Despite Namco Bandai’s reluctance to give Tales fans any Vita love, it has never been a better time to be a fan of the franchise. Just last year saw the release of both Tales of Graces f on the PS3 as well as the 3DS entry of Tales of the Abyss. This year will yield Tales of Xillia and both Tales of Symphonia games are slated for an HD re-release next year. It’s a lot to digest, but I’m glad the games are actually making it out west.
I knew very little of the plot stepping into the Tales of Xillia demo, and none of what I played did anything to elaborate on that. Xillia takes place in a universe where the spirit Maxwell divides the world into two in order to prevent the technology of one of the nations from harming the spirits. A group known as Exodus intends to destroy this barrier in order to continue harnessing the power of the spirits and as Jude and Milla, you have to put a stop to this. The whole thing sounds a lot like the premise to Final Fantasy VI to me, which is never a bad thing in my opinion.
Moving about the map, enemies are visible and can be engaged as the player deems necessary. This means no random encounters; you’ll actually be able to see your foes before you start a fight. Once a battle starts, you’ll notice that your controllable character is tethered to another of your party members. As you begin bringing the pain Tales style, the comrade you are connected to will also follow along and help you pummel whatever enemy you have targeted. There are also attacks that can be performed that utilize both characters. Aside from that, the core gameplay should be very familiar to franchise fans. Your actions are limited by the amount of AC at your disposal which will regenerate over time, though you are also granted TP for skill usage. I’m interested to see how local multiplayer will work within the confines of a system that encourages you to link party members together, but I suspect we’ll find out in a couple of months.
So far, the game seems to be coming along great. The visuals are vastly improved over Graces f (especially since that game was originally a Wii title) and the English dubbing seems to be spot on. It may be almost two years old by this point, but hey, better late than never. Tales of Xillia releases on August 6th, 2013 for PlayStation 3.