Tales of Xillia Review

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The Tales series is known for its popularity in Japan and its popularity made its way to European shores where Tales of Graces f was welcomed with open arms, being awarded fantastic scores from the media and fans alike. Next up to be released in Europe is Tales of Xillia, which again is very popular in Japan. Can Tales of Xillia have the same impact as Tales of Graces f and really put the Tales series firmly in our hearts? Read the full review to find out!

Game: Tales of Xillia
Developer: Namco Bandai Games
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Reviewed on:

STORY

Before starting the story in the game, I was given the chance to choose which protagonist I wanted to take control of through my journey. I found this quite a nice touch to be honest as, although it was basically the same story for both characters, it was good to get the chance to know a bit more about each character and their lives. There were two protagonists that I could choose from: Jude Mathis and Milla Maxwell. The two main characters meet at the start of the game when Jude, a medical student, sees Milla trying to break into the research facility in the city of Fenmont. Milla, although currently in human form, is actually the Lord of Spirits, Maxwell, who has the power of the Four Great Spirits behind her.

Going through the research facility, Milla gets the spirits drained from her from the Lance of Kresnik weapon. Jude and Milla must group together and, with friends along the way, travel the world of Rieze Maxia in order to strengthen to defeat the Lance of Kresnik and set the Four Great Spirits free, while also stopping the weapon from absorbing the mana from the people of the world leaving them lifeless. The story, whilst hard to get into at first and not as good as other games I have played, still had me totally gripped until the end and had me experience a whole load of emotions only a JRPG can!. With Tales of Xilla 2 on the horizon next year, I am very curious and excited to see how Namco Bandai can evolve the story even more.

GRAPHICS

Much like Tales of Graces f and the more recent Ni No Kuni, Tales of Xillia visuals are based on anime. Whilst characters are extremely detailed well, I couldn’t help but feel quite disappointed with the visuals. Tales of Xillia was out in Japan 2 years ago and there are certainly parts of the game that feel a bit outdated. That’s not to say the visuals should be discounted as a whole as they do certainly have a nice polish to them, I just found that I have played other games which the whole experience has been fantastic visually.

 The cut scenes (especially riding the Wyverns) are still mightily impressive and certainly reminds me of my younger days watching an episode of Pokemon. Overall, whilst the visuals were nice, I would have expected and liked a bit more polish and a bit more detail to be put in, especially when it came down to each town, dungeon, highroad as there were times where I felt a sense of familiarity with some of the locations.

SOUND

The sound in Tales of Xillia certainly fits in with the overall tone of the game and whilst the voice acting isn’t as good as other games in the same category, it does enough to be believable and keeps players wanting to continue through their journey and explore the characters more and more. The in-battle music accompanying it can become quite repetitive at times especially with the amount of battles you will come across and I would of liked to see a bit more variety in that department. Is the music spectacular? No. Does it do the job? Yes… and for me, that’s what it comes down to!

GAMEPLAY

When I boot up a JRPG, I expect to have at least on average 20 hours of game time put into it and with that, I do expect the gameplay and overall mechanics of the game to be at a decent standard. Tales of Xilla does everything right and has all of the fundamentals that I wish for in JRPGs. A good leveling up system? Yes.  A gripping battle system? Yes. They are the primary reasons why, despite its flaws in the visuals department, Tales of Xillia still stands out as a fantastic game overall. With many games, the leveling up can be automatic. Ok, you may argue with what’s wrong with that? And to some point I agree, but I tend to want to be able to chose how I level up and where I want my points to be allocated to and with Tales of Xillia, that is possible.

Once you level up, you get the chance to allocate a number of points on a grid. If you guys remember the Final Fantasy X leveling up system, then you will kind of get what I am trying to get at. With these points, you can select nodes in a grid that resembles that of a Spider-Web. One of the main gripes I found with Tales of Xillia was the system in place when you go to buy items. Normally, as you progress throughout the game, more items, weapons and armor will become available for you to purchase and I will admit that’s the way I like it. However, with Tales of Xillia, the shop has an ‘expand’ feature that acts as a leveling up system for specific items such as weapons or armor.

In order to get to the more advanced weapons, you must donate materials or gald (money) in order to level up and get access to. Ok, that sounds fine but when I spend all my money leveling up and then have no money for weapons etc. that’s logic that I cannot get my head around. The battle system in place is very good. Fast paced and fluid. I mostly found myself smashing the X button relying on my friends to help me in battle by setting their strategies within the main menu. Whilst that generally worked, I could also use the O button in order to use more powerful arte attacks. These were only allowed to be used if I had enough TP points but was a great tool to have in battle.

LONGEVITY

Tales of Xillia took me around about 20 hours to complete but that was playing on the easiest mode and was not taking into consideration the hundreds of sub-quests that were available in game. Putting it on a harder difficulty and doing the sub-quests will easily add another 10-15 hours. The fact that you can choose who you play as at the start of the game also adds some longevity to the game if you decided to do the story again with either Jude or Milla.

VERDICT

Tales of Xillia, whilst not as good as Tales of Graces f, certainly still is a great game and better than most JRPG’s on the market. Although it has been available in Japan for 2 years, Namco Bandai certainly made the right decision in bringing Tales of Xillia to European shores. The Tales series has certainly grown on me and with others in the series coming to Europe in the near future, it’s a great time to be a JRPG fan!

8/10

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