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Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition (29th May)

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44 minutes ago, darksnowman said:

Shulk, Reyn and Dunban have the three they started with, the other three with four (so +1 each).

If you have Colony 9 at 4 star, you should be able to get Shulk's extra one by now. And I recommend doing so. Shulk gets some really useful skills from it. I'd say Dunban's are the best ones though, but that's harder to do.

Make sure Shulk is in the lead and talk to everyone there, both at day and night.

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12 hours ago, Glen-i said:

If you have Colony 9 at 4 star, you should be able to get Shulk's extra one by now. And I recommend doing so. Shulk gets some really useful skills from it. I'd say Dunban's are the best ones though, but that's harder to do.

Make sure Shulk is in the lead and talk to everyone there, both at day and night.

Don't think there were any quests to be currently had over there but I'll go check and see.

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10 minutes ago, darksnowman said:

Don't think there were any quests to be currently had over there but I'll go check and see.

Talking to named characters can sometimes have them talk about other named characters, which raises the affinity chart, and may unlock new quests.

Thankfully, the mini-map does mark named characters.

Shulk's is the first extra tree you can get, so it's definitely possible now.

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Went to Colony 9 at night and there was a quest to get in the residential area so I started there and combed through the colony into the wee small hours. Then changed it to daytime and went again. Still nothing for Shulk. I was thinking surely that clown hasn't sent me on a wild goose chase, and changed back to night to begin the sweep once again. 

Lo and behold there was a ! on the map. Shulk's pessimism acquired. :bouncy:

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Played some more and managed a smidgen of progress.

I started by going back and filling out the Satorl Marsh map which, at this point, bagged me a pittance of exp. Then onto the Eryth Sea where I used the autorun (in this case autoswim) feature to map it out as well while panning the camera around to take in the sights. :zzz: The Eryth Sea really is the point for me where Xenoblade becomes too big for its own good. After that, I did a couple of quests in the Valak Mountain area, including getting Dunban's Pigheadedness or whatever it's called. During the second part of that encounter, I had a breakthrough moment with chain attacks. :idea: 

Spoiler

MATCH THE COLOURS!!

I matched red attacks before going into a second turn and almost took out the second quest enemy in one go!! :o Until now I'd been using chain attacks to control the break, topple, daze cycle... oops. :woops: 

So with that newfound info, I headed to the boss fight that was my current roadblock. It wasn't much help as I needed to keep the blue bar on standby for revives but I did triumph in that battle and the next and pushed the story forward. I think what helped me there was actually equipping Reyn's anti-mechon weapon this time........... :nono: 

Anyway! We're all washed up with another party member added to the ranks. Onwards and upwards!

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Posted (edited)

Ouch, @darksnowman. Don't want to think about going through the game without chaining colours!

Speaking of, Talent Arts (Gray) act as a sort of wildcard in Chain Attacks, so you can use them to keep a chain going if you start to run low on a certain colour. With some forward thinking, you can even have a Break-Topple combo while keeping the bonus. Best of both worlds!

This is mainly why Sharla lags behind in the mid-game, she can't use Cool Off in a Chain Attack, so she can't keep a chain going.

Still, considering that you're still facing roadblocks from bosses despite getting extra skill trees, perhaps you're overlooking another mechanic? Here's a few things that I find most people overlook with this game.

- You are leveling up arts, right? And while I'm at it, keep in mind that everyone except Shulk learns more then 8 arts as they level up. It might be worth looking at some different options.

- Skills are great and all, but to really get the most out of it, you should be using Skill Links, which let you use Affinity Coins to give characters skills from other characters. That character you just got has various skills that are absolutely amazing on Dunban if you have unlocked Critical Drain for him, which heals him every time he lands a critical hit, which is quite often. That skill is pretty useful on Shulk too. Consider linking skills that improve your chances of critical as well as Critical Drain if you can.

Edited by Glen-i

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34 minutes ago, Glen-i said:

Ouch, @darksnowman. Don't want to think about going through the game without chaining colours!

Yeah, I must've missed the memo on that. It could be worth my while to have a nosey around the tutorial menus. 

