Nintendo’s Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Direct has come and gone, and the fifteen minute presentation offered an array of information on different game elements. It began by focusing on characters. Then, it went to talk about the Blades and world of Alrest.
The Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Nintendo Direct kicked things off with a Character Trailer that sets up the story and introduces the major players. It all begins when Rex meets Pyra when she is encased in a tube. Pyra is an artificial lifeform known as a Blade. After Rex is killed by a masked man named Jin, Pyra offers up half of her lifeforce to revive him. The two are then linked, and he agrees to take her to Elysium. From there the video looks at allies like Nia and her Blade, Dromarch, Tora and his robotic companion who functions like a Blade, Poppi, and Zeke and his Blade, Pandoria. It also skims over a number of antagonists the group will encounter. It closes out by showing that Pyra can also transform into Mythra, another Blade, meaning Rex will be the only character in-game who can have four Blades at once, rather than three.
Blades are artificial lifeforms that can belong to Attacker, Healer, and Tank classes. Each Driver can equip three of them in a fight. Each Blade has four Driver Arts, three of which you can choose to have active at a time, meaning you have nine Arts available during a fight. The types of Blades a character equips at once determines their character class. By using them, you can develop an affinity with them and characters. This can result in heart to heart interactions to boost trust. Should you have Blades on hand that you can’t or don’t want to equip, you can bundle them into a Mercenary Group and send them out on their own to fight and perform actions, then check in later with them for rewards.
Also, Poppi is a unique creature, due to her functioning as a Blade, but really being a different kind of lifeform. To improve her, people need to play a minigame called Tiger Tiger. This allows people to alter her stats and nature. For example, you can change her element and abilities via playing the minigame.
When in battle, players can use Driver, Blade, and Fusion Combos. Driver combos come from chaining Arts together and keep an enemy from attacking or defending during them. Blade combos take effect when chaining together Specials, and can result in Elemental Orbs appearing around an enemy. Fusion combos take place when both a Driver and Blade combo is happening at the same time. If someone manages to make Elemental Orbs appear and completely fills the Party Gauge, they can perform a Chain Attack. While this normally lasts three turns, Elemental Orbs can be broken to extend its length.
As for Alrest, both time and weather systems will pass as you play. The world around you can change as it does. For example, the Cloud Sea can ebb and flow, providing access to different areas. Different animals and monsters may appear. (Some monsters may even have babies around them.) Large monsters will create a tombstone in the field after being fought, so players can interact with it to fight that creature again. You can collect spoils from fights or from gathering in the world. These can be brought to towns. There, you may take additional quests or turn in things you have found at a trading post to for gold or items. The Argentum Trade Guild can also be visited for special items.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 will come to the Nintendo Switch on December 1, 2017.