Wednesday, February 19, 2014

MileHighGaymer Game Review: Tales of Xillia by Namco for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360

By Jason Anderson, Edited by Greg Dinkelman

So I’ve been playing classic RPGs since I was a third grader. These classic fantasy/sci-fi games are pretty much what got me into video game design and is the primary reason why 2GZ’s first game is a turn-based RPG. Now while Turn-based RPGS, such as Final Fantasy and Breath of Fire, were the norm for most of us, another type of RPG was introduced as well, the Action-based RPG. Most Americans are used to this battle system with games like Diablo and the Zelda series. Then we had the Tales Series. The Tales series sets itself apart by mixing elements of both type of RPGs and creating a brand new system that became a staple for the series as a whole.

Tales of Xillia is the thirteenth main entry into the Tales series and it aims to keep the elements that made the Tales series into a cult smash. Xillia will be my first dive into Tales series and it won’t be my last!

One of the main features of the Tales series is that each game, like Final Fantasy, will reuse certain elements, but none of them have linking stories unless they are a direct sequel. This makes Tales of Xillia a great title to start off with if you aren’t familiar with the world that the Tales games takes place in.

Tales of Xillia takes place in the world of Reiza Maxia, a land where humans have developed the ability to utilize mana, a type of energy that feeds spirits and helps them utilize supernatural abilities.

The story itself is separated by the point of view of its two protagonists, Jude Mathis and Millia Maxwell. Both sides are run parallel to each other, but players get unique outlooks depending on who they play. Jude’s story deals with the classic trope of a fish out of water, thrown into a new world after he leaves his sheltered life to follow Millia, he becomes a fugitive on the run. Millia deals with new interactions as a god amongst men stripped of her powers and how she must survive in this realm.

Tales of Xillia plays out in two major arenas, the field map and the battle screen. The field map is your traditional map screen and the players must traverse the land by foot. When you’re running outside of battle players can access skits, a short cutscene that gives background and side story information. Outside of cities, enemies will run across the field map and interaction with them will launch into the battle map.

The Tales games use a unique combat style called the Linear Motion Battle System, Tales of Xillia uses an updated style known as the Dual Raid Linear Motion Battle System, boy that’s a mouth full. The character that the player uses will run a linear path toward the enemy he is currently targeting while the other three teammates will be controlled by AI with tactics set beforehand. Depending on button combinations certain abilities, skills, and attacks will be used and the player can link up with their teammates to perform even more powerful attacks. The best thing about combat is that it’s almost like each battle is a giant brawl with you fighting one on one or two on one against an enemy, a nice little extra for fighting game enthusiasts.

An additional gameplay feature involves leveling up your character. When you level up characters you interact with an item known as a Lillium Orbs. At each level up you will gain points to level up your lilium orb. Similar to Final Fantasy X’s tactic orb, the lilium orb gives you access to abilities and skills. This allows the player to customize his team for certain abilities when needed, allowing you to refine a character for a certain role or make them a jack of all trades.

The art of Tales of Xillia is definitely anime inspired which comes with the territory of Japanese RPGs. Bright colors, smooth animation, and unique character designs will keep players involved as they wander through different environments. One drawback though when you explore Reize Maxia is that monsters, trees, and other environmental objects are basically recolors. If you’re hoping to sight see on your way around the world map expect some drab results, but an uplifter are the cities with each having a unique look, unless you’re at the pier.


The first aspect of replayability are the separate stories for Millia and Jude. Both sides have story based extras and scenes that gives unique perspectives for the same journey. Next is the unique New Game+ that Tales uses. With a separate achievement system, players can use these achievement points to pay for what the player retains in the next playthrough. Last but not least are all the costumes, skits, and collectables. All the items that you have to search for and locate in the game, while still falls under the rules of New Game+, give unique and different looks for all your characters.

Yep there is Multiplayer! It only works for battle, players can grab for friends and setup controls for manual allowing friends to help kill enemies in battle. Multiplayer is only local so bring some buddies and have them help ya take down a boss.

Final Verdict

When it comes to RPGs, the Tales series comes from a very robust pedigree having over a dozen games with two more coming out this year. Tales of Xillia doesn’t aim to become the metaphorical black sheep, by continuing to add great features and story to a tried and true formula that will definitely leave you entertained.

If you’re a fan of anime and its tropes you’ll find a new place to come home.

Skits can be hilarious. Especially with all the sexual innuendo.
Jude and Alvin have obvious sexual tension and it’s hilarious.
Teepo eating faces (you’ll get what I mean later :P)