Tales of Xillia Updated Hands-On

We check out the first five hours of an import copy of Namco Bandai's latest role-playing game.

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The last time we checked on the colorful world of Tales of Xillia, we elaborated on its story and fighting system. This time, we'll explore more about the game's leveling-up system and early major boss fights.

Before getting ahead of ourselves, we should provide a recap. The game's story is about Jude and Milla on the lam from the government authorities after inadvertently messing with the game's MacGuffin, a spirit-draining cannon. Along the way, they come across potentially shady mercenary Alvin; shy-but-powerful magician Elise Lutus; long-ranged spirit user Rowen J. Ilbert; and Jude's childhood friend Leia Rolando. The linear motion combat system in the series now emphasizes cooperation. Players can assign a "master" to tag alongside a "partner" to attack a single target simultaneously, which leads to them juggling an enemy or performing a specific tag-team attack that deals a lot of damage.

Will the possible US version of the game have access to bunny suits and Idolmaster garbs?

The level-up screen also takes a turn for the visually fancy and open ended. Dubbed the Lillial Orb grid, each attribute you can upgrade is displayed in a weblike fashion, from a character's attack or defense rating to his or her TP limit. Activating four adjacent nodes on the web allows you to unlock an additional power-up or skill for free; these range from passive skills that use up SP slots or even active skills that use up TP. To expand the next ring on the web, you need to activate two skills (highlighted with a bigger symbol than the rest) on the outermost ring. It's definitely easier to comprehend than Final Fantasy X's sphere grid system, as each node is laid out in a uniform position and each has symbols representing each attribute.

We could also level up shopkeepers to make them sell better equipment and give us good discounts for lower-tier items. Throughout the dungeons and fields, we amassed a lot of random components and items from encounters or map exploration that we could give to shopkeepers to level up a particular section, be it weapons, armor, or items. While some may argue that the old system of getting better items as you uncover later locales is just fine, power levelers can abuse the system by grinding for materials to access high-powered weapons at an early stage. Plus, it's a lot better than going through the motions of synthesizing different items in a tedious fashion as in past Tales of titles.

We also tangled with a few bosses that gave us quite a challenge as we were getting to grips with the new combo-based battle system. Our first opponent was a squid-turtle hybrid that used water-based attacks. These attacks either surrounded the monster temporarily or shot out in a straight line following its target. If it was cornered or surrounded, it would jump up and do a telegraphed stomp attack that hit close where it landed.

Relax, this web level-up system isn't as hard to understand as you think.

Fortunately, it was slow and weak against fire. Fighting against the beast also taught us the ability to link different artes after performing the team-up attack. Figuring out which artes link with each other after pressing R2 is key in keeping a chain combo going while the enemy is being juggled so that your overlimit bar isn't wasted on just a single attack.

The other boss was a giant man named Jao who comes from the Ha Mil village; we won't disclose much more than that because it is story related. What we can share is that he wielded a giant hammer to attack and could also summon the local wildlife to aid him. Unlike the other monster, he was fast for someone his size and couldn't be interrupted while performing his combo hammer swings that were capped off with a huge area-of-effect earth attack. We had to circle around him while the AI-controlled party members distracted him. It helped a lot that he was weak to wind, so we used Milla's wind slash attack to perform a tag-team attack, with Jude following up with a couple of link artes to pile on the pain.

We anticipate combat to test us harder later in the game, but the overall feel is great and flexible. The tutorial and learning curve of the battles a few hours before the first boss is sufficient to gets new players into the spirit of things, although it helps if they have previous experience with any of the titles using some form of the linear motion battle system (Tales of the Abyss and other titles after that). Figuring out which artes could link with each other during a link artes and tag-team attack is akin to finding out an efficient combo in a 2D fighting game. The system will eventually get deeper as you unlock more moves and passive abilities for each character via the level-up system.

FALCON PUNCH!

The little touches added onto the seemingly old-school action-heavy role-playing game were appreciated during our playthrough. We could climb onto specific ledges to bypass obstacles, ambush encounters from behind to gain the upper hand in combat (either by stunning or dealing a bit of damage to them), and fast-travel to previously visited locations.

With a good combination of old-school action-heavy trappings and new-age conveniences, Tales of Xillia seems to be shaping up into something potentially grand for RPG fans. The game is currently out now in Japanese, but an English version has yet to be determined.

Discussion

51 comments
HyouVizer
HyouVizer

so cause they did this preview already for its original format (JPN) they aren't gonna do a review of the game at all now that it's in english?

TwiliPrincess93
TwiliPrincess93

They had better bring this to the US!! Bring it for PS3, since we couldn't have Vesperia on PS3 we should at least get this one!

keichimorisato9
keichimorisato9

though i love me some jrpg and tales of is my favorite jrpg i was just pointing that out

keichimorisato9
keichimorisato9

the reason fps games are so popular is because you don't nee to think as much yes you do have to strategize and what not but jrpgs have too much reading involved so no one wants to play where you have to read most everything and experience a story

Yams1980
Yams1980

i'm still playing tales of vesperia and that game is god sized in terms of rpg games. I'll watch this game closely and i was hoping it would hit xbox 360... not a fan at all of the ps3 controller.

zero_123456789
zero_123456789

Let's all sign the ongoing petition and let namco bandai that we all love tales series! google petitiononline tales of xillia and sign there!

blackace
blackace

Nickman300 said: @blackace actually, the 360 did so poorly in Japan that Japanese support of it has been largely withdrawn. While it's still probable that Japanese games that are developed with the 360 in mind from the get go will still get an American 360 release, very few games will be developed for PS3 and then later translated and ported. ******************************************************************* It didn't do as poorly as the original XBox, which means it gain more market shares and that's what Microsoft is trying to do. If you think M$ won't release their next XBox in Japan again, you're crazy. They will try to sell 3x's more then what the XBox 360 sold. The system is still getting support from Japanese developers. It's starting to slow down because a new XBox is being developed and I'm sure Microsoft will be shipping dev kits to Japan developers in the near future. Not many PS3 or Wii games get ported to other consoles in Japan. It happens more with American games in the U.S., especially coming from the PC platform.

