Xenoblade Chronicles 2 combat seems deceptively simple at first. You just walk up to an enemy and watch your character auto-attack. However, as you progress through the game, you learn about Driver Arts, enemy weaknesses, combo attacks, chain attacks, and the party gauge. Mastering these concepts will allow you to be the most effective warrior you can be.
In our Xenoblade Chronicles 2 combat guide, we’ll give you tips and strategies for beating your foes. We’ll also go in-depth on how to perform combo attacks and chain attacks, and what purpose the party gauge serves.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Combat Basics
Combat is very basic in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 until Rex gets his first Blade. Up until that point, you really only have to worry about readying your weapon with A and auto-attacking. Once you get Pyra though, you’ll gain your first Blade weapon, a sword, and your first elemental type, fire. You’ll also gain access to your first set of Driver Arts.
Driver Arts are special attacks you can use to inflict more damage on an enemy than a regular attack. They also typically have an added effect. For example, Rex’s Driver Arts with Pyra are Anchor Shot, Sword Bash, and Double Spinning Edge. When you use Anchor Shot, it will cause an HP Potion to appear that when picked up will heal your party for a small amount. Sword Bash is a powerful attack that does extra damage when striking the enemy from the rear. Double Spinning Edge will cause more damage to a foe if you hit them from the side.
Additionally, executing a Driver Art when a normal attack hits a foe will cause extra damage. Normal attacks are also what charges the meters for your Driver Arts, so there’s a bit of interplay and timing necessary between using normal auto-attacks and arts.
Using Driver Arts fills the meter to your super ability, which is shown in the right slot in the diamond in the bottom right side of the HUD. This meter can charge up to four levels, which the fourth being the most powerful. Sometimes you’ll want to blast enemies as soon as the super meter charges once, but the resulting attack is more useful the longer you wait.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 How to Find Enemy Weaknesses
As I stated above, Rex’s first blade, Pyra, does fire-based damage. Most enemies in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 are also aligned to some elemental type which is one of their weaknesses. When you’re fighting an enemy keep an eye on its nametag. To the right of its name, it will have a symbol of what element the enemy is weak to.
This means you need to keep at least a few Blades with the latest equipment. Exploiting an enemy’s weakness can turn an impossible fight into something you can win. To see what type of elemental damage your Blades can do, just head to the Blades menu and then to Manage Blades. There you can see an overview of all the Blades you have, what element they’re aligned with and what type of weapon they provide.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 How to Use Combo Attacks
What better way to defeat your enemies in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 than to remove their ability to fight? That’s what combo attacks are for, and mastering them will give you a massive edge in combat. A combo attack must be executed in a very particular order, and you’ll need to have certain Driver Arts assigned to your party members to accomplish one.
To start a combo attack, a member of your party must first inflict the Break effect on an enemy. You’ve likely seen a meter appear at the top of your screen that says “Break” before. After an enemy has been affected by Break, you can then use an attack that will inflict Topple. When an enemy is toppled they’ll be on their back and unable to attack you, as well as being susceptible to increased damage.
Once you’ve toppled an enemy, you can use a Driver Art to Launch an enemy into the air. Again, once an enemy is in the air they can’t fight back, and they’ll take more damage than usual.
After a foe is launched, you can finally use a Driver Art to inflict Smash, which will cause massive damage. So the order you have to inflict effects with Driver Arts to complete a combo attack in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is:
Your starting Blades won’t have access to the full range of Driver Arts necessary to perform a combo attack. Instead, you’ll need to bond with more Blades over the course of the game to get them. Once you’ve accomplished this though, your AI party members will follow your lead when you attempt to start or continue a combo attack.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Blade Combos
When you or a party member activates a special attack (the one assigned to A in the Arts diamond), you’ll notice a chart will appear in the top-right part of the screen. This shows your available options for beginning a Blade Combo and indicate an element.
Once you activate your first special attack, pay attention to the chart. This shows you the possible paths you can take to a Blade Combo. If you or one of your allies uses a special with the right element, you’ll complete the second step in the Blade Combo. Keep watching the chart and use a special attack with one of the elements indicated to complete the Blade Combo.
Completing a Blade Combo will cause a lot of damage and will also seal an opponent’s ability. You’ll also notice an orb will be left floating around the enemy. These come into play when using Chain Attacks, which we describe below.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Party Gauge: Chain Attacks and Reviving Party Members
In the top left of the HUD in Xenoblade Chronicles 2, you’ll see the Party Gauge. This gauge will fill up as you land Driver Arts and auto-attacks on foes, and serves two important purposes.
Once one of the three bars is full, you can revive a party member if they fall in battle. If Rex goes down, another party member can revive him as long as there’s a full bar as well. However, if Rex goes down and the gauge is empty, or if all three party members fall, you get returned to the last checkpoint.
In addition to being used for revives, the Party Gauge is linked to Chain Attack abilities. When all three bars are full, you can press the + button to begin a Chain Attack. Once you do that you’ll be prompted to choose a Blade equipped to Rex to attack. You’ll then need to pull off some timed button presses, and then the next member of your party will get a chance to use a Blade and so on. A well-executed Chain Attack can devastate an enemy, especially if you pick Blades that a foe is elementally weak to.
Additionally, if elemental orbs are floating around the opponent’s health bar from executing a Blade Combo, you’ll want to pick the opposite element to that. This will burst the seal and cause massive damage as well as allowing you to get around round of attacks with your Chain Combo. You have to balance choosing to execute a Chain Attack with keeping the ability to revive your party though.
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