Regular Link-Cable readers know exactly how I feel about the Xenoblade series. I’ve already why the original is the best RPG we’ve seen in the last 20 years and how the recently released Xenoblade Chronicles 2 could be the Switch’s best game of the year, so to say I love these games would be a pretty big understatement. That being said, the relatively young series already has a ‘black sheep’ among its midst with Xenoblade Chronicles X being a radical departure from the original and almost unrecognizable as a game in the same series when all three titles are compared side by side. Despite all of its differences though I really, really… really want to hop in a Skell and return to Mira one day, hopefully soon.
When compared directly to the original Xenoblade Chronicles and Xenoblade Chronicles 2, X is clearly a very different beast altogether. The visuals have a much more realistic side to them and the game involves a lot less ‘magical’ elements than in the other games. The gameplay was also radically different, with a lot less focus on progressing through the narrative but more about exploring the massive world of Mira and finding out the mysteries of the place in a more passive sense, similar in some ways to how the Metroid Prime games build their narratives. All of this put together helps give Xenoblade Chronicles X a feel that definitely comes off as more unique than other games in the series.
However, despite all of these unique features, Xenoblade Chronicles X definitely isn’t without its flaws. The game is definitely ambitious in scope but Mira has a lot of empty space that could have been put to better use. It’s also pretty listless in terms of direction, really leaving you to come up with your own adventure throughout the alien world. While both of those things are definitely part of the game’s charm it was be nice if Nintendo and Monolith ever revisit it for a sequel that a bit more direction and variety would be added. Also, a potential Xenoblade Chronicles X 2 would definitely need to do a better job at explaining its mechanics and systems to the players early on. On my playthrough of the game I found out a pretty key gameplay mechanic about oh… 90 hours in that would have saved me a lot of time in the long run.
So what would Xenoblade Chronicles X 2 look like? Well in my dream world, the game would be a direct sequel that addresses the cliffhanger ending that frustrated many gamers at the end of the first game. We need a proper conclusion to this story the ends with way more questions than we went into the game with. Now I won’t spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t yet played the game but there quite a few characters from Xenoblade Chronicles X whose mysterious pasts only start to emerge in the game’s climactic ending only to end abrubtedly as soon as the game starts looking into these mysteries. X 2 would definitely need to answer these questions and bring the story to a proper end.
But it’s not just the narrative that can be improved upon as the gameplay itself could use some sprucing up, especially when it comes to the game’s deep online integration. In many ways, Xenoblade Chronicles X could be seen as a single-player RPG with heavy MMORPG influences. From social challenges, recruiting party members and online boss battles the game is easily the most ambitious online game Nintendo has ever published, something that should definitely be built on for a sequel. Things like true multiplayer, mission variety, streamlines systems and maybe even a full raiding, question suite would be fantastic additions to the game. We could even form Xenoblade guilds and build a community around games that people are already very passionate for.
Would I love a bigger, better sequel to Xenoblade Chronicles X? Absolutely! That being said I don’t think we’ll be getting it anytime soon. Monolith has just wrapped up development of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (check back later for our full review) and interviews with the developer seem to hint that this style is more in line with the series’ future. That and the company has already started dropping hints at their next project which, unless the series is going in a radically different direction, looks nothing like the futuristic, sci-fi look of Xenoblade Chronicles X which further hints that we won’t be heading back to Mira anytime soon… but a boy can dream right?