Japan Review Check: Tales of Xillia 2

A recap of the most interesting games coming out soon in Japan, courtesy of the reviews section in the latest issue of Famitsu magazine:

- Tales of Xillia 2 (9/9/8/9, 35 out of 40 points). TOX2 is by far the biggest release in a week that's otherwise occupied by stuff like Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 for the portable consoles. Famitsu's editors appreciated it more than well enough, giving it about the same average score as nearly every other Tales title in the main lineup has received over the past half-decade.

"The introduction of new battle styles like weapon-shifting and transformation make the fighting even more exhilarating than before," one editor said. "You have a lot of choices to make, so you really get the feeling that you're an active participant in the story. I'm a bit concerned about how the game initially starts out with a long string of unhappy events, but the story development and characters are both attractive. I love all of the extras to explore, too."

That editor wasn't the only one to complain about the general downer that the game seems to be storywise at first, but it looks like the peppy battle system, coupled with the fun character interaction that's a hallmark of Tales scriptwriting, saved the day. "The characters from the previous game are all back, making things lively," as another editor put it. "You get to see how they've grown and how they relate with each other from the perspective of a new hero, making it easy to get into even if you aren't familiar with them. However, the opening of the story has aspects that seem sudden and confusing to me."

- NBA 2K13 (9/9/8/8, 34 points): 2K Games' latest was only one point off from TOX2, although its content is likely to appeal to a far, far smaller chunk of the Japanese gaming marketplace.

"The players move more smoothly than before, to the point where I'm really impressed by it," one reviewer wrote. "The way all the dribbling action has been moved to the right stick makes it a lot more instinctive to pull off moves. The menu system can be hard to follow at times and takes a while to learn how to navigate, but I think it's fair to say this is the best game of the series."

Other reviewers echoed a complaint that's quite a bit more unique to the Japanese version: "I'm glad that the game was fully localized, but it's a shame that the Japanese text is displayed so small in some places."

(In case you're interested, Famitsu also reviewed the PSP version of NBA 2K13, giving it just 28 out of 40 points for its lack of major updates apart from stats. "There's a fair amount of volume to it,"as one writer put it, "but the modes available are almost exactly the same as before, so I can't shake the impression that you're not getting much out of this.")

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