a lot of ways, it feels SO incredibly fluid and exhilarating, I actually think, already this could be one of the best JRPG battle systems I've used.


Just timing the Arts so they hit after the auto attack gives you Arts+ which deals more damage - shown on screen by a blue circle, then you can charge up Blade Arts - which again get a boost by timing after the auto attack - to III which can deal humongous damage. And on top of all this you can time the other Drivers' Blades' Art in sequence with your own Blades' Art and do some insane dual damage combo thing - Fire + Water = the enemy steaming like a Kettle for example - it all just feels like a dance, it's so hard to describe but it is phenomenal. Incredibly deep and quite bamboozling to get your head around but so fulfilling when everything comes together, as I amass more party members as the game goes on, the dance is going to get even more riveting too.


It actually felt a bit like BotW at times, I know Monolithsoft had a big hand in the development of that and the HUD, time of day, mini map and and the world design so far just reminds me of that quite a bit, Monster Hunter too a tad. The weight and feel of Rex to control when you're just running around one of these huge open areas is very similar to Link too I found. It's absolutely bonkers that they put Level 70+ enemies in this opening sandbox area too, you're just wailing on some little bunny thing and some humongous Level 85 Gorilla shows up out of nowhere and one-shots you - reminded me of the first Giant encounter in Skyrim - you're like WHAT THE FUCK, but it's quite funny when it happens in a weird way. There doesn't seem to be much of a penalty for death either, when you die you're just sent back to the last location you visited with all items, experience etc. you amassed still intact.


I think I've fallen for Nia too, she's just da bomb. I mean, I loved her before my recent session but I've just grown to love her even more since, she's one of the best written characters I've ever seen in a game before, so deep, so sassy, strong, caring and independent, maybe it's the Welsh accent too. I don't think I've ever fallen for a JRPG character this early before, even Chie (best Waifu in Persona 4, don't @ me :lol:)  it took me a bit longer to fall for.


I don't really want to comment on the story much as it's still very much in Act 1: Scene 1 of the entire adventure. But yeah, some more shit happened today with another badass battle accompanied by some badass action cutscenes.


This may already be my GOTY, don't think I've ever been this smitten with a JRPG this early before.


No easy mode, or any difficulty slider at all from what I've seen @spatular enemies endlessly respawn though so the grinding opportunities are endless if you have troubles. All battles around my kind of Level have been pretty easy going so far, I've died quite a bit experimenting with higher foes, but yeah that was just me dicking around mostly.


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Played another 4 hours earlier, 10 total.


Didn't quite have the exhilarating time with it today as I had yesterday, but enjoyed the change of pace regardless. Almost all my session took place in the first proper town you come to, I'd seen brief snippets of it yesterday but didn't realise how big it was, it's bloody huge!


So beautiful as well, perched on the edge of the Cloud Sea with windmills and piers darting out into the thick Clouds. It has a slight industrial look to it but it seems to blend in so well, kinda reminded me a bit of Ding Dong Dell in NNK and the Sky village right at the beginning of Gravity Rush 2. Great vibes to it, so jolly just wandering about and talking to people, I'm still none the wiser whether I should be buying shit or not at the moment so I've rarely been touching the shops - apart from when necessary for quests - really.


Speaking of quests, they took up the entirety of my day, I did do a little bit of exploring to an area up a tree where another Lumberjack village was but apart from that I was full on questing. I'd done a few of the side quests back at the Trade Guild at the very beginning of the game but in and around this town they were all pretty different. Almost every one I did was a 'Collect 5 of x material, bring it back' kind of fetch quest, there was a couple I did where you had to rescue someone from monsters but by and large this was pretty much every quest I did.


I was lucky that I had some of the materials for some of the quest giving NPCs right off the bat, but others I didn't and it really wasn't that fun at all to trudge around looking for them. In particular was this one quest where I had to find Winding Gears, had no idea where to find them - no marker on the map or anything - so I had to look it up on my phone, but it was a salvage point so I had to buy a bunch of cylinders and go diving. I wasn't having any luck whatsoever so I equipped a +20 luck accessory in my inventory, bought 5 more and said 'if I don't find them now I'm walking away', luckily I managed to find all I needed with those 5 cylinders, it cost me a whole shitload of cash though, about 6,000G. There was another quest - which acted as a shop buying tutorial - where you have to buy all the items in a shop and then the deeds, this took another 8,000G from me, so I went from comfortably sitting with 22,000G to a paltry 6,000G.


