Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna - The Golden Country

Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna Review

A fitting prequel to an epic tale

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a Switch on

ESRB Teen rating

Monolith Soft's latest massive RPG provides an insane amount of content yet here's even more. Torna - The Golden Country is an entire game on its own that fills fans in on past events and provides a memorable journey in the process.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna - The Golden Country screenshot 1
Fighting enemies is more satisfying than ever

Story

Don't worry; I won't spoil anything. Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna - The Golden Country stars Lora and Jin who begin their journey within the Kingdom of Torna. The plot takes place during the events of the Aegis War; 500 years before the main game. Along the way, you'll meet many familiar characters and a handful of new ones. The best part of the story is the fact that it elaborates on events that were introduced in the main game's plot as well as fleshes out many characters' personalities thus helping to describe why they behave the way they do. It's the attention to detail in particular that impressed me most as even some minor events that took place in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 are given more context here. As a result, if you're a fan then you need to play Torna - The Golden Country.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 plot summary

If you're like me and haven't played Xenoblade Chronicles 2 in a while then you may be a bit hazy about some of the plot points. Luckily, I wrote some in-depth story summaries that are sure to help jog your memory before you dive into this prequel:

  1. Chapter 1: Encounters
  2. Chapter 2: Aptitude
  3. Chapter 3: Our Own War
  4. Chapter 4: Aegis
  5. Chapter 5: Masters and Slaves
  6. Chapter 6: Wounds
  7. Chapter 7: The Fear She Carries
  8. Chapter 8: World Tree
  9. Chapter 9: Rain
  10. Final Chapter: And thus, boy met girl

Although the story definitely fleshes out the world and characters that were established in Xenoblade Chronicles 2, I couldn't help but feel that there were a few missed opportunities. There have been many video game prequels that threw surprise twists which brought new meaning to their respective stories in the grand scheme of things but nothing really happened in Torna - The Golden Country that blew me away. I enjoyed learning more about the characters but I wish there was something substantial enough that made me want to play the main game again with new knowledge in mind yet there aren't really any mind-blowing twists and turns along the way.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna - The Golden Country screenshot 2
This Community system would be a lot more enjoyable if it wasn't mandatory

Battle System

Believe it or not, Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna - The Golden Country features a slightly different battle system. The coolest addition is the fact that you can switch between Drivers and Blades. Being able to control the Blades is just awesome and automatically unleashing a Switch Art whenever you do as well as having your Art gauges replenish is the icing on the cake. Considering Drivers and Blades share stats, regularly alternating between the two is a must, especially during tougher battles. Other than these features, the combat will be very familiar if you played through the main game. Stringing together Arts while toppling a giant foe then unleashing everything you have to burst the elemental orbs that surround it is more satisfying than ever. Well, that's something that I never thought I'd say!

The main downside to combat in Torna - The Golden Country is that you don't have as much control over customizing your party as you did in Xenoblade Chronicles 2. You won't find yourself amassing a large collection of Blades and such so battling foes feels less rewarding in this regard. In other words, I felt that my party in the main game was my own creation while my party here feels predefined.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna - The Golden Country screenshot 3
Hugo unleashes his mighty Mega Eruption

Community System

Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna - The Golden Country includes a new Community system that gathers each citizen of Gormott, Torna, and Auresco in its corresponding menu. Upon completing quests and communicating with citizens, they will join your inner circle of supporters. Although this would otherwise be a very cool system, there's one huge problem that will be incredibly frustrating for anyone merely looking to enjoy Torna - The Golden Country's story. Basically, you have to complete a ton of quests and amass a huge following of supporters if you want to continue the story at a couple of points. Forcing players to do this is silly and only serves to deceptively pad out the core game length. What makes it even more irritating is that many of the quests are super-tedious and unsatisfying.

On the plus side, I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the environments contained within Torna and Gormott. Discovering gorgeous secret areas and fighting incredibly challenging unique monsters is an absolute thrill. Of course, the game world isn't as large as the one in the main game but being able to visit plenty of new locations and find oodles of exciting treasures adds a lot to the Xenoblade universe.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna - The Golden Country screenshot 4
That's one swanky-looking Gargoyle!

If you're a fan of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 then you must play Torna - The Golden Country. It may not be as grand of an adventure but it provides an incredible back-story that fills out the world of Alrest in a beautiful way.

  • + Fantastically fleshes out the characters and plot of the main game
  • + New environments are fun to explore
  • + More immediately gratifying combat
  • - Gated progression that relies on completing rather monotonous side-quests
  • - The story could have used more twists
  • - Fewer party customization options
7.6 out of 10
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Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Trivia

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