In JRPGs, the ideal party is one that is filled with characters that are likable, but also give you a good range of personalities, backgrounds, and abilities. Your party makeup is your window into this world, and having an array of different folks makes it easier to connect with this new environment. Xenoblade Chronicles did a good job providing us with a party that contained Homs, a High Entia, Nopon, and Mechon. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 continues that tradition. We not only have the essentially human Ardainians and Leftherians, but also Blades, an artificial Blade, a Nopon, and a Gormotti. Once again, these heroes and heroines help us better understand the world.
The most human characters are great for building connections. Seeing people like, say, Rex, Zeke, and a certain character who goes in and out of the party, gives us someone we can connect to. All three of these folks are absolutely heroic in different ways. Rex is this idealistic young man who is hopeful and optimistic. He wants what is best for everyone. Zeke is this proud man who is quick to boast about his power. But, he’s never obnoxious about it and is as strong as he suggests. As for the other character, this person is an honest person who seems like a dependable and responsible older sibling. This one is someone we can trust.
What works well with these human-like characters is how we can appreciate their different backgrounds. With these three, we get three different class and situation perspectives. Rex is a young man who has grown up with very little, due to his circumstances, and does his best to help the people from his village. Zeke is a traveler who is seeking the Aegis, so we have someone with a more worldly viewpoint and mysterious past. And this other human-like party member gives us a look at a position of power. We get to see the perspective of three different people whose lives would be influenced by the Aegis.
Having a Nopon again makes for more comic relief. Tora is a breath of fresh air. He is a refreshing young man who makes his dream come true. So even though there is a jovial nature around him, his determination and effort are admirable. It also gives us a toned down look at the Nopon mentality, since we see so many merchant characters in Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Yes, Tora is frugal and all about a deal, but his Driver dream came first.
So many story-critical Blades is another boon. Having so many that don’t have featured roles is fun, but seeing characters like Pyra/Mythra, Dromarch, Pandoria, and Roc is so important. Their different mindsets, personalities, and forms keeps us from generalizing about them. Add Poppi to the mix, and it makes things even more interesting. Even though she is artificial and a robot, she has just as much personality as the other Blades. There is still that sense of heart and life there.
But it is Nia that may just be the most interesting character of all. Spoilers aside, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 begins with her in an unusual situation. She used to be with the bad guys, but she stood up for Rex and decided to stand by his side. As people go through the game, we see underneath her bristly nature. We learn that Dromarch referring to her as a lady has deeper meaning. We get to see how other people react to her, in particular with wanted posters. With her, we get someone from a different race with a rich background.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 makes sure its main party members give us so many viewpoints. There are all these insights into what people in Alrest may be going through with these heroes and heroines. We get to see what various lifestyles and races are like and how everyone interests. It’s enlightening and makes the story better.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is available for the Nintendo Switch.