Once I went back to the main story quests in the town - which were essentially doing the same thing, collecting shit - I found out I had to gather another 12,000G total to buy a key item for the task ahead. I only had 6,000G to my name so had to make some cash fast, looked it up and ended up going to the exchange - like a bounty board but for parts - and managed to just about scrape enough cash together here to buy all I needed, but that left me with a measly 2,000G left. I had barely spent a penny before these quests as well, and now I'm broke :lol: 


A lot of these side-quests felt so similar to BotW, the more I play through this I realise there's more of Monolithsoft's fingerprints over that game than I thought there was originally.


So the key item got built, and there was this cool 8 bit mini-game where you have to go down into this well, pick treasure up and bring it back to the surface. You get rewards for doing this, but I found it pretty hard going, but pretty addictive. Nice to see them put something like that in here.


Left it there for the day, didn't get a whole lot done but enjoyed exploring the town. 

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Played another 13 hours of this since my last post, 23 total.


Where to begin! So much has happened since my last update.


So I welcomed a new party member into the gang -


Torna the Nopon - and he/she brought with them a very unique Blade - Poppi - who comes in incredibly handy, she doesn't function like other blades and can't equip Aux Cores, but she can be upgraded with parts you find in the Tiger! Tiger! mini game, so you can change her elemental type at will, which is very handy.

After that I was now strong enough to go and rescue



off a ship, so I set off and entered this huge dungeon, this place was ridiculous, such a maze, I absolutely loved it. Finding out all the nooks and crannies and using - or remembering to come back to later - field skills to open inaccessible hidden passages dotted around the ship.


Once everything was done here a lot more cool cutscenes took place, all very anime, very grandiose and high tension, loved every second of it, the story continues to delight even though relatively little has happened yet.


Next task was to find a ship to sail to the World Tree, you have to gather parts from across Gormott and eventually go find the missing Titan ship to be able to take off, of course things don't go to plan and you end up in another area.


This new area is completely different and a hell of a lot more enclosed than Gormott, much more exotic in design and could even be mistake for being some Alien space planet or something. Did a lot of exploring here, a few more story cutscenes and characters were introduced before I found the next town up ahead. Spent a lot of time here just doing my usual thing, dilly-dailling about, picking up some side quests and speaking to everyone I could around the town before heading off for more story questing.


Not much happens here, you go off to another part of the new area to solve a minor problem, end up in a battle with a monster. Then once you get back to town there's lots more cool cutscenes and mad-cool anime shit. This continues as you reach a new part of this area and more mad anime cutscenes happen, as soon as they were over I did my usual thing of wailing on every animal in sight and called it a day.


I'm still very early on, and things could still nosedive, but at the moment this is comfortably my game of the year. It is just leaps and bounds above everything else for me - even Persona 5, which I adored - didn't feel anywhere near as special as this to me, I'm not sure if I would've felt that way if I'd played the original or not, but, to me it just seems like such a fresh take on the genre in lots of ways whilst still sticking within JRPG guidelines.


I'll repeat what I said earlier, the combat system is probably the best I've ever experienced in a JRPG - although I did adore FFXV's as well - and in a game like this you're doing a ton of fighting all the time so it needs to be good to keep you engaged. Just in the 2nd or 3rd dungeon in Persona 5 I'd gotten a little bored of the combat - playing on Safe probably didn't help - but with this it just feels like an ornate dance, it's similar to FFXV in some ways I guess but with a whole load more depth. The best thing about it is you just feel like an absolute badass, the chain attack where each party member takes turns wailing on the enemy in one long string of attacks is just spectacular to behold and getting the hang of how Driver-Blade combos can work in tandem with one another is really nice. I've just learnt about elemental orbs on certain enemies too which is something else I'll need to think about as I go on I feel. 


The sense of place and scale is just unparalleled as well, you truly feel like you're going on this big grand adventure. You're hiking across these absolute mammoth sized placed, battling a ton of enemies and then you get to go to somewhere completely different and discover a whole new area that feels vastly different than the last, and I've a feeling this is going to happen again and again. The dungeons have been the real surprise though for me, they're way more in depth and feature tons more nooks and crannies, hidden places to come back to and puzzles than I ever expected, they are way longer than I thought they'd be as well. This living breathing world, it feels so real, so well connected and with so much intensity and meaning to everything about it. 


Spent about an hour in menus last night as well, just fiddling around with everything. There is an absolutely ridiculous amount of depth in character customisation, inventory itemisation etc. too, went through every blade I had equipping them with newly refined Aux Cores, equipping their drivers with select accessories to make them better and accessing their affinity chart to make sure I was getting all the perks I had popping up on screen alright.


