Playthrough: XenoSummer, Part I

Box Art

Welcome to The Starlight Megaphone‘s playthrough of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Monolith Soft’s sequel to Xenoblade Chronicles, released exclusively on the Nintendo Switch on 1 December 2017.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is the highly-anticipated sequel to the original game, originally released in the West in the wake of Operation Rainfall. The success of that original title was so significant that it resulted in eventual remakes and sequels, culminating in the two most recent titles on Nintendo Switch: Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and a remaster of the original game titled Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition. The third game in the series, Xenoblade Chronicles 3, is scheduled to release on Nintendo Switch on 29 July 2022.

The worldwide release of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 marked a significant advancement in the fortunes of the series. The original game experienced significant success and interest (sufficient to generate a spinoff in the form of the somewhat underwhelming Xenoblade Chronicles X). However, the release of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was attended by rave reviews and instantaneous fan accolades. Despite running on comparatively unimpressive Nintendo Switch hardware, the game world was immersive and the amount of content was vast. Moreover, the level of polish afforded to every aspect of the game came as a surprise to many who were expecting, in 2017, that the Nintendo Switch would be a haven only for technically simplistic ports and indie titles.

Explore a vast and living world.

Although Xenoblade Chronicles 2 takes place in the same universe as the original game, the link between the two is somewhat unclear. The series developers have indicated that future games in the series will draw upon this connexion, so Xenoblade Chronicles 3 will likely elaborate upon the shared world in some detail. However, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 only draws upon the original in what seem to be fairly indirect ways. The single Monado of the original game–a semi-sentient blade–gives way to multiple ‘Blades’ in the second game, which are fully-realised beings who participate in the story and who stand in battle with the player characters.

The battle system relies on a high degree of player mobility, with various moves intended to be used from the front, sides, and rear of an enemy. The player controls one character at a time, with a reasonably competent AI handling the other characters. However, all of the characters (and their associated blades) are completely customisable: not only can they be assigned different roles (damage, healer, defence), but they can be customised within those roles, as can the blades themselves. Dozens of multiple blades can be acquired, each capable of different skills and development. And, skill synergies link together in a complex, elemental combo system that yields enormous burst damage opportunities. Beneath all of these mechanics, a system of passive buffs constantly runs by utilising expendable items from the player’s backpack, speeding up actions, increasing defence and damage, or providing HP regeneration.

The party will battle enemies perfectly-suited to the world.

The vastness of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 may seem daunting as the world expands before players new to the series, but the game does a fine job of establishing the setting in a manageable location–a single ship–before throwing the player into the vast expanse of the world. And that world is replete with opportunities that award exploration: plants to harvest, minerals to delve, secret enemies to find, and treasure waiting to be found, all in addition to the game’s numerous sidequests and additional DLC. In many ways, the content of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is on the scale of that found in top-shelf MMORPGs, and the presentation is suggestive of that to an even greater degree than the original game. Although the main story of the game can be completed in the typical thirty-to-sixty-hour JRPG timeframe, the additional content pushes the game well over a hundred hours.

Please use the comment thread below to discuss your approach to the game, challenges you have faced, strategies and content you have uncovered, and any aids you are using in your playthrough. Do you believe that Xenoblade Chronicles 2 can still stand up against more recent open-world experiences? Do you prefer Xenoblade Chronicles 2 to the original game? Do you find the battle system wonderfully liberating, or too complicated and confusing? What sorts of changes would you make to the game? What features would you add or remove? Tell us all about it and join in our discussion below! We will select some of the best comments, each week, for our podcast discussion.

Inclusion of day/night and weather systems add to the realism.

The aim in this playthrough is to complete the entirety of the game by 22 July. Instead of milestones, we encourage you to play at your own pace–but please keep us updated about your thoughts and progress as you play the game. This will help to sustain our discussion and encourage other players to complete the game, and it will guide us to know when it is time to close our playthrough. Please also make use of our official Discord channel, where we have an #events channel dedicated to playthrough chat.

Please join in with us and comment about your experience! Our playthrough is intended to encourage anyone and everyone to participate, regardless of speed of play or familiarity with the genre. Comment and tell your friends!

Without further adieu, we invite you to join The Starlight Megaphone‘s staff members and readers in XenoSummer, Part I: a Xenoblade Chronicles 2 playthrough!


  1. I am at 35 hours somewhere in Chapter 4. Now I have to read over the walkthrough up to this point so that I can remember what is going on!

  2. This is the game I bought my Switch with. I have real fond memories of playing and beating the game over the course of the Summer of 2018. I’m playing on new game+ and lowered my base level to 10 to start off.

    My biggest memory of the game is diving over and over for rare core crystals trying to get a bunch of the unique blades. That and going around doing the metric tons of tasks and quests you can do to power up the drivers and blades. I like XB2 more than 1 mainly because of the better battle system, improved quests, and multiple blades.

    I’m in the middle of chapter 2 at the moment. There are so many cutscenes at the start of the game. There was one point where you get a cutscene, it has you walk ten feet down some stairs and boom….another cutscene. I did laugh at the cutscene where guy gets toasted trying to become a driver and a character comments about how there is so much blood when there was none. That said, I am definitely looking forward to the point where the world opens up more and you get access to more blade quests.

