Explaining the Story of the Xenoblade Chronicles Series
The Xenoblade series has some of the most winding and involved stories of any JRPG franchise, and that’s before we even get into how they all tie together. To make these titanic narratives a bit more digestible, we’ve taken the opportunity to recap the stories of Xenoblade Chronicles and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 for your reading pleasure. Whether you need to be brought up to speed on a game you haven’t played yet or simply want a refresher on certain details in Shulk and Rex’s stories before Xenoblade Chronicles 3 releases later this month, here is everything you need to know.
Xenoblade Chronicles: Beginning of the World
The camera zooms through a bank of clouds, breaking through to reveal two gargantuan titans locked in combat in the middle of a great sea that stretches endlessly. The white titan, the Bionis, wields a blade of light while the black titan, the Mechonis, a blade of metal. After the Bionis manages to cut off one of the Mechonis’s arms, the two massive beings swing their weapons one last time and find their mark in their opponent’s flank. The two titans move no more. It’s upon the body of these two majestic beings that the story of Xenoblade Chronicles takes place upon, and it’s one of the most creative and imaginative video game settings out there.
Eons pass and we’re shown a battle taking place between the biological inhabitants of Bionis, the Homs, and the mechanical beings of Mechonis, the Mechon. The Homs seem to be heavily outmatched and are being pushed back when a trio of soldiers breaks through and takes on the Mechon vanguard. The one leading the charge, Dunban, wields a sword of light that easily cuts through the Mechon armor that took regular soldiers significant effort to pierce. This sword is the legendary Monado, and is a key item to the Xenoblade Chronicles story.
Together with his two comrades, Dickson and Mumkar, Dunban manages to fend off the advance Mechon party. Using the Monado takes a toll on Dunban, though, eventually rendering him immobile. Mumkar takes the opportunity to flee the battlefield, only to find himself swarmed by the enemy moments later. Dickson and Dunban steel their resolve for one last offensive. As they charge forward, the camera pans out to reveal the battle had been taking place on the sword the Mechonis embedded in the side of the Bionis.
Time passes and we shift perspectives to our protagonist for this journey, Shulk. Shulk and his best friend, Reyn, are inhabitants of Colony 9 which rests on the Bionis’s right calf. Dickson is shown to have survived the battle at Sword Valley and reminisces when he found Shulk as a child together with the Monado. Shulk accompanied his parents on an expedition when he was four but upon their party finding the Monado in a mountainous temple, an incident caused every member to die save for Shulk himself who was later found by Dickson. Shulk feels a need to uncover the secrets of the mysterious weapon as a result.
Dunban has also survived the battle, but repeated use of the Monado has left him crippled, bedridden, and unable to even hold a spoon properly. He’s taken care of by his younger sister, Fiora, who also happens to be close friends with Shulk and Reyn. The three friends spend some time taking care of tasks for the colony but it isn’t long before a full-scale Mechon assault begins without warning. Joining in on the attack is a unique, faced Mechon that seems to act with more purpose than the other units.
Dunban rallies his body to fend off the Mechon with the Monado but it almost immediately taken by intense seizures. Shulk takes up the Monado in an act of desperation and beats away the invaders. He realizes that the Monado has given him the ability to see into the future, allowing him to predict his enemy’s movements and react accordingly.
Unfortunately, that power doesn’t help him when Fiora gets isolated from the rest of the group. Shulk and the others watch in horror as the faced Mechon runs Fiora through with its claws, tossing the mobile artillery unit she was in into the lake below. In a blood-filled rage, Shulk manages to land a solid blow on the Mechon’s head but that doesn’t defeat it, only makes it retreat.
Stricken by grief, Shulk and Rey vow to get revenge on the faced Mechon, now referred to as Metal Face. Dunban entrusts the Monado to Shulk and the two set off for Sword Valley — the location the opening cutscene battle took place in — where there is said to be a Mechon base. They decide to travel to Colony 6 along the way first to see if they can gather any information.
Along the way to their destination Shulk has a dream of an obscured figure asking if he wants to change the future. The figure tells Shulk to seek “the true Monado” if he wants to make the future his. Shulk isn’t quite sure what to make of the dream.
Meeting the Survivors of Colony 6
Eventually, the duo arrive at the Gaur Plains on the Bionis’s thigh where they encounter a young boy being pursued by monsters. After rescuing him the boy introduces himself as Juju and offers to take Shulk and Reyn back to their camp for them to rest. There we meet Sharla, a combat medic and Juju’s older sister.
Sharla reveals that Colony 6 was also attacked by the Mechon but unlike Colony 9, they were unable to fend them off. The colony is now occupied by the Mechon and many soldiers stayed behind to ensure the few survivors got away. Sharla’s would-be-husband, Gadolt, was one of those soldiers.
Upon hearing the news that Colony 9 was attacked, Juju takes that to mean some of the occupying forces in Colony 6 must have left and sets off to retake it in secret. Shulk sees a vision of Juju meeting his end, though, and so he, Reyn, and now Sharla as well set off to bring him back before it’s too late.
The trio manages to save the boy from his untimely fate, but just as they take a breath of relief a new faced Mechon crashes in. This Mechon speaks mockingly to the party, the first Mechon ever to have spoken. The Monado, which cleaved through lesser Mechon like butter, harmlessly bounces off this new threat’s armor. The faced Mechon, named Xord, eventually makes off with Juju, taking him back to Colony 6.
The party decides to infiltrate Colony 6 via the Ether Mines that spread out beneath it. Once they enter the mines, though, they encounter Gadolt’s commanding officer, Otharon, fighting for his life against the Mechon. After rescuing him Otharon says Gadolt staged a last stand offensive and has been lost ever since; Otharon gives the ether rifle Gadolt left behind to Sharla. Otharon tells the group that the Mechon take all the Homs they kidnap to the central pit of the mines, so rather than heading to the surface their new destination is to head down.
When the party finally makes it to the bottom of the mines they’re greeted to a grim site of Homs bodies melted down for nourishment to the Mechon, but Juju remains unharmed. Xord appears and fights the party but Shulk’s Monado still can’t do any damage to him. When all seems lost, Otharon catches Xord off-guard with a surprise attack and pushes him into a pool of concentrated ether, seemingly defeating him.
The group rescues Juju and attempts to escape via the main elevator but Xord reappears albeit with severely damaged armor. The Monado is finally able to damage Xord and the party forces him into submission. On his last leg, Xord mentions that he’s surprised Shulk was able to defeat him without the Monado’s “true power.” He also implies his eyes were opened when he “became like this.” Shulk presses Xord for more details but instead of answering Xord propels himself into the elevator shaft, self-detonating and destroying himself along the way.
The party barely escapes the resulting explosion and manage to make their way back to the surface, but before they can catch their breaths they’re attacked by a horde of Mechon led by Metal Face who reveals he, too, can talk. Timely help comes in the aid of Dickson and Dunban, though, who have caught up to the group after recuperating from the Colony 9 battle. (Fun fact: This is the only battle in the entire game that Dickson is playable) Even with their assistance, though, the Monado is still powerless against Metal Face just as it was against the full-powered Xord and the party is eventually forced onto the back leg.
Just as Metal Face is about to finish them off, however, a winged creature swoops in and decimates the Mechon forces. Metal Face exclaims out that it’s something called a Telethia and seems confused as to why it’s there. Shulk takes advantage of his confusion to land a blow that manages to scratch Metal Face’s armor. Metal Face retreats from the battlefield, leaving Shulk and Reyn to seethe that the target of their revenge continues to live on.
Shulk conveys to the group a vision he had in the heat of battle; in it they were fighting Metal Face again in front of some tower on the Bionis’s head. Dickson recognizes that description as Prison Island at the capital of the High Entia, Alcamoth and offers to lead them there.
Reaching the Head of Bionis
They pass through Satorl Marsh on the Bionis’s waist and along the way Otharon and Juju split off from the group to return to and begin rebuilding Colony 6, while Dickson parts ways to take care of his own business. The group then takes a shortcut through the inner part of the Bionis in order to reach higher parts. As they pass through, Shulk notices that it’s a little strange how the inner parts of the titan somehow feel like its still alive.