One of the most interesting elements is the 'Core Crystal Bonding' though. To be able to get new blades you need to touch new core crystals with Rex and other Drivers in your party, there are common, rare and beastly core crystals you can get, and each give you a greater chance of getting a Rare blade. I've opened about 20 common crystals and 3-4 rare crystals so far and only got 2 rare blades, so the RNG doesn't exactly favour the player so far. I believe later in the game there's a chance to send all the shitty blades off to level up and get you money and stuff like AC:Brotherhood etc. but until then they'll just sit gathering virtual dust in my inventory.


I don't think there's one character I've disliked so far either, even the baddies are cool as hell! It took me a while to warm to Pyra as she's just dressed so ridiculously it takes a while to take her seriously, but once you do she's really cool as well. Even some of the NPCs you meet have had way more character and warmth to them than they ever needed to have.


So yeah, that's where I am with it, only up to Chapter 3 but it's definitely leaps and bounds above anything else I've played this year, I haven't been able to put it down. Just hope it keeps it up for the duration.


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Another 8 hours since my last post, 31 total.


I did hit my first low with the game exploring this new area, I seemed to spend the entirety of this particular session just wailing on enemies. I know I didn't have to, but when I see them in the vicinity I want to beat them up I can't help it, I just think I overdid it a bit really as I got a bit sick of it towards the end.


I also realised that it's possible to fight with only one hand. Towards the end of my session I had to look at some stuff on my phone briefly, just pressing A and B to do random attacks whilst looking stuff up, this is cool in a way but I also think it sends out the wrong message for its combat system if that makes sense.


Nevertheless, I pushed through and reached the Capital of this particular land. This place was just phenomenal, the way the architecture blended in with the exotic, strange, surreal world with all these exotic monsters swimming/flying about and the music of this area. The music was absolutely insane, it has been phenomenal throughout but the day/night themes of this particular area just made it resonate that much more and become an absolute joy to spend time in.


Looking at this City from the bottom of the lake in the area is just awe-inspiring. You look up some huge grandiose staircase all the way up to the heavens and can't help but think 'whoa, how the fuck do I get up there?!', luckily you visit later and it definitely lives up to its ornate, luxurious view.


I really don't want to spoil anything about the story at all as it's incredibly special. But, needless to say, I wept for the second time on this playthrough. The end of Chapter 3 is just in-fucking-credible, just whole-other-level shit, so moving and emotional.


This game is so incredibly special. I've adored the - relatively little - other JRPGs I've played, but this is definitely up there with them. I would suggest it's worth buying a Switch just for this game, forget Zelda, forget SMO, this is the true Switch killer app.







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This arrived today and I've put 3 hours into it. First impressions, love it. Music is lovely, as in the first game. Systems wise, they've changed things fairly significantly from the first game. And the opening three hours were heavy on story, which is good. 


Three hours passes quickly in a jrpg! :)

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Up to 38 hours now, managed to clock in another 7 hours over the weekend.


It just continues to surprise and amaze. Spent a lot time exploring since getting into Chapter 4, gone back to previous areas - Gormott and Argentum - to try to develop the towns there more and pick up more side quests as more and more seem to become available as you get further into the story.


The depth is just crazy. I've probably said that before but it continues to surprise me at just how much different, unique mechanics and micro-management it throws at you. I could kind of foresee this happening but you take over this group and get to send off Blades to complete certain missions around Alrest just like how you send off Assassin's in AC:Brotherhood etc. I loved this mechanic in those, how it keeps your neglected assassin's feeling useful and part of this worldwide web of assassin syndicates. And it feels just as fantastic and immersive here, it keeps all your blades feeling useful and you're levelling up and teaching them new abilities at the same time. I guess it's not new, has been done many times before at this point, but it just managed to add an extra layer of depth to an already deep, complex game. 


I love how it ties in with side-quests and the development of towns as well. To be able to complete certain side quest objectives you have to complete the Brotherhood-style mission, this will then allow you to finish said side quest and potentially up the development level of the town you're situated in. Keeps these places feeling real and believable, and that you have a stake in them rather them then just being these places you breeze through. They all have their own set economies and the more you spend in a town and the more items you buy at certain stores you can then get the Deeds to said store and earn bonuses from it, it's only a little thing but it means you've actually got something to spend your money on throughout instead of just hording it until you have 1 million gold left at the end of the game.


