Review: Tales of Xillia 2 – Return for One Last Adventure

Your journeys have taken you to many different lands. You’ve been in the world of Terca Lumireis, Sykvarant, and many others — this time, however, you’ll have to return to Reize Maxia and Elympios for one final journey in Tales of Xillia 2.

Tales of Xillia 2 is one of the most recent titles in a collection of RPGs that has been filling us with amazing stories and gameplay for a long, long time. The game, a sequel to the original Tales of Xillia, takes place in the same setting. Despite this, there’s enough new content here to keep things fresh.

Tales of Xillia 2

Fans of the original will immediately notice that the party from the original game make their re-appearance in this one. Jude, Milla, Leia, Alvin, and the rest of your Xillia pals are back in this sequel, and you’ll also be able to take command of Gaius and Muzet, two characters who were unplayable in the last title, and most likely brought into the party due to high demand by the fans.

The battle system is very similar to the one in Tales of Xillia. This franchise has always done its best to carry a unique feel, which separates it from other RPGs. The question is: do you have to play the first game in order to understand this title?

The answer is… not really? Let’s be honest, this is a sequel but isn’t something that new players can’t step into. One thing that you’ll notice is that the game definitely nods to the events in the original game, however much of the back story from that time is shown to the player through various skits that pop up in game.

These skits are a great way to deliver information to the player in a way that also develops characters and relationships. In this case, there are little pop up skits that show up in the bottom left, where party members will talk to each other without you having to press the select button, and these usually go along with important locations in the story.

Tales of Xillia 2 (1)

So what are the main pros and cons of the game? Well, for starters the story is a major plus, as the plot doesn’t seem pointless at all. Sometimes when a developer decides on a sequel, the result can come out feeling forced. However, this isn’t the case at all with Xillia 2.

The way that you’re allowed to explore Elympios (which was an area in the first game that you didn’t spend that much time in), along with the way that we get to see what became of our original heroes, how they fit in with our new protagonist, and how the world was affected by the actions in the first game, is just really thrilling.

Tales of Xillia 2 (2)

Speaking of Ludger, there is something that has to be said about his character. This game is designed around choice. Often, you’ll be presented with a pop up that makes you choose between two things for Ludger to say. Now this is an awesome feature, and it does have its consequences and differences, however this leads to one of the cons I previously mentioned.

Ludger is a mute. He doesn’t speak when you choose the words for him to say. The annoying part about this is that he isn’t mute in context to the story. You hear him say his attack names and grunt and all of that during battles, and he’ll even occasionally let out a short reply like “yeah” or “all right.” Ludger has the ability to speak and what makes it all the much more painful is knowing that when you start New Game Plus, you can buy Ludger’s voice using Grade (which is a point system that you gain during your first playthrough) so that when you make a choice for him, he’ll actually speak out that choice.

So if all of the lines were recorded for him to speak, and Tales games are generally very character driven games, what was the point in making him so quiet, and making it so that players have to play the game twice to get the full experience?

Tales of Xillia 2 (3)

Speaking of things that hinder the full experience of the game, let’s talk about debt. When you buy a game from Gamestop or wherever you do, that should be the end of the transaction right? You should be able to play the game through without any monetary blocks stopping you from finishing.

Well, that is, and isn’t the case with this title. Without adding spoilers, early on in the game Ludger comes under a great debt, and throughout the game you’ll have to pay off that debt. Now, if this was just some sort of thing implemented into the game to give you cool rare loot when you pay off a certain amount of debt, then awesome. The amount of money that you owe is so astronomical, that you honestly feel like at some point it’ll just go away, and the developers even poke fun at this, by giving you a surprise ending if you manage to somehow pay it all off.

The biggest issue with this debt system though, is that it blocks your progress. That’s right, at different points in the game, you’ll HAVE to pay off a section of your debt to continue playing. Put yourself in this position: You have 6000 Gald, you fill up on Apple Gels, Orange Gels, Life Bottles, and that right there will cost you nearly all of your money. Now, you go to an area where there is a boss, and after the cutscenes at the end of the chapter, you’re told to “Make a Payment on your debt,” but you only have 3000 Gald now, and the payment you need to make is 15,000.

Tales_of_Xillia (2)

This is pretty limiting, and seems completely pointless. Why put up a road block to keep people from advancing in the game? Sure, the game provides a job system that allows you to take on jobs in order to get money, but these tend to be annoying tasks that force you to grind for long durations of time, or travel to far away locations for a small reward.

The saving grace of this, though, is the Elite Monster system. Elite Monsters are crazy powerful monsters (think of the Giganto Monsters from Vesperia) that you get a huge reward from defeating. Problems arise again because even after defeating these guys, that money tends to go straight to your debt and it just feels like you were cheated out of your winnings.

Apart from those issues, the game is very solid. The fighting is tight, the enemies remain smart and the difficult varies from enemy to enemy. The party is diverse with different groups of mages and warrior type class characters, and the story is rich with world building and the sense of urgency and adventure that we’re used to in this series.

Tales of Xillia 2 (4)

So, should you pick up this game? If you’re a fan of RPGs, you definitely shouldn’t sleep on the series and on this entry in particular. Don’t let the anime style fool you, this isn’t the kiddy version of Final FantasyTales of titles are heavy weights in their own class.

