The first Tales of Xillia was an epic role-playing game that showcased awesome combat and storytelling that the Tales series is known for. With a diverse and interesting cast of characters, the original game was a welcomed addition into the Tales series. Tales of Xillia 2 takes place after the events of the first game, only now the focus has shifted to a new main protagonist. While some aspects of the first game do influence this sequel, many players with expectations to find more of the same will be thrown for a real loop.
Much like other Tales games, Tales of Xillia 2 offers a very meaty story that RPG aficionados will take a liking to. Completing the story will take you a good long while; possibly more than thirty hours to really experience everything in and out of the main plot. The game not only includes sections where you make choices for what can happen next, but comes complete with many anime style cutscenes throughout. But this long experience does not come without a few annoyances that can damper the experience. One of the major plot points is the main hero’s debt that is accumulated at the start of the game, which you pay off over time by completing side jobs and killing monsters. While you can gain funds easily by completing more side quests and dispatching enemies, this task will stop you from moving forward with the main story.
In order to advance the plot, you need to make regular payments on your debt, otherwise your ability to travel to different areas becomes restricted. While this is an interesting plot device for the story, it comes off as rather constrictive to the player, dampening the playing experience. In addition, some key characters will occasionally badger you to make payments on your debt, which can make it all the more annoying and not fun. This would have been great as something told only through the cutscenes rather than a real restriction on the player exploring areas.
Once you get past the annoying plot device, the game itself is rather impressive. Graphically, Tales of Xillia 2 looks great and has good sound design choices. There is plenty of dialogue between characters both in and out of story sections, with the traditional Tales series banter between party members. Environments are vast and populated with lots of NPCs, or monsters if you are outside town and cities. There are many industrial settings that you will visit through the course of the game, but the areas don’t feel too repetitive, and are broken up by some more open areas filled with monsters and other enemies to battle.
Gameplay is where the Tales games shine with their real time battles, and Tales of Xillia 2 is no different. Much like its predecessor, Xillia 2 is fast paced and allows for plenty of freedom to combine attacks and strategically take out enemies. Party members can execute team Artes attacks for big damage against enemies, as well as chain Artes attacks for even more damage and combo setups. Different enemies have various weaknesses and resistances that come into play and change up the dynamic of battles, making tough enemies more than just simple attack button mashers. Those familiar with any of the Tales games will feel right at home fighting in Tales of Xillia 2.
Tales of Xillia 2 is a game that will keep you busy for quite some time. If you never played the first game, Tales of Xillia 2 does a great job of catching newcomers up with different reports and files you can read in the menus. The story itself is very interesting despite some low points. The debt aspect found throughout most of the game is a bit of an annoyance, but with a little patience, the game is definitely enjoyable to play. With some great graphics, awesome dialogue, and really nice looking cutscenes, Tales of Xillia 2 is a welcomed addition into the Tales RPG series. Just make sure you have a lot of time set aside to play it, because you will definitely not be going anywhere for a while.
This review was based on a physical copy of Tales of Xillia 2 for the PlayStation 3 provided by Bandai Namco.