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Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Isn't Just a Good RPG—It's a Great One

AXE OF THE BLOOD GOD | Our RPG podcast recaps last week's Nintendo Direct, dives into Radiant Historia, and praises Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

Article by Kat Bailey, .

Axe of the Blood God is our weekly RPG podcast hosted by Kat Bailey and Nadia Oxford. You can find the previous episodes here.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was an underrated addition to the Nintendo Switch last year. Coming toward the end of the year, it spawned a fair amount of debate over its relative merits. But there's no question about it over here: We love it [download link here].

This week Nadia and I are joined by Venturebeat's Anthony Agnello, who helps us recap last week's Nintendo Direct and mourn Valkyrie Profile being consigned. We touch on a lot of different subjects, but we mainly stop to dwell on Xenoblade Chronicles 2's relative merits. It's really good! Listen and find out why.

But that's not all! Nadia and Anthony have been playing Radiant Historia, which means we finally get a chance to discuss it on the podcast. Praise be! And of course, we have letters, as well as a little bit of a Pokemon rant. It's all in the latest episode of Axe of the Blood God.

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Show Description

Kat and Nadia are joined by RPG enthusiast Anthony Agnello to recap Thursday's Nintendo Direct, including the news that South Park is coming to the Switch, and Dark Souls is getting an Amiibo (at last!). Then the trio talk about what makes Xenoblade Chronicles 2's great (with some spoilers), and why Radiant Historia is an RPG you should play on the 3DS.

Music from Axe of the Blood God is courtesy of Lena Chappelle, who has also contributed the themes to Active Time Babble and Roleplayers' Realm. I also use music from the RPG Music Pack over at rpgmaker.net. Check it out!

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Comments 14

  • Avatar for Wellman2nd #1 Wellman2nd 7 months ago
    As someone who took 125+ hours to be XC2 and has a play clock of nearly 400 without even sniffing New Game plus yet just grinding for rare blade cores trying to get KOSMOS (still haven't got her and I had all but five rare blades when I beat the game), Ursula's awful quest and trying to take out super bosses I can definitely say it is a great but flawed game just like the other Xeno titles.

    Although a big portion of my play time early on was trying to find certain spots that are not located easily due to weak description in quest or the guide radar being trash at times combined with the layout of the world.
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  • Avatar for SIGGYZtar #2 SIGGYZtar 7 months ago
    Please don't say XC2 is the Dubya of RPGs.
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  • Avatar for Iambiz #3 Iambiz 7 months ago
    If they do remake Valkyrie Profile, they should add a feature where you could rewatch cut scenes that you've already witnessed. There's a group of adventures that gets picked off one by one throughout the game and it would be great to be able to view their Einherjar recruitment scenes back to back in order to see their sub-plot in context.
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  • Avatar for riderkicker #4 riderkicker 7 months ago
    Hmm... I would concur with the hosts on how to make a 100 hour RPG. The first game I ever spent that much time on is definitely a Pokemon game. If you can quickly finish the main story, and all the side activities are just as engrossing, yes you can spend so much time on it. I looked at my Heart Gold game and I spent over 200 hours on that remake, building my new party, and exploring the world. I imagine Kat spent twice as much in her favorite in the series, BW2.

    The only other RPG I wasted so much time on is the Persona series. I said in another comment page that P4 was my first most longest game of 2017. And it's true bc I played through the game twice last year trying to get most of the social links (and failing). I don't regret it at all as I was busy with sooo many various tasks and demon summoning that the eight months flew by so quick. Atlus has managed the very nice balance of spreading out the main story while motivating you to do many other things without making it a struggle. I'm playing SMTIV right now and by God that can make you spend hundreds of hours but only because you failed over and over. That Dev team knows masochism.

    I wonder if Kat could elaborate on how people spend so many hours on Sports Games, which she has said are RPGs that come out every year. People have fun with the main gameplay "battle" mechanics, but they stay addicted because of the many other modes including build a character and manage a league and such. Though that may be in the archives.
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  • Avatar for Worthintendo #5 Worthintendo 7 months ago
    Any idea on when the Xenoblade 2 spoilers end, I'm still playing the game and don't want to be spoiled :(
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  • Avatar for Macuelos #6 Macuelos 7 months ago
    I don't want to write a comment just to disagree with you, but I do have some things to say. I'll try to keep the spoilers to a minimum, but can't guarantee it being spoiler-free.

