Preview: Tales Of Xillia 2
Picking up from the fast paced anime-meets-JRPG action of the original, Tales of Xillia 2 promises more impossible hair, stunning cosplay inspiring costumes, quick fire battle action and spectacular Artes to sink some time into.
This time around players will follow the action through two new unsuspecting heroes; Ludger Will Kresnik, a gifted swordsman living in his brother’s shadow, and Elle Mel Marta a lively young girl attempting to flee to the fabled land of Canaan.
GGSGamer was lucky enough to be invited to spend a short time with TOX2, and see what’s in store in the series’ return to Reize Maxia and Elympios.
First off, it should be noted that last year’s preceding Tales of Xillia (read the review here) reached us as recently as August last year (two years after the original Japanese release), and the twelve month turn around for the localised sequel feels quite swift given the characteristically enormous scope of such RPGs.
The good news is you don’t need to have played Tales of Xillia to get swept up in Tales of Xillia 2. I admit I had a nagging sense before even picking up a controller that the sequel would exclude newcomers that didn’t have the necessary baggage of backstory from the original (I call this the Final Fantasy XIII complex) and hadn’t yet got around to experiencing one of 2013’s more unfairly overlooked releases.
New settings, lead characters and play options make Tales of Xillia 2 feel like a fresh start.
I was wrong. New settings, lead characters and play options make Tales of Xillia 2 feel like a fresh start, but returning fans will appreciate the familiar foundations the continuation has been built on. Returning cast members filter through into events evenly, so new and old comers alike feel fairly catered for.
One of my hang-ups from the original was the sheer bloated volume of cut-scenes. Thankfully this time round the events Ludger and Elle wind up in can be hastily manipulated with two multiple-choice outcomes. These work as quick time events that lean the player into deciding what course the narrative takes, a bit reminiscent of Heavy Rain’s landmark mechanics.
During early scenes Ludger is troubled by a sinister nightmare involving his rather ominously overbearing brother killing him. When prompted at breakfast, he can decide whether to tell his brother or keep schtum. Later Ludger is put through his paces in an exam and afterwards thrust into a disaster at a train station. I won’t spoil the details here, but having the choice to be honest or lie, or even decide whether to intervene in events or stay passive, gives the immense feeling of control – even if (for all I know from a one-hour play-about) both choices may occasionally result in the same outcome.
Tales of Xillia’s battle mode shine once more and TOX2 wastes no time thrusting Ludger into the fray. After a swift tutorial, Ludger can use his blades to lock-on and attack enemies while flinging artes – elemental special moves – which can be assigned to directional commands. Artes can be powered up through the Allium Orbs levelling system, ensuring more spectacular attacks later on.
As Ludger cuts droves of enemies down in a speeding train, he teams up with last year’s hero Jude Mathis, and things really get interesting. Battle is made better as part of a team and Linked Artes up the firepower. Two charters can join forces for a heavier attack providing you can corral them into the right position, and all the side-stepping and strategising put Tales of Xillia 2’s fighting more in the Tekken bracket than the Final Fantasy crowd.
With a deeply complex quest involving persona-splitting pocket watches, train-besiging terrorists, fleeing hero fugitives, dimensional shifts and debt collecting – Tales of Xillia 2 makes for exciting bewildering adventure from the get-go. We look forward to getting a bigger picture once the pocket watch ticks down to August 22.
Tales of Xillia 2 is out on PS3 22 August 2014.