7 Major Gameplay Changes Xenoblade Chronicles DE
Back in 2010, Nintendo fans were blown away by Monolith Soft’s open-world JRPG Xenoblade Chronicles. While the game’s aesthetic featured a standard definition of 540p, critics praised Xenoblade for its intriguing story, expansive and cohesive world, and splendid soundtrack. Despite its reputation as a revolutionary Nintendo exclusive, the game is not without flaw. At times, the story pacing was mired by level grinding, the side quests felt hollow yet necessary, and the combat appeared convoluted. However, as the years progressed, Monolith Soft learned from past mistakes and gradually improved with each game. While Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is by no means perfect, Monolith incorporated many of the sequel’s best elements into the Xenoblade Chronicles remaster. Here are seven gameplay changes that Xenoblade Chronicles DE adopts from Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
#1 A Brand New Epilogue
When Monolith Soft released Xenoblade Chronicles 2 in 2017, the company revealed an aggressive DLC strategy. Not only did fans receive a challenge mode and new blades, but Monolith treated the Xenoblade community to an entirely separate epilogue. Torna: The Golden Country was more akin to a full video game rather than a DLC add-on. Armed with over 40 hours of gameplay, Torna featured a modified battle system and new areas to explore.
Xenoblade Chronicles DE wisely follows suit with its additional epilogue. Called Futures Connected, Shulk and Melia set off to explore the Bionis Shoulder region and discover the aftermath of Alcamoth. While most of the gameplay is unchanged, the battle system integrates new Nopon chain attacks. Finally, the epilogue contains its own soundtrack, collectibles, and explorable areas. Futures Connected is most definitely a welcomed addition to the base game.
#2 New HUD Map
To say that sub-menus and displays mired the original Xenoblade Chronicles game is an understatement. While the HUD included a mini-map, the size and scale were of little value. As a result, players needed to consistently reference the full map from the sub-menu. By having no intermediate option, the gameplay suffered and felt choppy at times. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 wisely updated its mini-map system by offering a more expansive overlay with a click of the left thumb stick. Xenoblade Chronicles DE also embraced this mechanic, and fans are forever grateful. By pressing the left thumb stick, players can see an expanded map overlay that displays enemy locations as well as warp points and other areas of interest.
#3 Improved Quest Indicators
Not only does XCDE improve the HUD mini-map, but it also upgrades map indicators for quests. Unless finishing a main story mission, the original game provided players with few map indicators when completing side quests. This made finding enemies and collectible items difficult. But Monolith Soft learned its lesson with Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and incorporated a quest tracking mechanic. By selecting a quest to track, the map automatically provided players with direction and location hints. By giving players the option to turn the map hints on and off, Monolith added an element of inclusion into the game. Xenoblade Chronicles DE adds this same mechanic, and it is a welcomed change. Simply select the quest from the game’s menu, and the mini-map provides a recommended path and destination.
#4 Casual Mode
Everyone in the video game community plays games for different reasons. Some enjoy the challenge of beating a difficult boss while others only want to experience the story. The original Xenoblade Chronicles is by no means a punishing game; however, the latter half is filled with difficulty spikes. Instead of grinding for more levels, players often put the game aside out of frustration. Not to mention, the gameplay is in excess of 100 hours. Understanding that side quests and level grinding are not for everyone, Monolith Soft wisely added a casual mode to Xenoblade Chronicles DE. This mode reduces the difficulty of battles and makes the game more accessible for beginners. The best part is that players can turn casual mode on and off at any time.
#5 Unique Monster Challenges
Unique monsters are a staple in the Xenoblade series. These powerful foes offer players a means not only to test their skill but also to earn special items. While the original game featured a healthy number of unique enemies, the battles were more or less a “one-and-done” experience. Players could battle a unique monster again; however, there was little incentive to do so. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 built upon the unique enemy mechanic by introducing timed challenges. Instead of simply overcoming a superior foe, players could race against the clock to see how quickly they could defeat the game’s toughest enemies. The result was increased replay-ability as well as interaction among fans of the Xenoblade community. Xenoblade Chronicles DE takes this concept one step further by rewarding players with unique gems and items. This is a welcomed edition that Monolith Soft wisely included in the remaster.
#6 Level Adjustment
Perhaps the most frustrating part of JRPGs is when a player feels overpowered. JPRGs often reward exploration and curiosity with experience points and levels; however, this gameplay mechanic is at odds with creating a rewarding experience. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 did the unthinkable by allowing players to lower Rex and Co’s level during a NG+ playthrough. Players could restore the party’s level at any time by sleeping at an inn. While this option seemed odd, it allowed players to continue exploring and experience an evenly paced challenge throughout the whole game. Xenoblade Chronicles DE takes this concept one step further by allowing players to adjust their party’s level right from the start. Feeling overpowered? Simply scale the level down and adjust upward when needed.
#7 Event Theater
No other video game series embraces cinematic cutscenes quite like Xenoblade Chronicles. While most modern franchises offer a healthy number of CGI scenes, Xenoblade games contain well over 10 total hours of movie-quality cutscenes. Often considered a reward for completing a story mission, cutscenes are integral to character development and story arcs. But they are also fun to rewatch. Perhaps the most frustrating part of Xenoblade Chronicles is that players had to replay the game to experience the cutscenes more than once. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 rectified this fatal flaw with its Events Theater menu on the title screen. Upon completing a main story mission, players unlock the ability to view the cutscene at any time. Xenoblade Chronicles DE also includes this feature on the title screen so players can relive Shulk’s adventure whenever they choose.
Each of these upgrades makes Xenoblade Chronicles DE the best way to experience the original game. But we want to know what you think. Did you have a hard time with the gameplay mechanics in the original Xenoblade Chronicles? While the story is enjoyable, did the battle mechanics turn you off to the rest of the game? What do you think of the updates? Let us know in the comments below or the social media links on the right.
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