Tales of Xillia Preview

We take a look at what Namco Bandai revealed about the latest Tales game, straight out of last week's Tales of Festival event.

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After much waiting, Namco Bandai not only revealed the release date of its latest role-playing game in the Tales series--Tales of Xillia--at a recent Tales of Festival event that was held in Yokohama, Japan last Saturday and Sunday, but also showed off new in-game and combat footage.

The game's story is set in a world called Liese Maxia, where humans and spirits coexist. Unlike in past games, there will be two main protagonists sharing the spotlight: Jude Mathis and Milla Maxwell. The former is a 15-year-old medical school student who fights enemies with his fists, while the latter is a female spellcaster who can summon elemental spirits and defends herself with a sword. Story-wise, Jude ends up crossing paths with Milla when he's looking into a spirit artes (the Tales term for magic) failure at a military laboratory in the middle of the night. They both uncover an army conspiracy, which eventually leads to their becoming fugitives.

Tonight, we dine on turtle soup!

Milla's elemental powers mysteriously vanish within that period, which makes the trek to clear their names a little harder. It also turns out that Milla is a fish out of water since she originates from ToX's spirit world. As a result, she comes off as airheaded and tactless when dealing with human affairs. The Tales series had always handled outcast protagonists with some dose of believability with Luke von Fabre (Tales of the Abyss) and Yuri (Tales of Vesperia), so it will be interesting to see how the chemistry between Milla's brashness and Jude's earnest behavior work out as the story progresses.

Joining the duo are Alvin, Leia Rolando, Elise Lutus, Tipo, and Rowen J. Ilbert. Alvin is a wandering mercenary who Jude and Milla come across while on the run from the military, while Leia is a childhood buddy of Jude's who works as an apprentice nurse and as a showgirl in an inn. Elise is a shy spirit summoner who constantly makes her floating stuffed doll Tipo to do all the talking, while Rowan rounds out the party by being the oldest and most experienced member of the group.

Conflicts in-game let you make full use of the Double Raid Linear Motion battle system and the Link Mode system. Like in Tales of Vesperia, you control your selected character together with an AI-driven party of four in wide-open combat spaces and attack enemies in real time. You will have access to skill and spirit artes (special attacks and spells, respectively) for fighting while also dodging and blocking counterattacks from foes. The newest addition is that combat will focus on cooperation.

Rowan may be old, but he's still got some tricks up his sleeves.

The battle system lets two characters tag-team with each other to take on targets. Based on the Tales of Festival video we've seen so far, Jude and Milla will be able to flank an enemy and blindside it into a juggle state. You can even unleash team-up special artes attacks while in the midst of a combo. Jude and Milla can perform a team-up move called Scarlet Fang, which launches an enemy in the air, followed up by blazing air slashes from the two. Alvin and Milla can perform an attack together where they summon an ice dragon to launch an opponent and then slam it down with a combined downward strike that emits a white beam from the ground.

When linking characters, the main person you control is called the "master" character, while the character you wish to have close to you is called the "partner." In battle, a thin blue line helps to highlight which characters are paired up. When the situation calls for it, a partner can use specific partner-only moves at any time during combat. For instance, when Jude pairs up with Milla, Jude can use his Restore spirit artes on Mira is she's set as the "master" character. If Jude is in the driver's seat, Mira can support him with the Bind spirit artes, which paralyzes an enemy he's confronting for a short time.

Alvin can help his partner out by using the Breaker combat artes, which breaks an enemy's guard if it's persistent with blocking. The move has a great chance of paralyzing the target. Leia can steal items from enemies knocked down by a master character's skill artes, while Rowen can cast a magic guard if the master character gets pelted by spirit artes. Elise's partner assist enables her doll Tipo to tag an airborne enemy and steal its health and technical points (the game's equivalent of mana points) for the master character.

Milla demonstrates the usefulness of Bind onto her unwilling participant.

The tag-team system adds a lot of interesting possibilities and eliminates the need of pausing combat halfway and enabling commands for the AI-controlled party members. The inclusion of a party-swapping option with the D pad (and a time-slowing option to do this via pressing R3) was also welcome, since now players do not need to constantly escape from combat just to switch up their party. As a result, the flow of combat was smooth, though the chaotic nature of the game's battle system will take some time to get used to. Keep in mind that you can choose not to link up characters; keeping characters apart can be useful whenever there are battles that require players to divide and bait the opposition.

Additionally, each character will have a personal combat ability. Jude has a special evade where he backsteps away from an enemy attack and then instantly appears behind it. Milla has a skill called magi that changes the properties of a spirit artes on the fly, while Alvin can pull off a charged-up finishing strike after performing a skill artes.

