It’s the Freakin’ Weekend! So What are You Playing?

Friday! Video games! Let’s talk!

The only game I’ll be playing this weekend is Xenoblade Chronicles 2. I’m pushing about 53 hours played and just started chapter 7 of 10 before going to bed last night.

It was smooth sailing until a couple of days ago when my progression was blocked by a skill check that my party wasn’t prepared for. The game has these little nodes that you click on that require you to have certain skills equipped in order to interact with them. These skills are provided by the “blades” (weapons) you’ve unlocked through both story quests and a randomized lootbox system. I needed a certain amount of Ice Mastery and was one skill rank short, and because of bad luck, I failed to obtain a number of Ice-based Blades that would have allowed me to continue.

At least, that’s what I told myself.

xenobladefreefail

At first, I got frustrated. “Why in the hell would they gatekeep the story behind a randomized skill system,” I asked. But it was ultimately my fault. You see, the higher a character’s “luck” stat, the better chance you have of pulling rare Blades from these Core Crystals. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is full of these generic robot-looking Blades, but rare ones are fully voiced, have unique art styles, massive affinity charts to unlock, and extra quests to complete.

Since Rex, the game’s protagonist, had the highest Luck stat by a significant margin, I only used him to open EVERY. SINGLE. BLADE. However, once a Core Crystal is opened, the blade awarded to the player is bound to the chosen character. You can reassign them to another party member with an incredibly rare item, but I own the Expansion Pass which gave me 10 of them at the start of the game. I didn’t care. If I unlocked a healing Blade that was better suited for Nia or a tanking Blade for Morag, I’d just transfer it.

xenobladerareblade

What I didn’t take into consideration was that I’d eventually NEED to have a bunch of junk-tier blades on other party members for moments like the one above. In addition to Pyra, Rex can equip two Blades. In this particular example, I needed a bunch of Ice Mastery and came up 4 ranks short. If I had opened some common Core Crystals on Nia and Morag, I would have easily had enough by equipping Ice Blades onto them as well.

Since this was MY fault, I swallowed my frustration and made the best use of my time. I spent five hours sending my unused Blades out on mercenary missions (a mini-game that awards XP, gold, items, and Blade affinity without having to use them) in hopes of unlocking additional ranks of Ice Mastery. In the meantime, I raised the development level of a town up to its max rank which reduces the cost of items there by 50%. Using the discount, I purchased as many Gold Cylinders as possible (the best consumable that offers the greatest chance at rare rewards in the salvaging mini-game), and salvaged while listening to Giant Bomb podcasts.

xenobladesalvage

Five hours later, I had made millions of gold, maxed out the ranks of three different towns, scored a ton of Core Crystals that ended up unlocking four new rare Blades, and easily found the necessary Ice Mastery ranks by actually bonding low-rank Blades to someone other than Rex.

I feel like Xenoblade Chronicles 2 puts these obstacles in front me purely to teach me how the game works, which is odd for a game so littered with tutorials. However, it’s a welcome approach. I get lost or stuck and work through how to proceed by fiddling with the game’s complexities, exploring, and, should the need to pass time arise, spend it doing other fun things instead. The moment I noticed Rex had Blades with Salvage Mastery perks that greatly increased my salvaging rewards, I felt like I had just discovered the ultimate cheat code. It’s a great feeling.

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I’m not sure what happened, but Xenoblade Chronicles 2 went from being last year’s biggest disappointment to possibly my 2nd favorite game on the Switch. Perhaps it’s all of the updates or the new easy mode making combat less of a chore (but still tactical and fun), but every day since I’ve started playing it I cannot wait to jump back in.

I do have a review for Flinthook in the works, but I try to spend my weekends on myself. This weekend will be no different. I can’t wait to see where the story goes next.

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20 thoughts on “It’s the Freakin’ Weekend! So What are You Playing?

  1. You are making me so incredibly excited to try to play this game soon. I’m glad you got to try it again and enjoy it!

    This weekend might be more writing than playing, but I’m in the last stretch of Atelier Shallie so if I can, I’ll be playing through that. I’ve been eyeing trying to play through Siren: Blood Curse or starting Remothered, though… Got some decisions to make I guess!

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  2. I’m glad you’ve finally started to enjoy XC2. Originally it sounded like you were really disappointed that you didn’t get on with it, but now you seem much happier!

    I’ve started on Far Cry 5 and A Way Out, as well as having a bit of fun in Superflight here and there.

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    1. I definitely didn’t enjoy the first 10 hours at launch, but the updates and new easy mode (and probably being in a better headspace) made it feel much better this time. I’m glad I started over.

      A Way Out looks so rad. What’s your take on FC5?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. A Way Out is pretty cool. It’s such an odd co-op experience, I can’t think of anything else even close to it. Only an hour or so in so far though.

        Only 2 hours into Far Cry 5 so far, and it’s a Far Cry game with less of the filler in it so far. I like the antagonist so far, as he comes across as a very creepy character. The “controvosy” about the themes in it is just silly though.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. FC games have never been for me, really. The only one I’ve ever finished has been Blood Dragon, and I think that’s just because it was the right length. FC’s gameplay hook lost me after a few hours, so that couldn’t happen in Blood Dragon. Also, the absurdity helped. I’m dying for them to give Assassin’s Creed the Blood Dragon treatment.

          Liked by 3 people

  3. It should be no surprise that again, I’ll be playing a lot of Splatoon 2. Especially since I double dipped on it last month, and got the Starter Edition for the spiffy extras. But, I don’t really NEED two copies, so I’ll be giving the SE to my nieces on Easter. I’m sure if they don’t like it, my Brother-in-law will.

    Beyond that though If I get out early enough Saturday night, I may take a stab at streaming some DUSK death match. I don’t pick up many games in Early Access (There’s no guarantee they’ll ever be done.) but I liked what I saw in the trailers enough to roll the dice. So far it does deliver what was promised, a send up of Quake 1 with elements of deliverance, and RE 4. But they’ve added a classic Quake III Arena style death match mode to it which is pretty fun. Maybe some Ion Maiden as well. The other EA game I caved on.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m sure someone will enjoy that second copy of Splatoon 2! I may try and hop in tonight for a little bit and get my feet wet, but I think I want to go through the campaign first. Is the baseball vs. soccer Splatfest going on this weekend?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Splatfest is next weekend. But if you sign up, you get a T-shirt to level up that you can take into the Splatfest. After the event ends the shirt goes away. But you get a bunch of seashells for participating, and even more seashells if your team wins.

        The seashells can be used to add perk slots to the clothes you’ve bought in the games plaza shops. The perks can do anything from making you take less damage from ink grenades to buffing your run speed to shortening your respawn time. Totally worth participating.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Having given up on Fortnite I moved on to Titanfall 2. Sure I already played it on the Xbox One but at some point it was $10 on PS4 and the campaign was good enough that I wanted to play it again. I might also play the Farewell DLC for Life is Strange: Before the Storm if I get the chance.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Quite a few people I know are digging into FC5 this weekend. Glad you’re enjoying it.

      I was surprised by how my I took to XC2 the second time around and actually just finished it an hour ago. Looking forward to post-game bosses and stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

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