The story begins with the introduction to whichever of the main characters you chose; in my case Jude and you get to start the main story as well as some side quests known as sub events. It isn't long before Jude and Milla's paths cross and then the real adventure that is Tales of Xillia begins. Altogether you have six characters in your core party and as the story progresses you get to see how all their different personalities meld together beautifully to make for some interesting and well thought out character development.
|Jude and Alvin having a chat.|
The battle system is better here than it was in Tales of Zestiria. It feels more streamlined with a user friendly menu where you can easily upgrade your party's skills. You can also use what are known as Linked Artes where you can link with anyone in your party and you have skills that complement each other and when used together can perform a massive damage attack on your enemies. It makes level grinding a lot of fun and there are a ton of combinations you can use with each party member.
|Linked Artes in action.|
Upgrading your weapons and gear is interesting too. In order to unlock new items from the various shops you can either donate money or materials you find during your adventures which will unlock and add new things to the shop. The more you donate the better gear and items you can get and you will also get discounts on items in the shop as well.
Don't let the lack of a world map scare you. There's a lot to see and explore in Tales of Xillia and you can easily pull up the local map to see where you need to go. Once you unlock the fast travel option moving around is convenient and easy. The anime cut scenes are beautiful and add a lot of depth to the story and the various characters; including the villains. You get to see the reasoning behind decisions they make and how they got there. There are the funny little skits that the Tales games are known for also adding bits of humor and character interaction to the game.
|It's not a Tales game without the skits.|
The voice acting for the most part is well done. The reason I say that is because everyone seems to sound really great with the exception of Milla. I mean when you have fantastic talent with people like Matthew Mercer (he voiced Alvin) and Travis Willingham (he voiced Gaius) doing the voices for a Tales game and they outshine one of the main characters, that's an issue. Everyone else did really well but the voice for Milla sounded quite flat and didn't have a lot of emotion to it. It's not a big deal because I liked the character of Milla a lot and as the story developed I liked seeing how she and Jude grew as people and came to understand each other's hopes and dreams. However, it does stand out that her voice was not the best one.
While Tales of Xillia is fun to play and the story is interesting, there were things that really bugged me here and there. The two really big ones for me are with Ivar and Alvin. I get that it was to push the story along, but I could not understand the reasoning behind giving these two constant chances every time they screwed up. The thing is, I liked Alvin so it really sucked to find out that he was a jerk. Ivar on the other hand was so annoying I kept hoping anyone would punt him off a cliff.
Alvin is a mercenary, so I get the part about it being taking care of himself first. Yes, he's cutthroat about some things and he has a cynical view of the world, but you can't help but like him because he is charming. However, the fact that he betrays his friends FIVE times and they keep forgiving him is freaking ridiculous. I mean, he shoots one of them in the back. I'm sorry, but there's no way in hell I would forgive the jerk that shot my friend in the back or welcome him back to our adventure with open arms. It makes no sense at all and Alvin's reasoning for why he did those crappy things to his friends is flat out stupid. I still find him an interesting character, but he's a big jerk.
Ivar is Milla's handmaid and honestly, he's the worst handmaid ever. He is overly aggressive for no reason and is constantly trying to fight Jude out of sheer jealousy. He doesn't do a single thing that Milla tells him to do and they're important things such as protecting Milla's village and the village elders. One of the big things story wise that happens with the villains is completely Ivar's fault. Once again he didn't listen to Milla and did whatever the heck he wanted and essentially destroyed and killed a lot of people with his idiocy. After all of this, Milla continues to let him be her handmaid and everyone else seems okay with it. It doesn't make sense at all and anyone within their right minds would have yelled at Ivar or at least dismissed him as handmaid and hired one that wasn't an arrogant moron. Even with everything Alvin did, I still found I liked him. With Ivar, I kept hoping a dragon would eat him.
|Ivar, the most annoying person in Tales of Xillia.|
Those issues aside, Tales of Xillia is a great game and one worth playing. It's beautifully done with interesting characters, a great story, and with being able to choose which protagonist you want to play as it offers a ton of game play and a lot of fun. It's definitely worth having in your gaming collection especially if you are a Tales fan. Now, I'm off to play the sequel Tales of Xillia 2.
|One of the beautiful scenes in Tales of Xillia.|
*Tales of Xillia is playable on these platforms: Playstation 3