Clearly the floating doll has some anger management issues.

The game's aesthetics are combining the best of both worlds; specifically the anime stylings of Tales of Vesperia and the watercolor tones of Tales of Graces. As a result, ToX's visuals were vibrant and lush as any game set on a fantasy backdrop should be. The battles themselves are a colorful mix of firepower, aura, and sword slash trails. However, the game seemed to retain that problem where every character announces its attack every single time it's used. While hearing it the first time wasn't too bad, we predict that you will reach out for the mute button after the next few hours of experiencing combat.

In any case, the game is shaping up to be a worthy successor to the series thanks to the developer's method of retaining its fast-paced real-time combat while also adding in a few new tricks to pique the interest of the jaded RPG player in us. Tales of Xillia will be out in Japan this September 9 for the PlayStation 3. An English version of the game has yet to be announced. A limited-edition bundle of the game that comes with a custom-colored PS3 is also up for purchasing for 37,980 yen.

Discussion

40 comments
zoeyleft
zoeyleft

mmm good old school jrpg makes me wanna pull my pants down

S0mEGuY12
S0mEGuY12

@DKnutz187 I think what he meant by "Final Fantasy 13 would like to say hi" is that they SHOULDN'T take advice from said company, because FF13 was a terrible game. Funny, because the so called flaws that you mentioned about "Anime styled" RPG's are what exactly FF13 was made of. The storyline was stupid. The combat was EXTREMELY stale, AND boring. Ironic huh? And "anime styled" RPGs? Really? Is that how you categorize them? You're pretty ignorant dude.. Both Tales and FF are of the JRPG genre.. Also, a large amount of FF is considered anime.

djxpetrovic
djxpetrovic

Why only PS3??????? Are they mad? I was really hoping they would release it for X360....:(

Stardust7
Stardust7

LOL This game is all ive waited for.A nice RPG game,but for PS3 only... I wonder why...i think a terrible error do that in these days...and im very disappointed with Namco cuz that...Actually i think thats a true dumbness cuz alot of xbox 360 players could to buy this game and they could to get more money if they release to both plataforms....Titles like that shoulnt be exclusive thats idiocy cuz they r too rare ( not like a fps or adv/act game) and could to sell too much more if was multi plataform....lol if u think the same post your thinking too.

Dpl420
Dpl420

This is bin takin forever to get out

BlackBaldwin
BlackBaldwin

I love the tales games but what the heck the ps3 hasn't gotten any of them where I live. another reason why I hate bandai namco since they apparently hate us usa gamers.... Not all of us Like the fps genre gosh where has all the good rpgs gone...

Aderdunn_3
Aderdunn_3

I am sick of the FPS sh!t....bring more jrpgs to America and Europe!

Aderdunn_3
Aderdunn_3

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

DKnutz187
DKnutz187

OKAY TO CLEAR THINGS UP ON MY COMMENT WHAT I MEAN BY (TAKE SOME ADVICE FROM SQUARE ENIX) I MEANT HAVING THE CHARACTERS MOUTHS MOVE WHEN THEY TALKED AND MOVE AROUND INSTEAD OF SITTING THERE FF WILL ALWAYS BE THE BEST RPG BECAUSE NOONES GRAPHICS OR GAMEPLAY CAN MATCH SO KEEP YOUR CARTOONY ASS RPG'S SO WHEN YOUR READY TO GROW UP FF13-2 WANTS TO SAY HI

xenogearz88
xenogearz88

I want this game....now...I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want ......did i mention i want it badly?

packtop
packtop

@Dawn_Kill Lot of gamers in japan are lolicon lover and like to see 15 years old character or a character who look like a 15 years old. Don't ask me why i don't understand japanese taste either...

FusionRain
FusionRain

I like the "Tales of" games, my fav being Symphonia, i'll keep my eye on this.

