Tales Of Xillia on the Playstation 3 was my first encounter with the long running 'Tales' series. I want to talk to you about the finesse I found from within this game and also tie it to some of the flaws. Tales Of Xillia was released just under a year ago and is a Japanese Role Playing Game packed full of wonder, charm and commitment.
Initially, I was unsure about the game play as I first started to navigate Milla Maxwell, the female protagonist, around the first dungeon. Milla is one of two characters that, we, as players get to choose before our quest begins. I felt an element of mysticism to her presence which made me choose her as my first play through. Jude, the second protagonist, appeared younger and immature in comparison to Milla that became entwined in the story as if by accident. I soon learned that my initial impressions of Jude were mis-guided, especially as he was such an asset in battle.
I don't want to dwell on the story too much here as I do not want to spoil too much for those who have not played Tales Of Xillia. The beauty of this game lays within a mosaic of traits and not just within the story. I was particularly impressed with the battle systems and overall mechanics. Going in to battle for the first time in JRPG's can be an intimidating experience. Usually players are over presented with a heavy interface of menus and sub-screens. I DID NOT have this experience in Tales of Xillia. I was guided by the option of a 'Tutorial' mode before advancement in to battle. Once I had learnt the basics (which took me no time) I felt at ease and confident enough to 'walk' in to enemies with no trepidation. As a player, I felt motivated to be on the offensive in battles because I wanted the rewards of leveling compared to previous JRPG's in which I have been guilty of evading or exiting battle.
'Linking' is another unique feature of the battle system. You can choose to assign your character to link with another. Tales Of Xillia does a fantastic job of explaining the benefits of each characters linking abilities with another. After 10 hours in to the game I found that Jude was my favourite character to pair with. There I was, in the beginning of the game, perceiving Jude as 'weak'. Chain combos and speed of battle seemed slicker with Jude. You may feel different.
WOW. Am I still talking about the BATTLE SYSTEM? Yes I am. Tales OF Xillia places emphasis on free movement within a battle. It's not a typical 'turn based' role playing game. THIS was my absolute favourite feature as I felt that I had more freedom and control over my characters. ADD some features around 'tactics, Items, Strategy' and you have got yourself a perfect recipe for a well refined battle system. Now here is my ONLY GRIPE. The music became immensely repetitive as did the 'victory slang'.
The cut scenes in Tales Of Xillia are anime in style and can annoyingly run for a great length of time. Not to worry though, there is a 'Skip Cut Scene' option, an option that you may think "why the fuck would I do that, I'll miss the story?" (just like I did). However, I soon began to use it. In game graphics are....... nice. I would describe them as 'Anime, Cell shaded-esque'. To cap it, the frame rate is smooth and I didn't experience any nasty glitches. WIN! Speaking of 'Wins' Tales Of Xillia provides a comfortable cast of characters to help us along the way. We soon meet our first, Alvin, a well traveled freelance mercenary, or so he claims to be. Secondly, we are greeted by Elize, a young girl who is accompanied by a strange looking, floating character. Imagine a purple condom, with facial features and TERRIBLE voice acting! That is all I shall say on that matter. Leia and Rowen are also part of the fighting cocktail, all with unique abilities as characters but also unique abilities when linking in battles.
The back drop we are set against is a dangerous world. Often this world made me believe that I was in an open world game. NO! I found the game play to be linear and most points of interest were annoyingly out of reach. Some doors on buildings are dummy's, some beaches are there for aesthetic purposes only and some vines are unclimbable. Despite this, I was entrenched within the Tales world of colour, beauty and wonderment. Had this game have been open world, it may have been TOO BIG. After all, this is not an Elder Scrolls game.
As a final point I'd like to draw your attention to: Lilium Orbs. The Lilium Orb is a simple set of nodes of which each character has one. I found this a SIMPLE method to glide through the level up system. As I fought and won in battles, each member of my party was awarded points to spend on the Lilum Orb. The cursor highlighted the trait of the orb and I could decide if I wanted to spend my points on that particular orb. This was a tasteful aspect of Tales of Xillia that made my experience feel USER FRIENDLY. I adore this game.
Overall, this game is solid. Tales of Xillia is charming, exciting, beautiful and inviting. Aside from certain portions of monotony, I felt excited each time I picked up my PS3 controller.
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