unprovoked Hate

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is one of the few role-playing games where I really wanted to turn over every stone. I liked the basic theme about unconditional love. I liked the story of Rex and Pyra. What was left a bit open was the mysterious kingdom of Torna and the background to Malos’ hatred for the world that remained. It seemed to me that the expansion „Torna – The Golden Country” could give a beautiful parable of the two powerful feelings and bring the game to a glorious conclusion – a kind of Japanese video game Star Wars.

And with the shining eyes of an enthusiast, it has succeeded. Viewed quite soberly, however, it is just B-movie to the main game, an appendage that repeats in simpler terms what was already known. No one here wants to contribute anything worth mentioning to an explanation for the hatred. The only thing that is deepened is the bitterness that comes with the loss of a loved one. This bitterness can change one’s character. It can make one indifferent to life and the living.

We already know that blades live forever. But after the death of the human they are linked to, they return to a crystal and forget everything from that shared life. It’s a curious premise that the architect of the current world of Xenoblade Chronlices has come up with. If a blade is now confronted with the fact that their current significant feelings are no different to those from their previous life, it may be frustrating – eternal sunshine of the spotless mind. I now understand even better how a nihilistic became a world-weary Jin. The great love for Lora, which is brought into focus this time, is actually nothing special. But instead of accepting it as a cycle of life like herself, he can’t and won’t. A good psychotherapy, however, could certainly put things right.

But the origin of the unprovoked hatred that Malos carries within himself and that drives him is not explained for me. And I hardly believe that a therapist can do anything here. Rather, he seems to be a bored dandy who knows nothing better to do with either his immortality or his immense power. If this is supposed to be an explanation for this kind of hatred – the boredom, the lack of fear of an end and the absence of one’s own development perspective – it would cast a gloomy light on the very people who are consumed by hatred. Little lights.

To make matters worse, the majority in my team now annoyed me because of their childish naivete. This was a cheerful addition before, but now there were just too many of them. Included is Addam, once glorified as a great mystical hero, who has a rather plain disposition and in the end he just wants his peace on the countryside. Somehow, the expansion lacks the necessary balance in the team for me. For every annoying rascal there is just one great nihilist with depth. That made for more than one too many eye rolls and didn’t get me any further in my search for my own answers.

The root of unprovoked hatred can only be guessed at as before – the hatred of Malos as a reflection of the depths of the soul of Amalhus, his blade partner. The ending of „Torna – The Golden Country” therefore frustrated me because it left this theme open. And so the only thing I understand better now is the hatred for Japanese role-playing games. But with this bitter realisation, I may have come a little closer to the truth in the end.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – The Golden Country Torna was released as an expansion and as a standalone version in September 2018 for the Nintendo Switch, just under a year after the release of the main game. The plot is set about 500 years in the past, there is a separate game world and a few new game mechanics. However, the scope is significantly reduced.

This post is also available in: German