Genre: Japanese Role Playing Game
Platform: Playstation 3
Developer: Namco Bandai
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Release Date: November 1st 2012
The “Tales Of” series has always been successful in Japan, thanks to the anime themes the series has always pushed during the years. The Namco Bandai series has struggled a bit more in the west: sporadic releases with localization jobs chopping content out of the North American and European released didn’t do justice to the game. The series has started getting some recognition thanks to Tales Of Symphonia, originally released on Nintendo Gamecube, the first game in the series featuring fully 3D graphics. Since then more games have made it to the west, with each one marking a slight improvements in sales. During the current generation almost all of the Tales Of games released on home consoles have been released in the West, with the first Tales Of Xillia coming in 2013. Tales Of Xillia 2 was released in Japan a couple months ago: did the game fix some of the first game’s problems or is it just a quick cash-in? Let’s find out. Just a warning: if you don’t want to be spoiled about Tales Of Xillia’s plot stop reading since there may be spoilers.
Liese Maxia and Elenpious
Tales Of Xillia 2 tells an all new story with a new main character: Ludger Will Krusnik lives with his brother Yulius and cat Lulu in Torigraph, in the continent of Elenpious. On his first day of work Ludger gets involved in a terrorist attack, something that will make him meet the mysterious girl called Elle and forever change his destiny. Without going into much detail, I can assure you that the plot is good, really good, and it really goes away from some of the cliches of the series: it’s a dark tale where Ludger will be forced to make choices that will alter the course of his life and of the people he holds dear. I really enjoyed it because there’s hardly any filler material to just lengthen the game: the main plot is short but exciting. All of the first Xillia cast makes a comeback and they’re all quite enjoyable: Jude has matured and is no longer an annoying spoiled kid, Mira is just as likeable as before and so do all the other characters. None of the old characters get much development during the main story portions but there are some optional Character Episodes, 5 for all of them, which develop them further from what was seen in Tales Of Xillia. Playing the first game is not needed to enjoy the game, but the changes in some characters will make more sense if you know what happened in the first game. During most scenes and skits, you’ll be able to choose between two different answers: while most of them won’t have much consequences, some of them will be fundamental in getting some of the available endings, 5 in total.
The battle system is the same one used for Tales Of Xillia: characters can link with another during battles, all played in real time, to perform some flashy combination attacks. All the Xillia cast has been tweaked and for the best: all characters have new artes, an all new attack which launches enemies in the air, and they’re overall more balanced. Jude has become slower and he’s no longer as overpowered as before. Together with the old cast, Xillia 2 features 3 new playable characters: Ludger and Xillia’s final bosses Gaius and Muse. Ludger has an unique ability that allows him to switch weapons at any time: twin swords, hammer and twin handguns. It’s a really well implemented ability which gives even more freedom in battle and goes well with the new weakness system, taken straight from Tales Of Graces F: all enemies are weaknesses and by adding different elements the total damage multiplier will increase. Gaius and Musee are pretty unique as well and I really can’t find a character I don’t like to use in battle. The sidestep command, introduced in Tales Of Graces, also makes a comeback, making the battle system in Xillia 2 really the best of both worlds.
Same Old World
The way the story is moved forward is also pretty unique for the series: one cannot notice a strong WRPG influence in this. The game is divided into Main Story Chapters and to access the next, you must pay a certain sum of money to repay a debt: this is when side missions come in. They’re pretty varied: they range from finding items, killing monsters, killing special Giganto Monsters or complete some other tasks. There’s always something to do and money will hardly be a problem. There’s also a cat seeking subquest where players have to find 100 cats scattered all over the world. This is when some of the game’s problem emerge: there’s simply too much copy paste from the first game. The new locations are very few and most of the times you’ll have to travel through locations and dungeons you already know: the game feels more like a director’s cut rather than a full sequel. The same goes for monsters and bosses: almost all of them come from the first game: actually, ALL bosses from the first Xillia will have to be defeated again in Xillia 2. This is just a lazy job that brings down the game a bit.
Graphics wise, graphics are almost identical to the first Xillia: old locations look practically the same, except for a few tweakings here and there. New locations look pretty unique and well done even though there’s not too many. Battles looks as flashy as they did in Xillia and they come with the same annoying problem: slowdowns. Later in the game, when spells and special attacks are flying everywhere on screen, slowdowns will become too frequent and it’s definitely annoying: Namco Bandai could have taken care of the issue during development, since most of the stuff has just been taken from the first Xillia, but they chose not to. The Soundtrack, on the other hand, is flawless: the new tracks have all a jazzy feel and they’re incredibly well done. There are also new battle themes and they’re very good as well: Motoi Sakuraba has done a really solid job.
Tales Of Xillia 2 addresses some of the first game’s issues while leaving some of them as they were: the lack of sidequests and content of the first game is no longer a problem and the story is quite a tight and enjoyable package. Unfortunately the amount of recycled content is just too much, the game’s world feels as limited and small as before and some technical issues, especially slowdowns during battles, haven’t been solved. If more new stuff was added into the game, this could have easily been the best Tales Of games ever released thanks to the plot, characters and battle system. Still, if you enjoyed Tales Of Xillia you’ll enjoy the sequel as well: if you want to play it in English make sure to get Tales Of Xillia once it gets released in the west.
- Great story and characters
- Good amount of content
- Fast paced and fun battle system
- Multiple endings
- Almost all of the game’s content is recycled from the first game
- Silent main character doesn’t work in the context of the story
- Slowdowns during battles
- Main story is kinda short
- Choice system is mostly pointless
8 out of 10
Article from Gamersyndrome.com