  3. I liked 1 for what it was. I missed out on the 2 playthough the first time. I think that was during the first move in 2020. X is locked away with the Wiiu. I dont think I’ll ever finish it. The current playthrough I’ve yet to decide if I’ll join it. Ongoing health issues is cutting gaming time to a few hours in the evening. I hope to join it if I can get a copy

  4. @TacticsJack: I hope you can find your game, but… we’ve never done a Xenoblade Chronicles 2 playthrough. So you can’t have missed the playthrough the first time around. This is the first time!

  5. @LC11: There are LOADS of upfront cutscenes! But they are all really good, and none of them are overlong. There are just a lot of them.

    I think it was Eternal Sonata that I went AFK and did laundry only to return and find that a cutscene was STILL going on. And FFXV had so many cutscenes, but they were BAD. This game avoids both pitfalls!

  6. I could have sworn we did. It must be that everyone was playing it when I came out. I got confused. I lost the usb with XB1 on it at some point too. Keeping XB games is hard.

  7. @ Caspius: Indeed, the cutscenes are excellent, not overly long, and are not a waste of time.

  8. Finally back into the game! Took me roughly two seconds to fall right back in love and be absorbed by it 😅

    Turns out I was in chapter 5. This morning I hit chapter 6.

  9. I’m on chapter 7. Having a bunch of blades with high trust and leveled up weapon skills along with everything else already unlocked make the battles go way quicker. I’m trying to unlock all the areas and then go around doing all the heart-to-hearts and blade quests.

    They really want people to play new game+ if you want to fight the super bosses. You unlock things like more rare blades, another whole driver skill chart, and Zeke’s super powered mode. It makes new game+ worth it but I also think it’s lame to lock the full potential of your party behind the mechanic.

    I really love the party members and hate the villains. The story is doing its job in that regard for me. My biggest gripe is that it’s hard to figure out how to get to where the game wants you to go sometimes.

  10. Reached Tantal 😊 Not my favorite area, but it does have lovely music (like everything else, but I often stop to listen to it).

  11. I’ve got to the point where the final battle is right there ready to activate in Chapter 10. I’m not going to activate in until I am done with everything else I want to do because once I complete it I will probably lose motivation to do anything else in the game.

    The story really comes together in the last few chapters. That does lead to the last few chapters having tons of cutscenes but it’s fine. The final boss of chapter nine is pretty annoying. It heals every time you get it to low health, has multiple attacks that hits everyone no matter where they are, and has an attack that pretty much insta-kills anyone it hits. It took me a long while to finally get them killed.

  12. LC11, I will never understand how you find the time to fly through everything the way you do. You deserve a medal!

  13. Same!

    I believe I’m about to approach the last part of chapter 6 now.

  14. Yep made it to chapter 7. All the emotions. Had forgotten exactly how much it pulls on my heartstrings. I don’t easily get too emotional with rpg stories. To be honest the first things I look for are usually variety in graphics or interesting gameplay or just that it’s regular turnbased with great variety in colorscheme. That’s enough for me and if the story is decent, great. But Xenoblade is different. Tora is my favorite character of all time and I smile so much from this game. And the story .. Knowing what’s ahead I better get my tissues 😂

  15. The ending section of chapter 6 through the ending of chapter 7 was my favorite part of the story. You are in a great part of the game Winter. The story fight in the middle of chapter 7 is a bit annoying though. You fight a bunch of shadow figures and they spawn another full health copy every-time one gets to low health. You either have to get them all to low health and then kill them at the same time or just keep fighting until they run out of copies which takes like 20-30 minutes.

    I usually play games for around two hours a day before bed. I also work from home three days a week so I can play during breaks. Playing 2 hours a day adds up to 60-62 hours a month which is enough time to complete most of the playthrough games. I just kind of stay focused on the playthrough game and eventually I finish it.

    I was also sick two weeks ago and didn’t feel like doing much other than playing games, sleeping and listening to podcasts. That’s really how I got so far into the game so quickly.

  16. I went ahead and beat the final boss. It was really easy compared to the final boss of chapter 9.

    I wasn’t paying that much attention to XB3 but after finishing XB2 I looked into it and I am excited for XB3. I am personally hoping it is more like 2 than 1 but they are both pretty great games so either way it should be worth it.

    Thanks for giving me a reason to replay XB2. I got a better understanding and appreciation for the plot and game through this playthrough.

  17. Agreed it’s a great part of the game! Although I love all of it. Still in chapter 7. Hasn’t been much gaming this week, mostly just wedding planning, but I’m getting in more now toward the end of it 😊I’m down in the Spirit Crucible Elpys part now.

    Actually for me I tend to play Xenoblade as a single player MMO which means I’m completely overlevelled at all times throughout the game 😅 By the time I beat it the first time I had put in 225 hours or something like that 🙈 I will never tire of just roaming this game doing a quest there, a merc mission here, some collecting, some salvaging… ops that’s 20 hours more 😂

    Right now I’m actually going through quickly though to see all the story in time for Xenoblade Chronicles 3. But I’m going to do another playthrough again after this one. I hope to eventually get all blades, do everything. I’m not sure I will ever stop playing it. No, I don’t think I will.