35 minutes ago, Glen-i said:

Speaking of, Talent Arts (Gray) act as a sort of wildcard in Chain Attacks, so you can use them to keep a chain going if you start to run low on a certain colour. With some forward thinking, you can even have a Break-Topple combo while keeping the bonus. Best of both worlds!

Chain attacks had become a bit of a dud for me since getting Melia. Seemed like if there was nothing loaded on the big button in the middle then she had nothing of note to offer with her red and pink moves. 

35 minutes ago, Glen-i said:

- You are leveling up arts, right? And while I'm at it, keep in mind that everyone except Shulk learns more then 8 arts as they level up. It might be worth looking at some different options.

I started levelling arts a while back, yeah. Like... as early doors as the Tephra Cave. The thing that bugs me with those is I don't know where to focus on assigning the points so as not to waste them on arts that will later be replaced/ redundant when "Utimate Arts" are learned. ::shrug: I'd boost more of them if I knew I wasn't shooting myself in the foot for further down the line because I don't know how valuable AP is. 

Going by what you're saying though, perhaps I can go all-in on Shulk at the very least.

36 minutes ago, Glen-i said:

- Skills are great and all, but to really get the most out of it, you should be using Skill Links, which let you use Affinity Coins to give characters skills from other characters. That character you just got has various skills that are absolutely amazing on Dunban if you have unlocked Critical Drain for him, which heals him every time he lands a critical hit, which is quite often. That skill is pretty useful on Shulk too. Consider linking skills that improve your chances of critical as well as Critical Drain if you can.

At least you can get the affinity coins back for reallocation so it encourages experimentation. Great system.

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Posted (edited)
52 minutes ago, darksnowman said:

Chain attacks had become a bit of a dud for me since getting Melia. Seemed like if there was nothing loaded on the big button in the middle then she had nothing of note to offer with her red and pink moves. 

Ah. But if she has 3 elementals ready, then she can use it three times in one chain attack! And with a bit of luck, she can summon more mid-chain, and then use more Talent Arts!

It's such a shame that the AI is awful with her. She's one of, if not, the best damage dealer in the game, but she's tricky to use.

52 minutes ago, darksnowman said:

I started levelling arts a while back, yeah. Like... as early doors as the Tephra Cave. The thing that bugs me with those is I don't know where to focus on assigning the points so as not to waste them on arts that will later be replaced/ redundant when "Utimate Arts" are learned. ::shrug: I'd boost more of them if I knew I wasn't shooting myself in the foot for further down the line because I don't know how valuable AP is.

By this point, everyone should have all of their arts, except for your latest character. So don't worry too much about it. Find what works.

If you haven't already, it might be worth going back and checking out the shops in the various towns. You should be able to get some art manuals and unlock the level cap for them up to 7. That'll help.

Here's some of my suggestions for great arts for each character.

Reyn - Berserker is the only orange art he needs. It's seriously that good!  I know the Physical Defense Down debuff it comes with seems counterintuitive to Reyn's role, but who cares when it makes him hit like a truck! They're tough to get, but if you have Debuff Resist Gems, you can sometimes cancel the debuff out by putting them on Reyn.

I also recommend all of his red arts (Especially Sword Drive) except Dive Sobat, as well as Wild Down and Shield Bash.

Sharla - All her healing skills should be there, as well as Head Shot, Thunder Bullet, and Metal Blast. The AI has an annoying habit of letting her rifle overheat all the time, which is not optimal.

Dunban - Peerless is the best orange art for Dunban, no question. Gale Slash is an art that combos into a lot of other arts, which should also be equipped. But make sure you leave room for Soaring Tempest. Binding Blossom is also worth considering.

Dunban is all about Agility, so keep his armour light and his weight stat low, and shove Agility Up gems on to him to try and get the extra 50 if you can.

Riki - Heropon Riki is a bit of a Jack-of-all-trades. He can fit into any party pretty well.

