Tales of Xilla-II (PS3 Game Review)

[credit: wikipedia.com]

                  [credit: wikipedia.org]

Quick Summary: Time to go back, between two worlds colliding together, though this time there is so much more at stake. Ludger, a young man who, though skilled with a skillet, wants to be so much more with his government. Unable to reach the level of his older brother, he proceeds onward to be a chef and makes his way to board a train for his first day on the job. If only things could have remained so simple. Colliding with a young girl holding a mysterious watch, Ludger is thrust into a conspiracy involving not only his government, but the entire world. Allied with a group of strange yet talented folk who all know each other from a previous world altering adventure, Ludger must make choices that effect his relationships, and that of the world as he knows it.

I spent way, way too many hours playing the first Tales of Xilla, and loved every grinding minute of it. When it ended I was a little nostalgic and saddened, I had spent so much time seeing all these characters develop and grow, fighting towards a certain goal. Well, in truth I only really got to see one half of such a tale, for in the first game you can choose between two characters (I chose Milla). this game though similar to its predecessor, it also wildly different. You have only one main character, Ludger, who unlike the former game is mostly silent throughout the entirety of game play. Through cut scenes and post-battle snippets he may utter a few words or a sentence, yet mostly his responses are more  onomatopoeia with a facial expression to match. I feel this pulls away from the character slightly and is so vastly different than the previous game that it took some time to get used to. I feel they chose to go this route so that the player is a bit more of a blank slate personality wise and therefor may be able to connect to Ludger a little more than if all of his responses warranted set lines.

To make up for this more quite character and to counter the dual character play through, you as the player get to make dual choices in-game for Ludger. You get to pick his actions or words to a specific situation or conversation. This will change how the characters around you respond, as well as their affinity for you. It has a bit of a standard of passive/aggressive,  mild/outgoing. This couples with the different familiar characters who get personal quests at different stages through the game. Here you can further your relationship or stunt it by the choices you make, as well as learn more about how these people have changed or grown since the last game. This is one thing that followed into the sequel, the previous characters personalities haven’t changed so drastically through the years that it flows nicely into the second game.

Without giving away too many spoilers, the new and old characters deal with time and dimensions, which makes you as a player and the following characters question their own morals and the difference between right and wrong pertaining to your own survival and existence as well as those whom you may destroy.

One of the things that took some time to get used to due to the lack of total control, it actually made things simplified. The skill leveling system used to be a giant web that you could pick and choose what is leveled up with the points you earned. This time around there are set skills in a line that you can learn if you choose that set. Such as Shine or Droplet. In a way this is handy because as you play you earn elemental points and learn those skills and abilities as you go without having to pause and choose which ones to upgrade or learn. Each set line is different for each character as well. So Shine for Ludger was different than Jude’s Shine. You can only have one set ‘Line’ to each character at a time, but in the end it is really nice because you don’t have to think about it as you play, you just learn what you need to learn. As the game goes on you can learn different lines that combine lesser Lines with greater. Such as Shine being Sunburst. Sunburst has the abilities of Shine plus more. So you get to play with it.

Like all Xilla games there is a mix of drama and humor, main story and subplots, pushing you to level up and learn as much as you can about all the world around you and more beyond. This game is well worth the money and time if you are into JRPG type games, or any of the Tales games. It helps to play the first Xilla game to learn about the complexities of the characters and how the world you are in now came to be. However, it is possible to play through the game without doing so because the characters describe their previous relationships and issue of the lands beforehand. It might be a bit confusing, but still passable.

Rating: 9/10

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