The group emerges from the squelchy innards and onto the Bionis’s back, where they are greeted to the rich, verdant landscape of the Makna Forest. Dunban suggests paying the local Nopon village a visit, seeing as no one knows quite how to proceed from here. Along the way, though, they encounter a young girl collapsed in the forest, her ether all but drained. Sharla sends Shulk to find the appropriate ether crystals so that she may heal the girl.
While Shulk is searching he encounters a young Homs named Alvis, who Shulk faintly recognizes as the boy in the dream that told him to seek “the true Monado.” The duo is attacked by a Telethia, the same creature that came to their aid when they were under attack at Colony 6. Shulk attempts to fend the Telethia off but it swiftly avoids all of his attacks. Alvis explains that the Telethia can read minds before suddenly taking the Monado from Shulk and using a new power to block the creature’s telepathy. He promptly returns the legendary weapon to Shulk, allowing him to dispatch the Telethia with relative ease but Alvis vanishes soon afterwards, leaving Shulk with many unanswered questions as to the identity of his savior.
Shulk returns to Sharla with ether crystals in tow, which she uses to resuscitate the unconscious girl. She introduces herself as Melia and in return for rescuing her she agrees to escort the party the path to the Bionis’s head, the entrance of which just so happens to be at the Nopon village they were heading to anyway.
They arrive at Frontier Village where the Nopon chief agrees to grant the party safe passage to Eryth Sea, the location on the Bionis’s head. Shulk can’t help but worry about Melia after seeing a vision of her being attacked by a large Telethia, though, and decides to help her with her task of slaying it before moving on, much to the annoyance of Melia herself. The Nopon chief overhears their conversation and lends them their grrrrrrrrreatest Heropon, Riki, to assist them.
The group dispatch the “Dinobeast” after a fierce battle and Riki returns home victorious… only for the Chief to order him to continue accompanying the Homs because Riki’s kids racked up quite the debt while he was gone. Tough break. Melia also decides to act as the group’s guide to Eryth Sea and Alcamoth in return for their help in slaying the Telethia.
After reaching the sea, Melia escorts the group to the entrance of Alcamoth where she asks them to wait while she arranges for their entry. The game briefly shifts to Melia’s perspective as she approaches the emperor of the High Entia and is revealed to be the princess of the race herself. Before she can ask for safe passage for her saviors her brother, Kallian, announces that they had already been arrested at the city entrance for possessing the Monado. A legend has been passed down in the royal line that the chosen one who wields the Monado may bring ruin to the High Entia if they are “black of heart.” Emperor Sorean then goes on to pronounce Melia as the crown princess and the successor to the throne of the High Entia, much to Melia’s confusion.
Shulk’s group, meanwhile, is being detained at another location. Alvis comes and frees them from their detention. He works as a seer for the High Entia, and receives visions of the future similar to Shulk which he conveys to the emperor. Alvis explains the reason for their detention but stops short of answering the question Shulk so desperately wanted to ask after their first meeting.
Melia continues to deal with her own problems. Since she is of mixed heritage between both Homs and High Entia, she must overcome a trial in the High Entia Tomb in order to prove her worthiness of the throne. When Shulk eventually learns of this through her brother, he insists on going to help her when he sees a vision of her assassination.
Shulk manages to save Melia from the assassination attempt in the tomb, which was carried out by a woman named Tyrea under the command of the Emperor First Consort who is also Melia’s step-mother. The consort is disgusted by the idea of a “mixed-breed” ascending the throne but her attempts at subterfuge, egged on by her aid Lorithia, are ultimately meaningless.
After the operation, the party quietly ponders why Melia was chosen to be the crown princess and not her brother, Kallian, who is of pure blood and equally as capable. Furthermore, why does Kallian seem so supportive of Melia’s ascension?
Melia’s coronation festivities take place the next day but they’re cut short by a sudden Mechon attack led by Metal Face and a new faced Mechon, Face Nemesis. Emperor Sorean already knows what they’re after and heads to Prison Island alone to prevent them from getting it. Shulk’s group pursues the emperor to Prison Island and manage to reach him before the Mechon do, where they find the emperor brought forth from the prison a still restrained giant by the name of Zanza.
Zanza explains to Shulk that the Monado is “shackled” and it’s the reason why it can’t hurt people nor the faced Mechon. Zanza promises to release the Monado’s power if Shulk releases him in turn, a proposal Melia objects to but Shulk ultimately accepts. Shulk releases Zanza but no sooner than he does is Zanza run through by a giant spear thrown by Metal Face who had just breached the barrier.
Metal Face sets on attacking the group. Emperor Sorean manages to slow him down briefly, but is ultimately struck down while protecting Melia. Zanza, meanwhile, uses the last of his strength to release the Monado’s power. Shulk sets about on Metal Face once again, this time finally being able to damage his arch-nemesis. Just when he’s about to deal the finishing blow, though, Face Nemesis swoops in and takes it to the chest.
Old Flames Reignited
The metal plating falls away to reveal a Homs girl inside. A Homs that is none other than his childhood friend, Fiora. Fiora is unresponsive to Shulk’s pleas, as if she’s a different person entirely. She and Metal Face retreat from the scene, leaving the party shaken to their very core.
The party takes a moment to come to terms with these new revelations, Shulk and Dunban in particular considering how close they were with Fiora. They soon resolve themselves to get the answers they so desperately want from the girl herself, and set out for Galahad Fortress on the Mechonis’s sword where they are likely to find her. Melia joins the group under the pretext of seeing the world to become a better leader while Alvis accompanies them to show the way to the sword.
Alvis takes them down Valak Mountain on the Bionis’s right arm. Along the way they make camp at Ose Tower, the place where the Monado along with an orphaned Shulk were originally found by Dickson. Shulk and Alvis have a conversation about the Monado’s ability to read the world’s ether in order to predict the future, and the bearer’s ability to disrupt that future.
At the base of the mountain, the party is approached by Face Nemesis piloted by the Fiora lookalike. The pilot is surprised by Dunban and Shulk’s claims that they have relations with her but before any further discussion can occur she’s attacked by Metal Face, who threatens to kill her if Shulk doesn’t give up the Monado. Shulk obliges and Metal Face’s fuselage opens to reveal Dunban’s old comrade, Mumkar, inside, who was the one who abandoned the battlefield at the start of the game.
Mumkar takes the Monado but is taken by a surprise ether attack from Melia that causes him to drop it. A skirmish ensues between Mumkar and the group, with Dunban taking the vanguard. Their battle is interrupted by a golden faced Mechon named Egil, though, who introduces himself as the leader of Mechonis. Egil refuses to answer any of the questions Shulk shouts at him, instead goading him on that he expects “the heir of the Monado” to seek him out on Mechonis. Egil takes Nemesis Face and departs with Metal Face in tow leaving the party, once again, with more questions than answers. Their destination is unchanged, though, as crossing the Mechonis’s sword, also known as Sword Valley, will bring them to the Mechonis.
At the entrance to Sword Valley the group finds a familiar face, Dickson. He had been appointed as representative of the Homs in a new Bionis joint alliance between all the races in order to face the Mechon threat. Alvis takes that chance to part with the party, citing the alliance’s need for his seer abilities.
The group presses through Sword Valley to the entrance of Galahad Fortress where they find Mumkar waiting for them. Mumkar reveals a new weapon coating made from the Bionis’s blood that’s meant to decompose any living being, but it’s not enough to keep him from being put on his last leg in the resulting battle. Dunban goes in for the killing blow but is stopped by Shulk, who is now fettered with the knowledge that faced Mechon are controlled by Homs and killing them means killing one of their own.
As is characteristic of Mumkar, the traitor repays kindness with maliciousness and launches a surprise attack on Shulk and Dunban. Shulk foresees this and dodges but is unable to prevent a falling piece of debris from impaling Mumkar, the exact same way he had impaled Zanza. The platform beneath Mumkar gives way, and the mechanical fool falls to his doom to the vast emptiness below.
Shulk’s group pushes to the heart of Galahad Fortress, where they’re ambushed by Egil in his golden faced Mechon, with Face Nemesis at his side. He emits a particular wavelength that nullifies the Monado’s power and demands Shulk surrender it to him. When Shulk refuses, Egil controls the Fiora lookalike’s Face Nemesis to force her to fight Shulk and the others against her wishes. She manages to wrest control back for a moment, though, when the Fiora the group knows pleads from within to save them.
