Before I start with my take on Tales of Xillia thus far, I have decided to split this review into two parts. The first will be paragraphs upon paragraphs of review containing a bit of spoilers on the plot. The second will be a tl;dr version with minimalist spoilers. So, If you would like to read the tl;dr version, please click the following link/picture. Oh, and I should warn you that I am not an English major. So while I get accustomed to writing again, please excuse my grammar. However, my spelling should be okay :D.
So, to start out, I want to say that this is the first Tales game that I have played in true HD. I have a copy of Tales of Vesperia for the 360, but when I had my 360, I only had Component Cable inputs on my Television. This comes into play with how I play all my video games for the first time. Before starting the game, I always wait a few minutes on the start screen to take a look at the movie that usually plays. However, often times games that are played for the first time, now a days, automatically throw you directly into the game. Luckily, the game started with a nice introductory video.
In this video, I was briefly introduced to the two main characters. The first bit of the movie appeared to be in a dimly lit temple. Here, Milla Maxwell, the female protagonist, is seen seemingly talking to herself about how the spirits are disappearing. For those of you out there who are not familiar with the Tales series, “spirits” refer to the guardian deities of the world. Sometimes, these spirits can be used as summons. As Milla’s part of the intro movie is finishing, she walks is seen walking out of the temple and four guardian spirits appear in the background. (for the Tales fans, Efreet, Undine, Gnome, and Sylph.
After a brief fade out, I am introduced to the male lead, Jude Mathis. From the looks of things, Jude is a student, and he is rushing out of his class bumping and apologizing into a lot of students. Unlike Milla’s introduction, I did not learn much from this. Once Jude’s short introduction was finished, a character selection screen was brought up on the screen. Unlike all the previous Tales games, you are allowed to pick your main protagonist. I am unsure how this will affect the story, but I know it will somehow. Before I let you all know who I chose, Here is a picture of both Protagonists. and the introduction sentence each was given during the selection screen.
I decided to choose Milla, since most of the Tales protagonists end up being male. It should be nice to have a female lead for once.
From the start of Milla’s story, I already know that I made the correct choice. The opening scene shows Milla appearing in a city aqueduct. There, she is seen by Jude, by chance. Wondering why she is wondering around, Jude tries to question her. Milla warns him to be quiet, but Jude just cannot. Thus, Milla uses her powers to form an aqua bubble around Jude’s head. Unable to breathe, Jude is almost drowned. Right before he is about to pass out, Milla releases the summoned water and ask Jude, “Will you be quiet now?”. Coughing and gagging, Jude obliges, but before Milla continues on with the conversation, she says “Can you cough a little less loudly?”
At this point, I want to go ahead and complement the composers. The musical scores in this first area were amazing and added to the creepy vibe of the area.
The first few battles in the area comprise of tutorials to get acquainted with the Tales battle system. For you veteran Tales players, you know how this works. For you others, the maps in Tales games are littered with enemies. Touching said enemies starts a battle (aka non-random battles). Unlike many JRPGs, the Tales series uses a real-time battle system instead of the traditional turn based norm. Characters in battles can move in 3 dimensions, and can also attack and defend. Depending on how and where characters attack or are attacked depends on the damage given/taken. ((As a side note, Free Run is automatically given to you from the start, so it is not considered a skill or ability in this game :D).
Attacks in the Tales games are divided into two basic types, normal and artes. Normal attacks are less powerful, but do not consume energy. Artes are more powerful, but consume energy. Artes are also normally divided into two basic kinds, charge(spells) and instant. However, Tales of Xillia has added an extra layer to this. Charge attacks now also have an added layer. If you hold the artes button down, charge attacks actually charge, but if you just tap the button, charge attacks now have an instant attack associated with them. (The charge is more powerful). I am unsure how this affects already instant artes.
Another new feature in Tales of Xillia is a Grid Sphere(FFX) system where you spend GP in order to increase your stats. However, unlike FFX, this grid is laid out in a Spider Web. Each intersection of the spider web have spheres which increase stats. After you connect a quadrilateral, you will obtain a new skill. As an example of the web grid system, see the photo below.
I played a bit more into Milla’s story, but I will try and not spoil much more. So far, the game’s mechanics are looking great. The grid sphere system is definitely a plus in my book. The short and long artes are also an improvement; it gives casters a little bit more depth. I have yet to find any real negatives, but I am still under that mass delusion of playing a new Tales game. I will try to shed a bit of light on the games shortcomings (if any) in my next post.
Spoiler Free Section:
- Intro Video: HD FMV looked amazing.
- Main Protagonists: Milla and Jude.
- You get to choose which protagonist will be the main character of the story.
- I chose Milla.
- Milla is a badass.
- New Tales of Xillia Features: Web Grid System and Alternative to charged artes.
- No negatives so far.
Time Played: 1 Hour
Enjoy this crappy unboxing video I made of the CE :D.