Revolurt's Import Review: Tales of Xillia - "I wonder can I protect the spirits and people too?"


Title: Tales of Xillia

Genre: JRPG

Platform: Playstation 3

Version: JPN

Release: September 8th, 2011

For those of you who are not aware, this game actually got a lot of bashing when it was released in Japan, which made me worried a lot. So before the English version is released, I decided to get the game myself to see what all the bashing is about and provide my opinions on the game before you guys decided to get it or not. So is it a good game, or is it a piece of trash like many fans in the Japan has claimed? Well, we will see.


The story of Tales of Xillia takes place in a world called Rieze Maxia. Inside the brain of the people who live in Rieze Maxia, there is an organ called "gate", an organ that generate an energy known as mana. By offering their mana to the spirits, which feed on human's mana, they can perform various magic that makes their life a lot easier and more convenient. Such rule has became part of the nature, and it allows humans and the spirits to live in harmony.

However, for some unknown reason, the spirits in the world are slowly dying, which caught the attention of Milla Maxwell, the master of all spirits. As her duty to protect both the people and spirits, Milla decided to set out her journey to find out what is going on and who is killing the spirits. Meanwhile in the city Il'fan, nurse student Jude Mathis also noticed the death of the spirits. While he was on his way to a lab facility to meet his professor, he found Milla trying to sneak into the facility. Without realizing it, the fated meeting has led both of them to a journey to discover their own true duty.


Maybe it's because I haven't play a proper JRPG for a while, but I have to say I really enjoy the story in Xillia thoroughly. The story cut straight to the point from the beginning to the end and it never drift away too far from the theme of the story (yes I'm looking at you, Vesperia), all the characters stick to the story without feeling out of place or feel annoying (except for Ivar, who thankfully is a mere comic relief and a NPC). I had mentioned it once, but Gaius is definitely my favorite character in the series, that's a king I would like to have and follow. And Milla, they really nail it when they describe her as a strong and independent character that every looks up to.


Of course, the story is not perfect. Though most of the flaws have to do with how the story is being told rather than the story itself.

Two Protagonists, Two Incomplete Story


As you might already know, the game feature two different protagonists, Jude and Milla, and you can pick whoever you like to start the game. So we are getting one game with two stories right?


First things is that pretty much 85% of the story in both sides are the same. While there are some minor differences in cutscenes and dialogues, the majority of the story will remain the same.

But hey, at least we are having 15% of differences, that's a good thing, right?


The different parts have their own problem as well, which bring us to the second problem: the parts that are exclusive to either Jude or Milla usually contain some rather important details about the story. Not being able to see what is happening in the other side constantly give you a big "WTF". Basically, instead baking two bread, what they did is to bake one bread and split in half, and you can only pick one of them.

The good news though, is that it actually isn't that much of a problem. What you don't understand now will probably be revealed later on in the story, my main complain is mostly from the fact that those information should have been revealed much earlier than they should.

Character's Back Stories Are Side Quests

Yes, you read that right, other than Jude and Milla, all four party members' back stories are revealed through side quests rather than in the main storyline, which create a rather similar problem that I just mentioned. If you don't go through the side quests, sometimes you will be confused by the behaviors or character developments of a certain character. While this isn't much of a problem for Elise, Rowen and Leia because their back stories are irrelevant to the main storyline, Alvin is a completely different story.

Alvin's back story has a huge connection to the main storyline, not to mention that what is revealed through those side events actually reflect on his behavior in the main storyline. There isn't anything wrong with the character, but without clearing those side events, I found myself having a hard time to understand any cutscenes that revolved around him, such as the reasons behind his action or his relationship with Presa.

Battle System

So enough with the story, let's talk about the game itself.

Tales fans should already know, but in case you are not familiar with the series, what makes Tales distintively different than other games in the same genre is the battle system. Unlike most JRPGs, Tales feature an action and combo based battle system, so instead of waiting for your turns before you attack, you will have full control of the character in real time and be able to perform various moves and combos. Of course, there are restrictions.

The battle system in Xillia uses the mix between Graces and Vesperia. You are free to chain any moves together for a limited amounts, but in the same time, you will also consume TP while doing so. I had some mixed feelings about it before I get my hands on the game, since it looks like they just simply smash the two battle system into one without any thoughts behind it to me (and it reminded me the horror I went through in Destiny 2).

The good news is that I was wrong, the battle system works really well. While satisfying, one of the flaws in Graces's battle system is that you can chain any moves together with not too much of a cost, which allow the players to spam the same move over and over again like there is no tomorrow, and the battles sometimes can become some brainless button mashings (and the normal attack is pretty much useless). In Xillia, mixing Vesperia with Graces actually solve this problem, since while you can do satisfying and fast pace combo, it also required TP, which make think twice before you start button mashing brainlessly and waste all you TP.


A new feature added in Xillia is the Linked System. In battle, two characters can be linked together, act as one pair and assist each other in battle, as well as preforming Linked Artes. At first I thought it's just another useless feature, but after some first hand experiences, I am very satisfied with it. While two characters are linked, their moves are not the only things that are changed, it also has an huge improvement on the AI as well. You are attacking an enemy? Well your AI partner will attack along with you too after your combo ended and help you extend your combo. Enemies behind you? They will handle them for you right away. Linked Artes are also a nice addition too, think of them as the mini version of your super moves.

Overall, the battle system works really well and it make every battles fun.

Character's Uniqueness

Another thing added to the battle system are each character's special ability. Each of the six characters have two unique abilities that are exclusive to them only, one for their actions, and one for the Link. For example, Jude can quickly move to the enemies' back for a surprised attack everytime he dodge and heal his partner whenever he is linked, Leia can extend the length of her weapon everytime she dodge an enemies attack, and steal enemies' items while she is linked.

