Driver and Blade Combos
The most complex part of Xenoblade’s combat comes with combos, but really learning how to do them can devastate your enemies. First up is Driver Combos, which anyone that played the last two Xenoblade games will be familiar with. Basically these allow you to disable enemies by hitting them with different statuses that can be inflicted from certain moves. While in combat you’ll notice at the top left of your screen are meters that appear saying things like Break or Topple, this is a Driver Combo. The sequence for these go Break -> Topple ->Launch -> Smash. If you look at your Driver’s arts, you’ll see in the descriptions that some of them note that it can inflict Topple or another status. Oftentimes these arts will have to performed from the back or side of an enemy to inflict it. Between your three party members, to complete a Driver Combo, you’ll need someone to have an art that can break, topple, launch, and smash, thereby taking the enemy out of commission for the optimal amount of time. Doing Driver Combos can seriously give you the advantage in battle, as the enemy won’t be able to attack for a short while and you’ll get time to heal up.
Blade Combos, on the other hand, work a bit differently. When you look at your Driver Arts on the combat screen, you’ll see a fourth box on the right for another art. This is a powerful art for each Blade with a gauge that builds up as you perform your other arts. There are four levels to this one, with each level increasing in power. When any one character reaches level 1 you can use this art, and you’ll see icons pop up on the screen for whoever’s fourth arts are ready. Hitting A will use yours, ZR for the right party member, and ZL for the left. Using the art inflict the Blades elemental status on an enemy, and in order to keep the Blade Combo going you’ll need a party member to charge up their fourth art to level 2 to use, then 3, and finally 4. These arts will require timed button presses from you, and hitting these well will increase the damage they cause. The trick, though, is that whatever element has been applied to the enemy will then cause reduced damage for as long as the gauge is active. So you’ll want to swap to another Blade of a different element if you need to.
Using both Driver and Blade arts can certainly take some getting used to, but they make up important pieces of Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s combat. You’ll need to know how to use both if you really want to come out successful in the game’s more challenging fights.
The final piece to take into consideration with combat is Chain Attacks, which you won’t learn about until a bit into the game anyway. Chain attacks use the party gauge just like reviving a teammate, but you’ll need to have all three bars full before you can use one. Once a chain is started you need to choose a Blade to use for each Driver in turn, playing out a short quick time event with each. If the enemy has an elemental orb hovering up near their name, you’ll want to pick a Blade of the opposite element in your chain attack. This can cause the orb to burst, dealing massive damage, and extending your chain a bit as well. Chain attacks may not be what you use in every battle, but for some of the tougher enemies and unique monsters they’re absolutely essential.
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