Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer
The Farewell To Middle-earth Issue
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe: Get 12 Issues For £25
Buy the perfect Christmas present this year
Farewell To Middle-earth
Full details of our Peter Jackson-edited issue
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

PACKSHOT
Tales Of Xillia

GAME DETAILS
Released
07 August 2013
Format
PS3
Developer
Namco

LATEST GAME REVIEWS
World Of Warcraft: Warlords Of Draenor
5 Star Empire Rating
WWE 2K15
2 Star Empire Rating
Super Smash Bros. Wii U
5 Star Empire Rating
Grand Theft Auto V Reissue
5 Star Empire Rating
LittleBigPlanet 3
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
World Of Warcraft: Warlords Of Draenor
5 Star Empire Rating
Super Smash Bros. Wii U
5 Star Empire Rating
Grand Theft Auto V Reissue
5 Star Empire Rating
Dragon Age: Inquisition
5 Star Empire Rating
Sunset Overdrive
5 Star Empire Rating

Tales Of Xillia


submit to reddit

Tales Of Xillia (2013)
Review
A 15th anniversary effort for Namco Bandai’s long-running Japanese RPG franchise, Tales Of Xillia represents almost everything worth celebrating about the genre. It reformats the often obtuse mechanics of arcane battle systems and character statistic management into a welcoming and understandable package, and backs them up with some of the most beautiful anime visuals the series has ever seen.

The expectedly epic story (around 50 hours, with side-quests adding more content) focuses on medical student Jude Mathis and elemental summoner Milla Maxwell, striving to save two worlds linked by the use – and abuse – of spirits. It’s an environmental parable disguised by layers of mysticism and fantasy, but never heavy-handed with its message. The teammates who join along the way – mercenary Alvin, mentor Rowen, mage Elize and healer Leia – benefit from surprisingly rounded personalities, though the females fall into slightly clichéd anime stereotypes at times.

Xillia is one of the few J-RPGs to actually allow any real degree of role playing, giving a choice between Jude and Milla as your main playable character at the beginning of the game. It’s a laudable effort, though it stumbles in its execution, with the bulk of the storytelling effort weighted in Jude’s favour. Choosing Milla results in stilted cutscenes such as the pair’s first meeting, where Jude literally falls into Milla’s path, disappears, then returns shortly after. There are several similar disjoints in the narrative, too many instances of ‘stuff just happening’, and there’s a constant feeling you’re missing something from the other perspective.

This is mitigated somewhat by the battle system. Tales games have always been more active than their entirely turn-based brethren, but Xillia’s approach may just be the best the series has seen. The core remains unchanged, with players directly controlling one character while other active party members behave according to vague pre-set orders – heal, defend, heavy attack, etc. However, characters can now pair up, supporting each other by flanking enemies or combining powers for dual assaults. Switching pairs only requires a quick tap of the D-pad, resulting in a fluid combat experience that feels more like a tactical beat-em-up. It’s speedy and genuinely enjoyable, with boss battles in particular adding a level of spectacle to the proceedings. The associated character growth system, a web of linked ‘Lilium Orbs’ not-dissimilar to Final Fantasy X’s sphere grid, is also probably one of the most intuitive mechanics found in a J-RPG, allowing you to unlock and use as many stat-buffing skills as you have points for, resulting in a truly customisable roster.

Despite the flaws of its story progression, Xillia is a joy to play, and its rapid combat and likeable characters prove an addictive combo. An overall high point for the series, and modern Japanese role players in general.


Reviewed by Matt Kamen

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS

SAVE UP TO 69% GET 12 ISSUES FOR ONLY £25
Get the best seat in the house by subscribing to the world's biggest movie magazine today. Save up to 69% and every month you'll get exclusive subscriber-only covers, access to the biggest stars and the best news, reviews and behind-the-scenes reports straight from the set. Click here to find the perfect offer for you


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The 15 Most Memorable Character Deaths Of The Year
2014’s RIP honour roll

Review Of The Year: 10 Best Soundtracks Of 2014
The scores and OSTs to add to your playlist

Watch: Night At The Museum's Cast Share Their Favourite Robin Williams Performance
Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Ben Kingsley pay tribute to the actor

Watch: Jack O'Connell And Luke Treadaway Talk Unbroken
On POWs, panto and how to name your bomber

Review Of 2014: The 15 Best Cameos Of The Year
Our favourite one-scene movie-stealers

8 Things You Can Learn From The BFI's Star Wars Exhibition
The original crawl, a 'grotesque' villain and a very different princess

Review Of The Year: 40 Worst Posters Of 2014
One-sheets that you'd rather not have on your wall

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)