Tales of Xillia Review
Since its debut in 1995, fans of Namco Bandai’s Tales series have saved the world more than 20 times over. These JRPG fanatics are no doubt thrilled about the recent localization of Tales of Xillia, but does this PS3-exclusive live up to the series’ dynasty?
JRPGs live and die by their story, and Tales of Xillia hits all of the right notes. All of the pieces are there — the search for the valuable objects of power, the political strife between two warring nations, the diverse cast and crew from different backgrounds…it’s all present and accounted for.
Despite this air of familiarity, Tales of Xillia comes off as surprisingly refreshing due to one thing: atmosphere. The lengthy cutscenes and plentiful “skits” made up of talking heads might break the classic “show, don’t tell” rule, but these moments show the player exactly how the party feels after a tough battle or a narrow escape. It’s something far more direct, something that helps flesh out each character.
The environments in Tales of Xillia add to its atmosphere as well. Its foundation eschews the plain jane JRPG archetypes in favor of areas rich with color and style. The anime influence is not for everyone, but those who are willing to stomach the dinner plate eyes of Jude or the skimpy clothes of Milla will be treated to nature-based medical schools, lush seahavens, and other locales. Grinding to a higher level plays second fiddle to exploring each town and world, seeing what each NPC has to say and bring to the table.
It’s a good thing too, because there are sidequests galore in Tales of Xillia. These quests are almost all optional, but they do not come off as tiresome, and they help to give the game more than 30 hours of playtime.
The battle system in Tales of Xillia is deep, with a complex name to match. Dubbed the Double Raid-Linear Motion Battle System (DR-LMBS), combat eschews the traditional waiting period found in most turn-based RPGs in favor of something more kinetic. 3D movement and a combo system are unique enough as it is, but managing multiple party members and linking characters’ attacks can be downright daunting. Those who master the system will find the combat rewarding, but those less dedicated (or less adept) will be overwhelmed at the amount of options at your fingertips.
Tales of Xillia hits all the right notes for a JRPG, and it certainly lives up to the Tales name. Those looking to get immersed yet again (or for the first time) in the Tales universe have found their game.
Tales of Xillia is a JRPG worthy of the Tales name.