I like Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Is it the same as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Super Mario Odyssey? No. Is it better than Super Bomberman R? Yes, unless you really love Bomberman… But Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a fun game with a fun cast of characters, and damn it aren’t video games just supposed to be fun?
Maybe it is because I am infatuated with Japanese culture lately, but I am really enjoying Xenoblade Chronicles 2. And I haven’t even used the Japanese subtitles. The English voice acting is fun and the characters are laughable with their British accents, but the game screams Japan and I love it.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a coming of age story about a boy and his newly found girlfriend in a world on the brink of collapse. The main character, Rex, begins with big dreams about changing the world and returning hope to humanity. Eventually he is stabbed in the back and forced to meld with the holy grail of super weapons which takes the form of a voluptuous woman. Very voluptuous.
But what is the game really saying here?
The menu system is obtuse. The item management is obscure. The quests are dominated with minor errands and fetch requests. But through it all Rex is growing up. The main character determines his place within the wider world and begins to explore life outside of his little island. Just like the player is encouraged to explore and become a part of the wider world.
Too often we create islands of our own. Maybe we become the rulers of our own island, but we separate ourselves from others. Rex’s journey begins and ends with friends by his side. Anytime he speaks with someone, he offers to help. Even if I “the player” choose to ignore the pleas of the townsfolk. Rex recognizes early on that he needs help in order to complete his tasks and the journey is made more fruitful with companions.
I love role playing games so much because of the companions. Each one fills a purpose and a void that the main character lacks, and communicating with them and traveling with them builds bonds that last a lifetime. Or at least the amount of time needed to complete a play through.
Pokémon forces you to bond with a party of six different Pokémon, each with unique stats, strengths, weaknesses, and personality. I loved my experience with Dark Souls, but it was lonely. I loved the interactions with other characters, but they were so brief and fleeting. Dark Souls becomes the story of discovering yourself, by yourself. Mass Effect holds a special place in my heart because of the connections I made with my crew mates, I like to think Shepard will always end up with Liara T’Soni and I have a hard time playing the game without her as a companion.
XC2 takes parts of all these games and creates something truly unique. I’ve played Xenoblade Chronicles and Xenoblade Chronicles X, but XC2 is the only game that has really grabbed me. Maybe it is the collection of new allies similar to Pokémon‘s system, maybe it is the challenging exploration of the world similar to Dark Souls, or maybe it is the colorful cast of characters that travel with you similar to the Mass Effect series. I’ll keep exploring the huge world, you keep reading Spoon Deep.
Jake “prettyboyplaid” Fredericks