Xenoblade Chronicles X

New Presentation Focuses On The Battle System And Character Progression
by Justin Mikos on Mar 06, 2015 at 09:59 AM
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Monolith Soft
Rating: Everyone
Platform: Wii U

Earlier today the 2nd Xenoblade Chronicles X Direct hit Japan and this time the focus was on the combat of the game. As I did for the Exploration Direct, I’m going to walk you through all of the information we learned from watching the presentation. This Direct was densely packed with information so let’s get started.

The trailer begins in earnest around the 2:20 mark. Elma walks us through the basics of battle. Like Xenoblade, combat alternates between using the basic auto attacks and choosing when to unleash your arts which are on cool down timers. Unlike Xenoblade, every character can swap between close range weapons like swords and long range weapons like guns. Each of these attacks have different properties, so you’ll need to choose the right weapon for the proper situations.

After the basics are covered, Lyn walks us through arts. In Xenoblade Chronicles X there are four types of arts: Fighting arts for psychical damage, shooting/marksmanship arts for your long range attacks, support arts, and weakening arts. A fighting Art can be something like a jumping slash with your sword while a marksmanship arts for example can be throwing out a fire grenade. The support arts and weakening arts are very straightforward as they respectively grant various buffs for your party and debuffs on your enemies. Like Xenoblade you can choose eight arts to bring with you into battle.

A new feature to Xenoblade Chronicles X is the Soul Voice system. You need to listen to your allies and trigger arts that they suggest. In doing so you can restore HP and get some damage buffs for your party. You can issue your own soul voice commands and as your allies respond you will get the same benefits as if you followed their own suggestions. The Soul Voice commands can be customized in the menu and features an intimidating amount of options. Like Xenoblade, you also offer support to your allies by clicking B in a quick-time event and, through perfect timing, you can restore HP.

At this point in the trailer, Vandam shows up to talk about combos which are new to Xenoblade Chronicles X. Using certain arts back-to-back starts a combo and gives you a damage bonus. You can work together with your allies to use combos to knock enemies down and do even more damage. Not only does the positional weakness system return from Xenoblade, the terrain and elevation now matters too when triggering arts to get huge damage bonuses. To get a sense of how dramatic a change this is, you can see in the trailer the player character sniping monsters below them from high above on a rocky cliff.

The cool down on abilities returns from Xenoblade, but now there are new ways to speed up the timers. To double the speed of a recharging art you need to use the art twice while mixing in your basic auto attacks. A new ability called Overclocking Gear allows you to triple the recharge speed of arts and link all your arts together in a massive combo for obscenely high levels of damage. Also included in this section of the Direct is a discussion of the tension gauge that fills up as you attack, which ultimately lets you revive allies who are knocked out.

Tatsu returns from the first trailer to discuss the icons next to enemies. Fans of Xenoblade will be familiar with the different icons that alert to you to the increasing levels of enemy aggression and that as the text shifts color from blue to red it alerts you to the relative strength of an enemy. Both systems work to ensure you don’t pick a fight with monsters that are way more powerful than you. Fighting overpowered enemies in Xenoblade proves disastrous, which you can see for yourself in the trailer when a giant gorilla monster hilariously wipes out the whole party.

Lyn returns again to discuss shopping in Xenoblade Chronicles X. First she explains weapons which are divided into physical weapons - knives, swords, shields and javelins - and long range weapons - rifles, guns, and launchers. The long range weapons are kind of confusing because while rifles looked as you would expect, “guns” seemed to focus on heavy weapons like rocket launchers while “launchers” looked like unique alien weapons. Hopefully this will make more sense in the English release.

Armor is divided into head parts, body parts, right arm parts, left arm parts, and finally the entire bottom half of your outfit. A variety of armor types were shown off including traditional armor, school clothes, beachwear, goofy stuff like cat ears, and finally a large amount of exotic alien armor of varying styles. Some armor has slots to put in stat-boosting equipment, while some equipment is gated by your character’s level.

Shops in Xenoblade Chronicles X improve as you use them and new shops open up in New Los Angeles over time. It seems that when new alien species integrate themselves into New Los Angeles you’ll get access to more of the over-the-top alien armor.

A new feature for Xenoblade Chronicles X is that your characters, including your created character, can swap between different classes as they level up. You can learn new arts depending on which classes you focus on leveling which should help you build them more to your liking.

The final segment of the trailer shows off new party members that appear in addition to the characters we are familiar with like Elma and Lyn. Considering the structure of the game is defined by joining different factions, it’s possible some of these characters will join your party depending on which factions you choose to focus on. Elena and Guin come from Interceptor, Dagu comes from Avalanche, while Rao comes from Pathfinder. Some of those character names might have different spellings or be different names entirely in the English versions.

What was most interesting in this segment introducing the characters is that we can see the party size has been increased to four in Xenoblade Chronicles X and that there is the potential for a vast amount of characters to join your party. For example in one of the quick shots I spotted a girl named Celica dual-wielding small machine guns (pictured above) who wasn’t properly introduced and there were other un-introduced characters like her too. As with Xenoblade, you can play as any of the members in your party which adds an interesting dynamic since they all have different abilities to experiment with.

The trailer ends promising that the next Direct will focus on the Dolls – the giant robots of Xenoblade Chronicles X. We should learn everything about the game soon enough considering Xenoblade Chronicles X releases in April in Japan.

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