Tales of Xillia 2 is the sequel to the first Xillia game that came out 1 year prior and developed by the same Studio of Bandai Namco Games and their in house tales department. Following in the steps of a much loved series and previous game, Xillia 2 tries to set itself next to its older brother in terms of quality and fandom. Sequels aren’t always good though, can this one break the stigma?
If you haven’t played the first Xillia game this may contain spoilers for you
Tales of Xillia 2 starts one year after the events of the first game and is centred on the young man Ludger who seems to have been designed as more of a silent protagonist then previous main characters. Being able to activate his families’ bloodlines unique ability of turning into a Chromatus, though the powers that come with it are amazing he is sought out by his Brother’s company to pay back a debt and thus he is sent off on his journey to equalise the worlds fractures.
Throughout your journeys you will notices many places that were visited in the previous game which is a welcome sight to see, if a bit lazy on the development side. The money you gain on your travels goes toward paying off Julius’ debt, which looms over your head as the Spirius Corporation follows your exploits and bank account.
The main game will last you around 40 hours for just the story, but with side quests, grinding and paying off your debt that game time is increased by quite a lot. The game feels much shorter than the first, with the latter half of the game hitting faster speeds and smaller dungeons.
Xillia 2 follows in the same suit as its previous game, with a field map and the battle screen being the two main areas you will be in control. Field map zones are where your character can move around, find items, talk to other people and engage in battle. Being in the Field maps also allows for the classic Skits to happen, with full animated portraits and voice acting that can either be related to what just happened or completely random conversations. Whilst in the battle screen you are put into the Series dedicated fighting system of free-movement action where you can attack, defend, use Artes and combine attacks.
Battle in Xillia 2 is very similar to the first Xillia, if improved upon only slightly with smoother controls, flashier attacks and a few new attack systems. Throughout the battle you have both health and SP, health measuring how much damage you can take and SP for your Artes, as well as action points that denote how many attacks you have left in your combo. There also seems to be a new feature in Xillia 2 with the mechanic of swapping weapon types, with the main character being able to use guns, hammer or blades which is a welcome addition in my eye.
One change which could throw some fans off is the change in levelling system, as with Xillia 1 you could choose the direction your characters developed, be it speed, damage or Artes, in Xillia 2 you are put back into an automatic levelling system with item equips that teach you Artes over time. This system has been used before in the series through the weapon Artes in Vesperia, but with the lack of control in your attributes it could be a disputed improvement.
Overall Thoughts and Feelings
The graphics in Xillia 2 has improved vastly in my opinion from previous releases, even from Xillia 1 there is a noticeable difference, in both the quality and sharpness of the models and backgrounds. While the game keeps it’s cartoony and anime style it feels more lifelike and colourful which is a pleasing sight to see when you have to look at it for hours on end. Character design is also great, with only a few annoyances here and there for the child-like characters.
The soundtrack in Xillia 2 continues on with the series amazing scores, with great action pieces for the battle scenes, calm songs for travelling along and all the parts in between. The songs can become quite boring at times with the reuse in battle and same areas, but you move on quick enough to hear a new track that this isn’t much of a problem.
Overall I give Tales of Xillia 2 a 4/5, it’s one of the better sequels I have seen in quite a few years as it keeps true to the original and makes mostly improvements to the mechanics already in place. It is sad to see a lot of reuse in the game, but that is to be expected from a direct sequel. The story feels too familiar however and at times I felt like I was back in Symphonia. Fans of the series will love this, and even newcomers with the “dumb-downed” levelling system in place.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.