Nemesis and Gold Face fiercely clash, severely damaging both the fortress and Nemesis. As Nemesis Face slips off the edge of the collapsing platform, Shulk leaps after her into the unknown expanse below, much to the horror of his companions watching.
News spreads of Galahad Fortress’s destruction and eventually reaches Kallian back in Alcamoth, who leads the united front of Bionis that Dickson mentioned before. With advice from Dickson, he decides this is the comment to act and finally bring the fight to the Mechonis.
The attention returns to Shulk, who is having a dream of him as a child falling into the ground as another child identical to him watches from above. He wakes with a start to find himself on the shore of a beach. He immediately finds Fiora in the wreckage of Nemesis nearby and pulls her out. He notes the strange object affixed to her chest before fetching some water. She’s unresponsive and unable to swallow the water on her own, though, forcing Shulk to provide it to her mouth-to-mouth.
Fiora awakens and Shulk begins to explain himself to who he thought was still a stranger, only for Fiora to interrupt him with a quip about this being her first kiss. She remembers.
Fiora explains that after she “died” back in Colony 9, she awoke with the body of a machine along with a second entity of some sort. The entity had complete control of her body, Fiora couldn’t even talk to it until the encounter in Galahad Fortress. Despite having been controlled by this person for so long, Fiora still doesn’t know who or what they are or what their goals were. She can tell that they’re still sleeping inside of her, though, to which Shulk hopes she never wakes up. Fiora rebukes him, however, saying that despite everything this person put her through, Fiora could tell that she was trying to help. She did save Shulk and the others back at the fortress, afterall.
Shulk concedes and pledges to find out what this entity was trying to accomplish and after a heartfelt reunion between the two close friends, they set out to locate the other members of the party. The Monado is still malfunctioning, though, and Fiora’s mechanical body is not in the best of shape making it difficult to resist when they’re waylaid by wandering Mechon. They’re rescued by Reyn and Sharla, who awoke together and began searching as well after a little heart-to-heart of their own.
The party fully reunites in a nearby village inhabited by a race called the Machia. They learn that they are on the fallen arm of the Mechonis that was cut-off during the battle between the two titans and that the Machia are the original inhabitants of Mechonis. One Machia in particular was still alive during that clash all those eons ago: Miqol, the leader of the Machia. Miqol tells the party of how his people were nearly wiped out in the clash between the Bionis and Mechonis. He mentions a Lady Meyneth who was the creator of the Mechonis and protector of the Machia. He then implores the party to kill Egil, his own son. Miqol can’t stand by and watch his son eradicate all innocent life on Bionis, even if the titan was responsible for his own people’s near extinction.
Shulk is hesitant at first, but a surprise visit and some words of encouragement from Dickson makes him decide to at least confront Egil. With the help of the Machina, Fiora’s mechanical body is repaired and the group sets off to scale the Mechonis, where the leader of the Mechon awaits.
The Mechanical Titan: Venturing to Mechonis
The party begins their ascent up the Mechonis starting with the Mechonis Fields of its leg. As they near the end of the fields they’re attacked by a new faced Mechon, Jade Face; his pin-point sniping stirs something within Sharla. When the group finally closes the distance to their adversary Sharla calls out to the face and the Homs that emerges is none other than her old husband-to-be, Gadolt. Her pleas fall on deaf ears, and Gadolt fires a massive energy blast at the group; Fiora’s eyes light up red just before the impact.
We see Shulk once again in a dream with Alvis’s voice speaking, imploring Shulk to find “his own” Monado. Shulk wakes along with the rest of the party. Jade Face is nowhere to be seen and the party is completely unharmed. As they ponder what twist of fate delivered them salvation, a Machia appears and introduces herself as Vanea, Egil’s sister.
Vanea explains that the faces were created to counter the Monado as the weapon used to not be able to harm “those who share the blood of Zanza.” Zanza, the giant that was imprisoned on Prison Island, was the progenitor of the Homs and the one who attacked Mechonis all those years ago. She recounts how her brother used to be kind and compassionate and even used to be friends with Zanza, but the Bionis’s attack robbed him of those emotions. Vanea invites the group to the Data Centre of the abandoned Mechonis capital, Agniratha, to learn more.
Meanwhile, Kallian commences the assault on Mechonis with the Allied Bionis Forces stationed in Sword Valley.
When the main group reaches the Data Centre, the entity inside Fiora takes over and is revealed to be Meyneth, the progenitor of the Mechonis and Machina herself. She shows the group a video recording of the events in eons past when the Bionis, controlled by Zanza, suddenly attacked the Mechonis, swinging its Monado and sending Telethia in an clear attempt to exterminate the Machina. After the titans fell still, Zanza was sealed away on Prison Island. The revelation shakes Shulk to his core, as he feels guilt for releasing Zanza and fears he may have played into his hand. Vanea reveals that Meyneth came to reside within Fiora due to the fact she is close to Shulk, the Heir to the Monado.
The party head to Meyneth Shrine to confront Egil but before they can they’re attacked by Gadolt in his Jade Face once again. While his memories seem to have been wiped, Reyn notices that Gadolt is intentionally missing Sharla, implying there’s still a vestige of self remaining. Meyneth assists with restoring Gadolt’s sense of self and breaks Egil’s control over him. Gadolt is too weak to move but implores the party to go ahead to stop Egil; he also asks Reyn to take care of Sharla.
The party reaches Meyneth Shrine and confronts Egil. Shulk tries to reason with Egil now that he knows the true history between the Mechonis and Bionis but Egil is stalwart in his convictions. He says he harbors no ill will towards the living beings of Bionis, but that they must be killed anyway in order to kill the Bionis. After a brief clash Egil mounts his gold-faced Mechon, Yaldabaoth, and uses it to fuse with Mechonis itself.
The fusion causes a reaction that causes detonations all throughout Agniritha and the party makes a desperate, but ultimately futile attempt at escaping. They’re saved by Gadolt in his Jade Face, but unfortunately he doesn’t make it through himself.
The Mechonis unleashes a massive laser beam that tears through the Bionis’s shoulder. Kallien sees this as a sign of the Mechonis’s reawakening and quickly orders the troops’ retreat from the sword they stand on at that very moment.
The party falls from the Mechonis head and is rescued by the Machia ship, Junks, which took off from the Machia Village after Miqol received a warning of a vision from Alvis. After a brief respite the party is flown to the core of the Mechonis where Egil controls it from. After they arrive, Shulk notices that the nature of his visions had changed at some point in the sense he doesn’t have them anymore. Instead, he can simply tell what’s going to happen. It’s an odd sensation that makes him uneasy, especially after everything they’ve learned about the Monado.
Shulk soon after suddenly has a seizure attack. Dunban immediately recognizes it as the same type he had when he used to wield the Monado but can’t understand why now, after all this time, Shulk is experiencing the same thing. For whatever reason, the seizure makes Shulk recall the dream of him falling into the ground.
The party destroys the Apocrypha Generator which had been restraining the Monado’s power and then confronts Egil. A fierce battle ensues that culminates in Shulk poised to deliver a finishing blow. A voice echoes in Shulk’s head, egging him on to finish the job but Shulk thinks back on the events that led him to this moment, all the pain and suffering on both sides, and lowers his weapon.
Egil is at first displeased with the apparent display of sympathy but eventually recounts his time when the Bionis and Mechonis were at peace and he was friends with a certain giant, Arglas. Arglas eventually came to wield the Monado and was subsequently possessed by it, becoming Zanza. The Monado is the method by which Zanza perpetuates his soul, by possessing beings of Bionis, yet Egil sees no such traces of the menace in Shulk. He decides to take a chance at peace once more but just as Egil is about to shake on it, Shulk is shot from behind.
The party turns around to see a smoking barrel and the one holding it — Dickson.
The party rushes to Shulk’s aid while screaming at Dickson for answers to which he says he’s just doing his job. Egil takes a long, hard look at the man and recognizes him as a giant and one of Zanza’s disciples. Shulk’s body convulses and from it emerges a being that looks so much like our protagonist yet so very different. Zanza has been fully revived.
Gods and Mortals
Dickson reveals that when he found Shulk and the Monado in Ose Tower all those years ago the boy had already died. He only continued living because Zanza possessed him and provided him with life force. He then waited for Shulk’s body to mature and become a fitting host to wield the Monado. Zanza intends to absorb all life on Bionis to sustain him but first he must destroy the Mechonis, his greatest obstacle.
