Tales of Xillia Review
Tales of Xillia comes from a legion of JRPGs produced by Namco Bandai. While JRPGs are seen as fossils in territories out of Japan, the Tales series has managed to be localized repeatedly — appeasing fans of the genre. We’re gathered here today to hear the verdict of one individual (myself) who considers himself a fan of RPGs in general.
Rieze Maxia hosts this tale as it is home to humans and spirits spread throughout the countries Rashugal & Auj Oule. You control one of the two main subjects Milla Maxwell and Jude Mathis. Depending on which slice of the pie you indulge, you’re served with an epic spirit that is naive to human culture or a 15 year old honor student who holds the well being of others to the highest regard — but at his own decadence. The Rieze Maxia haven maintains the spirit and human relationship which is at its core symbiosis. Down to the environment, spirits influence the seasons and climate represented as “spirit climes”. Mana fuels this world; an essence that is born within humans, used by spirits, but ultimately executed in collaboration by humans and spirits in the form of Artes. What’s a good RPG without some magic? Artes/Magic are especially important in the world of Rieze Maxia because the culture of people has become adapt to utilizing them in place of technology.
Tale’s of Xillia’s story unfolds beginning with the Lord of Spirits’, Maxwell, ambition to save the world from the misuse of mana. The root of this mission begins with a device called “The Lance of Kresnik” that’s being used to sap humans of their mana; for selfish intentions obviously. While Milla Maxwell embarks on her journey to destroy this dangerous technology she encounters Jude, and a handful of other acquaintances. The cast is inclusive of multiple personalities; take Alvin, a mercenary and polar opposite of Jude that comes off as both charming and shady.
Although I consider myself to be a fan of RPGs I don’t like everything about the genre. For starters, side missions have never been my leisure, and if they aren’t yours either, Tales of Xillia does not reinvent the wheel. Xillia does excel in a handful of my favorite aspects of RPGs, character progression, customization, and an intuitive real time battle system. Real time, and changing by the minute; Tales of Xillia’s battle system will keep you moving at all times. Milla is a balanced sword and elemental artes fighter where as Jude excels only in hand-to-hand combat — Alvin is a defensive tank, and Elize is a healer. Fighting styles vary between characters however you can have at most 4 of them on the field at the same time, this makes your party leader choice strategic instead of an occupation. In addition there is the option to substitute additional party members in battle. Both monsters and artes are characterized by attribute; your artes are essential to every battle and will consume your Tactical Points. Artes are a great way to spice up your, hand to monster, or sword to monster combat as they come in varieties of wind lances, fire blasts, water torrents, and even earthquakes. Characters can link together with the press of the d-pad to collaborate during the fight, this includes covering the rear and continuing combos. Jude and Leia, with their physical sweeper like styles can link together and perform “linked artes” for devastating attacks that cover more area and do more damage. There are many ways you can affect the battlefield in Tales of Xillia, but your actions before the fight is the most important. As your level up each character’s Lithium Orb with battle experience you’re granted new arts and skills. Skills are different from artes, they effect the way our character physical and magical capabilities during battle. Xillia does not bottleneck you with miscellaneous post battle script making getting back into the action swift. If spot a merchant or head back into town you can spend your cash on new weapons, accessories, food, and items. Those random bird feathers and insect husks you gathered along the way? Use them to expand the shops making more powerful items available for purchase.
Milla’s mission will have you traveling to the corners of Rieze Maxia as wanted individuals facing a tyrannical government in Rashugal but we learn about the cast in the meantime. Maxwell herself is authentically and fascinatingly disconnected with human culture as her female body is merely a a vessel. Jude and Alvin seem to be fine with their sexual attraction to a spirit in the meantime. Milla’s lack of empathy isn’t abnormal either; almost all human emotions she’s encountered can only be acknowledged by reference of books she could probably find in Jude’s honor student library. On the other hand Jude can be seen as naive and too empathetic. The open world connecting missions are filled with animated skits of both miscellaneous and important dialog concerning the game’s backstory. In between fetching field items and fighting monsters the skits serve as a needed break that you’ll get a laugh or two out of. Tale’s of Xillia’s art style remains true to traditional anime. While it does nothing extraordinary graphics wise, the visuals are clean and in-engine; towards the end of the game you get a larger saturation of CG anime cutscenes that piece together with gameplay just as the in-engine counterparts.
There’s no reason to make anymore of those long overheard cliches like “JRPGs are dead” when there’s gem’s like Tales of Xillia still around. Tales of Xillia is roughly a 30 hour experience that doesn’t drag thanks to its thorough combat system, sense of humor, and customization. Xillia is the right title to fill the dry remainder of Summer’s gaming.