This open-world adventure is a very big, chaotic place where things go right and wrong, but also where it can be easy to lose yourself as you explore this massive tale. While that might describe the real world, it’s also a perfect description of Alrest, the setting for Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Make no mistake about it, the open world of this game is huge. Unfortunately, that sometimes works against it, because it's easy to get lost when roaming around, so you can stumble into an area that might be way above your current level. Switching back and forth to the map to get your bearings isn't much help either, as navigating through the game's menu screens feels awkward and clunky to the point of frustration. It doesn't help that you've got to constantly switch out equipment, specifically Blades, to access the various abilities of your party members.
Despite the tedious nature of navigating the world and the user interface, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is still a phenomenally fun game. The plot jumps around a bit, but overall it feels like a genuinely epic odyssey. The story makes you care about the characters and where fate's taking them. The combat feels completely different from the turn-based fighting of most role-playing games, with most of the action seemingly set on autopilot. But as you play, you quickly learn that you've got more control over things than you initially thought, which helps you build strategic elements to carry your party through each encounter. Clocking in at over 70 hours' worth of gameplay, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a long-term gaming commitment, but in the end, it's well worth the time invested.