The Bionis roars to life and swings its massive sword of light down on the Mechonis. Before it can find its mark, though, Meyneth awakens within Fiora and engages Zanza with her own Monado. However, she is overwhelmed by Zanza and when he takes aim at Shulk’s comatose body, Meyneth expels herself from Fiora’s body in order to protect him. With her last words she pleads for the others to create a world that has no need for gods, before disappearing and leaving only her Monado behind which Zanza seizes. With both Monado’s in hand, Zanza flies to Prison Island where it sinks into the Bionis head and releases a high-density ether wave that has a clear effect on the High Entia of Alcamoth.
The party flee the Mechonis aboard Junks but Zanza attempts to strike them down. He’s intercepted by Egil once again controlling the Mechonis. Egil manages to land one blow on the Bionis which leaves a gaping hole in its chest, but Zanza savagely retaliates and obliterates the Mechonis with Egil along with it.
The party on Junks still isn’t in the clear as they’re attacked by a swarm of Telethias headed by Dickson. They’re rescued by Kallian, who had successfully managed to pull his forces back from Sword Valley before it was too late. But this blessing becomes a curse when Lorithia, aid to the High Entia First Consort, reveals a device that emits an ether wave that transforms all the High Entia into Telethia, including Kallian.
Dickson reveals that the High Entia were originally created by Zanza to act as a type of antibodies, beings that remove any obstructions to the Bionis’s rebirth. The High Entia contain a gene that, when the time comes, transforms them into Telethia to do Zanza’s bidding. The danger of this gene had always been known to the royal line of the High Entia, hence the tradition of taking a Homs consort to gradually dilute the High Entia bloodline enough over time. Enough now for Melia to remain unchanged. In a final act of defiance, Kallien turns on the swarm of Telethia to clear the way for the party to escape.
The party takes refuge in Colony 6 with Shulk still comatose. Their reprieve is short lived, however, when Dickson attacks the colony with a swarm of Telethia and makes sure to torment Melia about her transformed brethren while he was at it. The party fights valiantly but is driven to the brink. They’re rescued in the nick of time by a reawakened Shulk wielding a replica Monado Miqol made for him.
With Shulk’s assistance, the party repels the Telethia onslaught and in the aftermath Alvis is revealed to also be a disciple of Zanza. Reyn tries attacking Alvis but is stopped by Shulk. He had a conversation with Alvis in a dream while he was unconscious and is sure there’s more to his actions than meets the eye. Alvis and Dickson retreat, inviting the party to come “pay them a visit.”
Shulk knows Zanza is lying in wait within Prison Island which is now inside the Bionis itself. Thanks to Egil’s last stand with the Mechonis, there’s now a hole in the Bionis’s chest which the party uses to get inside.
When they reach the heart of the Bionis they’re confronted by Lorithia once again, who is the third disciple of Zanza. She has the Telethia Kallien in tow and fuses with him to attack the party. The party defeats her, though, and in his last moments Kallian gives some parting words to his Melia, that she is the hope of their people and must live on. Afterward, Dickson appears and opens a portal to welcome the group to the new Prison Island.
They ascend Prison Tower to meet Dickson at the top, who takes on his true form as a giant to take them on. Dickson is incredibly strong, but the group’s teamwork manages to open up his defenses to allow Shulk to land a decisive blow. Dickson puts on airs that he’s had enough fighting and takes a seat to have a smoke. He and the group both know full well this will be his last cigar, though, and as it falls from his lips the group presses on to face their main target: Zanza.
They find themselves in Memory Space, the odd outer-space-like realm often seen in Shulk’s dreams, and confront Zanza. The maleficent god offers Shulk immortality as a reward for being such a good host, on the condition that Shulk also becomes his disciple. Shulk firmly refuses. Zanza reaffirms that all life on Bionis is simply meant to be his sustenance before commencing his attack.
The Final Battle Against Zanza
Fighting a god naturally proves challenging, but is a fight made easier by the fact Shulk can still see visions for reasons unknown even to him. Alvis’s voice rings from afar and with his and the group’s aid, a third Monado is created for Shulk which he uses to cleave Zanza in twain. As Zanza perishes, Shulk sees a vision of the old universe presented by Alvis.
Shulk sees a space station orbiting what looks like Earth. Two humans on the station, which are clearly earlier incarnations of Zanza and Meyneth, are seen, with Zanza initiating an experiment that Meyneth tried to stop. This experiment destroyed the universe and created a new one, leaving Zanza and Meyneth as the gods of the new world. They were lonely, and thus created life in their image but Zanza wanted to use that life to perpetuate his own existence. Alvis explains, however, that deep down Zanza longed for friendship. Alvis, meanwhile, is the AI of the computer that carried out that fateful experiment.
Alvis declares Shulk as the new god of the new world and asks him how he would like to shape it. Shulk wishes for a world with no gods, where each person can decide their future for themselves. And thus the world is remade and the Monados are no more.
Time passes, and we see a new Colony 9 under reconstruction but flourishing nonetheless. Every race — Homs, Nopon, High Entia, and Machina — is seen coexisting as we take a walk through Fiora’s perspective. When she finds Shulk, we see Fiora has her Homs body back. Shulk reminisces on Alvis’s final words, how this new world is boundless and teeming with new life, life that we may very well see in Xenoblade Chronicles 3.
The pair share a quiet moment together as they wait in quiet anticipation for whatever the future may have in store for them.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2: The Adventure to Elysium
The differences between Xenoblade Chronicles and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 are numerous, but it can’t be emphasized enough just how different the opening tone and motivations of the protagonists are between the two. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 opens on Rex in his natural habitat: diving for salvage out in the Cloud Sea. This is his job, and he does it from the back of a small titan he lovingly refers to as “Gramps.” In fact, every living being in Alrest lives aboard various titans, and Gramps has served as both Rex’s home and caretaker for as long as he can remember. The only living space not aboard a living creature is the World Tree, a massive tree that towers over everything and reaches high into the heavens. No one goes there, but Rex speculates that people might need to since more and more titans have been dying.
After getting a haul and making his way to a local trading outpost to cash out, Rex is told that the chairman of the trader’s guild—Chairman Bana—wants to see him personally. It’s about a major salvaging job that could land Rex hundreds of thousands of gold, money he desperately needs to take care of himself and his village back home. He takes the job without knowing what it entails and is introduced to the leaders of the expedition: Nia, a sassy catgirl; Jin, a mysterious masked man; and Malos, a smug yet powerful force to be reckoned with. All three are Drivers, special people who are able to link with sentient weapons called Blades.
A while after Rex and the rest of the crew set out on the expedition, they come across a massive undersea boat. Rex is chosen to join Nia, Jin, and Malos as they make their way inside. At the very bottom of the ship they find a chamber protected by some sort of special power. Rex is told to open it, and inside they find a girl encased in glass set in front of an ornate red and gold sword. Amazed by the blade, Rex reaches out to touch it and is suddenly stabbed in the back by Jin. As his life fades away, he awakens to find himself in a scenic, lush field that he’s never been to before. It’s here that he meets Pyra, the girl encased in glass from before. She tells him that this is Elysium, the heaven-like land atop the World Tree, and that she’s the Aegis. This is where she’s from, and she needs Rex’s help to return there. In exchange, she gives him half of her life force so he’ll live once again.
As Malos. Jin, and Nia (who was distraught by Rex’s death after having bonded with him on the way over) reach the top deck with Pyra’s physical body in tow, it suddenly alights in flame and she bursts out followed by a resurrected Rex. He’s now connected to her and is able to wield her sword like the other Drivers wield their Blades. Together with Nia, they fight off Jin and Malos and are eventually rescued by Gramps who carries them off into the sky on his back.
After a scene change, Rex awakens to find himself on Gormott, a large titan that’s the home of Nia’s people. Gramps was shot out of the sky and the party was scattered. After reuniting with Nia and Gramps (who shed his damaged, larger form and resurrected as a baby titan a là a phoenix), the crew sets out for Torigoth, where Rex learns that Blades are born from core crystals and can only be awakened by those with aptitude. They’re then swiftly surrounded by soldiers from the Empire of Mor Ardain and charged with conspiring with a known fugitive (Nia).