You Can Do It should always be equipped. It's the reason why Sharla becomes a bit unnecessary. It's really good. Other then that, Riki is all about stacking debuffs that cause damage over time. Bitey Bitey, Lurgy, Burninate, and Freezinate should all be there to really pile on the damage.

Hero Time is the Orange Art I recommend. It boosts a random stat by a large amount, but also prevents low tension to everyone while in effect. This pairs well with Happy Happy to boost the Chain Attack guage quickly.

Melia - Keep in mind that this kind of setup only really works well if you're controlling her.

Summon Ice, Bolt, Flare, Earth and Copy should be there. All of them are great, especially Earth, which reduces the damage everyone around Melia takes. Ice, Flare, and Earth also cause damaging debuffs when discharged, which is how Melia becomes a veritable force of nature.

Mind Blast is another very useful art, and the last two should be the amazing combo of Spear Break and Starlight Kick.

Edited by Glen-i
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8 minutes ago, Glen-i said:

Here's some of my suggestions for great arts for each character.

That's all well and good but you haven't commented on how much of a commodity AP is so I might sit on what I've accumulated until I'm on the final boss' doorstep. :p 

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Went back and saw it out. I think Xenoblade's a great game and deserves all the acclaim it gets. The scale of the locations, the look, the music. Top-notch. Especially when you keep in mind it's a Wii game with a fresh lick of paint. :cool: 

For me though? It took somewhere approaching 90 hours and imo, this game (or probably any single-player game) in no way justifies this. The level capping wasn't a feature I thought brought any good to the game. Almost 90 hours and I finished with levels in the 70s. That's less than a level per hour :shakehead and I was battling and questing for exp like billy-o. This game just does not reward the time you put into it, and properly hamstrings you with the level capping for each new section. And this is a game that would have you believe it's lean and streamlined--fast travel, you can change the time whenever you want, quests complete as you go, you get exp for quests and exploration. Imagine what it'd be like without these timesavers. :woops: 

I think it was the boss at the top of Algnaritha where I gave in and dropped it to casual. No regrets. Doubt I would have been able to push through otherwise. As I said in previous posts, my level was always on par with general enemies and bosses.... and would have been ahead if the game allowed. All the way up through the final areas I had no problem with normal baddies--I switched off casual again when I wasn't struggling against a boss--but it got to be like every other boss I came up against was wiping the floor with me. I just kept the tri-attack bar on standby for reviving during battle (since there are no items) and tried to finish fights as quickly as possible before I'd used it up. Worked no problem in battles against e.g. the generator, the telepathias, I was defeating behemoths for fun. Did not work well against Yarlbroath and others. Even in the finale, I'd no problem with the spirit gauntlet, then had difficulties with the final encounter. It was hot and cold, and other than when it was spike damage, I didn't understand what the game expected from me.

Three things I would have changed: 1) remove or raise the level caps and 2) add items like Xeno potions and phoenix down variants. I have to think they looked at this and opted against it as they thought they'd crafted a game that works as-is. ::shrug:  Sadly for me, when push came to shove, I had no answers. 3) There's got to be a way to make it half the length without compromising the sense of scale. 

Onwards to Future Perfect then... hope it's as short as it's meant to be. 

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I seen you on this yesterday and I fired my copy up as well. I then put it back down after about half an hour. :p 

My major issue with the game is how you get very little exp for regular battles. It's like you say, the game keeps you capped at certain stages and even doing the VERY tedious sidequests offer very little in return. Some of them don't even give you any exp at all!. I done some of these quests yesterday and a few of them had me run to a character, talk to another character, change the clock so another character spawns in....rinse and repeat. 

I find a lot of the areas in this game are just far too large and empty. It takes an obsolete age to traverse through some of them. Given the size of certain areas, the game really could have done with some kind of sprint button or vehicles for the players to use to get across areas more quickly. 

I'm still determined to get through the game but it's been one hell of a slog to do so. Once the Wii version eventually got it's hooks in me I eventually blitzed the game and enjoyed it but this time around that hasn't been the case at all. I just don't think the game has aged that well and it needed more than a new coat of paint. I think playing this on and off overt he course of the year and not really enjoying it is the reason why I'm not bothered about the release of the 3rd game, despite enjoying the 2nd game. 

