Not piloting a mecha


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User Review : Tales of Xillia

  • Great cast
  • Impeccable VA
  • Tales series signature combat
  • Combat System worse than Graces F
  • Slowdown in latter parts

Bazongas are the fire that burns within--

Being an RPG enthusiast, I'm no stranger to the Tales series. Ever since Tales of Destiny, I've been hooked on Namco's hectic and ludicrously fun alternative to Final Fantasy.

Having played the game immediately after finishing with Tales of Graces F (maybe I'll get to reviewing it some day), I could not have been happier. Both this game and Graces F warm my heart that, contrary to popular belief, JRPGs are not dead and they -can- be fun again.

So let us kick off 2014 'The Year of RPGs' with Tales of Xillia


When Med student Jude Mathis encounters a mysterious girl named Milla who claims to be the Lord of Spirit, a.k.a God, he becomes embroiled in her destiny to save the world.
The Tales series never shied from using RPG tropes and genre savvy players might pick on how the set-up harkens to beloved RPG Lunar: Eternal Blue but while the narrative never takes a surprising twist or turn, the story remains good. Tales narrative strength lie not in their antagonists, their lore or their location but from the character interactions. Some single entry Tales games have sequels worth of character growth (Luke from Tales of the Abyss undergoes more growth than Lightning did in all of her games combined).
The method in which the series achieves this is called 'Skits', pressing the Select button at prompted times lets you listen to the characters converse with one another. That means, unlike other RPGs, you don't have to wait until the next plot-point or town location to witness character conversation. Now most Tales games boasted an impressive amount of interaction but Xillia cranks it up to eleven. Food, sleeping, walking around, battle, injury, EVERYTHING can prompt a skit and/or a character speaking something out loud. Story-hating RPG players (and they exist, believe me. I'm friends with those who treat it like a numbers game) might eventually get annoyed but I found it fantastic and really got to know these characters.

Long story short, Xillia boasts a more epic narrative than Graces F (that one told a more personal story). It, however, shies away from telling a trope-defying story ala Abyss (spoiler: not everyone gets a happy ending in that one) but the journey to the predictable conclusion is ESPECIALLY enjoyable and with a terrific and charming cast of characters.


Come for the story, stay for the combat. The Tales series eschews turn-based combat for real-time button-mashing, magic attack spamming orgy of colors and special attacks. It can become daunting at first but it's a system that definitely rewards you the more you try to master it.
You control one character whilst the rest of your party is composed of three AI controlled teammates. X button are normal attacks whilst O button are special artes. Notable addition to the combat is the Link system wherein you link up with one member who will follow you around the battle and perform special combination attack when you use your artes. It is chaotic, customizable and never gets old
The combat is not without flaws, though. For one, the combat seems slower than it has been in Graces F. While they're essentially different games, I still find it valid to compare them considering how Graces F is a Wii port AND is an older entry in the series. Couple that with slowdowns in latter parts of the game (when every member of your party spams Area attacks) and things can get annoyingly choppy.


I'm always wary of English VA in JRPG as they always seem to go for the lower budget, however Xillia had been a flawless experience on my ears.
Music is decent and serves the story well, though there aren't any memorable tracks except for the Coliseum tunes from past Tales series.


Tales of Xillia will not wow with the conflict that drives its narrative forward but what you will find yourself loving the journey, not the destination. This game is a triumph, a testament to what happens when you do a JRPG right. After quitting halfway through FF13, I had to cut myself in order to wash that experience from my mind...never wishing to lay eyes on Lightning and her boyband ever again.

Meanwhile, I loved Jude and MIlla and I, for one, cannot wait to reunite with them in Tales of Xillia 2!

Character design and towns are great. The boring copy/paste nature of the wilderness is not.
Terrific voice acting that serves the story rather than work against it. I can ask for no more.
Tales signature combat makes or breaks a game and Xillia delivers. It's just a shame it's a slight downgrade when compared to past entries.
Fun Factor
Fun, rewarding combat that makes battle a chance to improve on your technique instead of a series of grind? A charming set of characters that make you howl out in laughter when they banter? Why do I have to answer this question?
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Treian1582d ago (Edited 1582d ago )

I just finished the game. The final dungeon was really lame. I remember Graces F final dungeon actually was long,challenging, and actually felt like a dungeon. I also agree that wilderness areas were very boring. But still a good game overall.

DEATHxTHExKIDx1581d ago (Edited 1581d ago )

It's gonna take me a bit to get around to playing this. I'm midway thru Abyss3DS right now. Then I downloaded Vesperia because it was on sale. February picking up Lightning and LOS2.

Xillia sounds promising tho. From what I've read ppl feel GracesF has the best combat out all Tales game which I think I agree on.

dark-kyon1581d ago

i disagree with the combat being worse with graces,you need to play this game in very hard,if you play in normal you no need to know how play the game to win battles.

MightyNoX1581d ago

That's fine if you disagree but your explanation makes no sense. Difficulty is not indicative of how good or bad a battle system but the technical side of it. It's like saying playing with one hand is better than two hands because it's more difficult.

Graces F was brutal, this game both on Normal and Hard had me swimming in TP (I used a good set up to replenish it)

But anyway, these two threads do a better job at explaining my words:

akiraburn1581d ago

Very nice and concise review. I'm interested on your opinion of Xillia compared to Symphonia. I'm not finished yet with Graces F (too much of a backlog and that keeps getting sidelined), but I've been eager to get around to Xillia for quite some time. For me, Graces' story combined with their voice cast made it a little less appealing and interesting to me than the other Tales games, however the combat was very robust and that was an enjoyable and more challenging part of the game than prior Tales titles.

So far my overall favorite Tales game was without question Tales of Symphonia (just the first one). The story, voice cast (Cam Clarke as Kratos! And even/especially Scott Menville as Lloyd), combat system, and overall amount of content made it one of my favorite titles of all time, so I'm very excited to get the HD version next month for PS3.

That being said, I've much enjoyed all of the Tales games so far (with Legendia being the only exception, not much of a fan with the combat system there), but I realize they all have nice differences that set each one apart, and that's why I'm interested on your thoughts comparing Xillia's many facets to Symphonia. I'll find out soon enough regardless, but its a matter of whether I keep going with Graces and try to power through it before starting Xillia, or if I toss it aside again until after playing through this.