If you’re looking for a starting point into this franchise, Tales of Xillia 2 is your go-to title. The gripping story, unique battle system, and fun characters will keep you coming back for more, over and over again.

Join the Discussion

  • HawaiianDread

    Loving this game so far, and also Ludger got the Wolverine effect, just bad shit keep happening to the poor fellow.

    • Allisa James

      Seriously, poor Ludger. But yeah this game is awesome.

  • Eric Irving

    I have been playing the game myself and this review is very spot on. Its an amazing story and I feel like I am getting to know the world even more. I was disappointed that we couldn’t fully explore Elympios in the last game, but this game more than makes up for it. The freedom of choice does encourage replay ability if you ever felt like starting a new game. I kind of disagree with the reviewer in regards to people picking up the game without playing the first. There is a lot of reference and story from the first game that could get you lost if you hadn’t played it. Not to mention it would be a lot tougher to get into the characters without seeing the events of the first game. The character build is set up like a sequel where you see where they have gone since a year has passed. Would it kill the story for you? It won’t, but you definitely will not enjoy it as much. I highly recommend playing the first game before this.

    Battle system is mostly the same from Xillia, but it is tweaked and improved slightly. I do love that I can switch between three different weapons on Ludger alone. Can use twin blades for close and fast attacks, a sledgehammer for a strong and slow attack, and twin pistols for fighting from a distance. All can be switched in battle from a simply holding L1 then switching back and forth immediately pressing R1 or R2. It really helps make things interesting and have used all three for different scenarios. Tales has always exceeded in fantastic battle systems and Xillia 2 is no different.

    However, the shortcomings that do hold the game back a bit and the reviewer mentioned, is that the fact the main character is a mute(not really). It feels so awkward, especially in a Tales game, that your main character is mute at all. The system of choice would of still worked completely fine if Ludger was given dialogue, similar to how Mass Effect was done. I am kind of more angry on this after the reviewer mentioned he has voice dialog for his choice bubbles after you beat the game once. I think in another RPG this would be fine, and it does work fine here technically, but as a Tales game, it is off putting.

    The other one was the debt system. This is absolutely the most pointless and frustrating thing about the game. All it does is set a wall for progression and makes you do small, tedious tasks to build up currency to pay off the debt. Leaving you little to none to buy new upgrades or items. Its very frustrating at the beginning, but becomes more manageable as you get further in the game. I am at the point I can easily pay off debt and have the money to buy the stuff I need. You just need to make sure you are not ignoring jobs to take on and fight the elites when you see them. Still, I do not know why they thought this was a good idea, it really can kill the pace of the game.

    Tales of Xllia 2 is probably the best sequel that the Tales series has had in my opinion. Its definitely worth revisiting the world again.

  • oGMo

    Xillia’s gameplay felt half-finished… Xillia 2 seems to complete the picture.

    The main character being not-voice-acted is a huge blemish. It’s just strange and it was a stupid decision. Unlike Xillia’s being half-finished around the edges, this is an awkward, always-in-your-face problem. If Bioware could get all the various permutations of dialogue VA’d for ME1-3, I think they could have managed the different sentences for the MC, since all the responses are voiced.

  • Carlo

    Kinda glad I have a huge backlog for my ps3 games. I’ll get this when it goes on sale 😀 Nice review for me the “mute” part isn’t a deal breaker I’ve played a ton of suikoden before so I’m used to it

    • Eric Irving

      It isn’t that its bad, its done well for what it is in terms of silent protagonist. Its just Tales is not known for keeping their central characters a mute. It isn’t bad, like I said in my post, its just off-putting and weird.

    • Thanks 😀 I appreciate it.

  • Aquadysseus

    Gauis is a playable party member now, right?

    • Eric Irving

      Later on in the story I believe.

      • Aquadysseus

        Thanks buddy! 😀

    • Yes he is.

      • Aquadysseus

        Ah that is awesome! Gaius is too cool! >:D

    • Kingdom17

      And he is freakin AWESOME, that’s if you didn’t figure it out already 😀

  • sinn1

    This game needs to be ported to the PS4, given the PS4’s X86 architecture this could be done with a small dev team. I know that I should not hold my breath, but I can dream. I don’t want to buy another PS3 after my 60 gig died 3 months ago 8(. I wouldn’t mind seeing this game on the Xbox One I have one of those to, unfortunately my 360 has died as well so I currently have 0 last gen consoles. I am a little less shocked about that though. I am not saying this to bash the 360, I love all games and consoles 8P. Maybe a PC port, I own two gaming PC’s, I think a Tales game on PC would freaking rock imo. 8)

  • Kingdom17

    My biggest complaint so far with the game is the forced Silent Protag, especially considering you can unlock his voice in the garde shop in NG+, for free, like what the heck Baba?

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  • William Trengove

    I agree that the Debt blocking the story’s progressive was definitely a big con, as well as the Mute Ludger from the first playthrough.

  • Budgiecat

    they should make a patch allowing you access to Ludger’s voice from the start.

    that is just dumb..

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