Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a phenomenal game in my opinion and topped my personal Game of the Year list for 2017. It had a rocky start and didn’t explain the mechanics well but it became a wholly satisfying experience with the story, characters, battle systems, and well over 100 side quests. I highly recommend checking it out. It is a must play for RPG lovers. Since its launch in December, we have seen a steady release of updates and additional content added to the game. Six months later, the game has seen some rather handy changes to make the experience better. Some examples include the ability to skip spoken lines in menus that would previously hold up the menu navigation, the ability to skip the blade awakening scenes, and and easy mode added to the Tiger! Tiger! mini game that makes the tough mini game loads more doable. As good as these changes are, there are some that should be added to the game to make it better for everyone. These are some changes I would like to see in Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
Quest Indicators and Markers:
The quest marker indicators are flawed. There is a slider at the top of the screen that indicates the general direction of the marker but it is inaccurate and seems to be based on the full 360 field of view instead of what is visible to the player. This make it tough to pinpoint objectives from a distance and make it easy to miss them when up close. The mini map doesn’t help matters either. There is no indicator for quest markers that appear outside of the are shown in the map. When I am following a marker, I find myself enlarging the map to take up the whole screen or going to the fast travel menu to make sure I am staying on track. My solution is simple. For the marker at the top of the screen, tweak it so that it shows the exact horizontal direction from the player’s point of view. For the mini map, have the markers show up on the borders of the map to indicate their direction. These minor changes would make questing considerably less annoying and make the main story objectives easier to find. Another thing to go along with this would be to add a marker or icon for enemies and bosses that are required for improving the skills of certain blades. Instead of walking by and finding out later that certain enemies are needed for ranking up blades, players could see that as they encounter the monsters and know they shouldn’t be skipped. Map icons for unique enemies that were encountered would be welcome as well.
The quest markers on the top can be a bit misleading and don’t point towards the targets on the right.
You can also see how the icons on the mini map are cut off at the edges.
Elemental Orb Tracking:
My next change involves Elemental Orbs. They are a key part in dealing heavy damage to mid and late game enemies. Essentially, the main goal in battles is to use the various arts and combos to bring out Elemental Orbs. You can have up to 8 orbs at a time, one for each element, (Fire, Water, Earth, Lightning, Wind, Ice, Light, and Dark.) The goal is to use a chain attack to break these orbs and cause an Elemental Burst for massive damage. The problem with orbs however is that they float around the enemy you are fighting and when you get more orbs, they are harder to track so you would have to remember which elements you used. This can be tricky in the heat of battle. The change I would like is a simple one, add an icon under the health bar to indicate which orbs are circling the enemy. We already have these icons appear when performing a chain attack so it would be a simple matter to add them in. This would allow the player to keep better track of them while still maintaining concentration on the other aspects of the fight.
The screenshot was taken from a chain attack and shows the desired icons that I would have appear so that players wouldn’t have to track elemental orbs in the already chaotic battles.
My next request is a rather simple one. One aspect of battle is timing. Basic Attacks and Arts can be cancelled into other actions by performing said action right as the attack hits. Performing this cancel will fill up the special meter faster and quickens the journey to getting Elemental Orbs in battles. The problem comes when combos are performed. Blade Combos and Driver Combos both benefit greatly from attack cancelling. When the two combos are performed together, there is a cinematic slowdown where the game zooms in on the character performing the attack. This slowdown will throw off the timing and keep you from performing that attack cancel. The change I would like is easy, just add an option to disable that cinematic slowdown. That way players can keep the timing flow going.
Training Mode Please:
My last change I would like to see is a training mode or a training dummy. Combat has a lot of complexities and the game does a poor job of conveying that. A training area with tutorial signs would help solve that issue. It would have a training dummy to practice the various combos on as well and test the various attacks. Tutorial signs would explain the nitty gritty of the combat for newcomers as well as returning players. I would have loved this on my first play through. I didn’t even know what a full burst was until the final areas of the game.
While these issues are relatively minor, they have been with the game since it launched six months ago. I love the game to death but these issues can make it tedious at times. I do hope someone at Nintendo and/or Monolith Soft sees this and implements these changes because this amazing game deserves perfection.