Tales Of Xillia was released two years ago in Japan. Thanks to popular
demand the game has made its way over to the United States. Was this next installment in the Tales series worth the wait?
Story – The story takes place in a world called Rieze Maxia a world where humans are able to manifest the power of spirits and mana into a power source called the Spyrix. Due to the power and technology the Spyrix possess it drains the mana and kills the spirits. The great Spirit Maxwell that isolated this type of power source ages ago, returns in human as Milla Maxwell to put a stop to a new weapon called “The Lance Of Kresnik.”
Unlike many other Tales games Xillia is told through the perspective of two characters Jude and Milla. The games core story is unchanged but how the story is viewed is depending on which character you choose. This makes the storytelling a little more personal for each character as you see certain cutscenes and certain side quest will be only exclusive to that character. The story is not the best out of the Tales franchise but it’s one of the most addictive ones to playthrough. The characters of Jude and Milla work well for this universe, Milla being a spirit and human form trying to save the world and coming to terms what it means to be human, and Jude being a young man trying to find his identity and place into the world. Playing these two characters and watching them learn and grow from each other is a pleasure. However this wouldn’t be an RPG game without the supporting cast and Xillia has some pretty outstanding supporting cast. The supporting cast member that stands out the most is Alvin played by Matt Mercer. Alvin is a character that we have seen before in movies, anime and other forms of entertainment. However in Xillia he is the most unpredictable mercenary and character. His motives are unknown, he lives by his own rules and while playing the game you question whether he can be trusted or not. While playing this game I can tell you that I love this feeling on whether I can trust certain characters or not. Overall Xillia delivers the goods and a little more and if you want the full course meal you have to play it twice.
Gameplay – Xillia doesn’t stray away too far from the usual formula of hack and slash and magic artes. However Xillia takes what we are used too and expands onto it. Xillia uses a link system between two characters out of the four on the field. This link system adds strategic elements during battle. For example if Jude and Milla are link together one will find a weak spot on the enemy. Alvin will break the enemies barriers and etc. Depending on which character you will link with will depend on what give advantage you get on the enemy. Different characters work better or worst with an certain enemy type. Another great addition to the link system is the double team moves. When you are prompted or if your battle meter rises to the top. You can perform devastating double team attack with the character you are link with. The moves can be a single strike or a continuous hit if you press your buttons quick enough. The double team moves are essential during boss battles as the battles range from medium to very hard. The battles sometimes can be frustrating as the enemies will be able to cast multiple arts back to back which leaves an unfair advantage. That is on the only complaint about the battle system I had with the game. Overall the battle system is solid and the link system is a great addition.
The link system is not the only new addition to the Tales franchise. Xillia uses a different way to level up characters and have them learn they skills. Xillia introduces a system known as the Lilium Orb fans of Final Fantasy XIII will be familiar with this grid system. The Lilium Orb is a grid where you spend the points you earned after you level up to upgrade your strength, hp, tp, learn new attacks and many more. It’s a more strategic way to level up your characters as you will have to decide which abilities or attributes work best for your character. The Lilium Orb is a welcome addition to the franchise and I hope to see it in future installments of Tales games. Finally the game brings one more upgrade feature to the table. Xillia requires you to upgrade shops in order to get better supplies and weapons. This will be a hit or miss with some fans as you will usually sacrifice items picked up from battles or spend money you earned from battles to upgrade them. The more you upgrade the shops the better materials, weapons and armor your characters will have. It’s another great element to the game that brings the already great upgrade system into much more depth.
Graphics – Xillia was released two years ago in Japan. The graphics by today’s standards will appear to be a little dated. However Tales Of Xillia looks great minus a few flaws of textures and some background hiccups the graphics hold up well. Even though the graphics aren't outstanding as Tales Of Vesperia or Graces it does hold up pretty well.
Sound – Xillia music is wonderful. Gone are the usually midi sounds that the franchise is known and in is the orchestrated compositions that is music to your ears. The voice acting is also well done. The show stealer is Matt Mercer (Leon from Resident Evil 6) his performance makes you wish that Alvin was the main character in the game.
Replay Value - Tales of Xillia offers tons of replay value from sidequest to another go a round seeing the game from the perspective of the character that you didn’t choose. The game will take you up to 30 hours without sidequest and with sidequest and hidden bosses maybe 20 more. This is an RPG that will occupy your time for a while.
Final Grade 8.5/B+: Tales Of Xillia does a lot right and brings new elements to the franchise. The story is solid with some compelling characters and a really great theme which I won’t spoil for you. The gameplay is great as it’s ever been and the addition of the Lilium Orb and upgrade shops is a welcome addition. This is an RPG that you must pick up and experience for yourself.