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: Torna ~ The Golden Country is an expansion to Nintendo's role-playing game, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 for the Nintendo Switch. The game is available both as a standalone purchase and as downloadable content for Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Torna ~ The Golden Country features similar gameplay to the original game, though with some changes meant to streamline and add new strategy to the combat system. Violence is central to the gameplay, with characters using a variety of weapons against enemies. But combat is more fantasy than realistic in tone, with colorful flourishes but no blood or gore shown. Many female characters are presented in a sexualized manner, and the dialogue does include occasional use of profanity, including "s--t."
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What's it about?
XENOBLADE CHRONICLES 2: TORNA ~ THE GOLDEN COUNTRY is a prequel expansion set 500 years prior to Rex first discovering Pyra during the epic adventure laid out in Xenoblade Chronicles 2. This story focuses on Jin, one of the antagonists from the main game. It spans his evolution from the loyal Blade bound to an innocent girl to his role in the defeat of Malos in the Aegis War and then to his final fate as the immortal Flesh Eater with a vendetta against humankind. Players will get the opportunity to live out the legends they only heard about in the main game, to explore the vast Kingdom of Torna before it was lost to the Cloud Sea, and to see firsthand how the foundation was laid for the ultimate fate of Alrest.
Is it any good?
This prequel expansion to last year's large-scale adventure might be a bit smaller than the original game, but it packs just enough content to keep fans hooked on the story. Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country is a standalone prequel that answers some lingering questions but generally serves up events of the main game by giving players a chance to be active participants in the legends they only heard about. But being a prequel puts the game in a strange position. If you're a newcomer playing this content before completing (or even starting) Xenoblade Chronicles 2, you open yourself up to a lot of spoilers. But if you've already played and beaten the main game, you can't help but feel like you already know how everything's going to turn out. That's not to say the story isn't compelling, because it certainly is and knows how to tug at the heartstrings. It's just that there are very few surprises, because everything is meant to telegraph what's to come.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country follows the idea that "if it was good enough last time, it'll be good enough here." Little has changed in the expansion, short of a slight visual upgrade. The menus and user interface still take a while to get used to and are still frustrating to navigate through. You can still expect to spend a fair amount of time on foot as you explore the vast open world. But with the expansion's focus on one area, Torna, there's much less ground to cover. In fact, the entire campaign is only a third the size of the main game. It doesn't ever feel small, though, just more compact, which is a nice change of pace. One big change in the expansion is in the combat. The Golden Country adds a few new tricks, such as swapping quickly between the Blade and the Driver weapons. Having one out allows the other to rest, and swapping can initiate powerful combo moves, giving the action an almost fighting game feel. It's not an overly dramatic change, so fans should still feel familiar with the overall controls. But it adds an extra bit of excitement and keeps the game from feeling like more of the same.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country affected by the fantasy nature of the combat? Would it be intensified if the violence was more realistic?
How can working as a team help when dealing with obstacles? How can working together lead to building new friendships, and how can friendship make stronger teams?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Nintendo
- Release date: September 21, 2018
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: T for Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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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.