Each character played differently, and there's not only determined by the moves and stats, but also their ability and their linked partner. And that gives you a lot of different play styles than you can ever have in a Tales game.

Lilial Orb

Another new feature added to the game. The Lilial Orb is something like the Sphere in Final Fantasy X. It allows you to customized how you want your character to progress everytime you leveled up. Stats is not the only thing that change in here, from your Artes, Skills, pretty much everything that has to do with your characters are obtained through here.


Sounds nice on paper, but it doesn't really affect the game that much. You will always want your brawler character has his STR increases, and the healing will have some boost on the INT, and if you are hardcore enough of a JRPG gamer, you will be maxing out everything in the orb anywhere. Of course, it's nonetheless a nice addition that no one will mind, it does give you some freedom on how you want your character to progress.

Quest Log

Yes, you have quest log now, and not only that, NPCs that give out side quests will have an exclamation mark above them. So now you know where to trigger them and you can also manage them in a much better way. If you are afraid that you might miss the side quest in the other town that you are not aware of, well sometimes there will be skits that give you hint for that too. Though one thing that can improve is that the information in the quest log can be a little bit more detail. I know I have to hunt a monster in the King's Hunting Field, the title of the quest already suggest so, but you can give me more specific details like the NPC that gave me the side quest does.

Lacking in Extra Contents

Now this is one part that I can't go soft on the game. Remember last time you were trying get maid waitress costume for Judith in Vesperia because meido is moe as fuck, or just any extra contents like Namco Island you will find outside of the main storyline. Well there are a few costumes in the game, like 1-3 for each character. Want the rest? Well, DLCs. I know they are just extra contents, but come one, unlocking them yourselves are much more fun than simply getting them by paying real money.

Well at least there are plenty of accessory you can have access to, like dressing up Alvin like a pimp, putting bunny ears on Milla's head or giving Jude twintail.



For the visual, one word: GORGEOUS.

You can just stare at the night sky in Il'fan (or Fennmont in the English version) for minutes simply because how pretty it looks.


There are also some details and effort being put into the background or area that you can access to, like you can see farmers working on the hill in Ha Mir, or the giant windmill in Kalakh Shal (or Sharilton in the English version).

Which also being us to another point.

Each location is carefully crafted with it's building style and culture. The world of Tales of Xillia is divided into two nation: Rashugal and Arjur. Rashugal looks more western, and Arjur looks more eastern. How do I know? Well because the game did a damn fine job at crafting the two nations, from how the building looks, to how the people dressed. Heck, even individual cities have their own unique elements, such as Il'fan is always at night, and Ha Mir is a small town full of local fruits.

One thing that Tales stands out from other JRPGs are the skits. Other than some comic relief, the skits this time also gives you hints about the game and story, as well as giving you some more in depth look into the character. Other than your regular Tales skits, there are also some small skits like the ones you see in Final Fantasy XIII, where the character will make a short comment on the location or situation with a portrait on the bottom.


Another new type of skits are battle skits, which have face portraits pop out on the top of the screen while in battles. These are all nice addition to the game's personality.

Now, for one part that probably not too many people are going to talk about, the anime cutscenes. Unlike the previous games in the series, they are no longer being produced by Production I.G., but a different studio named Ufotable. If you have watched Fate/Zero, Garden of Sinners or the Tales of Symphonia anime, you might probably be familiar with them. If not, well no need to worry, they look amazing, heck, even better than Production I.G.'s work.

Also, for the first time they will keep the Japanese song in the English version.

Voice Acting

Well I'm not playing the English version, so I can't comment on the English dubs, and I guess it's also kind of pointless to talk about the dub in the Japanese version? Oh well, it's a review, so I might just do it anyway.

The voice works overall are excellent, Gaius sounds exactly like how you expect a king everyone look up to to be, Hayami Saori as Leia is perfect, Sawashiro Miyuki is awesome, Sawashiro Miyuki is awesome and Sawashiro Miyuki is awesome.

The one I really have to mention though, it's Sugita Tomokazu, voice actor of Alvin. While the character pretty carefree, there is a one specific part in the story where Alvin gets really depressed. In that specific part, Sugita really showed off his voice acting, you can literally hear sorrow and pain from his voice. Thumbs for you Sugita. Still you are not voicing any Gundam show.


Yes, it's flawed, but overall, I'm very satisfied with the game, and it's definitely not the piece of crap everyone describe as. So, why would people claim so? Well, you see, it doesn't applied the western release, but it's actually the 15th anniversary game of the series. Compare to the 10th anniversary, Tales of the Abyss, it's really lacking in contents, like the ones I had mentioned above. Not to mention that fans in Japan has trauma of Vesperia and Graces, where there is always a director's cut version coming out an year after, so people become suspicious when the game is lacking contents and think that Namco is trying to pull the same scheme on the consumers again (which they did, but it's called Tales of Xillia 2 instead of Tales of Xillia f, and it happens to have the best story in the series). So is it a good game? Yes. Is it a good 15th anniversary game? Not really. Which is why people hated this game. Though I don't think the same thing will happen in the west, since is not 15th anniversary for you guys, nor do you have the trauma of Vesperia and Graces.


-Well written story

-Interesting characters

-Excellent visual

-Combat system is great

-Voice acting (the Japanese version, of course)

-Sawashiro Miyuki


-The dual protagonist story telling is a bit messy

-The two sides are pretty much the same

-Character back story are side quests

-Lacking in contents