Nintendo has dropped a bunch of info regarding the combat system of Xenoblade Chronicles 2. The details include a brief introduction to the Blades as well as information on many of the game's combat system and subsystem..
Blades are snythetic beings that can wield powerful weapons and form bonds with people. Those they bond with become Drivers and can command Blades in battle. While characters can bond with many Blades, only three can be equipped in combat at once, one of which acts as the active weapon. Players can switch between the three equipped Blades, but there is a cooldown associated with switching.
Once Blades have been equipped, players can begin to get into the meat of the combat. The most basic layer of combat is auto-attacking, which occurs whenever the character is within range of the targetted enemy. Auto-attacking is important as it serves to fill the bar for a character's ARTS. ARTS are abilities utilized by Drivers that are not only stronger than auto-attacks, but often provide additional effects or positional benefits. The available ARTS are determined by the active Blade and its equipped weapon. Multiple party members will also be able to capitalize on other characters' ARTS by comboing into their own for even greater effects.
Auto-attacks fill the ARTS gauge, but using ARTS will fill the Special meter. Specials are even more powerful attacks than ARTS and utilize the level attained (up to four) on the Special meter. More importantly, Specials apply the appropriate elemental debilitation, based on the equipped Blade, and ties directly into a Blade Combo.When an enemy is afflicted with an elemental status effect, the attack can be followed up with another attack of the appropriate element from another party member, which triggers a Blade Combo. This action can be performed so that all three party members are in on the attack, leading to massive damage. However, doing this will drop a small orb of the relevant element, reducing the damage of the next Blade Combo if it ends on that same element.
The final discussed layer of combat comes in the form of Chain Attacks. Governed by a Party Meter that fills when performing actions in combat, Chain Attacks can only be activated when the Party Meter is full. Doing so will give each character in the party an opportunity to perform a level one Special with the attack power turned up. Any orbs attached to an enemy can also be destroyed during this process, granting each character another turn in the chain that further increases power and meter.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 continues the Xenoblade series as it follows Rex and his new Blade, Pyra, as they search for Pyra's lost home of Paradise. The game will arrive exclusively on the Nintendo Switch on December 1, 2017.