Although Nia and her blade Dromarch are captured, a large water pipe next to the battlefield suddenly bursts and gives the rest of the crew a chance to escape. It turns out that the one who burst the pipe was a Nopon named Tora. After hiding out at his place for a bit, Rex and Pyra decide to team up with him and launch a rescue mission for their captured comrades. The crew helps Tora find the parts necessary to assemble the world’s first artificial Blade, Poppi, before sneaking onto the Ardainian ship where Nia is being held and rescuing her. When leaving, they encounter Lady Mòrag, the most powerful Driver in the Empire of Mor Ardain. With some quick thinking they’re able to escape by dousing Mòrag and her fire blade Brighid in water and hightail it out of town. Nia tries to leave the crew to go back to Jin and Malos, but everyone convinces her to stay and join them on their trek to help Pyra reach Elysium.
Once out of harm’s way, Tora suggests going to see his uncle who may have a way to sail to the World Tree. It turns out his uncle does have a ship they can borrow, and after gathering the necessary materials to get it back in working order they make their way out into the Cloud Sea. As they begin to approach the Tree, however, they’re suddenly stopped by a giant serpent that Pyra seems to recognize. In the midst of trying to avoid it, the crew is caught off guard by the Uryan titan and isn’t able to avoid it before it swallows them whole.
Escapades Inside Uraya
Once marooned inside the titan, the team begin to make their way through its body only to be stopped by a mercenary named Vandam. He takes note of Pyra’s green core crystal, realizes that she’s the Aegis, and calls out Rex’s inexperience with wielding her. Rex retorts and the two fight, but Pyra runs out of energy due to Rex’s mismanagement of her power. Vandam ends up sparing him and takes the crew back to his village to rest.
After recuperating and exploring a bit more, Vandam informs the group that Blades never truly die; as long as their core crystals remain intact, they can live on past their Drivers. However, when a Blade’s Driver dies, the Blade reverts back to its core crystal form and loses all of its memories. This cycle continues for eternity. Vandam also points out that Rex and Pyra have the exact same injuries in the same places. It seems as though when Pyra shared half of her life force with Rex back on the ship that created a link between the two so powerful that if one gets injured or dies the other will as well.
After fending off an impromptu attack by Akhos, a member of Jin’s crew who’s come to take out Nia (now a traitor) and Pyra, the crew decides to embark for the capital city of Uraya where Vandham has a friend who can help them reach Elysium. They’re briefly stopped by the mysterious Zeke and his Blade Pandoria who’ve been tailing them throughout Uraya, but the confrontation is short-lived and the crew continues to make their way to the capital.
Once in the beautiful capital city of Fonsa Myma, Rex and friends quickly learn that war with the Ardainians has caused strife and a shortage of rations in the nation. The crew locate Vandham’s friend Cole in the local theatre and explain their situation to him. He offers to introduce them to someone who managed to get past the giant serpent and scale the World Tree long ago, but asks that they come back the next day for more details. After pulling Pyra aside before they leave, it’s revealed that the two know each other from ages long past. His true name is Minoth, and he pledges to help them reach their destination.
Later, after everyone leaves, Akhos and Malos pay an impromptu visit to Minoth and try to coerce him into helping them track down Pyra. He refuses, but his granddaughter is caught eavesdropping and gets kidnapped by the duo. They visit Pyra in her dreams and tell her to come get the girl, alone. By the time everyone figures out what happened and where to find her, Pyra is weak from fighting against Akhos and Malos by herself. The group steps in but are overpowered until Vandham sacrifices himself to channel ether and give the others a fighting chance. Just when Rex is about to be killed, Pyra manages to turn into Mythra, her powerful alter ego who works with Rex to destroy Akhos and Malos’ Blades in one final attack. The two retreat and Mythra reverts back to Pyra, utterly exhausted.
After burying Vandham and paying their respects, it’s revealed that Mythra created Pyra as a less powerful (and less dangerous) version of herself. The two are able to switch back and forth at will now, though Mythra fears that her true form is too dangerous (and blames Rex for making her unleash it).
Before they do anything else, Pyra takes a moment to explain her backstory and why she’s trying to reach Elysium. A man climbed the World Tree ages ago and found the core crystals of two Blades: Mythra and Malos. He brought both back and resonated with Malos first. A naturally destructive Blade, Malos went on a spree of terror and destruction. Seeing this, a young man named Addam took Mythra’s core crystal and resonated with her to combat the evil. After much struggle, Addam and Mythra managed to defeat Malos despite several titans falling in the ensuing chaos). Horrified at the collateral destruction she’d caused, Mythra created Pyra to temper her power and then had them both sealed away from the world on the ancient ship that Rex and company salvaged at the start of the game. Now that she’s awakened, she’s determined to return home to Elysium and put an end to Malos once and for all.
Cole reveals to the rest of the party that he’s a Blade (which is how Pyra knew him from before) and urges the party to travel to Indol and find his Driver, who should be able to help them reach Elysium. This comes as a surprise since Cole is old and in poor health, and Blades do not age. However, he explains that he’s the result of cruel experiments that fused Blades and humans together back in the day. This resulted in him losing the immortality that all other Blades enjoy. The crew decides to follow his advice and, after making sure that Vandham’s mercenary troupe is taken care of, start their journey.
Dealings With the Empire
The party eventually lands in Mor Ardain, where they have to stop before making their way to Indol. Upon arriving there they run into Muimui, a Nopon who seved as the lab assistant to Tora’s father and grandfather (the ones who’d began the artificial Blade research). Tora’s father has apparently been missing for some time, so Tora asks Muimui if he knows anything. He says he doesn’t, but invites them to stay at an inn run by his friend for free.
While at the inn, the group is disturbed by a commotion outside that turns out to be an artificial Blade that Tora recognizes as an old prototype named Lila. No one but Tora and his father knew how to make artificial Blades, so he realizes that whoever attacked their lab and kidnapped his father years ago must have forced him to complete her. Just as Lila starts to run away, the crew is suddenly attacked by Mòrag and Brighid who assume Poppi is behind the commotion. Before things go too far, another Nopon steps in and vouches for Poppi. Mòrag apologizes and asks them to help her investigate the rogue artificial Blade.
After some digging (and another especially memorable run-in with Zeke and Pandoria) the crew makes their way to a mysterious old factory on the outskirts of Mor Ardain. There they find a whole assembly line of artificial Blades and Tora’s father overseeing it all against his will. It turns out Muimui had been complicit in it all and is after the unique ether furnace inside Poppi. After thwarting Muimui and his minions, it’s revealed that Chairman Bana is the true mastermind behind the entire operation and had gotten funding for the production from a senator in Mor Ardain.
After defeating Lila and freeing her from Bana’s control, the crew defeats one last giant artificial Blade before catching Bana and Muimui and making them promise to stop building the Blades. At that moment, two Drivers from Jin’s crew named Patroka and Mikhail appear and attack the party with overwhelming force. Pyra transforms into Mythra and teams up with Mòrag and everyone else to destroy their Blades. Patroka and Mikhail are furious but manage to escape without chase.
The next chapter opens with a flashback to the days of the Aegis War when Addam was wielding Mythra. He, a girl named Lora, and Jin are all training together at a camp. They’re shortly joined by Brighid, and Addam mentions not being able to unlock Mythra’s true potential. He asks Jin if he’s interested in sparring since Jin is supposedly the strongest one in their country (Torna), but Jin says he dislikes fighting.
Back in the present day, a convoy from the Indoline Praetorium named Fan la Norne introduces herself and says that the ruler of her nation wishes to meet Rex. It turns out that this ruler, Praetor Amalthus, is both the original Driver of Malos who climbed the World Tree hundreds of years ago as well as the Driver of Cole and now Fan. Mythra recognizes Fan as Haze, a Blade that she knew from hundreds of years ago, but Fan has lost her memories and doesn’t recognize Mythra. Mòrag decides to come along and the troupe departs for Indol.
They’re eventually forced to land at the Leftherian Archipelago and travel the rest of the way on foot. Rex is originally from the area and hasn’t been back home in five years, so the group decides to stop by his hometown while they’re there. They meet Rex’s aunt (who raised him) and spend the night at her home. Once they’re alone, Aunt Corinne tells Pyra that she adopted Rex after he and his mother collapsed in town after washing up on shore one day. His mother died shortly after, so he grew up with Corinne as his only parental figure.
