Beat the entire Definitive Edition, including Futures Connected.
Yep, still my favorite action RPG of all time. But even better than ever. I'll start off with the things I didn't like.
The one thing I asked that remained unchanged was the soundtrack. I believe my exact words were, "Don't touch it! Leave it alone! It's already perfect!" But did Monolith Soft. listen? Nope.
Soundtrack - I will say, most of the tracks have been improved over the original version. Time to Fight, Colony 9's themes, Satorl Marsh's night theme, Eryth Sea's day theme, Mechonis Field. I even think Engage the Enemy was improved slightly, which I didn't think was possible! But in other places, I actually think it was worse than the original. Namely, Gaur Plains and Mechanical Rhythm. It's a minor nitpick, but... Man, when you're already at the top/perfection, there's nowhere to go but down. :/
Graphics and art style - Man, if there was ever a game, besides Skyward Sword, that was severely limited by the Wii's hardware, it was this game. I played the original Wii version back in December in preparation for this version just to compare. And in the graphical department, it's like on a scale from 1 to 10, we went from 4 to 8-9! It's the most noticeable with the character models! Everyone can actually give proper facial expressions now! Not just Riki!
Gameplay: Still as great as it was in the original. And they addressed the biggest complaint I had, which was sidequests. That little blue dotted line for sidequests saved me A LOT of time, blind searching, and frustration. And whenever I found myself needing to grind, whether to take on a Unique monster, prepare for a boss fight, or max my affinity between all the party members, Expert Mode quickly became my best friend. It especially helped in Futures Connected. And I may or may not be in the minority, but I much prefer Xenoblade 1's combat system over Xenoblade 2's.
Story: The story is still as engaging on its own as when I first played. But now I got way more excited and hype after having played Xenoblade Chronicles 2 because:
When I saw Alvis wearing the necklace that looked like an Aegis core crystal, it pretty damn much confirms that Alvis is Ontos! And that he was sent to this universe while Logos (Malos) and Pneuma (Pyra/Mythra) remained in Xenoblade 2's universe.
And then, of course:
"Today, we use our power to fell a God, and then SEIZE OUR DESTINY!"
Elsewhere: "Hurry, the time is nigh."
Then, there's Futures Connected. Which is the main thing I wanted to address. And it's pretty much all spoilers, so:
Let me start by saying: The Fog King sucks. Not in terms of a boss fight, because after grinding so I could beat that Dragon and complete the Ponspectors' side quest, I was so overleveled for the Final Boss that I could just still back and let Melia, Shulk, and Kino do the work themselves while I checked my phone messages.
As a boss fight, to go from Zanza to... whatever the hell THIS thing was (Someone on the development staff was watching Lord of the Rings and must have REALLY liked Sauron.) It's just... pathetic. Pathetic and extremely disappointing. But thankfully, that's not what Futures Connected is primarily about.
Melia FINALLY got her time in the spotlight and a strong character arc. I was kind of expecting that. What I WASN'T expecting was for this campaign to focus on Tyrea - A character who had little to no importance or relevance in the original game, almost as much as Melia. They lightly touched on it in the main game with that one side quest after the events of Mechonis Core, but they went all in with her here. Which I think was the best thing about this epilogue, it made me come around to Tyrea as a character, and now, if they have any further plans with this group for potential future games, say.... Xenoblade Chronicles 3... I hope Tyrea is in the thick of the action fighting alongside them. I was SO disappointed that Tyrea didn't join the party as a playable character, she looked like she would've been awesome to play as. She's got what looks like dual swords and she's High Entia, so they could've made her play like Fiora with more emphasis on ether attacks. I mean, they already made Kino and Nene ripoffs of Sharla and Reyn, respecitvely, so why not just give her Fiora's attacks, with some of Melia's ether arts mixed in. But whatever. Just seemed like a missed opportunity to me.
And I think the title "Future Connected" is really referring to Melia and Tyrea. Their relationships, and how together, they are the hope of the High Entia, and they're leading them to prosperity together, thus their futures are connected or how the future of the High Entia is connected to them. As far as the whole "ties/hints to the next game/Xenoblade 3" theories are concerned, I didn't really see anything in this epilogue that would suggest something like that. I don't know. Maybe after I've replayed 2, because that's what I'm going to do once I've finished the Torna campaign, I'm going to start a New Game+ playthrough of Xenoblade 2, then I may think differently, but for now, I didn't see it.
I was actually surprised by just how minor of a role Shulk plays in this epilogue. He's really just here for the ride and to provide emotional support (and he's the main character and face of the franchise - basically marketing), along with Kino and Nene (Who are just cute as buttons! I just want to hug them!) This was strictly Melia's story, with Tyrea not too far behind her. It kind of caught me off guard, but it makes sense. Zanza is defeated, so Shulk's story is finished.
Overall, I'd say Future Connected was a solid expansion for what it was worth.
Last edited by PAOerfulone - on 08 July 2020