    When Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology launched on the 16th (Europe...!), I was there right away. I had played the original game, which is not just one of my favourite RPGs or favourite NDS games, but it's somewhere in my top 10 games of all time. It's just that good. On the endings episode I saw someone post a comment about how they don't like the whole "Sacrificial Lamb" ending, which... yea, it kind of sucks. On the other hand, there are 10 quests in the game (12 in Perfect Chronology) that are marked with key symbols in the Chronicle, and completing these quests gives you the Good Ending, where the main Sacrifice survives but someone else takes his place. It's a very bittersweet ending that ends with the continent still being boned, but there is a hope for the future. Raynie's bit in the ending always makes me cry.

    Then Perfect Chronology's Possible History happened. You're introduced to this new character, Nemesia, and you help her by collecting Artifacts from worlds that are not unlike your own, but differ in some regards. Once you do that, at the end of the game, instead of sacrificing anyone to save the continent, you get an extra dungeon and a new ending.

    I am not a huge fan of this ending.

    Instead of the bittersweet ending of the original game (and Append Mode, which I played through first), you get a world where everything is fixed and everyone is redeemed. It's the happiest of endings. It's... too perfect? That's probably why it's called Perfect Chronology, but honestly, it's just too boring, it has lost its mystique. The new final boss is very boring, story-wise. It's kind of a drag. I will say, though, if you do want to experience the new content, play Perfect Mode. Beating the game in Append Mode lets you do the Possible Histories after the final boss, and that's really the only content left at that point. Doing 25-30 Possible Histories back-to-back is not really fun. I'd imagine that content is a lot more digestible during the main game.

    And I'm going to have take a little bit of an issue with Anthony's claim that the battle system stagnates at about 20 hours in. Some of the skills later in the game aren't just "push one enemy", but "pushing a full row/column" or even a skill that lets you move all enemies to the middle square, where you can then hit them 9 times in one attack with the Musou skill, it's pretty insane. That unit is the best at greatly increasing your combo meter. The Support Skills, a new system introduced in Perfect Chronology, really helps to make combat easier, too. Some support skills are just an attack at the start of a combo or have a chance of landing a status ailment on an enemy at the start of a battle, but you can also get randomly buffed, while there's also End spells will outright kill an enemy if they're weak to the element used. There really is more to the combat than what you get in the first 20 hours.

    Other than that, great episode. It's cool to hear more voices on the podcast, hope you find more people to share the gospel of the Blood God with.
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  • Avatar for The-Challenger #7 The-Challenger 7 months ago
    @Hoolo I didn't finish every quest, I skipped at least one time node alteration, so I received the standard ending. I liked the ending. Although, the lack of postgame dungeons or side-quests always felt like a missed opportunity.

    I still have my old ds cart and the music disc that came with it. I might have to revisit this game.
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  • Avatar for Kat.Bailey #8 Kat.Bailey 7 months ago
    @riderkicker Short answer: They get engrossed in the team building. Or they like playing online. Or they play Ultimate Team and rip packs.
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  • Avatar for Kat.Bailey #9 Kat.Bailey 7 months ago
    @riderkicker Short answer: They get engrossed in the team building. Or they like playing online. Or they play Ultimate Team and rip packs.
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  • Avatar for tvsadam #10 tvsadam 7 months ago
    I'm trying to open my heart and mind sufficiently to embrace the idea that someone could consider Ardyn to be a better villain than Kefka. It's not going great.

    Do you see, like, waaaaay more of Ardyn in the DLC? Because I've only played the base game and found him to be so thinly characterized as to be more on par with, say, Ultimecia.
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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #11 SatelliteOfLove 7 months ago


    Gone, but not forgotten...

    SLOW KINGDOM HEARTS OMG AHAHAHAHAHA

    ANIME AQUALUNG ZOMGWTFBBQ AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Edited 2 times. Last edited March 2018 by SatelliteOfLove
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  • Avatar for daverhodus #12 daverhodus 7 months ago
    @Worthintendo Yeah, I'm in the same boat.
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  • Avatar for Maxbeedo #13 Maxbeedo 7 months ago
    @tvsadam You do see more of Ardyn in the Ignis and Prompto DLCs, but his role there is similar to the main game, in that he is basically the ultimate mastermind of everything that happens in every FFXV media. Noctis and Co. never deviate from the path set for them by Ardyn, and even Ardyn's death is by his design. The way Kefka forces the characters in FF6 to reevaluate their own reasons for fighting and the fact that we witness his ascension makes him still the better villain than all-powerful Ardyn.
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  • Avatar for SkywardShadow #14 SkywardShadow 7 months ago
    I haven't played Pokemon in years, but I've found myself playing through Ultra Moon. It's slowly killing me with the lack of any challenge. Why don't any of these opponents use a full team? The games desperately need a difficulty choice, or adult mode.

    The time commitment on random battles is awful too. With animations off, it still takes way too long to just run away.
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