We’ve seen various unique tools in the Xenoblade series. Shulk has the Monado in Xenoblade Chronicles. Our heroes in Xenoblade Chronicles X gives people mech-like Skells. With Xenoblade Chronicles 2, we are able to collect and use Blades. Once again, it is a way of introducing a unique and unusual sort of weapon, companion, and class system that encourages people to explore and experiment.
Every main party member has a Blade with them, and there are a few Blades that appear in your party as part of Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s story. So Rex will always have Pyra/Mythra as an option. Nia has Dromarch. Zeke has Pandora. Tora has various forms of Poppi. (And always only Poppi, since he is not a real Driver.) When a character has a blade, they are practically permanently bonded with them. When you use a core, you should do so knowing you are pretty much irrevocably tying that unknown character to a known one. Limited Overdrive Protocols allow you to swap ownership of one Blade that is not limited to one character for story-related purposes.
Ensuring you evenly distribute Blades is important, because it makes sure you can use different classes. Early in Xenoblade Chronicles 2, everyone has one blade. That means attack Blade Drivers are Fighters, healer Blade Drivers are Healers, and tank Blade Drivers are Defenders. When two blades can be equipped, you can have two attack Blades for an Elite Fighter, two healers for an Elite Healer, two tanks for Elite Defender, an attack and healer for Cavalier, an attack and tank for Warrior, and a healer and tank for Knight. Three Blades makes things even more complicated. A Master Fighter has three attack Blades, a Master Healer has three healers, and a Master Defender has three tanks. A Wild Cavalier has two attackers and one healer, and a Wild Warrior has two attackers and one tank. A Holy Cavalier has two healers and one attacker, while a Holy Knight has two healers and one tank. Royal Warrior has two tanks and one attacker, and a Royal Knight has two tanks and a healer. Finally, the Jack-of-all-Trades has one of each kind of Blade. Each one has different class effects with passive boosts to damage taken, stats, or certain abilities. Even distributions mean you can have a well rounded party. So Nia, who already starts out as something of a supporter, could eventually be a great Holy Knight. Or you could build Rex as a Jack-of-all-Trades to cover all situations. I have Zeke as a Master Fighter and don’t regret it.
Having a good distribution means you can easily take advantage of the characters’ various skills. Each of these Blades has different Field Skills that can be a big help when gathering, exploring, or surviving. Like Pyra’s Fire Mastery lets her burn down obstacles and Cooking lets her make food. Dromarch can use his Ancient Wisdom to decipher things you find in the world or Botany to get more plants. Poppi can Leap and has Superstrength, which is great for traversing the world. Pandoria can use Electric Mastery to electrify things and Lockpicking to pick locks. And these are just the guaranteed skills you have access to. The more Blades you find, the more skills open up and opportunities you have when looking around Alrest.
It is also great how Affinity makes these characters better. You bond with the Blades as you use them in Xenoblade Chronicles 2. The simple act of having them around to fight alongside them makes a difference. But, there is also Rex’s Pouch. By buying certain items people like and placing them inside, you can make people happier. Pyra, for example, really loves Jenerossi Tea. Nia is a fan of Cream Orange Paratha. Tora enjoys Juicy Samod. Dromarch likes Dried Sunfish. Poppi is crazy about Roly-Poly Maracas. And Zeke loves meats of all kinds. It really helps you feel like you have a direct effect on interactions. Like you really are helping improve relations between people and actively doing all you can to unlock new abilities through the power of friendship. It really
Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s Blades are both interesting characters and a cool mechanic. It gives you more people to interact with, bonding with them to improve their abilities and make your party members better. The more time you spend collecting them and assigning them to characters, the more well rounded you become. It can be quite fulfilling.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is available for the Nintendo Switch.