“Tales of Xillia” review

The “Tales of…” series has been around for 15 years and includes some great games such as “Tales of Vesperia” and “Tales of Symphonia.” The latest entry in the series, “Tales of Xillia” was released in Japan over two years ago and has just recently made it over to the west for localization. After all that wait, is the game worth it?

Our heroes, Jude Mathis and Milla Maxwell

Well friends, the wait was long, but I’m happy to report that the PlayStation 3-exclusive “Tales of Xillia” was worth the wait.

This game is the story of Jude Mathis and Millia Maxwell trying to basically save the world. The plot can be broken down simply: Bad guys create a massive super weapon, good guys must try to stop it while war ensues between countries.

While it sounds very familiar and overdone, the story does a good job of keeping you enticed and feeling for the characters as they go through the twists and turns that await them.

Upon starting the game, players can choose between playing as Jude or Millia. Jude is a medical student who second guesses himself, and he uses his fists in combat. On the other side of the coin, Millia embodies the four greater spirits while using her sword for defend herself. Each go through the story together, but playing as one means you get to see things the other doesn’t in the story. This adds a lot of replayability to an already 25-hour-long game.

The main gameplay in “Xillia” is split into two different parts – Exploration and Combat.

Exploration is quite simple. On your journey to save the world you’ll go through several cities, dungeons and landmarks. There, you’ll meet people who can offer you side quests for items and experience points.

It’s hard to remember all the quests you’ll end up accepting, but thankfully there’s a handy journal feature to remind you of the missions you’re currently working on and those you’ve already finished.

There’s also a fast-travel system to help you get back to areas you’ve already been to so you don’t have to walk back and fight through those open fields of monsters.

Speaking of fighting, the combat is pretty similar to previous “Tales” games with some new additions. Your party of up to four characters fight in a circled-off area using both normal attacks and “Artes,” which are basically special moves to deal damage. You can combine them together to cause heavy damage to your foes.

Linked Artes are flashy and powerful.

I should mention that a problem I have been having is that I’ll miss an attack because an enemy moved out of the way and as I tried to spin around and hit him while my character just continued the same direction hitting nothing but air. This got to be a bit frustrating, especially after using Artes because I’d have to stop any movement and button pushing for the game to read my next move.

One new addition to combat this time around is the ability to link your characters together. Two characters will fight together combing moves and flanking the enemy.

Characters have their own uses to link with in combat too.

Say an enemy is blocking way too much. Just link with Alvin to break his guard and stun him. Or say you need to cause fast and heavy damage. Simply link Jude and Millia to hit fast and hard with combined Artes.

These combined Artes activate when you use a specific Arte while combined with a specific character to create a new one entirely. This, along with the fact that once you fill your battle meter you can link Artes one after another can be used to cause huge waves of damage.

There are definitely a lot of options when it comes to a fight, so it’s best to figure out which character link works best for you.

Generally, if you played a “Tales” game before, you’ll feel right at home here. It still has all those trademarks that you’ve come to know and love such as the characters, humor and, of course, those optional skits that you can watch after major events where the characters talk amongst themselves and discuss a wide variety of subjects.

On that point, I should mention that the writing in the game is superb and the voice-acting is great, well except for maybe one person.

At times, Millia just needs to follow her own advice here

Millia’s voice seems too monotone for the role she plays.
The audio quality of her lines doesn’t sound up to par with the other characters dialogue. At times, I can hear the mic pop when Millia talks and noise following her lines. As little as that is, It does go a long way considering the 25 hours you’ll be playing as or with her.

Another problem I noticed was a serious amount of clipping with characters clothing and objects in the world. Items and clothing will just pass through each other way too often.

Millia’s voice, clipping issues and occasionally frustrating combat controls do take away from the immersion, but these still can’t overshadow the immense amount of joy there is to be had in playing and experiencing this game.

Overall, if you have a PlayStation and like JRPGs this will be a must-have. Anyone new to the series will find that it’s a good place to start as well. “Tales of Xillia” is great game even with some of the annoyances it has, and it will surely keep you entertained for the time you put into it.