Tales of Xillia might not stand out visually from the other games out now, but with interesting fighting mechanics and leveling system you will keep coming back for more. Plus that story gets really interesting about 15 hours into the game.
Developer: Namco Tales Studio
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
For fans: JRPGs
Reviewed on: Playstation 3
Also available on: None
If we had to give it a numerical score: 7.5/10
What I liked
- Great leveling system
- Fun gameplay
- Scantily clad ladies
Not so much
- Awkward silences [Because of your scantily clad ladies comment? – Undead Ed]
Gameplay and Features
Right off the bat you get a choice – between characters that is. Either Jude – a medical student on his way to become a doctor with a bright future in front of him – or Milla – a character that wears little clothing and has the four spirits of nature at her command. For me it was an easy choice to make.
The choice itself isn’t really a big deal. For the most part the two characters are together and you are able to take control of any character during the game. However, there are times where the story will venture off and the two main characters, Jude and Milla, will separate and the focus will be on the character you chose at the beginning.
JRPGs of late have all taken a similar route to the ones in the past. In the past you controlled every character on the battlefield and fights were an art form you had to perfect. I had a calculator next to me to work out the HP of some boss fights. These days, fighting in JRPGs have taken more of an action game approach where button mashing is the order of the day. For the first few hours of ToX, I spent my time mostly doing the latter. However, after I got used to the controls I spotted the subtle differences that sets ToX apart from other similar games.
The game has an actual combo system, not unlike your every day action game. In battle you control one character at a time. This character can then link with another character controlled by the AI, and depending on which character you link with, get extra benefits from that character. For example, one character helps you break through a enemy that blocks the whole time. Another will heal you and help you up. While another will steal rare items from the monsters you battle when you knock them down.
Linking and physically attacking monsters isn’t the only way to fight though. You are also able to learn and use Artes inside battle. Artes, for lack of a better explanation, is basically ToX’s magic attacks. Although, you also get some Artes which are physical combo attacks.
On top of this you get AC points which allows you to attack quickly in a row. Run out and you will have to wait a few seconds before this resets. This is just to stop you from spamming the monsters into submission. While in battle mode you can also switch between running around freely or engaging the enemy in a battle stance which is a bit more of a direct approach.
After each battle you gain experience which leads to leveling up. In the world of ToX everyone carries a device with them called a Lillium Orb. When you gain a level you get a few points to spend on this Lilium Orb. The Lilium Orb basically looks like a spider-web with notes and paths linking each node that you can grow as you progress. These nodes increase your strength, vitality, agility and so forth. However, if you activate four nodes that are linked in a circle, you activate an inner node which enables Artes and skills the characters can use in battle.
Outside of battle, you control your character pretty much the same way as any other JRPG game. Save points are scattered all over the place as well, plus you have an option to do quick-saves, so you will never have to wait for what feels like hours to save your game before heading off to bed. In the wild, monsters run around and if you don’t feel like fighting them you can easily just run circles around them… literally. Another thing I really enjoyed was that you can try and get two monsters close together and activate what is called a Link Battle. In this way, you fight more monsters at once meaning your loot and XP at the end of the fight will be more. This takes away some of the tedious grinding that can plague most games of this type.
Sound and Visuals
I wasn’t really blown away by any of the visuals in Tales of Xillia. That being said however, there are certain points where the action switches to anime style storytelling and it looks brilliant. But just like with Ni No Kuni these sections happen few and far between. That might be to make the impact of them even more magnificent though. It is also rather colourful and this game can never be called brown.
As with the visuals, the voice acting in ToX is nothing to write home about. Awkward silences are everywhere and characters with squeaky voices are the flavour of the day. I wouldn’t say it is bad, it just doesn’t feel like any of the characters know that the other characters are in the same room. The writing doesn’t help things either with certain characters pointing out the obvious plot points at times.
It took me a while to start enjoying Tales of Xillia. Once I started to learn all the finer details of the gameplay however, I was able to spend hours trying to get my levels up and progressing through the game. It definitely deserves a place in any JRPG fan’s collection.
Read about our ratings here.