Published on August 13th, 2013 | by pea
REVIEW: Tales of Xillia
Release date: 8 August 2013
Available on: PlayStation 3
Summary: It has been well documented that jprgs have been struggling in the Western market, that the Japanese developers just didn’t get the Western audience. However, over the last year or so we’ve seen a turn in the tide with a sudden increase in the localisation of jrpgs, thankfully just in time, because it has brought us Tales of Xillia.
Concept: From the start you choose either Jude Mathis or Milla Maxwell. You investigate a military research facility where you soon learn of the Spyrix, a powerful device that is draining mana from and consequently destroying the world. They then take it upon themselves to find and destroy it.
Graphics: The graphics haven’t been getting such a good wrap, but by jrpg standards they’re pretty solid. I say jrpg standards because they tend to be modelled based on the animated cut scenes and not the best possible 3D rendering available. The cut scenes are beautiful.
Gameplay: General movement is pretty smooth and it’s relatively easy to get around with the use of a map and one-button, quick-look, quest status. There’s little load time. The fast paced combat allows for both button mashing and timely, precision. You may need some practice to master the latter. In combat, you can concentrate on one character or switch between your companions for additional choices. For a little more depth, you can also link with companions to unleash more devastating combo attacks. Leveling is displayed in the form of the ‘Lilium Web’. It essentially works like other rpgs in that you select a skill to upgrade using points acquired through leveling up – it just looks prettier. There’s also an ‘auto level’ if you’re not sure what to pick.
Sound: In typical j-translated fashion there is the occasional extra long pause to no dramatic effect and the odd flat voice acting, though the voice overs are generally pretty solid. You are also welcomed with a beautiful soundtrack that bares all the essentials of a future nostalgia star. It’s worth noting the time and attention that’s gone into the soundtrack with the theme song being performed by j-pop mega star Ayumi Hamasaki (that would be the equivalent of Lady Ga Ga back in her heyday).
Awesomeness: Top marks here. The choice of two characters from the start, following similar but different paths makes for good replay value with new game+. All the characters are great and add alot to the game overall. The optional skits are a nice and unique way to learn more about their personalities and stories. The combat system is tricky enough to make mastering it fun. Overall, the game is simply beautiful.
Final Word: I’ve been very fortunate to have been able to review some of the best games I’ve ever played this year and Tales of Xillia is no exception. Its epic narrative and stunning animation captures all the creative magic of Japanese story telling, while its refined combat system keeps you constantly engaged both physically and mentally. In all, it’s a beautifully executed tale from beginning to new game+.
Summary: 1 = Poor, 2 = Average, 3 = Good, 4 = Great, 5 = Amazing