The side quests themselves haven't really changed at all and have rigidly stuck to the 'gather x number of ingredients or save x person from monsters' templates, but you know what, they've kind of grown on me a bit over time. It is just such a jolly game, and I feel so immersed and such an integral part of this world that I don't mind them, they're a nice change of pace and as long as you don't do too many in one block of time then they're inoffensive really, could be better for sure, but yeah they're an enjoyable distraction. They get me out my comfort zone and into the wilderness exploring areas or salvaging to get the parts that I want, it is definitely helpful that if you set said side quest as 'active' in the menu then it'll usually show you exactly which creatures you need to stomp on to get the ingredients you need, I have found myself looking a few up on the net though as some are more vague.


The story largely seems to be in intermission so far during this Chapter. There really isn't anything to tell at all, the Chapter seems to be geared to getting me to a new region but of course it's sending me on a wild goose chase to solve a few issues and meet a few different folks over the regions I've already discovered before I'm allowed to do so.


Phenomenal so far, every waking moment I just want to be back in Alrest.

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7.5 hours after 3 days, played as far as the part where the game allows you to craft extra Blades, so I made two new ones. In almost every aspect you could think of, there's something new to the game. I guess most importantly, the combat has evolved (to something quite interesting). 


Being able to play with Japanese voices is a nice treat. So far, the game has been much more of a comedy than the po-faced first game. There was a running joke about the character Nia and whether she resembles the picture on her wanted poster. A few characters make reference to this in a really funny way, the girl Nia uses one of my favourite Japanese words ブサイク which is slang for ugly person. The grandpa has a really funny voice actor (in that completely over the top Japanese old man style).


But I have to keep mentioning the music, it's lovely. The brief music that plays when you rest at an inn has the same instrument that's used in the Balamb Garden theme in FFVIII. I don't know what it is, it's probably just a keyboard. But it's a beautiful sound.


Edit: And again, the translation. It's interesting to note that like almost every other game I've played with Japanese voices, the translators often keep the tone but change the meaning completely. For example, a character asks where she can go to find Nia, her subordinate blubbers something or other and she repeats the question again, but the second time around the translators wrote "did I ask for your opinion" which she doesn't say at all (in Japanese). However I assume that the English text matches the English spoken script.

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Yeah, the music is ridiculously good, so pleased I got the CE just for that soundtrack CD, going to put it on repeat when I re-open it at Xmas. 2017 music in video games has just been insane with Cuphead, Nier Automata, this - and probably a few others I'm forgetting.



Another 8 hours since my last post, 46 total.


There's not much to tell really, I've hardly progressed the story at all, Chapter 4 must be one of the longest chapters in the game, think I've spent 8-10 hours on that chapter alone. :lol:


I've got to another new region, I don't want to spoil anything about it, but it's safe to say it feels unique and special much like all the other areas I've visited so far. This particular one feels significantly less jolly than the others though and the whole vibe/look of the region actually reminds me of Nier quite a bit.


Been running all around here, wailing on a whole load of new enemies that are a bit tougher than I'm used to - especially in crowds. Died quite a few times here and have been actively avoiding some enemies around my level as I know I'm not yet strong enough for them. 


Been fast-travelling a lot back and forth to the other regions to check up on side quests, the brotherhood-style missions - and upgrading it so I can send more parties out on missions - and I've got 3 new rare blades too which is always nice.


But yeah, I've just been having a fantastic time exploring this new area, seeing everything there is to see and speaking to all the folks possible. Of course it is also accompanied by new - incredible - music tracks that compliment this region down to a T as per usual. 

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14 hours in now. Finished chapter 2 and am just wrapping up a few sidequests in Gormott. 


I was tinkering with with some of the game's systems trying to understand them better and I realised a few things:


Whatever blades you have equipped, you will gain WP equally for those blades (more specifically, weapon types) even if you don't use them. However I haven't managed to figure out yet if just equipping one blade gives you more WP, or if equipping two blades of the same weapon type gives you double WP... 


Blade affinity only appears to go up for the blade that you use in combat, however I did notice that my affinity with Pyra went up once even though I wasn't using her, so maybe you can can affinity points from quest rewards, or maybe it does go up very slowly (but it definitely doesn't go up in tandem like WP does).


It might be worth mentioning for anyone that hasn't played the game yet, that the red marker on the compass is always for the main story, and the blue marker for active side quests. I somehow managed to forget this and was chasing the red marker during a simple side quest, which led to much head scratching...


