I just pawned my copy of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, seven months after clearing my run of it. The reason is simple: although I had tons of fun playing that game, I'm pretty confident that I'm never going to touch it again. This is partly due to how long and extensive my playthrough was: after 160 hours spent roaming and grinding, I feel like I've seen nearly all XC2 had to offer. However, there are other, more sinister reasons that make me want to steer clear from that game henceforth. The truth is that thinking back to my run makes me feel a mite nauseous. As entertaining as said run was, it left a sour aftertaste in my mouth; and I can't help but feel like most of it was a sheer waste of time. In the process, I came to acknowledge a couple of unsavoury things about XC2, things I had not realized earlier because of how smitten I was with the game.
|Nope, I won't be running through Alrest ever again.|
|Sorry, Dahlia — We'll never ever meet after all.|
It's rife with fake longevity: XC2 has to be one of the most bloated RPGs I've ever played, if not the most bloated. Everything in that game seems to have been designed to inflate play time, in the most artificial and irritating way. The sheer breadth of the game world is the most obvious display of fake longevity here, with those humongous distances that force you to spend dozens of minutes just running; however, that is far from being the only offender. An exhaustive list of said offenders would have to include the heavy gatcha/RNG element, which can lengthen the obtention of a full Rare Blade roster towards infinity and make salvaging rare items a real pain. It would also have to include that darn Tiger!Tiger! game, which is so impossibly grindy it's not even funny, as well as the requirements for unlocking most of the Rare Blades' affinity charts, which typically involve hours of grinding. Let's not forget the Skill animations, which are way longer than they should be, and the forced slowdown of running speed in battle. Take pretty much every feature in XC2, and you'll find fake longevity nested somewhere in it. Heck, I'm pretty sure Monolith Soft would have dispensed with quest markers and instant travel in the name of increased play time, if not for the fact that the game would have become virtually unplayable in the process.
|I'll kinda miss you, Pyra. So long, goodbye, hooray, Mythra.|
All in all, I feel that XC2 somewhat scammed me. It stole my precious time by making itself bigger than it needed to be, forced me to toil to understand gameplay mechanics that should have been made clear from the very beginning, duped me by posing as a fancier game than it actually is, and ultimately swindled me of my gamer's affections. I won't denying that I was utterly and totally hooked on that game; but with hindsight, that attachment had more to do with a case of mild addiction that with genuine, unadulterated love. Sure, there were some things I utterly and totally fancied when I played the game, such as the fighting system and the grandiose vistas; however, all those things ultimately failed to leave a lasting imprint on my gamer's soul. That whole experience confirms something I already surmised; namely that long, sprawling RPGs are not my cup of tea and that I favour compact offerings much more indeed. To quote an example rooted in the latest gaming news, I'd choose Link's Awakening over Breath of the Wild any day of the week. At any rate, XC2 has now left my game library, probably for all eternity; and let's face it, I'm relieved. Thanks for reading, and be my guest anytime!