Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s updates make the game feel more manageable

The five month anniversary of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is around the corner! One of the Nintendo Switch’s first RPGs has settled into the system. A lot has happened, with plenty of patches adding new content and fixing what is broken. Three major add-ons are planned for 2018, bringing new rare blades, a challenge mode and additional story content. Before all that arrives, let’s go ahead and go over the state of the game. After all, everything that has happened so far has worked to make the adventure more enjoyable, less trying and easier to return to at a later date.

Things started out simply with Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s updates. The first patch put an Events Theater into the game. Sometimes, people miss details during cutscenes. Maybe you were playing it in handheld mode, where you could not have the sound up, and wanted to reexperience a story segment properly. The first change helped with that accommodation, making it possible to better enjoy these moments again and at your leisure.

Making the map easier to use is a big deal. Let’s be honest; Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is not an easy game to navigate. The distance markers do not take into account direction; the first maps did not offer as many sizes. This has gradually gotten better over the past few months. When you press X to fast travel, you are automatically shown the map for the current space you are in. This is a big deal, because I found I had the most trouble finding my way around in the large, open spaces where you needed to be at a specific elevation or follow a certain, obscured path to an area. I would usually fast travel to a different spot to center myself. A 1:1 zoom was added for the mini-map in the same update, This is a constantly changing and improving area, with the major 1.3.0 patch showing icons for quests and important hallmarks or quests on the mini-map.

The strides made toward adjusting Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s difficulty have been impressive too. One of the earliest alterations was to Tiger! Tiger!, the game you need to play if you want to make Poppi a worthwhile character. It ended up getting an Easy option in the 1.1.1 patch. 1.3.0 offered a new option for the game in general. It added Easy to the existing Normal and Hard difficulties. People who were having trouble now have an alternative. Any time you would like, you can go into the options and choose between the three possibilities.

Lots of Blade adjustments and tweaks have been made in general. It is easy to accumulate a lot of these characters as you play, and the 1.3.0 update made it easier to deal with them. When you summoned Blades in earlier versions, you were forced to watch an animated segment. People were given an option to watch or skip these. There are new ways to sort Blades, as well as other bits of equipment and items. It is also possible to “lock” the Blades you like, so they are not inadvertently released when someone is clearing out their stock of superfluous characters. I appreciated all of these things for a variety of reasons. Mainly, because I found myself wading through a lot of garbage Blades while trying to get good ones like Kos-Mos or Newt.

But the biggest changes came when 1.3.0 introduced Advanced New Game to Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Once this is implemented, people who beat the game can carry over their awakened Blades, Driver levels, Blade and Driver equipment and growth, gold, items, mercenary group level, town development status, play time, unique monster defeat status and Event Theater movies to a new game file. Once you start an Advanced New Game, you can enjoy all of those existing elements while finding Torna Blades either from the lottery or certain events, seeing side quests with those Blades, using all of your Blades on mercenary group missions, decreasing or increasing levels at inns, using Traveling Bards to get experience or items and meeting with Momoni in the first chapter to restore your money once.

The important thing to know is that Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is better now than it was before. Getting from point A to point B might still be confusing. But, efforts are being made to make the map easier to understand. The difficulty can be tweaked, so things will not be as tedious or trying when you are running around, accomplishing your goals. Braving the Blades lottery will be less annoying, since you can skip animations, preserve the ones you like and sort them with more parameters. Most importantly, if you really enjoyed yourself, the Advanced New Game gives you a reason to return. It is in a good place, which means things should be more solid once the important add-ons start rolling in as 2018 progresses.

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