Tales of Xillia originally arrived in Japan back in 2011, tallying an impressive 500,000 units sold in its first week. At long last the latest in the Tales RPG series has arrived in the UK, bringing a new story, characters, and the kind of action that Tales fans have grown accustomed to over the years.
Hey Jude, Don't Make It Bad
The story revolves around Jude, a young medical student who ends up helping out Milla, a feisty spirit inhabiting the body of a young female warrior. Together, they end up fighting an otherworldly evil that's looking to tear apart both the human and spiritual world - which would cause turmoil for them both.
Tales of Xillia takes a little time to build up, introducing you to the open world and battle system. However, once more people join your party things really do start to pick up, and the battle system is simple once you get a handle on it as you chain together Artes, or strikes, with a single character as the others, controlled by AI, join in.
At first, the game is simple and easygoing, with enemies barely putting up a fight with little intimidation. After a few hours in, like any good RPG, the real meat of the game begins to take shape. It's here you'll find variants to the combat, allowing you to work with another character to perform even larger Artes on enemies. This becomes a necessity as a number of bosses show up that pose an actual threat compared to the early pushovers at the game's start.
Throughout Tales of Xillia, you're able to upgrade your character using a spiderweb-like system, opening up your Over Limit meter, in turn allowing you to execute even more dazzling Artes. There is a slight repetitiveness to the combat that sinks in though, where you're barely able to lose a fight unless you mess up or fail to counter a boss the right way.
Tales Of The Unexpected
Some may feel that Tales of Xillia's exploration system is a bit limited. On one hand, some areas take a good deal of time to get through - whether because of consistent enemy encounters (they run up and a battle automatically begins) or the fact that certain objectives aren't clearly pinpointed on your map. On the other, some areas are locked off completely until you make enough progress. This is a change of pace from the open-world we've got used to with Ni No Kuni, a Namco release from earlier this year.
The game also shows some age, since it is a 2011 release. The environments tend to be averagely designed at first, but some later areas in the game truly shine. Kudos to the team for putting together some spellbinding anime-style cutscenes with the quality of a full-length feature film. The music and voice acting are okay by role-playing standards, but traditional fans may prefer the original Japanese dialogue instead, which is a nice inclusion in the game.
Fans of the Tales series may find a lot more to like in Tales of Xillia than the casual player, but if you're interested in a fresh role-playing game, this one offers a humorous adventure that has some interesting moments sprinkled throughout.
- The battle system is easy to get into, and "Linking" progresses it nicely
- Beautiful cut-scenes surrounded by some interesting stage design at times
- Humorous moments where RPG fans will feel right at home
- Some battles are too easy, and parts of the world make it difficult to explore
- Story and character progression could've been better
- Some graphics show the game's true age