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1 hour ago, Hero-of-Time said:

My major issue with the game is how you get very little exp for regular battles. It's like you say, the game keeps you capped at certain stages and even doing the VERY tedious sidequests offer very little in return. Some of them don't even give you any exp at all!. I done some of these quests yesterday and a few of them had me run to a character, talk to another character, change the clock so another character spawns in....rinse and repeat. 

Yeah, when you go to a new area you reap a decent amount of exp to help with boosting up to the next level cap. After that, it's back to a drip feed.  

It was only right at the end I stopped doing quests. For the duration, I'd surrendered myself to doing as many as I came across. :( It was plenty of busy work and if you're at a level cap, the exp rewards don't make a dent. I would have done more with the Colony 6 restoration project if it was integrated with the map like other quests. 

1 hour ago, Hero-of-Time said:

I find a lot of the areas in this game are just far too large and empty. It takes an obsolete age to traverse through some of them. Given the size of certain areas, the game really could have done with some kind of sprint button or vehicles for the players to use to get across areas more quickly. 

Yesterday in fact I was checking through the menus for a run button. :laughing:  I also kept thinking vehicles would be useful. There are vehicles in the game, it's a real pity you never get any of them. If having an airship equivalent for full-map traversal wasn't feasible, you could still have a speedboat in your home area, a motorbike in the Gaur Plains, one of those flying things for use around the Aeryth Sea, etc ctc. 

1 hour ago, Hero-of-Time said:

I'm still determined to get through the game but it's been one hell of a slog to do so. Once the Wii version eventually got it's hooks in me I eventually blitzed the game and enjoyed it but this time around that hasn't been the case at all. I just don't think the game has aged that well and it needed more than a new coat of paint. I think playing this on and off overt he course of the year and not really enjoying it is the reason why I'm not bothered about the release of the 3rd game, despite enjoying the 2nd game. 

I was determined to get through 1+2 (and the bonus content) in time for 3. How naive I was. :blush: On the Wii and this time around, it had its hooks in me from the word go but lost me as the hours ticked by. On the plus side, I didn't put it to bed on the Wii which is now done. I'll have to check into 2 now to see what the differences are.

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Posted (edited)

I guess the two of you weren't using Expert mode, eh?

Definitive Edition adds a feature that lets you lower your level, much like the inns in Xenoblade 2.

This becomes very useful for grinding purposes, as you can lower your level to be around the same as whatever you're fighting, which increases the EXP you get. But here's the kicker, you don't lose EXP when you lower your level, it gets stored away for future use.

So you lower your level to be a little below the enemy, grind a little, then when you level up, lower it back again, then repeat until you get bored. Once you're done, use Expert Mode to raise your level with the banked EXP! And then, profit!

Edited by Glen-i

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17 minutes ago, Glen-i said:

I guess the two of you weren't using Expert mode, eh?

Saw the option but steered clear as I was by no means feeling an expert. :p 

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3 minutes ago, darksnowman said:

Saw the option but steered clear as I was by no means feeling an expert. :p 

Fair, the naming does imply that it makes the game more difficult, but it doesn't affect enemy stats at all.

Another use for Expert Mode, and the intended one, I believe, is the fact that EXP you get outside of battles (Landmarks, Quests, etc) don't get directly applied, they get put in that storage I referred too. This way, people can do as many quests and exploration as they like without becoming too overleveled. Of course, this means that even without grinding, you still end up with more EXP in the long run.

There's really no reason to not have it on. If you ever play Future Connected, I suggest you turn it on at the first opportunity.

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23 hours ago, Glen-i said:

There's really no reason to not have it on. If you ever play Future Connected, I suggest you turn it on at the first opportunity.

I'm doing it. Bit disappointed that the setting of the bonus content seems to be taking me back to a location I'd probably prefer never to visit again but let's see how it goes. I'm liking that you directly mine equippable gems now and the Nopon Pikmin aspect seems fun. :laughing: First time I panned the camera around and saw them following was in some water and for a second I got the fright of my life as I thought it was an enemy coming straight for me.