Also, I think high level monsters have been more aggressive in this game. I was rarely killed by level 80+ monsters in XC1 but I've been killed by that giant gorilla running around Gormott a few times. 

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21 hours now and I've reached Uraya, fantastic game. You could argue that some of the systems are totally unnecessary, but on the other hand, the fact that there are so many menus and things to tweak and upgrade does keep you engaged as you play the game. It's bursting at the seams with ideas, but in a good way.


One area I think they have toned down (it could just be my imagination though) is the sidequests. It feels like there are no where near as many sidequests as there were in the first game (I certainly remember scrolling through pages of fetch quests in XC1) and what's here is more thought out, and generally worth doing (as well as the exp and SP rewards, completing sidequests also seems to give a large boost to Blade affinity). And as a result of there being less sidequests, developing areas is also less of a monumental task/distraction. 


The game has got that adventure feel of the classic PS1 Final Fantasy games, which it strongly reminds me of. Of course it's not as good as those games, but it's good company to be in. So far, I think it's better than XC1.

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If you haven't played this game: please read this!


Today I had an epiphany and realised something so fundamental to the combat of this game - well it was a mixture of an en epiphany and the game vaguely mentioning it enough times that made me realise. 


The key to combat in XC2 is blade combos, more specifically constantly chaining blade combos so that you can unleash a level 1, level 2 and level 3 combo, then rinse and repeat. This will reduce battle time from 10-20 minutes+ against a regular frog or rabbit to a matter of one minute or less. It's so fundamental to the game but the game doesn't explain it.


Basically, auto-attacks are almost irrelevant (I guess that's the reason they're automated). Arts do a little damage and have other important effects like breaking, toppling etc (the game eventually does expain this well). But if you just use auto-attacks and arts with the occasional blade combo when the prompt flashes up on the screen, without paying attention to chaining blade combos together, battles will take an awful long time.


What I mean is, the move that you can activate by pressing A for your main character, or ZL and ZR for the other members in your party. At the start, this will always be a level one move (for a lightning blade, Volt, for a a fire blade, Burn, etc). You then have a period of time, indicated by a bar on the top of the screen that slowly moves down, to chain the next move, which will be a level 2 combo (for example, if you start with a leve 1 earth combo, the level 2 fire combo is Volcano). And then you have a period time to activate the level 3 combo in the chain, which will do massive damage.


The thing is, elements always chain into the same elements. Earth - Fire - Earth for example. Any one element can be chained into only two elements at a particular stage (this information is visible on the top right of the screen where you see the whole possible chain in coloured icons from beginning to end, so for example if you start with a fire move, it will show the two available level 2 blade combos that can be activated, and the two level 3 blade combos that can be activated for each of those).


With this in mind, the most important thing to consider is the elements of the blades in your party (since chaining is defined by elements). You need to have elements that you can chain to use a level 3 blade combo. It's no good using a level 1 blade combo if no party member has the appropriate element for a level 2 combo. Even only getting to the level 2 combo is useless, you need to activate the level 3 combo.


An element can always chain into the same element ( e.g. Fire-Fire-Fire) so having two characters with the same elemental Blade is one good strategy, however one character is usually not able to activate the entire chain by themselves as they will not be able to activate the next move in time before the timer runs out. 


However doing things like breaking and toppling the enemy will increase the timer and allow the same character to keep the chain going. 


But just with the standard elemental type of your starter blades it's easy to achieve level 3 combos over and over again, once you know what you're doing.


What I've written might sound complicated but if you play the game you'll understand what I mean pretty quickly. There's no doubt about it, this is how you are supposed to fight enemies in the game, it's what the designers intend you to do. 


If you don't do this, combat will make zero sense. If you do, it becomes a lot of fun. 

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Haven't updated this in awhile, 22 hours played since my last post, 68 total.


Now up to Chapter 6. Lots has happened since my last update.


I'm not going to go into any detail, but let's just say since the Nier-like area I've experienced another 3 new regions.


Two are really distinct, one of these is really serene and feels ethereal, the other feels incredibly ornate, holy and luxurious. The last one feels similar to the Nier-like area from before in design and nowhere near as memorable. The soundtrack to the ornate one brought me to tears, it is too beautiful to describe, I was pottering around this area for ages just to listen to that song more.


These new worlds always keep things feeling fresh and new. It really does feel like you're going to whole new countries every time you reach one of these new areas, I love the sense of scale and place that this world has and how all these places fit together, it really feels like such a incredibly detailed, living, breathing world with so many different types of people with differing ideologies, traditions and religions across them.