  18. I finally had some time to put into the game! But, I am becoming sick again with tonsillitis, so I may have to go in for surgery. That would really put a cramp in my gaming time, unfortunately.

    I just entered the abandoned factory in Mor Ardain. I had some quests to complete first, but I’m caught up on the ones that I can do now. So far, I have about 10 rare blades, all of them on Rex. None of my other characters have any blades other than their story ones. Is this normal? It’s probably a bit unhelpful when it comes to having the right field abilities.

    What do other people do? Do you give everyone a selection of blades of different classes? Do you just give them blades all of the same class (e.g. healer)? Or do you give them blades that all have the same weapon type (e.g. axe)? Or is it just arranged to maximise field skills?

    I have about a dozen Overdrives so I can move a few blades around. But I’ve read that Overdrives are pretty rare.

    This game has simply fantastic music. Every location has just incredible music, but outside of Mor Ardain might just be my favourite. Brilliant, brilliant stuff.

  19. In chapter 7 Rex becomes able to equip any blade you have so he’s honestly the worst person to have rare blade on IMO. How would you even know that unless you were spoiled though.

    The roles of the blades you have on someone give them advantages that correspond to that class. For example; healing blades increase how much potions heal and decrease enemy attention you get per action and tanks increase the attention on the character per action. I usually just try to keep the same class for all 3 blades to maximize the characters in their role. Although it be good to keep a healing blade on a non-healer in case you are in a tight spot IMO.

  20. Thanks, LC11. I noticed the bonuses (master healer etc.) and switched to doing that. But I had NO IDEA about Rex! Oops! Looks like I should give them to Nia for now, at least until Morag joins.

    I’ve got most of the rares that can be had from ordinary crystals, but no Kos-Mos yet. I’ve also only opened (bonded? Bound?) common crystals, because I’m saving my 25ish rares and legendaries for after I get Zeke.

    Right now my party/blades are
    Rex: Mythra, Roc, Agate
    Nia: Dromarch, Vess, Cossette
    Tora: Poppi (although he’s out of the party right now).

  21. Chapter 7 done! Got quite emotional there. Haven’t been too much time to play, but ready for chapter 8!

  22. I reached chapter 6, and was at 150 hours when I gave up. It’s just not going to be possible for me to finish it this week with the end of the term here and some very serious work to undertake.

    I have a lot of thoughts about the game, but they are of a more general sort, not specific to this game entirely.

    I think it suffers from quite a bit of diffuse design and padding. That isn’t at all unique to this game: it’s endemic in the industry, and is yet another one of the poisoned fruits of World of Warcraft. Much like quest tracking, which simply tells you where to go, obviating the need for any sort of exploration or even reading quest dialogue, side quests have also permeated RPG design. The more of them there are, the more they water down and dilute the game experience. For a side quest to add narrative value, it has to be one of the very few, it has to be impactful, and it can’t be so involved that it distracts from the main game.

    This game not only has lots of side quests, although not as many as its predecessor, but they are continuous and repeatable in the form of Merc missions and levelling up (RNG provided!) blades. It’s a problem, really: it is possible to have too much content, if the content is not significant. It’s like being invited to a massive buffet, but the only thing being served is hors d’oeuvres. If you ask around enough, you’ll find that there’s a main course hidden somewhere (maybe inside a credenza), but by the time you get to it you’ll probably already be full.

    I don’t want to spend too much time harping on it here: the game is very good indeed, one of the most accomplished on the Switch if not the most accomplished. But it is very much a product of its time: and as much as it shows the very best qualities of RPGs when it was created, it also shows the problems that exist in development of that genre with which developers are only now starting to come to grips.

    Over the next few weeks will be talking about “principles for RPG developers” on the podcast. Tune in!

  23. lol, I will ok forward to the discussion on the podcast, yeah.

    I look forward to it.

  24. Finally some time to play games this evening! I mean more than ten minutes 😅 A month to go until the wedding and it’s getting intense. And also is summer with all the usual summer trips etc.

    But I reached the World Tree tonight. Ready to climb! I’m going through way quicker than I normally would, but it would be nice to see the story again to refresh before XC3. Although my favorite way of playing this is 20 hours of fluff, 1 hour story, 20 hour fluff 😂 I’m realising everything that are apparently its’ flaws are why it feels like they made it just for me 🙈

  25. Our Xenoblade 2 playthrough ends on Friday! Post your final updates!

  26. Reached chapter nine!! Not last update hopefully. I’m still hoping to finish even though there’s so little time to play. Hopefully cramming in together with meals I can get it done 😅

  27. Finished it yesterday! What a game!! Usually when I finish a game I feel very done and ready for a change, but I wanted to start right over 😅 Finished minutes before we got to my future mother in law so no time to update until now 😊 Thanks for hosting this playthrough! XC3 next 💪

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