Tales of Xillia came out in the States two days ago, leaving gamers everywhere with unanswered questions!
Is the game worth buying? How does it differ from other Tales titles? AND the biggest, most harrowing question of all – Jude or Milla: Which should we play as!?
Have no fear, fellow gamers! After waiting outside GameStop like a crazed nerd, hungrily watching the OPEN sign in wait of its light, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to spend just a handful of hours inside the world of ToX so far. Here are my first impressions.
It’s awesome! >.<
I know, helpful, right?
Okay, but more specifically, WHY is Tales of Xillia awesome? **MINOR SPOILERS TO FOLLOW**
Well, I’d read in Game Informer that the overall tone of this one was going to be darker / more mature than previous titles, and from the opening cutscene, that assertion is made apparent. After zooming up a staircase to a shrine – (the first 10 seconds reminded me so much of Spirited Away that I got goosebumbs – no complaints!) – I first met Milla. Flickering torches, ominous music, and a snake that is in no way cutesy lend to the revelation that this game will be different from the rest.
That truth became even more apparent the more skits I viewed. Skits are a staple of the Tales games, but the skits in this game are different. They’re funny. Like, really, truly funny. I’ve actually found myself laughing out loud at a few of them, and I’ve only made it as far as the third town. Also, aside from being lol-worthy, they’re more mature than in previous games. I was playing with my kid brothers, laughing at sexual innuendos they didn’t understand (thank God they didn’t, or I’d be in trouble), and thinking, ‘Huh. Tales is broadening its horizons.’ I’m grateful for the change and am excited to see just how far they take things. (No, I’m NOT a pervert. Well . . . not ENTIRELY).
In previous games, I felt that the skits became repetitive or unnecessary at times. Did you? Well, good news: Xillia provides a solution! As you walk around, character pictures automatically pop up in the bottom corner, along with bits of dialogue, commenting on various things you may have passed or on plot points that may have recently occurred. In former games, those small blurbs would have been expanded into full-on skits. Xillia saves the hassle of pausing to view them, and allows you to continue exploring while the blurbs play, thus making the actual skits (which you can now click through if you want to read the dialogue faster than it’s spoken) more meaningful.
Now for the big question: Which character’s story should you choose?
Well, I can’t answer that, but I can answer which character I thought was best. And my answer? It isn’t exactly simple. You see, a friend and I decided to play as opposite characters, so that we could compare our experiences (or more accurately, race to the end and then compare our stats). While I tend to play as guys, he thought Milla looked B.A., so it was perfect. I chose to start with Jude; he picked Milla. Simple enough, right?
Well . . .
Jude’s story starts with thirty or so (depends if you’re a player who talks to EVERYONE or not) minutes of running around and gaining an introduction to the world through talking with NPCs. It’s pretty standard for an RPG . . . checking out the metropolis city of Fennmont, chatting with folks, all while under the mission of seeking out a particular person for a trivial reason. It’s . . . nice. And then Jude meets up with the mysterious Milla. And then Jude FIGHTS alongside the mysterious Milla. And the mysterious Milla? She IS badass. And Jude is a HEALER, of all things, with only one other arte. Oh, dear. At this point, I think I’ve made the wrong choice. So what do I do? I restart AS the mysterious Milla.
But then . . . Milla’s story starts out JUST where Jude meets her. No introduction passive-aggressively thrown at you through NPCs. No trivial intro quest. Nothing like that. Oh well, fighting as her is boss. As commander of the four great spirits, Milla obliterates every battle without any effort at all! Sweeeet.
**PLOT SPOILER TO FOLLOW**
Here’s where it gets sticky. Not so far into the game, Milla loses her power.
**PLOT SPOILER END**
Ummm, so I’m left with a difficult choice. I appreciate the intro given by choosing Jude’s story. His combat is more akin to what I’ve used before in previous Tales games, too. SO being the flip-flopping, indecisive, non-committal gamer I am, I switch back to Jude.
It ended up all right, anyway. As the game progresses, Jude learns new artes (no duh), and so far, NONE of his other powers are healer abilities, leading me to believe he won’t be ‘just’ a healer. So that’s good. Problem solved.
Combat in Xillia is fun (even if a little easy), mixing old with the new. The attack scheme is pretty similar to past titles, but there are additional things, such as link artes (where you and another fighter team up in battle to cover each other and partner for special attacks), and a new system of leveling that is reminiscent of Final Fantasy XIII’s Crystarium (only, web-shaped).
In addition, the scenery of Xillia is beautiful. ESPECIALLY at Fennmont. I can’t say too much more (since I’m not too far yet), but I look forward to seeing what other spectacular views await. The screen on the title menu hints at some breathtaking place housing a glassy, water-like floor, from which massive contraptions jut. Ooooh and ahhhh.
That’s really all I can give for now. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my handful of hours spend with Tales of Xillia, and I’m eager to pour in many more in the coming weeks (well, coming week, if I’m being honest, but that’ll just make me sound like even more of a nerd).
I encourage you to pick up your own copy of Tales of Xillia. Old fans won’t be disappointed, and newbies will catch on quickly!