In Xenoblade Chronicles 2, combat is arguably one of the more complex aspects of the game, as you've got many integral systems working alongside one another at once. In this Xenoblade Chronicles 2 combat guide, we'll be walking you through all you need to know to master combat, including how to perform combo attacks, spot enemy weaknesses and understand the Party Gauge, as well as how to manage every character in your party at once.
Should you need anything else related to Xenoblade Chronicles 2, including a complete primer on the story and the HUD of this massive game, then be sure to check out our Xenoblade Chronicles 2 guides walkthrough hub.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Combat Guide
Firstly, we should note that the weapon that Rex wields will change with each Blade that he uses in combat. You can choose which Blades to equip to each member of your party in the Characters section of the pause menu, and you can then switch between these equipped Blades in the heat of battle by pressing the corresponding direction button on the D-pad. With each Blade comes a different weapon to wield, for example Pyra gives Rex a powerful, fiery two-handed sword, so we'd recommend experimenting with Blades to see which corresponding weapon you prefer.
To initiate combat with an enemy, you can target them by pressing R, and then either luring them towards you by throwing a rock by pressing down on the D-pad, or by walking up to them and pressing A to start auto-attacking them. Rex will continue automatically attacking the enemy that he's locked on to, all the while building up his three Driver Arts abilities with each hit that he lands.
In the typical combat scenario in Xenoblade Chronicles 2, you'll have the health bars of all the members of your party in the upper left of the screen, the health bar of the enemy that Rex is locked on to in the upper middle of the screen, and all your Driver Arts abilities in the bottom right of the screen. You can see the Driver Arts building up with each hit that Rex lands on an enemy, and then you can unleash the Driver Arts once they're charged up, for example you can press X to perform the upper ability.
With every Driver Art attack that Rex performs, you'll build up the final ability to the right, which is linked to A. Once this fourth, super ability is fully charged, press A to unleash it, and you'll then have to press B while the circle is in the outer zone, as you can see just below. There are a total of four levels that you can charge Rex's super ability to by using Driver Arts attacks, and each level is more powerful than the one before.
Also on the combat HUD of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, you can see all the Blades that you currently have equipped near the bottom left of the screen, which you can actually switch between during combat. When you see the gauge around a Blade completely charge up, you can switch to it by pressing in the corresponding direction on the D-pad, and you'll then have access to the weapon and Driver Art attacks that go with that Blade.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 How to Spot Enemy Weaknesses Guide
Having a varied range of Blades equipped for Rex is always a good idea, since you're going to want to be able to take advantage of an enemy's weakness in the heat of battle. You can see which, if any, element an enemy is weak to by looking on the right side of its health bar in combat, where you'll see a symbol which denotes a weakness, for example a flame will denote a weakness to fire attacks. Every Blade has an elemental type, which you can check on by going to the Manage Blades section of the Blades menu. As you can see below, the Blade called Hazuki boasts Shock-based damage attacks.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Combo Attacks Guide
Combo attacks in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 are key to mastering combat, and are basically essential if you're going to take down some of the tougher enemies that the game has to offer. You'll encounter the proper tutorial on combo attacks roughly ten hours into Xenoblade Chronicles 2, but we'll still run through the necessities here nonetheless.
You'll no doubt have noticed that the 'Break' sign will flash up near the top of the combat screen occasionally, most often when Nia performs a special attack. To continue down the combo attacks route pictured below, and chain additional attacks together for increased damage, you'll then have to execute a Driver Art attack that can topple an enemy, then one that can launch an enemy, and finally one that can smash an enemy.
If you look on the Driver Art attack icons in the heat of combat, you'll see that underneath the names of each, there's some key information. This could be 'back attack', which lets you know that you should perform the Driver Art attack from behind an enemy, or it could say 'topple', which is the attack you'll need to execute while you see the 'Break' notice present above the health bar of the enemy.
It's definitely not an easy system to master, but combo attacks in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 are absolutely essential to the game. You'll need to uncover new Blades to find Driver Art attacks that can topple, launch, or smash, but it's undoubtedly worth the time investment.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Party Gauge Chain Attack Guide
In the very top left of the screen, you'll see the Party Gauge bar, which will steadily build up while your party lays into an enemy with automatic attacks. This system is only explained roughly fifteen hours into Xenoblade Chronicles 2, but it's nonetheless fairly integral to taking down boss enemies throughout the game.
Once the Party Gauge at the top of the screen is completely full, you can unleash the Chain Attack by pressing +. All of your party members will now choose one of their equipped Blades to attack with, and you'll take it in turn executing the quick time events for their special super attacks in a row, one after the other.
As you're doing this, you want to pick a Blade that has the opposite elemental type of the orb that is floating around the health bar of the opponent. For example, if there's a water orb present near the top of the screen, then you'll want to choose to attack with a fire-type Blade. Successfully choosing the right element will not only inflict massive damage, but will also destroy the orb, taking a key factor for your opponent out of the fight.
The Chain Attack system of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 might not be the most obvious way of tearing through your opponents, but it's key if you're in a drawn out battle with a particularly strong opponent. Even if you don't find the correct element type to use against your opponent, you can still deal out huge amounts of damage to them by lining up three Blade super ability attacks.
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