A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is an action role-playing game (RPG) for the Nintendo Switch. Players set out for adventure in an open world-style environment with party members to save the world from inevitable destruction. The characters are generally heroic in nature and work together as a team to overcome the obstacles they face. Combat's more action-oriented than in most RPGs, with an almost hack-and-slash feel. Although violence is frequently shown, there's nothing bloody or graphically explicit. There are some suggestive visuals in the game: Female characters are often presented in a sexualized manner with revealing costumes, but nothing's explicitly shown. There’s also occasional use of swearing, including "s--t" and "a--hole." Finally, conversations about drinking or getting drunk occur often, with background characters seen drinking beers, while one character constantly smokes a cigar.
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What's it about?
What started as a simple salvage job soon becomes a battle for the fate of the world in XENOBLADE CHRONICLES 2, the latest entry in the Xenoblade RPG saga from Nintendo. Players take on the role of Rex, a young orphan who makes his living as a salvager in the world of Alrest. After one job leads Rex to discover the long-lost legendary Blade Pyra, Rex is betrayed and left for dead. Given a second chance at life by agreeing to a partnership with Pyra, Rex soon finds himself on an epic quest to bring peace to warring nations. Rex also discovers that he has to return Pyra to the mythical World Tree, stopping a looming apocalypse in the process. It's a heavy weight for a young hero, but thankfully it's one he won't have to carry alone. Over the course of the story, Rex and Pyra will meet a colorful cast of characters, each with their own motivations, all willing to join Rex's journey.
Is it any good?
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about positive life skills like teamwork and friendship. How can working together as a team help to make seemingly impossible tasks more manageable? How much more (or less) effective can a team be when they get along?
Is the violence in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 affected by the lack of realistic imagery in the game? Do you think the impact of the violence would be stronger if the visuals were more graphic and bloody?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Nintendo
- Release date: December 1, 2017
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: T for Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.