Glad to see some differences like these. Hopefully there are more and it doesn't drag.

Re: expert mode, they seem to keep getting experience but so far I've just knocked the characters back down to their minimum levels again when they level up a time or two. 

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1 hour ago, darksnowman said:

I'm doing it. Bit disappointed that the setting of the bonus content seems to be taking me back to a location I'd probably prefer never to visit again but let's see how it goes. I'm liking that you directly mine equippable gems now and the Nopon Pikmin aspect seems fun. :laughing: First time I panned the camera around and saw them following was in some water and for a second I got the fright of my life as I thought it was an enemy coming straight for me.

Glad to see some differences like these. Hopefully there are more and it doesn't drag.

Re: expert mode, they seem to keep getting experience but so far I've just knocked the characters back down to their minimum levels again when they level up a time or two. 

Actually, the area Future Connected takes place in was an area that was cut from the original Wii game. Using cheats in it to fly around, you can actually go there in the Wii version, although it's not complete. It's kinda neat that they went back and implemented it like this.

Expert Mode still gives you EXP for fighting, but EXP for finding Landmarks, completing Quests, and getting achievements will be stored instead. So you're doing grinding right. You get more AP as well like this, which is also a nice perk.

Just keep in mind that you'll get more EXP fighting a level 62 enemy at level 62, then fighting a level 60 enemy at level 60, so do move on to tougher enemies once you can handle them.

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At first exploration, the Bionis Shoulder seemed like a cheapo phoned-in Gaur Plains rip-off that's only purpose was to funnel me across to Alcamoth, but I now feel like it's one of the best areas in the game. It's more RPG-y with a few settlements and shock-horror, a house (!) and is kind of like the Xenoblade equivalent of the Great Plateau, so I can see how Monolith might have influenced Breath of the Wild now. I'm relieved that the bulk of the extra content does not seem to take place in Alcamoth as I first feared.

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Congratulations! 
New gameplay elements have been unlocked

It's commendable that even after finishing the extra content the game is still adding stuff in. Can't see myself ever exploring it but never say never, eh. :indeed: 

I found the scenario on the Bionis Shoulder to be surprisingly enjoyable. Possibly the single best section Xenoblade had to offer, tbh. Cutscenes seemed to be improved and it was easy to care about the situation we'd found ourselves in. It felt a bit like a Dragon Quest segment.

I completed all the sidequests that came up (bit of a pain that some gave cash rewards only and a number still had me going to various spots with no convenient fast travel point), collected all the Ponspectors (loved em!) and pretty sure I took in all the quiet moments that were dotted around the map. Just didn't visit all the landmarks as the entirety of the map didn't autofill to reflect that.

I had 15h13 on the clock at the final save outside the Fog Kings chamber. Having done all the sidequests the boss posed absolutely no threat. :cool: Just the way it should have been.

For a second there I thought someone else was going to join the party right before the end. It would have been pretty amazing as they'd previously been shown to kick all kinds of ass but alas it wasn't to be.

Nice to see the old crew during the credits.

Thanks to Future Connected, I've come away feeling much more positive about Xenoblade than I did after finishing the normal game. Go figure. :) 

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Posted (edited)

It is a very fun expansion with enough twists to the mechanics to keep things interesting. While I would never recommend buying Definitive Edition purely for Future Connected, it is absolutely solid, much like Torna: The Golden Country in the sequel.

The name obviously hints that it will be connected to 3 in some way, what with all the unanswered questions, and I'm thinking I should replay Future before I dig into 3 as a refresher.

Edited by Glen-i

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10 hours ago, Glen-i said:

The name obviously hints that it will be connected to 3 in some way, what with all the unanswered questions, and I'm thinking I should replay Future before I dig into 3 as a refresher.

You'll know better, but from what I just saw from it, any connection to future instalments will be subtle at best. Seemed like it was about them connecting to and protecting their rebuild and continued existence in peace and harmony.

