Tales of Xillia – The PS3 Attitude Review
Boasting upgraded graphics, a more in-depth combat system, and series character designers Kosuke Fujishima and Mutsumi Inomata both working together for the first time on a single game, we look in to whether or not Xillia is the ultimate Tales Of title.
You can play as either the Lord of Spirits Milla or Medical Student Jude, although regardless of choice, both will be in your party during the game. Some scenes and paths will be slightly altered to accommodate your selection but they won’t dramatically change the story.
Milla is on a journey to destroy the Lance of Kresnik, claiming that humans do not understand how to utilise Spyrix, a power source which gathers life from spirits near it. Jude happens to get caught up in this mess and decides to stick with Milla, forming the basis of their journey.
You’ll meet many characters along the way all of who are hugely likable, even if you love to hate certain people. It may be filled with your stereotypical JRPG cliches such as the appealing and mysterious girl, the young and helpful sidekick, the rascal of a young man who tries to not show he cares and an adorable girl who’s had a dark past, but Namco has managed to make them their own. The banter between Jude and Alvin is entertaining, and the talk during battles and roaming the open-world is enjoyable.
It isn’t a JRPG if there isn’t a mascot character, and Elize’s pet-type creature Teepo fits this space perfectly, helping out in battle and being interesting in general.
You can get to know your partners better by watching the optional scenes that you’re prompted to click throughout the game, giving screentime to the blossoming friendships within the group and quite a few hilarious jokes. We recommend that you watch all of the ones that you can; they’re impossible to miss.
The gameplay is standard Tales affair, but with new mechanics thrown in to keep the strong system from going stale. You’re now able to link with a partner to do powerful combos together in the form of special Artes, and they’ll also protect you from danger and heal you. Each character comes with different traits provided via linking, so remember to link with who best fits your needs. You can change who’s in your 4-person team during battle, too.
Instead of solely leveling up and being told which of your stats will increase you’ll be given a Lilium Orb grid which allows you to select what stats you’d like to increase and what perks they offer. Don’t worry as you do still level up, just not in the traditional sense. Once you unlock specific skills, you’ll unlock more of the grid.
Another new feature is that you’re now able to expand the selection of inventory in shops by donating gald, Tales of Xillia’s form of currency, or materials dropped by enemies or found on your journey. You can donate to the item, weapon, armour, accessory and food shops and once you’ve donated enough, you’ll unlock new items and discounts.
You’re now able to fast-travel to any previously visited place via the world map. This is a huge time saver that no JRPG should be without, especially if you aren’t in the mood for grinding. This can only be done when you’re outside of towns and is a painlessly quick thing to do.
The graphics, whilst not as detailed as some other games, are beautifully realised in its anime stylings and are a delight to see. Character animations are fluid and intricate, with Artes and standard attacks looking smooth and graceful in battle, and the graphical up haul has been huge to allow more in-depth expressions. Rather than the stiff animations found in previous Tales Of titles, characters are now more capable of showing a wider variety of emotions rather than relying on dialogue, really enhancing the plot and characters.
Animated cutscenes are gorgeous, playing out the more important plot-driving scenes of the story and some spectacular battles are showcased here, showing off the designer’s talents.
Voice-acting is top notch with well-known voice actors and actresses such as Matthew Mercer, Ali Hillis, Erin Fitzgerald and Sam Riegel lending their talents to the game. They help to bring the characters to life and don’t sound overly cheesy or too overacted as has been the case with past JRPG’s.
The soundtrack is excellent, as expected of a Tales Of game, with many mood-fitting tracks that never wear thin. The battle themes are adrenaline-pumping, varied and memorable, setting the tone of the fight with the appropriate orchestral and guitar-driven rock tracks. Sound effects are well done particularly with Artes and their many variations of wind, fire, water, electricity and sword-based attacks, and they never fall flat.
The lasting appeal is immense with many side-quests to partake in, many stats to max out and the option of playing through the lengthy main story twice through the eyes of Milla and Jude. Both experiences are quite different, even if the outcome is the same, and both are worth experiencing.
If you’re looking for a well-rounded JRPG that is guaranteed to entertain you, then pick up Tales of Xillia. We’ve not played every Tales Of game that’s been released, but from what we have played, Xillia has set the bar high for the next installment to follow.