One of the things the Xeno series has always been known for is giant robots. In Xenogears they were called Gears. In Xenosaga they were called A.G.W.S. and E.S. Robots, and in Xenoblade , they were called Mechon (though that title applied to small and humanoid robots as well). In Xenoblade Chronicles X , however, they are called Dolls, and you will be able to pilot them once more!
Nintendo recently revealed a whole lot of new details about the game’s Doll systems. First of all, Dolls come in three different types: Light, Medium, and Heavy. Light types have low HP but a high evasion rate and are very easy to control. They give up endurance for options. Medium types are about what you would expect, middle of the road in all stats and generally easy to control. They may not be as speedy as Light types, but they take hits better. Finally, there are heavy types which both have a ton of armor and do a ton of damage, but they are slow and unwieldy to control.
Within each class of Doll, there are several different models. Your Dolls model determines what weapons it uses, and what vehicles it can transform into. Yes, each Doll is a transformer, turning into vehicles such as tanks, motorcycles, ATVs, hovercrafts, and more. You can also equip your dolls with flight packs which allow you to fly around the Xenoblade Chronicles X world freely and even fight while doing so.
Each Doll operates off of a fuel gauge and everything you do with it, from attacking, to transforming, to flying, uses up fuel. More advanced options, like flight, guzzle fuel, and if you don’t pay attention to your fuel gauge you may end up broken down in the middle of nowhere.
All Doll upgrading and equipping costs money, a lot like Gear upgrading did in Xenogears . You can have multiple dolls per character, but Dolls are apparently incredibly expensive, so this will probably be a late game option.
Doll equipment is handled by a part by part system, much like in games such as Front Mission and Armored Core . You can equip items to your Doll’s hands, arms, shoulders, back, and spare item slot. In general, right side parts are meant to be stronger and more combat oriented, while left side parts tend to be focused on support or upgrading your Doll’s stats. Each piece of equipment may give you access to arts which can then be used in battle, just like character arts.
In addition, each body part has its own characteristics. Hand weapons tend to influence your characters basic attack, while arm weapons feature ranged attacks and defense buffs such as mini-guns and shields. Spare weapons are things such as grenades or mini beam sabers, and while they aren’t very powerful their arts have quick recharge rates. Back weapons are extremely powerful but have slow recharge rates, and shoulder weapons are even more powerful than that.
Many items will take more than one slot to equip, with “super weapons” (which cannot be purchased but instead must be made from plans) taking up most of your Dolls slots but granting you an incredible amount of power.
On top of all this, you can also customize your Doll’s colors, skin, and other aesthetic qualities.
Xenoblade Chronicles X will release in Japan on April 29, 2015 for the Wii U. It will release later in the year in American and European territories.