The next day, the party embarks for Indol only to be stopped once again by Zeke. This time Mòrag is in attendance and recognizes him as the Prince of Tantal, a wintery nation with ties to the Empire of Mor Ardain. He insists that he had merely been testing the Aegis and her new Driver before he comically falls into the Cloud Sea and the crew continue on their journey.
Once they arrive in Indol, Zeke (who followed them) reveals that the Indoline Praetorium handles the distribution of core crystals to all the other nations. The next day, Rex and Nia find Fan lamenting the fact that though she was around for the creation of Alrest, she can’t remember anything from those days due to the natural cycle of losing her memories once her Driver died. Meanwhile, Brighid pulls Pyra aside and reveals that she’s been able to keep track of her past through a diary (something unique to Brighid since she’s been passed down through the imperial family and had a consistent living space over the years). Since Mythra also retained her memories by never returning to a core crystal, Brighid urges them to share their past with Rex to deepen their bond.
The party eventually meets with Praetor Amalthus and tells him of their plans to scale the World Tree like he did all those years ago. Rex asks for his help and explains his hopes of wanting to save Alrest from the crisis of the dying titans. Amalthus tells the group that he never found Elysium nor the Architect on top of the World Tree, but that he’ll help them in hopes that they’ll be able to. He then asks to speak with Pyra privately, and during their conversation explains that while he’s never let anyone else scale the tree since he’s taken power, he believes this is the time someone worthy may finally be able to find the Architect and save the world.
The scene cuts to the continent of Temperantia, where Jin has infiltrated a Uryan-guarded excavation site in search of a giant ancient weapon that looks like a mini titan. He uses the giant weapon to wipe out scores of Uryan troops. News of the attack reaches the party and after confirming it wasn’t carried out by Mor Ardian, they rush over to investigate. By the time they arrive, the titan is full-on wreaking havoc and decimating the Uryan force guarding the area. The crew manages to stop the weapon and comes face-to-face with Jin, who reveals himself to be a Blade and accuses Mythra of sinking his homeland (Torna) during the Aegis War.
After a struggle, Jin kills Fan by destroying the core crystal in her chest. He then laments Blades’ inability to retain memories, expressing that humans have essentially enslaved Blades due to this weakness. This corrupted social hierarchy is his motivation for trying to wipe out humanity. Before he can attack the others, however, he loses control of his body due to some kind of malfunction with his own core crystal. Akhos swoops in to save him and the party (Rex in particular) is left to anguish over the loss of their new friend. Mistaking them for the ones who attacked the Urayan forces, backup troops quickly arrive on the scene and are poised to attack before the Indol titan arrives and a ceasefire is announced.
The next chapter begins with a flashback of how Jin first met Lora, the driver who wielded him during the Aegis War. She accidentally resonated with him when she was a little girl, and Jin protected her until the day she was struck down during the war. Flash forward to modern day and Jin is being treated at their group’s headquarters.
Following the events on Temperantia, a meeting of nations is called where we’re introduced to Queen Raqura of Uraya and Emperor Niall of Ardain (Mòrag’s little cousin). After convincing the Queen that Jin and Malos were behind the attack, Mythra reveals that Malos is still injured from the Aegis War but could fully recover if he reaches Elysium. Ironically, Patroka and Mikhail from Jin’s crew are listening in on the meeting from the outside and learn that Praetor Amalthus is planning on opening the route to the World Tree for Rex and the gang, granting them the perfect chance to slip in and reach Elysium themselves.
Fan is given a funeral soon after and everyone attends, though Mythra notes that Fan didn’t return to her core crystal form for some reason. She also notes that Fan’s core crystal seems to be in a different shape than it was back when she knew her during the war. Regardless, after the funeral Amalthus sends the party to Tantal. Apparently, the giant serpent that had thwarted their passage before can only be controlled via the Omega Fetter, an item that the royal family of Tantal controls. Seeing as Zeke is the crown prince of the region, he happily agrees to accompany them to ensure they can reach it.
Before any travel can begin, however, Chairman Bana pops up again with a plot to kill Queen Raqura in an effort to spark war and drive business for the Argentum Trade Guild. The party defeats him and his new artificial Blade, but as a last-ditch effort, Bana triggers explosives attached to the Blade and manages to catch Emperor Niall (who put himself in harm’s way to protect everyone) in the crossfire. As Mòrag grieves for and curses the loss of her cousin, Nia instructs Dromarch to distract everyone while she secretly heals him, revealing a peculiar core crystal in her chest in the process. By the time everyone returns she’s back to normal, Niall is back to full health, and Nia plays it off as having performed first aid while Mòrag rejoices.
A Murky History
The next day everyone sets out for Tantal. It’s only then revealed that Zeke had been disowned by his father at 15 and outcast from the kingdom. He’s paraded about Alrest ever since and can only hope that he’s welcomed back home after all these years. He also mentions that Tantal has been in isolation under the Cloud Sea for a long, long time.
Once they arrive at the royal palace in the capital city of Theosoir, Rex presents the Prartor’s letter to the king. However, the king shocks everyone by tearing it up and capturing Pyra, claiming that he’s planning to kill her to keep Alrest safe from the tragedies of the Aegis War. Everyone else is imprisoned aside from Zeke, who’s beside himself with shock and frustration. It’s not long before they’re able to escape thanks to Morag’s resourcefulness, though, and the group rushes to free Pyra from being destroyed by a blast from an ether accelerator.
Following a battle with the guards, Pyra is freed and the king reveals more about Addam, namely that the entire country of Torna was united around him. The nation of Tantal was established following the destruction of Torna in the Aegis War, but Addam himself never returned. Though they claimed to hail from his bloodline, Zeke’s family was only able to rise to power because of the confusion following the aftermath of the war. It’s then that Pyra mentions that Addam left her with a holographic message the day he sealed her away. She plays it for the group, and he emphasizes that humans must learn to live alongside Blades in harmony, and if they can’t manage to do that then they aren’t worthy of summoning the power of the Aegis.
At this moment, the titan carrying Tantal begins to plummet to the floor of the Cloud Sea. It turns out that when the party diverted the blast of the ether accelerator away from hitting Pyra, it instead hit the Omega Fetter. The Omega Fetter was how Mythra communicated with the giant serpent back in the day, but it’s also how Tantal controls its titan; thus, the blast caused them to lose control and sent the titan into a frenzy. Since Mythra had previous experience with the device, the party treks out into the cold Tantal wilderness to try and repair it before they all perish.
After making their way to the head of the titan, Mythra indeed manages to repair the Omega Fetter. However, before they can head back to the city, they’re greeted by Akhos and Mikhail (who they defeat) and then Jin and Malos. Jin demands both the Omega Fetter and Mythra before transforming into his full Blade form for the first time. His power is overwhelming and he manages to defeat the entire party, shattering Rex’s sword in the process. Before Jin can kill Rex off, however, Pyra seizes control of Mythra’s artifice (a powerful ancient weapon in the sky that Mythra used during the Aegis War) and threatens to kill herself with it if Jin doesn’t let them go. Since they need her to reach Elysium, Jin relents and takes off with Pyra and the Omega Fatter in tow.
Fast forward and two days have now passed since Jin and his crew kidnapped Pyra. Everyone has had time to recover at a local inn, but Rex is particular is devastated. Feeling powerless in the face of Jin’s true form, he announces his departure from the party (this is one of the most emotional moments in the entire story, and is a scene well worth watching on its own). In the midst of emotions (and fists) flying, the group is interrupted by a summons from the king.
The king explains the history of Tantal and their ties to Indol. After the Aegis War, those who survived the destruction of Torna were split between following Addam’s ideals of a nation where humans, Blades, and titans lived in harmony, and those who wanted to continue living with humans at the top of the chain. As mentioned earlier, Zeke’s family was able to rise to power amid the confusion, obtain the Omega Fetter, and use it to drive the titan into the Cloud Sea to isolate themselves. However, Indol knew of the royal family’s deceptive rise to power and used it to blackmail them into sending annual shipments of core chips (made via the titan’s ether stream) so they could supply the world’s military with them and become a power player. Unfortunately, this sent Tantal into a chronic energy shortage and resulted in the nation struggling with poor harvests, frozen landscapes, and, ultimately, poverty.
