Tales of Xillia

August 19th, 2013


The Japanese RPG genre seem to be in a decline this generation (the one now ending that is) in the west at least, whether this is down to the rise of western massive budget Hollywood summer blockbuster style gaming or just gamers taste in general changing is up for debate, but the days of Final Fantasy 7 taking the PS one by storm are long gone. Maybe it’s just the RPG genre in general Mass effect a game that started as an action RPG rapidly skewed it’s balance in favour of action and spectacle, and back in Japan even the poster boy for Japanese RPG Final Fantasy has moved away from it’s traditional roots in to a strange mix of ideas taken from the west. Some JRPGs however still embrace the uniqueness of their once great ancestors such as the gorgeous Ni No Kuni and of course the Tales of series that has been going since the 16-bit era.

youBeing a fan of Tales of games is a bit like being in a relationship with someone who doesn’t love you back at times. For every Tales of Symphonia there is a Tales of Vesperia PS3 edition remaining stubbornly in Japan and even though we are getting the games with far higher percentage in recent years we are still lagging behind our fellow Japanese players. Tales of Xillia has now hit our shores, but back in Japan they are already enjoying Tales of Xillia 2, but enough of what we don’t have lets look at what we do.

Tales of Xillia is the latest in the Tales of Series, which is one of the premier Japanese role playing games, this latest entry gives us a choice between two separate playable characters that follow the same story, however playing as each character will give you a different view of the events as well as unique parts for each. Our choices for a hero are either Jude Mathis, a young medical student at the city’s hospital, or Millia Maxwell a woman who is actually a god like figure accompanied by mystical spirits. While at first this choice may seem like a hassle to anyone wanting to get the whole story of the game, it doesn’t withhold details from youbut is mostly a perspective type thing. On the bright side it does add extra incentive for those who like to replay the game again. Story wise it’s not all that memorable – what it does has been seen many times before – but it’s saving grace is that the characters are generally likable and the little skits that can be activated are normally humorous.

you2The battle system in the Tales of series are always pointed to as a high point and fans will be pleased to know it’s still intact you have you standard attacks on one button which can be altered by adding a direction as well as your special attacks, known as artes (again adding a direction will provide a new attack), and there’s a lot of freedom in how you tackle the battles, even more so with the new linked combat system that allows two characters to team up together encouraging experimentation with moves and party member combinations alike. All of this will have you gaining some serious experience points that will be poured into the new leveling up system called the Lilium Web, a node based level up system that allows for a greater degree of control over how your character evolve.

The greatest compliment you can pay Tales of Xillia is that it knows it’s audience and has catered to them, if you don’t like Japanese RPGs Tales of Xillia will not do anything to change your mind but that is a good thing, every change the Tales of team have made are natural feeling evolutions. The game manages to be visually charming, even though it is already two years old, and the gameplay feels fresh with new ideas while still managing to retain what made it good in the first place.

Words > Jason Potter


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