As I'm rather over-levelled - thanks to battering all the enemies I encounter along my way - I haven't had too many difficulties at all throughout the game with bosses and avoided the tougher high level enemies I encounter in the open areas. However, at the end of Chapter 5, all this came crashing down. You fight 3 bosses back-to-back, one of which there's another enemy - who's invincible - attacking you and taking your parties' aggro away from the boss. I had trouble getting the right team balance for this encounter, but managed it eventually, the second boss was quite easy but the third I had major issues with again. I must've changed my team composition about 3-5 times before I finally got the balance right and put it down with ease.


But, man, was that an eye-opener. I was way over-levelled - this boss was only Level 36 and I was 47 at the time - and it was crushing me every single fucking time. The saving grace is, if you fail at one of these bosses you don't have to redo them all, you just pick up from after the last boss you defeated, which is nice. But yeah, definitely a wake up call and I think the rest of this game is definitely going to have some moments where I'm going to have to dig deep.


Apart from the frustration of those boss fights though, I still absolutely adore it. It feels like such an grand journey across a huge world with such cool characters and I can't get enough of it.


I've taken a number of pictures too, but don't want to spoil anything so won't be posting them until a later date.

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Nice one @mr lakitu ??


Haha yeah I know, it’s just the process of uploading to Twitter/Facebook to be able to upload them to here is the issue as a lot of my followers/friends would get worlds/party members spoilt.


I’ll try to figure something out but if I wait until late Jan or so it shouldn’t be an issue.

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I guess everyone playing it already knows but the game has been patched with a couple of (moderately) helpful changes (relating to the minimap and skip travel function).


I'm up to 40 hours now. There's not much to say other than that I've done a lot of everything.


I talked about blade combos in a previous post well today I also realised something even simpler - you also activate your Blade's special move by pressing the A button (as long as there isn't a blade combo prompt flashing on screen). It will activate the move corresponding to the level you have charged it to (represented by the Roman numeral on the screen). Of course I had done this lots of times without paying attention but I guess today I consciously "realised" that's what was happening. 


Its just one one more element in a combat system that I love (how can something so beautifully simple have appeared so complicated?). I was disappointed when FFXIII's combat was a massive regression from XII but I think we are seeing the legacy of XII in a game like XC2.


One more touch I love is how the title screen changes as you progress through the story.

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Played another 19 hours since my last post, 87 total.


I'm up to Chapter 8 now.


Lots of shit has happened. Went to another new area in Chapter 6 which I absolutely adored, did lots of exploring, side quests etc. - the usual - here before carrying on with the story in the same area, story took a few turns I didn't expected and Ch. 6 itself ended pretty damn spectacularly.


I was getting a little bored of the pattern at this point though, I mean I've played this game so much and a pattern of 'go to place, scope place out and do side quests, explore, do main quests' has developed, I know this is a familiar gameplay loop to many other games and it's not like I actively hated it or anything it's just I knew what to expect and look out for as soon as I arrived in this new area. 


In Ch. 7 they switch things up a lot and it seems to focus very much more on the story. There's a bit less focus on exploration and huge locales and it gets a bit more linear, breaking up that familiar gameplay loop. So it's nice, I definitely felt a bit of malaise setting in over that familiar loop so to switch it up a bit is always welcome, not much happens for Chapter 7 until towards the end which is where you get some batshit insane Kojima style anime-esque cutscenes that leave you fucking grinning from ear to ear. 


And Chapter 8 so far has all been very Chapter 13 from FFXV. Just the whole vibe of the place, the locale itself and enemy designs are incredibly reminiscent, there's even a lift-section where you have to make your way up a tower just like that too, so yeah, not fantastic but the story is still consistently engaging to me.


The music redeems Ch. 8 a lot, the song that plays as soon as you get into the area there just gave me goosebumps, so many incredible songs on this soundtrack but this was a fantastic little melancholic violin number and it was just astounding.


Overall though I'm still adoring it, it's still comfortably my GOTY. After Ch. 7 it would've even been a GOAT contender but yeah Ch. 8 has lagged a bit so we'll see how it goes, definitely don't think I've got long left now.


Also, I bought the Expansion pass and it gives you a shit load of stuff, favourite pouch items for party members, 50K Gold, and 30K crystals to upgrade Poppi - which is incredibly handy - didn't know I'd get anything from it until NYE - first scheduled DLC on the eShop - so it was a pleasant surprise.

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