Oops, there goes 200 hours

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has been consuming my life for the past two weeks. I'm really into the combat system and looking for fast travel points. My current obsession is exploring every corner of  the world of Xenoblade Chronicles 2. There's also the added bonus of discovering fast travel points  that I can use while on side-quests.  The combat system has a ton of depth to it, the upgrade system is tied to exploring AND there's a gacha/lottery system where I don't have to spend real money!

This game has great trees.

Finding Monsters to Punch (and Enjoying Nature)
I find the world of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 really interesting,not just the trees. Here's the setting: mankind lives on top of these giant monsters because the world is covered in a sea of clouds that monster inhabit. The giant monsters,called Titans, act as walking continents with their own climate. The second titan you travel to is covered in greenery and is known for their forestry while the next titan is covered in wetlands with rivers,lakes and waterfalls throughout the region. It's crazy that there are ecosystems on the back of these massive creatures but I totally buy it. I've had so much time to appreciate the world because of how exploration is tied to upgrading your Blade(living weapons you wield), in an indirect sort of way. There's a grid system for you blade where you unlock power-up nodes by doing tasks. Ranging from kill a specific monster found in a certain area to gather a certain type of material or talk to a certain species. I find myself spending an hour or two unlocking as many nodes on my favorite Blades.

Sadly,I can't punch him.

Punching Monsters
 Instead of random encounters, you can choose to engage enemies locking on them or can avoid confrontation by sneaking past enemies. If you're a higher level than monsters, they generally won't engage you otherwise you'll have to be wary of how close you are to monsters. My favorite part about this system is XC2 mixes high level monsters with the low level monsters. There a point early on where I needed to sneak past this giant monster to complete a mission. Every time I tried to move past the giant monster a giant bird a few levels ahead of me would fly out of nowhere and start attacking me! As frustrating as it was, I learned that hour to be careful how I moved around monsters (and to show NO MERCY FOR BIRDS)!

Speak of,the combat is much deeper than I expected. Before you even start, you have to understand the drive and blade dynamic. You control 1 of three "Drivers" in your party, the other two are controlled by the A.I.  A Driver's class depends on the role of your weapon or "Blade" which are categorized as Attacker,Healer or Tank. You have the choice of being really good at one role or making hybrid roles depending on which Blades you have equipped! With all that in mind, each Driver has access to a different set of skills or "Arts" despite equipping the same weapon type. For example, one character might have Arts that focus on defending themselves or drawing aggro as a tank while another character will use that same weapon but will gain Arts that do extra damage when you attack a monster from the front or extra damage while you aggro'd them. I found the most success with sticking to the "holy trinity" of MMOs and having each party member focusing on 1 role. Let's just say I was really feeling it when I was missing a tank or healer during battle. I don't want to give anything away but this is just the surface. You'll learn how to do elemental combos or "Blade Combos" where you chain elemental super moves and then "Driver Combos" where you chain status effects in a specific order to inflict massive damage!

It's my personal mission to get KOS-MOS in every game she appears in.HAVEN'T FAILED YET

Getting More Blades to Punch More Monsters

No matter how hard I try, it seems I can't escape gacha/lottery systems! To get new Blades, you have to awaken them using Core Crystals. I haven't found a Core Crystal merchant yet but you can get them as monster drops and opening treasure chests. Normally, when you use a core crystal, you'll get a generic Blade with a random element,weapon type, stats and upgrade nodes. Blades can get field skills which can do anything from helping you explore new areas to increase the number of items you get from a gathering point.  Rarely, you'll get a "Rare Blade" which have a unique appearance, special skills and a more defined personality. Rare Blades can get special cutscenes called "Heart to Hearts" where you learn more about them and I find that really neat. My only complaint with XC2 is this is essentially a worse version of Pokemon's HMs.

While you won't need them for story purposes, you can't access certain areas,open special treasure chests or complete sidequests if you don't have a Rare Blade with the necessary skill. On the other hand, it seems when I get far enough I get a new party member that has a blade with a field skill I'll need.Despite that, I can't put this infernal game down! There's so much stuff for me to do! I need to explore every Titan I come across and upgrade ALL of my blades regardless of usefulness!
Seriously, give Xenoblade Chronicles 2 a try. I cannot put it down.
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