Tales of Xillia

Delightful? Enjoyable? Fun? These are words you would use to describe your average game. However, Tales of Xillia is not your average game. It is majestic and captivating from the beginning, and it won’t release you from its grip until you finish. With an enchanting story line, characters you can’t help but like, and supreme attention to detail, it is impossible not to enjoy this game.

Before you begin to play the game, you must decide whether to play the game as either Jude Mathis or Milla Maxwell. You can play and fight as either character during the game, and the overall storyline remains the same, it is the perspective during events and some conversations that change. For the purpose of this review, I would like to state that I started playing as Jude, and have yet to play as Milla.

This game is set in a world known as Rieze Maxia, where humans coexist with both monsters and spirits. In Riese Maxia there are two kingdoms both vying for supremacy. Rashugal’s prosperity depends on maintaining a healthy relationship with the spirits, enabling the use of Spirit Artes, whereas Auj Oule is a military dominant nation specialising in the use of monsters. The main storyline regards the destruction of a Spyrix weapon known as The Lance of Kresnik. However, what this particular weapon does, and why Milla wants it destroyed is a mystery for a substantial portion of the game.

It is majestic and captivating from the beginning, and it won’t release you from its grip until you finish.

With each of the Tales games offering something different, Tales of Xillia brings in some radical new changes never before seen in the series. Whether this is in regards to the battle system, levelling up your characters, the shops, or the grade, there has been a total overhaul in the way the game is played which has resulted in a new and exciting way to explore the game.

An hour or so into the story, your characters are able to link to each other, which enables them to fight as a pair. Being linked has a number of benefits and drawbacks. The character you link to is known as your support character. While linked, if one partner receives damage, so does the other, and healing or removing a status ailment from one partner also affects both.

The support character aids in both in defence and offence. The easiest way to get critical hits in battle is to attack your enemies from behind. Of course, you being attacked from behind results in a higher probability of you receiving a critical hit. However, whilst linked to another character, they defend your back, reducing the likelihood of enemies creeping up on you. When they aren’t defending you, they flank the enemy, and in some situations, altering your combos to coincide with theirs results in a truly spectacular display.

Every character also has a unique Support Ability, which activates occasionally during battle. It is possible to increase the frequency of these by linking with a particular character whilst fighting an enemy of a particular type. For instance, whilst fighting an agile monster, linking with Milla, will enable her Bind ability to hold the enemy in place, leaving them vunerable to attack. Whilst linked to Rowen, however, Magic Shield is enabled when a spell is being cast. Your character is free to continue battling whilst Rowen remains stationary and protects you from offensive spells. The ability to switch links at a moment’s notice is invaluable. You can also switch in characters who are not currently in your battle team by simply pressing R3.

While linked, you are able to build up the Linked Artes Gauge. When it reaches one of its five segment limits, you are able to do a Linked Arte with your support character. For instance, using Milla’s Wind Lance and Jude’s Demon Fist will result in Final Gale. Upon doing a Linked Arte while at the fifth and final segment, the pair of characters go into Overlimit, a mechanic Tales fans are accustomed to. It prevents staggering, allows the use of Mystic Artes and removes the number of consecutive attacks, until the Linked Artes Gauge depletes.

Upon levelling up, your characters receive Growth Points which enables the Lilium Orb section to appear on the menu screen. It is like a giant spiderweb with nodes, which you can activate whilst using the Growth Points. To activate the nodes between the webs you must activate the surrounding nodes — this is the only way to learn skills and artes in Tales of Xillia.

The shops are much like your characters in the sense that as you use them, they level up, and as they level up, their inverntory increases and gives discounts for equipment. You can increase the level of the shops by donating some of the loot found everywhere in the world — or by donating gald. By donating ten gald you increase the experience of the shops by one point, so it really isn’t particularly cost-effective to donate money.

Up until the release of Tales of Graces F obtaining grade was done through battle; the better you do the more you get. In Graces, it was the amount of side quests you completed. In Xillia, it’s the amount of titles you get, and there’s 120 titles to get which range from using artes, levelling the shops, completing events in the storyline and many more. Some of the titles get you achievements too.

Tales of Symphonia had a certain magic to it that I’ve yet to find in any other game, but Tales of Xillia comes very close to unearthing that magic. Although there are a new niggly bits here and there which prevent it from reaching the peak upon which its predecessor sits so high — subtitles appearing in some cut-scenes despite being turned off, chests opening without lifting the lid or a swift kick, and the exponential increase in difficulty when you reach Talys Highroad, it is truly an exceptional game.







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