Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition

What Does Tension Do?

This is a guide to Tension in Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition (XC1) for the Nintendo Switch. Here we will explain what tension does, the effect it has in battle, and how to increase or decrease tension.

What Is Tension?

Your Character's Morale


A character's portrait will show an aggressive look when it's tension is high. If the character's tension is at the maximum value, a red flame will also appear behind the portrait as shown in Dunbann's portrait.

Tension is the representation of your character's morale in battle. This can be seen during battle when your character's portrait changes. There are also red arrows going upward and blue arrows going downward. This shows if the character's tension is increasing or decreasing.

What Does Tension Do?

Imporoves or Worsens Performance

The higher the tension of your characters, the more damage and critical strikes that character can do. With a high tension, the Party Gauge will fill quicker, and you will have a higher chance of triggering a Chain Link during a Chain Attack. The opposite is true if your character has low tension.

Essentially, having a high tension in battle means that your party will fight better than if it were low, so you want to make sure it always stays at its highest.

Drops When Party Members Are Compromised

Tension drops when a character receives a debuff, an enemy lands a critical hit on them, they miss an attack, or another party member is KO'd. A change in tension is often accompanied by a change in battle music.

How to Increase Tension

Use Burst and Battle Start Affinity

Battle Start
Successfully using Burst and Battle Start Affinity is a consistent way to improve your Tension. Battle Start Affinity is used when initiating battle against enemies while Burst Affinity can be used if your character misses or lands a critical hit. Shulk's skill, Battle Cry, will increase the affect of Battle Start Affinity.

Use Affinity Cry

When allies get discouraged (this usually happens if they get incapacitated) you can walk near them and press the B button to encourage them. This will raise their low tension level.

Use Arts That Raise Tension

Most characters have a move that will allow them to raise tension, or prevent it from being lowered. This includes Heal Bullet, Hero Time, and Double Wind.

Additionally, using any Art will reward a small amount Tension to the character.

Smashing a Tag

When Shulk gets a vision, there will be a limited amount of time to counter the enemy Art. If you are able to smash the tag, via dazzing the foe, defeating them, or using a Monado Art to counter, tension will rise.

Use a Chain Attack

Initiating a Chain Attack is another way to raise the party's tension. If your Party Gauge is full, unleashing a Chain Attack will raise your party's morale and inflict massive damage, drastically changing the outcome.

How to Chain Attack

Xenoblade Chronicles Tips and Tricks

Beginner's Guide to Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition

Gameplay Mechanics
Battle System and Combat Guide Can You Switch Characters in Battle?
Stats Explained Status Effects Explained
How to Chain Attack What Does Tension Do?
How to Topple | Topple Lock Guide What is Spike Damage?
Trading and Overtrading Guide Collectopaedia Guide and Rewards
Presents Guide How to Change the Weather
What is Weight? -
Guides for Leveling and Grinding
How to Level Up Fast AP Farming Guide
SP Farming Guide How to Farm Money
How to Raise Affinity Tephra Cave Glitch
Leveling Areas Post 70 How to Get Affinity Coins
Optimization Guides
Best Party and Team Setup Best Skill Trees For Each Character
Best Skill Links for Each Character Best Gifts for Each Character
Art Manuals List What to Sell | Best Items to Sell
Miscellaneous Guides
What Carries Over to New Game Plus? What is Expert Mode?
Achievement Guide and List What Happens if You Die?
Appearance Guide | How to Change Appearance List of Missables
100% Playthrough Checklist -
Colony 6 Items
How to Get Gogol Horns How to Get Inferno Element
How to Get Black Liver Bean How to Get Snow Element
How to Get Azure Hollyhocks How to Get Dust Element
How to Get Red Frontier How to Get Empress Beetles
How to Get Rainbow Slugs How to Get Ice Cabbages
How to Get Sturdy Armor How to Get Squall Element
How to Get Bunnia Scent Wood How to Get Fossil Monkey
How to Get High Entia Emblem How to Enter Hode's Lair
Where is Banquet Vassago How to Get Bitter Kiwis
How to Enter Power Pipe Ruins -


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