Things are really starting to get interesting on planet Mira. Since my last Xenoblade Chronicles X article, I've completed up to chapter 9 so keep that in mind before reading any further.
Seeing how eventful these past three chapters were, it would be best if I jumped straight to it this time around. Although these chapters were definitely exciting, chapter 7 seemed like a carbon-copy of chapter 4. Both scenarios involved travelling to a potential location of the Lifehold only to be ambushed by Goetia. In the end, it's kind of disappointing how similar they are.
Chapter 8 is where things got very interesting. It begins with sirens blaring right before Lin started to cook dinner. After the citizens of New Los Angeles are shown looking concerned, we're informed that Ganglion forces are on their way to attack the city. Our team then headed off to defend one of the gates. Thankfully, it wasn't too difficult. However, Ganglion aircrafts began descending above NLA shortly after. Taking the battle to the streets of the city was heartbreaking but also pretty cool. At this point, we were introduced to a small demon-like creature named Ryyz and her giant companion Dagahn who we would soon fight in the middle of the Commercial District. Upon claiming victory, we see Ga Jiarg and his pal Ga Buidhe break into the hangar to steal the giant Skell that we recovered in chapter 6. A couple of intriguing scenes then play showing Elma being suspicious of Lao's actions during battle and the head of the Ganglion (Luxaar) planning to use the stolen Skell as a body for some presumably evil entity.
Chapter 9 did a fantastic job of fleshing out the manipulative nature of the Ganglion. It starts with the team journeying to a new continent named Sylvalum in search of the Lifehold. We met an injured Lao when we arrived. After a short walk to the designated location, we got surrounded by Ga Jiarg, Ga Buidhe, and their team of fellow Wrothian soldiers. Ga Jiarg reluctantly instructed us to surrender and turn ourselves in yet he's hesitant since humans don't appear as lawless as the Ganglion hyped them up to be. Apparently, the Ganglion fear human beings themselves and not their Mimeosome forms. Anyway, the Wrothians admitted that they don't want to be manipulated anymore so they challenged us to a battle to see if we would make worthy allies. It took me a few tries and quite a lot of grinding to defeat them but I eventually did. To end this epic chapter, Ga Jiarg informs Luxaar of his decision to break ties with the Ganglion then rallies the Wrothian people with their newfound independence. Watching that was pure awesomeness.
These three chapters marked the first point in the adventure so far where I actually had to do some grinding. The first wall that I hit was that chapter 8 wouldn't start until I reached level 30. Considering I was only at level 23 at the time, I had a lot of growing up to do. After completing a few missions, I realised that I could actually be lazy and cheat my way through a few. I figured out that I could use "Reward Tickets" to purchase quest items instead of hunting them down myself. I know, this probably isn't the most purist way to go about these missions but I wanted to move on with the story. Besides, I earned those tickets!
I also got to pilot a Skell for the first time. I must admit that although driving and walking around in one is undeniably satisfying; the controls feel a bit off. Skells act like Transformers where you can turn into a vehicle to get around fast or just stomp around in its normal form. While in vehicle mode, I find that it's difficult to steer around accurately. In its standing position, the camera is slightly off so it gets tricky to judge where you are on the path. Complaints aside, I purchased the most expensive Skell I could before starting chapter 8. I'm impressed by how truly powerful it is. After finishing chapter 9, I earned the ability to fly in a Skell. Soaring above NLA was simply incredible. I'm looking forward to flying to some previously unreachable locations during the next time I play.
It's been quite a ride so far. Between mysterious evil forces, possibly traitorous allies, and newfound comrades; I can't wait to see how it all ends. Anyway, see you soon. I'll be back once I'm done the main story!