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Tales of Xillia Review

Tales of Xillia Review

Tales of Xillia is the thirteenth main entry in the popular Tales JRPG franchise and it's finally made it to the west after nearly two years of waiting. Fans pushed for its localization after proving to Namco Bandai that the interest is indeed alive and well again and JRPG fans should be glad this is the case.

The story follows a young medical student named Jude Mathis and mysterious woman named Milla Maxwell. The two become acquainted at the beginning of the game but before you even start to play get to choose which character you want to control.

Each of the main characters is down to earth and carries the plot along nicely. Some might be put off by Milla’s skimpy get up. but this does little to make her seem less serious. It's also great that each of the characters support each other and have you questioning their loyalty to the rest of the group. These scenes can be a bit too talky for some, but it is optional and overall, they don't seem out of place.

Tales of Xillia sees a plot that is well put together and is never confusing. While brining in those typical tropes of war and magic, all of the small details given really make this world’s workings believable. If an important word pops up during dialog it is highlighted so players pay attention to it thus wanting to know the full story.

Sometimes when traversing through the overworld you'll have a small message appear in the corner of the screen. If you press the select button it takes you to a skit. The characters involved will exchange in conversation talking about their pasts, details that aren’t explained the main story, and silly musings that keep the team together and strengthen their bond.

One of the most interesting things about the world map is that it actually shows the elevation of the current city or field. By moving the right stick up and down you can view the different part of a cliff or the raised sections on the field. On a related note, when you pick up a random item the map marks its location and when you return there will be a new item in the exact same place.

In combat you can move freely by pressing R2 as you run. It gives you full movement over the battlefield. You have four characters out at time, being able to switch control of each with L1 and the directional buttons and replacing one character with another in reserve with R3. You can’t however switch out a character if they are dead, which makes difficult boss battles a bit frustrating.

Each character has their own ability that affects their arte. For instance Jude can perform snap pivot. After evading an enemy’s attack he quickly circles around giving him a brief opportunity to attack the foe while it's defenseless. Milla has her sprit shift ability that lets her use a different arte if you press circle instead of holding it.

A element to Tales of Xillia's battle system is linking. This is where two characters work together and can combine their artes to form a more powerful attack. Healing is shared and you can change the battle strategy so that your linked character backs you up. You can also have it so two AI controlled characters do the same. Each character has a support power that comes in handy in a pinch. Some of the abilities range from stealing items and draining HP and TP from enemies.

Moving away from the battle system, let's talk about side quests. these are a good way to earn money and take a break from the main story. You’ll be tasked with slaying some monsters, finding a specific item, or going back to a previous dungeon to investigate the surroundings. When you see an NPC in town with an exclamation mark over their head go and talk to them to start a quest.

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