Like many gamers, I have quite the backlog of games that I have started playing but ultimately drop every time a new game comes out. One such game is Xenoblade Chronicles 2. I have put about 25 hours into it before it ended up on the back burner and I hadn’t returned to it until recently, thanks to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is without a doubt the biggest, most ambitious fighter games in video game history. What began as a secret side project that transformed into an fun and addictive brawler where Nintendo’s favourite characters could duke it out against each other. Who would win in a fight between Mario, Link, Pikachu, or Kirby? Gamers could finally learn to answer as they played against their friends. Over time, the Super Smash Bros. series has opened it’s doors to other iconic video game characters like Sonic the Hedgehog, Pac-Man, Cloud Strife, and even Solid Snake.
What Super Smash Bros. does so well besides being such an immersive fighter game, is that it shines a light on each character and as a particular character becomes your new favourite or ‘main’ you eventually want to play other games that feature this character. This was certainly a case for me with Super Smash Bros. on N64. I had never played a Metroid game before playing Super Smash Bros. but when Samus Aran became my favourite fighter, I had to play the very games that brought this character into existence.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has also been a great opportunity for me to invest in other video game characters that I may otherwise overlook and rekindle the appreciation I had for them before. When the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 reps Pyra/Mythra were revealed as the next fighters to join Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as part of the Fighter Pass 2, I was overjoyed. I loved the characters and was excited for their inclusion in Smash. As soon as they were available to download and play, I immediately went to work through their Classic Mode and Spirit Board. As I played with them in Smash, I realized that I really needed to get back into Xenoblade Chronicles 2 again.
So, for the first time in like three years since I played it last, I booted up Xenoblade Chronicles 2 on my Nintendo Switch. I will admit that I was a mite disorientated when I started playing again. I had no real idea where I was supposed to go or do but fortunately, the pink diamond icon at the top of the screen helped indicate where I needed to go and within minutes, I was reacquainted with the controls and well on my way again to explore Alrest. After so much time of not playing the game, I immediately remembered how most of the game’s mechanics worked. There were a couple of things that escaped me, like how to pull off a chain combo or how to swap between blades but I eventually worked it all out.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a huge game. Main story aside, there is so much to do. You can literally spend hours exploring the immensely vast landscapes whilst fighting beasts or taking on side quests. You can summon support characters called Blades and add them to your party or send them off on Mercenary Missions for Gold and other rewards. There is also the Expansion Pass that adds even more content and a whole new story in the form of Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna – The Golden Country.
The story of the game is so rich and deep. I love the development of the characters and watching their relationships bloom with one another, especially between Rex and Pyra/Mythra. I just love the hot/cold dynamic with Pyra being naturally warm and Mythra being reserved and frosty. Another aspect that I particularly love the diversity in the nationalities of the characters. Rex with his Bolton accent, Nia with her Welsh accent and even Morag with her Glaswegian accent. Each character comes from a specific region in the game and it makes sense that they would have distinct accents from one another.
In regards to the combat of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, it is significantly different than that of how Pyra/Mythra are portrayed in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Firstly, as Pyra/Mythra are blades, they are not actively playable characters, you can not control them (or any of the blades for that matter) except through specific command prompts or in the Expansion Pass story XC2 Torna – The Golden Country. New players to the may find this an odd transition after playing as Pyra/Mythra in Smash and then seeing the fighters taking an auxiliary role in XC2. However, it is a more rewarding experience for XC2 players going into SSBU as they can finally play as Pyra/Mythra actively.
Still, I am glad that I got back into Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and I am enjoying it even more now than I did before. Reuniting with Rex, Pyra, Mythra and the rest of the gang as they journey through Alrest on the backs of giant Titans has been a blast and it is all thanks to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and the inclusion of Pyra/Mythra in the Fighter Pass 2.