Dawn_Kill
Dawn_Kill

BASTARDS! bring this to Xbox360 as well T_T! played every non-japan-only tales game there is so far.. :x *edit, they really should stop putting 15yr old char's in it imo... or are the rest of the fans lolicon lovers ?

sonictank
sonictank

PLZ PLZ PLZ bring this game to na im a very faithful follower of the tales series heck i even watched every single anime tales series including the best one tales of the abyss i cried at the end of that series.

shadowysea07
shadowysea07

vesperia had decent sales it just wasn't near what they want which is 400k. the problem is they don't bother trying to draw more people into the series to get more sales. they don't announce release dates properly and usually wait till a month before it comes out. then they pick awful release dates near ff and other games. if they want more people other than the set 250k na fanbase to buy these games they need to put in effort themselves. fans are actually trying really hard to advertise graces. meanwhile all the company has done so far was release jpn screen shots. they don't even have a release date yet let alone a quarter picked.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

@raptures330 - You totally misunderstood my statement. I loved Tales of Vesperia, but Namco never brought the PS3 version with all the extra goodies here to North America. So I'm hoping we don't miss out on another PS3 Tales game is what I'm saying.

raptures330
raptures330

@SavoyPrime What do you mean? I found ToVesperia to be highly enjoyable. I especially liked Rita in her devil outfit "blah blah blah blah"ing things to death.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

They better not screw us over like they did with the PS3 version of Tales of Vesperia. Quality JRPGs are becoming a thing of the past this generation.

ChaosDynasty
ChaosDynasty

@taxonomic if i remember vesperia did bad. worldwide it sold like 240k in 2008-2009 for 360.namco goal is that they wanted about 500k. the ps3 version sold 147k in a day and 352k in less than a year in japan of 2009. when i say the game could bomb i never said anything about putting the blame on one side alone. namco expect FF sales numbers and blamed us for bad sales when they don't advertise their games at all. i dont know if namco cares for the series, its more like they dont care about fans OUTSIDE of japan. so namco should blame themselves for no advertising, and putting a game on a platform that is a nest for FPS and has the least jrpg fans.

Alastor-10
Alastor-10

Hopefully the combat is revamped. Sure it looks nice, but wheres the challenge if your team mash stuns an enemy for a 40 hit combo? Really hope they take a step forward on this.

taxonomic
taxonomic

@ChaosDynasty What it means is that Tales fans use what you said as an excuse as to why we don't get many Tales games. Even if a Tales game does moderately well for itself (Like Vesperia) Fans like you use the "You guys didn't buy enough" excuse when explaining why we aren't seeing more games. (Like Innocence, Hearts or Vesperia PS3) The real truth isn't lack of sales, the real reason why we don't get them is because Namco truly doesn't care about the series. If Graces sells 25,000 copies that's a hit for a Tales game, yet you'll probably be the first to say it bombed and you'll go around blaming everyone except the real culprit: Namco-Bandai themselves.

AnonYC
AnonYC

Looks good so far, will look a lot better if we get an official localization announcement.

Lunar6
Lunar6

@ChaosDynasty Hell, Final Fantasy's been the pinnacle of corny, badly written, and utterly dated gameplay since FFX in all frankness. XIII just tried to make it edgy. And of course failed, as you imply.

ChaosDynasty
ChaosDynasty

@DKnutz187 lol. "take some advice from square enix". Really? Final fantasy 13 likes to say hi to you.

KaBo0m
KaBo0m

"While hearing it the first time wasn't too bad, we predict that players will reach out for the mute button after" lol no. This is a staple of the series and something that all tales fans love.

DKnutz187
DKnutz187

im sick of all these anime style rpg's there either boring or the combat is stale.theres really no depth in these games the story lines are usally stupid and unthought of.the cutscenes have limited audio i get sick of reading everything and sleepy watching the people stand there doing cheesy a** facial expressions.take some advice from square enix and step your game up and quit bumbarding us with these 60$ pieces of sh*t. THANK YOU

ChaosDynasty
ChaosDynasty

@taxonomic i dont understand how that is an excuse. "If the customer doesn't buy your stuff, next time you won't sell it to them."That is how it works. What do you considers bomb then.

taxonomic
taxonomic

@ChaosDynasty Well then there is no use even talking about it, since every tales game (Other than the GCN Symphonia) bomb anyway, so there ya go. I really can't stand when Tales fans use that excuse.

ChaosDynasty
ChaosDynasty

@James00715 It really boils down to how well Graces F sells in NA. IF it bombs then yeah, you are right.

James00715
James00715

Namco probably won't release it in America as always.

ChaosDynasty
ChaosDynasty

Looks great. Can't wait to play this after graces f.

franzito
franzito

I always have a bad feeling about anime like drawn character RPGs but... there's always a good one here and there...

Shadow-Elite
Shadow-Elite

I think chances of Xillia making it to the US depends on how Graces F sales.

Stryke19
Stryke19

2014? Try '12 or '13. But mostly 2012

twztid13
twztid13

so...2014 for the US (if we are lucky)?

Bigtakilla
Bigtakilla

 @DKnutz187 Kristen Stuart has more personality than the entire Final Fantasy XIII series, so enjoy that.