The king then offers the party assistance, claiming that the Aegis’ full power still hasn’t been awakened and that a third sword (more powerful than either Pyra or Mythra) is out there. He suggests they search in the Leftherian Archipelago and sends Zeke along with them.
Once they touch down back in Rex’s hometown of Fonsett Village, Gramps (Rex’s former home/titan who’s been traveling with them since the start) reveals that he was asked by Addam himself to guard the third sword. He leads the group to its resting place and Rex breaks the seal. They then descend into the ground.
It turns out that the cave is filled with particles that absorb ether, making it incredibly difficult for Blades to function. This saps the strength away from who you might expect, but surprisingly enough Zeke also starts to struggle. It turns out that he’d almost died years ago and was only saved by Praetor Amalthus, who took part of Pandoria’s core crystal and implanted it into Zeke, making him a “Blade Eater.” Nia struggles as well (though the cause isn’t yet revealed to the party) and gradually divulges how she came to know Jin. She was raised in a wealthy family but once her sister fell ill her father spent all their savings looking for a cure. In the end, both her sister and father died in destitution and she was captured by the Praetorium for reasons unknown. It was only thanks to randomly being found by Jin that she was freed from her cell and brought on as part of their crew.
Eventually they reach the heart of the cave where the sword is resting. As soon as they release the seal, however, endless mobs of ghosts in the form of Addam attack them. They’re soon overwhelmed and Rex is almost killed yet again. Seeing this and refusing to let him die, Nia finally reveals her true Blade form. She’s a Flesh Eater just like Cole (and Akhos and Mikhail from Jin’s crew) and has incredible healing powers. With her help, the party is able to defeat the last of the ghosts (it’s also here where she confesses to Rex, leading to one of the most memorable moments of the entire game).
Rex has a sudden vision of Addam commending him for his bravery and selflessness, and when he comes to the third sword is laid in front of him. He experiences a vision of where Pyra might be as soon as he grabs it, which Morag and Dromach later confirm as the Cliffs of Morytha. Morag arranges for an Ardainian ship to take them there and they set off.
The Truth of the World Tree
At the Cliffs, the party runs into Malos, whose core crystal is now fully recovered after siphoning energy from Pyra’s. A battle ensues and Nia is able to best Malos by using her special power: the ability to alter the replication rate of a body’s cells. Malos’ body contorts in pain and he’s driven off the edge of a cliff.
The crew continue on and find Jin in front of an unresponsive Pyra. Having sapped the power they needed from her, Jin and Malos (who saunters back on screen taunting the party for thinking they killed him) toss her listless body to Rex, who’s unable to wake her. It’s then that he declares that he’s going to destroy them and take Pyra and Mythra to Elysium no matter what. A large battle ensues and after subduing the party with Jin’s hidden ability to bring the surrounding area to an “absolute zero” temperature, they’re easily able to dominate Rex and company.
Rex continues to fight with all his might and Pyra and Mythra wake, begging him to stop and give up on them. They also reveal that they intended to ask the Architect to kill them once they reached Elysium. Nonetheless, Rex continues fighting and just as Jin is about to deal the final blow, he makes a pact with Pyra and Mythra and awakens the long-lost third sword. Pyra and Mythra fuse together into Pneuma, their true form, and grant Rex some snazzy new armor to match their new green hue. They then lead the party in attacking Jin and Malos again and manage to overpower them this time. Just as they’re about to win, Malos details his destiny to control the artifice Aion and use it to destroy the world before summoning his current artifice to attack the party. Pneuma summons her artifice in turn, but the blasts from both end up sending everyone into the void below.
Rex wakes up next to Mythra (who’s reverted from Pneuma) and finds himself under the Cloud Sea in a forgotten city called the Land of Morytha. They begin looking around for everyone else and run into Jin, who’s seriously injured and can barely defend himself against a random monster. Rex and Mythra locate the rest of the party and manage to defeat it before partially healing Jin (something Rex has to convince Mythra to do). In the process of healing him she learns that he’s a Flesh Eater. The group then begrudgingly agrees to take him with them as long as he doesn’t get in their way.
After trekking through the city for some time, the party happens upon the Tornan titan and makes their way there. Once they’re in its womb, Jin and Mythra reveal that titans give birth to Blades, and that Blades eventually become titans themselves and give birth to more Blades (though they can’t remember their previous lives). Jin then reveals that it was Indol that attacked and destroyed Torna, not Mythra or Malos. It turns out that Lora died trying to shield Jin from the attack, and it was then that he fused with her.
The party is interrupted by Malos and company searching for Jin in their ship. Jin quickly joins them once again and begins to ascend the World Tree. Rex’s party runs after them and eventually reaches the roots of the Tree. Once inside, however, it’s revealed that the tree is actually made of technology, not organic life. Pyra instinctively turns into Pneuma and summons an elevator that everyone rides up.
Rex takes a moment to reflect on what he’s learned about Amalthus since first meeting him. Not only did he blackmail the Tantal people into making Indol a world power, but he also attacked Torna unprovoked and killed countless Blades and humans alike. His pure hatred for everyone is reminiscent of Malos, who strives to destroy the world and everyone in it. The scene then switches over to Amalthus himself who reminisces on his childhood when his mother had to sacrifice herself to keep him safe from a group of bandits. Amalthus found her dead and killed the bandits with a stone as a young child.
The entire Indol titan has apparently been making its way through the Cloud Sea to the World Tree, and the Indoline forces swiftly attack Jin and Malos’ ship. Their crew strikes back with defensive easures and the sky erupts into an all-out war. Rex’s group sees the two battles from a distance. Amalthus spots them and asks them to destroy Jin’s ship, but they refuse. Amalthus gets frustrated and reveals that, like Zeke, he’s a Blade Eater who absorbed part of Fan’s core crystal. This power combined with the power he gained from being the driver of Malos (an Aegis) allowed him to develop a vortex that can subdue any Blade. He tries to use it to subdue Mythra into calling on her artifice to attack the ship, but Mythra manages to resist and Jin and Malos reach their destination and escape into the Tree.
Rex taps into his own power as a driver of an Aegis and summons a beam from the heavens that is able to disrupt Amalthus’ hold over the Blades in the party. Nonetheless, Amalthus has another trick up his sleeve: he’s able to control whole titans. He summons the titan of Mor Ardain to the tree and commands it to release a massive beam at Rex’s party.
Another flashback occurs for Amalthus, this time as a young adult. He spends time traveling around Alrest and treating those who need medical assistance. One day, he hears a child crying and follows the noise to a house. In it, he discovers a bandit who’d ransacked the house and is about to kill the child—and it turns out it was one of the people Amalthus had treated earlier. He kills the bandit and contemplates if this is what the Architect had intended when creating mankind.
Back in the present, the blast from Mor Ardain’s titan misses Rex’s crew. However, seeing as the titan is already on its last legs, Gramps notes that it will only be able to manage to shoot a couple more of those blasts due to the amount of energy they take before the titan falls into the Cloud Sea and kills everyone living on it. The Uraya titan arrives not long after and joins Mor Ardain in attacking the ship. Mikhail orders Akhos and Patroka to leave and follow Malos and Jin up the Tree as he prepares to make a final stand against the onslaught.
On Mor Ardain, Emperor Niall senses the nation’s impending doom and issues an evacuation order. On Indol, Amalthus tries to exert his Blade-subduing power over Mikhail but isn’t able to because Mikhail is a Blade Eater, not a Flesh Eater. It turns out that Mikhail was healed as a child by Amalthus long ago, which explains how he joins the ranks of the few Blade eaters alongside Amalthus and Zeke.
Rex realizes that a vortex above Indol is what’s allowing Amalthus to have such far-reaching control over the other titans and Blades, and the party devises a plan to disable it by destroying the pillars supporting the vortex on Indol. With the help of Poppi, Rex and Mythra are able to fly over to Indol and destroy the pillars, freeing the titans from Amalthus’ control in the process. Though Amalthus lashes out with another beam, Mikhail saves them and urges them to chase after Jin and Malos. He’s had a change of heart; he hated humans for a long time after seeing how cruel Amalthus could be, but Rex and the gang remind him of his old friends in Torna. They escape and Mikhail is killed in one last attack from Indol.
