Xenoblade Chronicles X Stream Shows Off Combat, Equipment, and More The rest of the gameplay appears to be just as deep as the map exploration. 03.08.15 - 3:20 PM
For those of us craving to see some Xenoblade Chronicles X footage that wasn't just big open maps, Monolith Soft delivered with their latest stream event, showcasing what happens when your finely customized hero has to bust out his or her weapon. You can catch the video below, as well as our breakdown and synopsis that follows.
Combat in Xenoblade Chronicles X should be familiar to anyone who played the original Xenoblade Chronicles, although Monolith Soft has some updates and refinements to keep things fresh. Battles play out in real time on the field in parties of up to four. You can initiate battle by attacking an enemy or by drawing its aggro. Different enemies will aggro in different ways, such as sight or sound, and will bear a marker indicating their aggro type. Some enemies will also have discrete parts that you can attack and break off for a chance at better loot. In combat, characters can use both melee ("Fighting") and long range ("Shooting") type weapons. They can switch between the two types on the fly and should do so to maximize their effectiveness.
The flow of combat revolves around balancing regular auto attacks and more powerful Arts. As in the prior game, Arts can dish out a lot of damage but must cool down between casts. They fall generally into four categories: Fighting, Shooting, Recovery, and Weakening. Attack Arts (Fighting and Shooting) can be comboed together for greater damage output. In addition, you can knock enemies down to put them in the Collapse state, and hit them again with an Art that inflicts Tumble. Once tumbled, the enemy can't attack and takes 50% more damage. Positioning also plays a big role just as it did in the previous game. Certain Arts will do more damage or have additional effects from the side or back, and attacking from lower or higher terrain will effect accuracy and crit rates.
Your party members will also communicate with one another during battle using the Soul Voice system. When they call out to one another they will queue up the "Soul Voice" effect on an Art that will grant a buff if cast. Triggering a Soul Voice will also heal the party. If a quick time event occurs in battle prompting you to press B, then the player can trigger a Soul Voice of their own on another party member. Soul Voices have different types that grant different boosts and they can be set manually outside of combat.
As mentioned, although Arts are powerful you normally cannot just spam them because they require a cool down. That is where auto attacks come in. Auto attacks allow you to bide your time while your Arts recover, but they have several other beneficial effects as well. For one, they build Tension, which will allow you to revive fallen allies if you accumulate enough. They also allow for Double Recasts, which occur when you use an Art twice in a row but allow the Art to recharge for extra time in between casts. The second cast will gain a significant boost by filling up the Double Recast meter.
Later in the game, you will get access to an Overclocking Gear that will eliminate cool down for Arts so you can cast them continuously and rack up the combos. Using the Overclocking Gear also lets you perform a Triple Recast, which is just a stronger version of the Double Recast. Triggering the Overclocking Gear with multiple party members at once will increase the effectiveness.
Equipment in Xenoblade Chronicles X offers near endless variety. Melee weapons include knives, swords, shields, and spears, while ranged weapons could be rifles, guns, or even rocket launchers. Characters will have armor slots for the head, torso, left arm, right arm, and legs. Equipment can be further customized by placing devices in special slots in the equipment.
Players will generally procure equipment from shops in New Los Angeles, and there will be several different brands to buy from. Using a brand repeatedly in combat will generate greater revenue for that company, which will be funneled into research to produce better equipment. Each brand has a different specialty and weakness, and new brands will crop up over time. Other times, enemies will drop rare and powerful equipment, so it pays to pick fights with some monsters.
As in the previous game, equipment will change the character's appearance in the field and in combat. Players may choose to outfit their character in specific set of armor or mix and match.
Growth is a core element of any RPG, and Xenoblade Chronicles X has a few systems to play with. Your character will have an "Inner Level" and a Class Rank that will determine his or her stats. Most equipment has an Inner Level requirement as well. You can raise your Inner Level through combat, finding treasure, or discovering new locations.
All characters begin with the generic Drifter class, but after learning a few Arts will have access to the Assault, Command, and Forcer classes. Class determines your stats and available Arts and equipment. Not counting the Drifter you can unlock three tiers. For example the Assault class builds into either the "Samurai Gun" or "Shield Batterer," and the Samurai Gun will eventually unlock the "General Sword."
The stream showed off several other playable characters beside Elma and Lynlee. You can form parties of four from the members of BLADE and beyond. BLADE members belong to one of eight different units or Unions that classify them based on their strengths and roles in the military. For instance, the woman from the video with the short cropped white hair named Irina is an Interceptor, in charge of clearing Mira of hostile aliens. The young man with the short hair is also an Interceptor named Guin. The towering Doug is an Avalanche, specializing in especially dangerous monsters. Finally, Rao is a Pathfinder in charge of data probe installation. The video also showed the blue alien Ru fighting alongside your party as well as several other mystery characters. These characters are more than just generic cannon fodder; they each bring a distinct personality and back story to the team.
Xenoblade Chronicles X is scheduled for an April 29th Japanese release on the Wii U. It will come out later this year in the West. In addition, Monolith Soft has promised a closer look at the game's mechs (Dolls) in the next stream. While you wait, you can check out our updated gallery.