Yes, its another offbeat, kooky JRPG to lose yourself in but theres nowt wrong with that, especially as its the PS3-only sequel to the rather sublime Tales of Xillia.
While the game world will be strikingly familiar to veterans of the series (more on that later), the new main character wont be Ludger Kresnik is a young chef up to his scrawny neck in debt who meets a young girl called Elle. Done with city living, she wants to head to the mystical Land of Canaan so she hang out with her, err, dead dad. Yep, fun times, folks!
But instead of doing a Gordon Ramsey and screaming at her to pull herself together, chef Ludger decides to pair up and help her on her morose quest. Cue the two heading out into the rich game world, hooking up with familiar faces from the first title while exploring the rich territories of Elympios and Rieze Maxia and battling a mass of monstrous foe along the way.
And speaking of fighting, the game still bypasses turn-based combat, offering up an enjoyably hectic third-person brawler with a mass of spells to deploy. Theres also a new ability to link up with other characters and deliver devastating attacks when in battle.
A quick heads-up for veterans though; Tales of Xillia 2 uses many assets from the first game from locations and characters through to enemies. Indeed, fans might find themselves experiencing an occasional sense of deja vu as they rush through the game world. But dont let that spoil your experience instead, see it as an opportunity to enjoy an all-new story, missions and side quests without the need for much scene-setting.
As a JRPG, Tales of Xillia 2 exemplifies why the genre remains as intriguing and intoxicating as ever, offering up the kind of imaginative characters, stories and side quests that can make its Western counterparts look decidedly straight-laced by comparison. Roll on Tales of Xillia 3, we say.