I went and checked some opinions on Future Connected and it seems the things I took as positives are in actual fact missteps and wrong turns. My bad. :D 

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5 hours ago, darksnowman said:

You'll know better, but from what I just saw from it, any connection to future instalments will be subtle at best. Seemed like it was about them connecting to and protecting their rebuild and continued existence in peace and harmony.

I went and checked some opinions on Future Connected and it seems the things I took as positives are in actual fact missteps and wrong turns. My bad. :D 

It also makes some connections to Xenoblade 2, and not just because Shulk's Monado is the "Monado REX".

I still groan about that one, but there are a few hints to the sequel.

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It took me 12 years but I've finally finished Xenoblade Chronicles! I started this on the Wii, but stranded about halfway. Now, on the Switch the credits rolled on this game's Definitive Edition.

It sure has been a ride. First of all the Definitive Edition definitely helped. I remember playing this on the Wii and an old (well it wasn't that old back then :D) CRT TV and I could barely read the text. Got a bigger TV later which helped but still I never finished it. The updated graphics, QoL and better readable texts at least made the game a lot more playable. Also the mobility of the Switch meant I could play in handheld.

The non-spoiler verdict: I hate it and I love it. The setting is awesome, the story engaging when it kicks off in the beginning and near the end. Some environments really stand out, and the music is epic as well.

But, the combat is not my cup of tea. Even with the cast of 7 characters, it all felt very repetitive for me. You don't learn that many new moves, and I feel like they didn't impact my playstyle. With Shulk it was always the same tactic of positioning for side and back attacks, and do Topple chains. With Melia it's a matter of mashing Summon arts and Elemental Discharge. Tried the rest as well but wasn't convinced playing as them. Battles got tedious, and what saved them in the end was turning on Casual mode so the normal battles at least went fast. Turned it off for the Boss battles.

I know it's an RPG, but there are too many mechanics that in the end didn't really feel they mattered. Gems, I just made sure my slots were filled without paying too much attention to them. Hardly used the crafting. Arts, just kept them levelled up without changing them a lot, just picking the ones I felt were okay. Skill trees, made sure they were filled in without too much attention to what they do. Affinity: takes an age to increase, or use the collectables but that's trial and error and didn't put in the effort. So I missed almost every heart-to-heart.

Pacing, the game starts fast but really slogs in the middle, and at the end it suddenly goes all out with twist after twist, and I had at least 3 moments where I thought this is it, but no, another plot twist! It was an epic ending though, have to give them that.

Sidequests are pretty dull as well, it's either beat these enemies or go find these collectables. Rewards are not that great except for the XP.

A long list of negatives, but luckily the story, music, world building make up for a lot of this. Still, it does make me hesitant to start XC2 or 3. Definitely not in the mood to do so right away.

Now, spoiler time!

Spoiler

 

The game has some great plot twists that really drive the story. Fiora being alive I kind of saw that coming, but still a nice one. I also thought Egil was going to be the final bad guy but how the story unfolded after that was epic. I mean, first Zanza being the almighty bad one, and how the Telethia are hardwired to wipe mankind. Only to get mindfucked again by the fact that Zanza and Meyneth are "just" humans on a space station and Alvis apparently is some kind of all powerful, world creating AI.

It's a shame that by the time I got to Egil, I was kind of done with the game. The middle section surely drags on, and nothing really exciting happens. It's mostly just making your way through various areas doing those tedious battles. And the Prison Island section, which is basically just corridors of fighting enemies really took the pace out again.

Is the post-game any interesting? Surely I saw a lot of overpowered monsters down the line, which I guess now is the time to tackle. Also, Colony 6 isn't finished, and there is this new quest to obtain variations for Shulk's Monado. Is it just ticking them off or does it lead to interesting cutscenes?

 

 

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In regards to your last question, nah. If you don't like the gameplay aspect, you won't get much out of the endgame questing. And if you're going to go around fighting those really high levelled monsters, you'll have to start properly using all the mechanics available. Gems are super important for that.

BTW, fun fact. In Definitive Edition, Reyn can effectively beat the hardest boss in the game by himself on level 1 if another character can set off a topple.

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