This innovative feature is just one of many amazing gameplay hooks that make Xenoblade Chronicles such a terrific game. The bulk of your experience will be in the form of exploration and combat as you try to find the source of the Mechons and eliminate them as a threat. Like all JRPGs, there are sidequests you can take on during your journey, but these are meshed into the general experience and streamlined in their execution. Sometimes you need to kill X amount of creatures or find Y items, sounds familiar right? Well in this case once you meet the requirements, the challenge is completed, and you get your rewards. There are hundreds of collectibles as well and they are obtained as you explore and defeat enemies, again once you hit a milestone you can complete it in the menu system and obtain the rewards. These small touches go a long way in negating the feeling of grinding most games are guilty of in back and forth fetch quests. There is also a quick travel system so you can visit past locales quickly and easily (with barely any loading times).
The combat system is even more elegant with an MMO style auto attack system as battle is initiated. Once you target a creature, you automatically start attacking them and an overlay appears at the bottom with your abilities (called Arts) laid out. You can cycle through the Arts as you move about and trigger them easily; some are contextual meaning more damage from the side or back. As Shulk with the Monado you also have a second set of Arts generated from their weapons (and more are unlocked over time), these are key to victory as they allow your party members to hurt Mechons as well. The Arts are unlocked as you level in the game adding a strategic layer once you have more than you can load on screen.
On top of this combat system is Shulk's ability to affect the battleground. A team gauge fills up as you battle and if it hits a certain point you can boost or revive your teammates with a quick button press if you are close to them. Shulk can also see the near future at key moments, showing him devastating attacks coming from enemies. He has the ability to trigger an Art that counters them and gives a big boost to the team. There are also many passive skills that unlock over time and cross class skills you can equip as you gain affinity with your team. This results in a deep and most importantly fun combat system that makes the battles as enjoyable as the story and characters.