As Jin and Malos approach the summit of the World Tree, Jin suddenly decides to stay behind and await Rex. Malos says goodbye and goes on ahead. Jin then flashes back to when he was wandering with Lora during the days of the Aegis War and was recognized by an old man. The man points them towards a house wherein Jin discovers a diary he used to keep that revealed that he was the Blade of someone named Ornelia 90 years prior. This was her house, and that’d fought in a war for independence together before she died and he lost all memory of her. This diary also detailed the method of becoming a Flesh Eater, which he later used.
Revelations and Goodbyes
By the time Rex arrives, Jin is still injured from the wounds he sustained earlier but refuses to let the party pass without a fight. They do battle and Jin questions why Rex would want to open Elysium up to the world in the first place; just like the ruins of Morytha indicate, humans are sure to bring about the downfall of wherever they live with their hubris and lust for power. Rex is more optimistic, claiming that even if he dies and isn’t able to ensure that Elysium doesn’t become tainted, his will would be passed down to others (including Blades).
Rex manages to get the best of Jin this time, but before he can finish him off Patroka and Akhos finally catch up with the group. Patroka defends Jin and asks Nia to heal him, which she agrees to. Before Nia can get started, however, Patroka is suddenly slain by Amalthus, who’s transformed into his monstrous final form powered by countless core crystals. Amalthus absorbs Patroka as well and claims that the Architect created Blades specifically for Alamthus to raise and ultimately absorb, and that he’s an agent of the Architect’s will. Pneuma comes to the conclusion that Malos only wants to end the world because of Amalthus’ influence. Akhos (who viewed Patroka as a sister) loses it and attacks Amalthus but is no match, and is slain himself.
Rex and the rest of the party battle Amalthus and manage to get him on the ropes before he binds himself to the World Tree and tries to kill and absorb Jin. Rex and Pneuma save him but at the cost of sustaining heavy injuries. Nia heals them both before Jin encourages Rex to stop Malos. He then deals the finishing blow to Amalthus, who cries out to the Architect in his final moments. Having used up the last of his energy and still weak from his fight with Rex, Jin fades away.
The final chapter of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 opens with a flashback to a space station that’s hovering over what appears to be Earth. It’s getting hammered by attacks from mechs, and there isn’t much time left until they’ve completely overtaken the station. These same mechs seem to be ravaging the planet below as well. Just as the director of the station gets authorization to unleash their last hope, a weapon named Aion, they’re locked out by a professor who’s conducting experiments on what looks like a giant core crystal. Disgusted by the way humanity has ruined their home planet and the skies above, he’s dead set on creating a new universe where they can escape these relentless attacks and begin anew. Despite protests from his assistant, he goes forward with the experiment and great beams of light encircle the planet before everything is enveloped in a blinding white light.
Flashback to modern-day and the party has finally reached the top of the World Tree. It’s a space station, and they begin exploring. Meanwhile, Malos has found the Architect shrouded in darkness. He’s aware of everything Malos has experienced, and though Malos is ready to kill him, the Architect reveals that he’s already fading away and that his death is near. Malos decides to leave, unsure what his true purpose is anymore.
It’s not long before Rex and the team arrive at the hill that Rex first met Pyra at after finding her on the ship. Unfortunately, it’s not the lush paradise they remembered; it’s brown, lifeless, and in ruins, bearing a surprising similarity to the Land of Morytha below. The party follows the chiming of bells to a church, and the Architect’s disembodied voice urges them to descend below the alter. Once they’re below everyone else vanishes and Rex finds himself alone, experiencing hallucinations of everyone in the party being furious with him for wasting their time trying to find Elysium only for it to end up like this. He‘s also confronted by Gramps in his large form, who ponders what the point of life is when Blades live countless lives only to never retain their memories and eventually become titans who wander endlessly before their death.
Rex finally ends up in his hometown of Fonsett Village where he’s greeted by Pyra and Mythra. Though they’re pleasant and fix him a meal, their personalities are swapped, and this on top of all the other visions he’s seen makes Rex break down and question his purpose. This affects Pyra and she asks the Architect to stop.
All of a sudden everyone is back together and Rex learns that everyone experienced similar hallucinations. The Architect then finally reveals himself to the group and introduces himself as Klaus, the same professor who carried out the experiment to make a new universe. He begins to explain himself, reminiscing on the ills humanity had brought upon the world and his excitement at the prospect of having a fresh start via the power of the Conduit (the device that resembled Pyra’s core crystal). This Conduit was a gateway to parallel universes, and by opening it Klaus transported nearly the entire planet and its population to different universes; the Land of Morytha was all that remained. Inadvertently, he’d also transported half of his body to another universe, leaving him in a limbo where he couldn’t even end his life if he wanted to.
Remorseful that his actions had caused the world to be thrown haphazardly across multiple dimensions, Klaus sought to restore what he could and create new life. Thus, he created the cloud sea from particles and created core crystals from the data of past lifeforms. When mixed together the two would result in titans. He then took the cores of the space station’s processor and created the Aegises. All information that Blades experienced would be translated back to the Aegises, and evolutionary information would be cycled back into the core crystals to gradually form an evolutionary cycle over time. This is also presumably how humans, Nopon, and other species came to be (though that bit is a little ambiguous).
As the years went on, Klaus came to realize that the lifeforms he’d created were quite similar to the humans of his world, for better and worse. He saw that he was destined to fail in creating an ideal new world, and that his attempt at atonement was for naught. This hopelessness led him to stand by when Amalthus scaled the World Tree and swiped the two Aegises, as well as stay silent when Malos laid waste to Alrest.
The conversation gets interrupted by an attack from Malos, and Klaus encourages the party to go and stop him. He also mentions that once he fades away the Conduit will too, and since the Conduit powers the Aegis, it’s implied that Pyra, Mythra, and Pneuma will be no more.
The party confronts Malos in the hanger housing Aion, the most powerful artifice and the original super weapon from back during Klaus’ time. Malos admits that he’s not sure if his wishes to destroy the world are his own, pointing to Jin as his true inspiration. Regardless, he activates Aion and battles the party. As this is happening, scores of mechs that were originally used to defend the space station have been deployed and are terrorizing the nations on the titans down below.
In a hugely cinematic finish, Rex and Pneuma manage to cut Aion in half and defeat Malos in the process. This happens just as Shulk delivers his famous ‘fell a god’ line before defeating Zanza in a parallel universe, revealing that Zanza is the other half of Klaus and that the events of the first Xenoblade Chronicles are linked through him. As Zanza is slain, the Conduit begins to fade away and Klaus goes with it.
The loss of the Conduit causes Elysium to malfunction, and it’s soon clear that the World Tree will collapse and destroy all of Alrest if nothing is done. Pneuma suggests that propelling the Tree in a different direction via a rocket boost may be the key to saving everyone, so she tells the party and they head over to do so.
When they get inside what was supposed to be the rocket room, it turns out it’s actually a port with escape pods and ships. Pneuma lied; the only way to actually save Alrest from destruction was to use Aion to destroy the World Tree, not redirect its fall. She has to sacrifice herself to pull this off and knew that Rex wouldn’t agree, so she collapses the walkway back to the tree and transfers the rest of her core crystal to Rex, giving him the power to live without being tied to her any longer. His core crystal falls out of his chest and he loses the special armor that came with controlling Pneuma. He begs and pleads to stay with her, but the party consoles and convinces him that this is for the best, and in life tough choices have to be made.
Rex and the party escapes and Pneuma carries out the destruction of the World Tree. The debris of the blast tears the escape ship in half, but Gramps is somehow able to revert to his titan form at the last minute and give the party a ride on his back. As they soar down, the cloud sea dissipates and gives way to an endless ocean below. Just as they approach it, they see the titans all land in the water intact. As they hit the water, they dock onto a land mass. This may finally be the new world that Klaus had originally envisioned.
In an after credits scene, as everyone is soaring on the back of Gramps and taking everything in as fragments of the World Tree fall like shooting stars in the sky, the core crystal that fell out of Rex’s chest begins to glow, and it emits a ray of green light. Suddenly, to the shock of everyone, Pyra and Mythra are standing before them in the flesh. Poppi runs forward and embraces them before Nia wakes Rex from his shock with a little push. Smiling, he steps towards them and the scene ends on the line, “And thus, boy met girl.”
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