23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
I thought Graces F was the Apex of the Tales series, i was wrong!,
This review is from: Tales of Xillia (PS3) (Video Game)
Tales of Xillia is simply a must buy for any Tales Fan, end of story. The rest of this review is for people new to the Tales series
Now ive gotten that out of the way the game itself. For JRPG fans this is about as good as it gets, the Tales series is right now in the sweet spot that Final Fantasy was back in the heady days of VI and VII; Pure unadulterated JRPG goodness.
Unlike most of its competitors the Tales series has never opted for boring menu driven combat, instead your thrown into a 3D beat-em-up style affair every time you cross paths with a monster. It starts out simple and tbh if you have the game on easy or normal or maybe even moderate you wont need to plumb the depths of the decepively simple seeming combat system....just dive in and enjoy it on the surface if you like, but those who play on Hard will find themselves needing to master Snap Pivots, Spirit Shifts and all manner of fun mechanics to win their battles. Essentially whatever your skill level you can find a happy place in the battle system
Again, Xillia eschews the simple 'level up and x stats go up/you recieve x ability' for something with more depth. In this case its called a Lilium Orb and its similar to the sphere grid of FF X. When you level you gain points that can be used to activate nodes on the Orb which increase stats, parameters and buy artes and skills (artes are combat moves, Skills are tweaks to your characters ability). If this sounds confusing dont worry, you can auto level and have things as easy as any other JRPG, but if you want to grow your characters more your own way the complexity is again, there if you want it
Ok, its not going to win any awards for originality, Young guy gets thrown into events way out of his depth and becomes entangled in events that will shape the future of the world (though you can actually choose between him and the female lead which puts a slightly different spin on things), but its done well, very well. Every character is voiced, and the interaction between them is great, sub events are in there to be played, both for profit and for depth of story but can be avoided by those who dont care for them. Skits (little story segments involving conversation between party members) are a staple of the series and return, fully voiced and again totally optional. One big improvement is a little speech bubble over the head of anyone with something to say. This prevents the irritation of talking to 50+ NPC's in every town who have nothing more to say than 'plenty of weather were having'
Again not a lot of changes from a usual JRPG, you walk around, talk to people, have battles. There is no 'overworld' map per se but you can use the map to fast travel to most locations you have already been (depending on cirumstances, sometimes world events prevent you from reentering certain areas for a time). The flipside to this is all the areas between towns and dungeons are fully explorable fields with monsters to kill and hidden items to find. Grinding is a bit of a must as not only do you need money and experience, but most loot is traded to shops to expand their inventory. The practical effect of this is the harder you work the better the equipment available, some may or may not like this but personally i found it a great relief to not miss important weapons and armor simply because i overlooked a single chest behind a hidden wall.
By far the best seen in the tales series so far, though not on a par with FF XIII they look good and set the scene perfectly. The towns, fields and dungeons really come alive as you walk through them and do a great job of drawing you into the game
Whew, thats the longest review i ever wrote, personally i cant reccomend this game enough, if you are a Tales fan its a must buy, if you just like JRPG's you cant really do better for a mix of tradition and innovation