By Operation Rainfall Contributor / January 16th, 2015
|Title||Tales of Xillia 2|
|Release Date||JP-November 1, 2012, NA-August 19, 2014, EU-August 22, 2014|
|Genre||Role Playing Game|
|Age Rating||ESRB – Teen|
The Tales series, to me, has always stood out as one of the greatest RPG story telling series that I’ve had the privilege of experiencing. 2013’s Tales of Xillia was an amazing video game that I gladly put 80+ hours into — not wanting the game to end because of how close I felt to the main characters. Tales of Xillia 2 offers little graphical or sound changes from the first title, but what it does present through a new story and improved game play mechanics is something fans will enjoy for the entirety of the adventure.
Tales of Xillia 2 is a direct sequel to Tales of Xillia, picking up one year after the war between Elympios and Rieze Maxia. I highly encourage players to play the first one before starting Tales of Xillia 2 because the sequel is simply more Xillia. The cast of characters that you grew to love in the first game are all back including Jude, Milla, Elize, Alvin and Rowen. There are also some surprise playable characters that I won’t spoil for readers, but they are a great addition to the team. To add to the growing roster of protagonists, Xillia 2 introduces two new characters: an aspiring chef, Ludger, and a strange, smart-mouthed eight year old girl, Elle.
New to the series is a “choice system” for players to interact and change the outcome of conversations between characters. This gives Ludger two different responses to questions and situations from which he must choose. Some choices allow Ludger to gain affinity with different party members, which unlocks various items and skills. This plays a huge part when Ludger takes part in side missions that are individual to each teammate. Each character has at least four missions divided into chapters that will allow Ludger to learn more about what the Xillia alumni have been up to over the past year. This also gives rewards in terms of “bonus scenes” during the main chapters of the game.
The world of Xillia 2 is pretty much identical to the previous game with a couple added towns and areas. There are still random items and materials scattered throughout the map, but with an added pick-up called ‘Elemental Ore’. These can be found on pretty much every screen and are also given after battle. Characters use the elemental ore to level up their “Allium Orb” which can be used to unlock skills and attacks. Xillia 2’s story also deals with alternate universes called Fractured Dimensions. This feature will test your ability to replay dungeons over and even fight bosses again, adding to the amount of time you will spend running through dungeons. Just to clarify, you will spend spend a lot of time in the world of Xillia if you are attempting to experience everything the game has to offer. In addition, to stay true to the previous game, Tales of Xillia 2 uses most of the same audio tracks, so returning fans will feel right at home when they hear “Mushrooms, fresh mushrooms!” in every marketplace they visit. This still works in Tales of Xillia 2’s favor, considering the music is good, but it would have been nice to get some original songs aside from the main theme song.
In the beginning of the game, Ludger is given a 20,000,000 gald debt that has to be paid off bit by bit in order to progress through the main chapters, and the easiest way to do this is to carry out contracts. Contracts are new to Xillia 2 and are pretty much monster and item quests. Completing these will reward Ludger with gald and items, but some quests ask for items that cannot be found through battle or on the map. Instead, you are required to use a new, and arguably the cutest, member of the cast; a cat by the name of Rollo. Introduced as sort of a side mission, Ludger is placed with the task of collecting 100 cats throughout the lands, and, with these cats, you have the option to use them to find items in towns and dungeons, with an increased opportunity to find rare items with the more cats Ludger has discovered.
The most noticeable update to Tales of Xillia 2 is the battle system, with a huge improvement to the combo system and an updated AI that improved linked characters depending if they are a magic user or close-range attacker. Ludger has the ability to change weapons mid-attack from dual blades to guns to a hammer, and he also acquires the power of a “Chromatus” transformation which allows him to land huge combos and attacks without taking damage. This means that there is little reason to play as any other party member in battle when Ludger is practically four characters in one. The gauge system is still used with every tier reached, allowing for a dual attack with the character with whom you are partnered called Dual Artes, and, when the gauge maxes out, you are able to launch a chain of Dual Artes called Linked Artes.
Tales of Xillia 2 is the most loyal sequel to a JRPG that I have ever played, and, if you didn’t enjoy the first one, there isn’t much of a chance you will find much to like about this one. I loved catching up with the characters from Xillia and learning more about the complexities faced with joining two worlds together after the war in the first game. The voice acting is very well done, and the interaction between characters is often hilarious and adds so much life to the cast. The part I didn’t quite understand is the lack of dialog from Ludger. Whatever point Bandai Namco was trying to make with this is beyond me, but it’s nothing that really gets in the way of experiencing the story. The problem comes with repetition of dungeons where, at times, the game makes it mandatory to revisit the same dungeon or field map multiple times to run through and fight the same enemies and collect the same items. This can be quite tedious if you’ve already put 60+ hours into the first title which has the same areas. The other issue I had was the lack of reason to play as other characters in battle when Ludger has three different weapons (and attack lists with those weapons to choose from), making it very easy to play as him throughout the entire game. The 20 million gald debt can be frustrating early on in the game when you are poor all the time, selling rocks and twigs to get a Life Bottle. The struggle is real.
Overall, this game was made for fans of Tales of Xillia. The resemblance Xillia 2 has with its predecessor is nearly identical, and, frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. To be thrown back into the world with a new story, a new mission and huge debt will guarantee hours of fun for any returning fan.
Review copy was provided by the author.
Tales of Xillia 2 is available on Amazon:
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