Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition has arrived on the Nintendo Switch, adding another sprawling adventure to the hybrid system’s library. It can also be an overwhelming one between its vast environments and numerous complex systems, particularly if you’ve never played the Wii original or the New 3DS port.
While this version of Xenoblade Chronicles greatly cleans up the UI and makes other tweaks to improve its accessibility, there are still some aspects of the game that aren’t fully explained by its tutorials. To help you out, we’ve rounded up some essential tips and other things to be aware of before you set out on your adventure across the Bionis.
We gave the remastered RPG a 9/10 in our Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition review. Critic Jake Dekker called it “just as vast and fantastical as it was in 2010” and said, “Although not every aspect of Xenoblade Chronicles has aged as well as others, Definitive Edition proves that Xenoblade Chronicles is still a fantastic JRPG with an immense amount of strategic depth that’s still impressive in 2020.”
Ahead of Xenoblade’s launch, Nintendo has released a small 1.1.1 update that patches up a few specific issues with Chain Attacks. If you’ve played the latest entry in the series, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, you’ll also find a nice gift waiting for you when you first boot up the game: 100,000 gold.
Take Time To Explore The World
As enticing as it may be to follow the main storyline, it’s a good idea to spend some time just exploring the world. Each landmark you discover around the Bionis and the Mechonis opens up a new quick travel point, allowing you to warp instantly to places you’ve previously visited. On top of that, you’ll earn experience points each time you discover a new landmark or location, which makes simply exploring the world rewarding in its own right.
Complete Sidequests To Level Up Quickly
Like other RPGs, Xenoblade Chronicles is rife with sidequests. While many of these send you off on typical RPG errands like defeating a certain number of monsters or collecting specific materials, there’s a good incentive to complete them: You’ll earn experience points along with some very helpful rewards, including new gear and money.
In fact, completing sidequests is a much more expedient way to level your party up than by just battling monsters, and you shouldn’t have much need to grind so long as you’ve been regularly clearing sidequests. Moreover, many of these missions don’t require you to return to their quest giver to collect your rewards, so you’ll reap their benefits right upon their completion.
Buy Manuals To Fully Level Up Your Arts
As you battle your way across the Bionis, each character in your party will gradually amass Art Points, which can be used to level up their Arts. Unlike experience points, Art Points are not automatically distributed, so you’ll need to go into the menu and manually divvy them up as you see fit. Remember to periodically level up your party’s Arts as you play; doing so will reduce the attacks’ cooldown timers and improve their efficacy, which will be necessary to deal with the escalating threats you’ll face as you progress through the story.
However, one thing the game doesn’t explicitly tell you is that you can initially only power up an Art to level 4. To improve an attack beyond that, you’ll need to purchase Art Manuals from vendors at the different settlements you visit on your journey. Once you’ve purchased a manual for a specific Art, you’ll be able to level it up past its initial ceiling. Intermediate Manuals allow you to power an Art up to level 7, while Advanced Manuals raise that Art’s level cap to 10.
Hunt Down Unique Monsters
Roaming the world amongst the normal assortment of fauna are a special breed of enemies called Unique Monsters. These foes are typically larger than standard monsters and all have a distinct name like Evil Rhangrot or Territorial Rotbart. They’re also much tougher, making them more akin to minibosses.
While you likely won’t be able to defeat every Unique Monster when you first encounter them, it’s a good idea to remember where they lurk and return to battle them when you’re sufficiently prepared. If you can slay the Unique Monster, it’ll drop some great items, including Affinity Coins (which can be used to set up Skill Links–more on that in a bit) and new gear. In fact, the gear you can obtain from Unique Monsters is typically better than what you’d find at vendors in the area, making it worth your while to hunt these enemies down.
Craft And Equip Gems
On the outskirts of the Commercial District in Colony 9 is the Gem Man’s stall, where you can forge new gems for free. These can be equipped on any piece of gear that has an open slot to bestow additional perks on your party members; some gems reduce the amount of aggro that’s drawn by auto attacks, for instance, while others increase your max HP.
Before you can craft these gems, however, you’ll need to have ether crystals. These can be mined from ether deposits scattered all around the Bionis, so it’s a good idea to make a note of where a deposit is and return to it periodically to mine more crystals and forge those into gems.
Register Items In The Collectopaedia
As you explore the Bionis and the Mechonis, you’ll frequently come across glowing blue orbs scattered around the environment. Pick up one of these and you’ll receive a bizarrely named item like a Dance Apple or Sweet Wasabi, and while their purpose isn’t immediately apparent, these collectables will come in handy at various points in the game. You can trade these items with named NPCs, for example, which will improve their town’s Affinity rating, opening up additional sidequests and other benefits. On top of that, you can also register the items to receive some extra rewards.
Nestled within the Collectables menu is an option called the Collectopaedia. Each page in this repository is devoted to one of the areas you visit on your adventure, and it contains slots for all of the different collectables you can find scattered about that area. Each time you register a collectable here, you’ll receive a helpful reward like a gem. If you can complete an entire page, you’ll get even more rewards, including new weapons and armor, making it a good idea to collect every blue orb you come across as you play.
Build Up Your Affinity And Set Skill Links
As your party members complete sidequests together and battle alongside each other, they’ll gradually improve their Affinity. This opens up numerous benefits; not only will you craft better gems if your party members have a higher Affinity, you’ll also be able to set up Skill Links.
Using Affinity Coins, you can set a Skill from one character’s Skill Tree to another character, letting both take advantage of its perks. For example, linking Sharla’s Adrenaline Skill to Reyn will cause his tension to increase as he takes damage, which ties in well to his role as tank. Remember to also periodically switch up a character’s Skill Tree, which will unlock additional Skills that you’ll then be able to link.
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