OreoPoptart
OreoPoptart

sad it's not gonna be released in America...

ryzrocks
ryzrocks

although FPS are very famous in this era but I know for a fact that most of us here are RPG and JRPG fans and we will definitely get this game...as soon as it is released in the U.S..and what BillyColeman say is also true maybe these Japanese dudes should spend more time promoting these games in other countries than just JAPAN...there are more people living in the U.S and Canada anyway

BillyColeman
BillyColeman

mutantcupcake sure you are right but look at Bandai and Namco thay are cash cows just like capcom with monster hunter if a few fail thay drop it state side its not fair but on there side of things thay know that it will cost less just to have 1 dub no subs and 0 translation and thay all so know that can market item there to 100% with billboards tv spots toys ect here tv spots wont get much play time toys will only sell to fans and billboards wont happ fact is its cheaper to keep a game were the fans enjoy it then try to market it were lots of ppl still think anime looking stuff is weird. not us fans but lots of ppl in the usa think that way hell just look at the new eww fps battle field game look how thay market it? with rap Namco cant do that with Tales of Xillia EA Games tv spot for Crysis 2 shooting + rap its just the way the usa is n i hate it but what can you do to be fair ill say its far to soon to say Tales of Xillia wont come out state side as it just came out in japan sep 8th so we got nothing but time

Blackicex36
Blackicex36

I just think another good Tales game is due. Besides the linear motion system really gets you into the action. Take this as my vote to get it here

mutantcupcake
mutantcupcake

Sure, the FPS market is definitely hurting the localization of JRPGs in America, but still, it doesn't mean that they shouldn't localize some of the best JRPGs this generation. Just look at Atlus. Just because the majority of Americans don't buy JRPGs anymore, they didn't stop bringing over games for the people who do. It's ridiculous that Atlus is willing to bring over just about every game they make for their fans, and Namco and Bandai won't bring over major installments in one of the most beloved JRPG series of the last decade. Is the FPS craze hurting the JRPG industry, yes. But the developers who make the decision not to localize their games are hurting the fans who support them, and that certainly isn't helping the problem.

deathknightleo
deathknightleo

surport tales of graces f if the sales r high enough on that game namco bandai will release tales of xillia soooner or later. they need to see there is a market for it first... keep hopeing and it will happen

Nemezzis
Nemezzis

The FPS hysteria destroyed this era of video games.

MajinSquall
MajinSquall

@BLACKWINGS17 think your self lucky i live in the UK and we hardly got any of the Tales games plus @BillyColeman is right if americans actually brought games other than FPS then maybe you would get more JRPGS there is no point releasing a game where there is little to no market for it plus the 360 is the bigger selling console in the US where the PS3 is the bigger in Japan (and most of the EU) so that's even less of a market for in america a PS3 only JRPG it's all about sales and if they think it's not worth it why release it??? P.S not trying to offend anyone just saying it as i see it

BillyColeman
BillyColeman

BLACKWINGS17 mise well thank the ppl of the US for not buying jrpgs rather makeing fps trash #1 on there list this game may hit state side but if not i dont blame japan at all as someone who is there a lot the japanese ppl love rpgs and good fun loveing games and the usa not all but lots love gore cussing and shooting sad fact not trying to be rude as i live in the usa and was born there

BLACKWINGS17
BLACKWINGS17

Just another awesome Tales title that we will miss out on. This has been the weakest generation of consoles of all time as far as RPGs are concerned. Thanks, Japan, for making the PS3 into an awesome system - and then keeping all of the best RPGs for youself.

dknutz4187
dknutz4187

this game looks pretty interesting hope it comes to the US before christmas or new years

the_esherick
the_esherick

im with the majority of the people here. I hope they bring this stateside (US)

Missilehawk
Missilehawk

Their is a petition on facebook to bring it out here in the west, go and sign it if you really love this game.

soulless4now
soulless4now

Bring this to west! We seriously need more Tales games.

Raidramon0
Raidramon0

I was learning Japanese so I could play the PS3 version of Tales of Vesperia, but this looks to be more worthwile. According to BN, this game already sold 650 000 copies.

Kagutsuchi22
Kagutsuchi22

BUNNY COSTUME!! Way to fire up the otaku crowd. =)

VivaRevolucion
VivaRevolucion

Man, I hate being a fan of this series..-_- It just sucks that everytime they announce a Tales title I gotta sit here and wait for them to make a decision about releasing it in the states. And sometimes, actually quite a bit, they don't. I just now ordered Vesperia on the 360, I was trying to wait out in hopes of the ps3 version with all the extra's, but didn't happen. These games are extremely charming, just a shame, guess I should start learning to speak japanese. :)

sapool
sapool

I'm praying that they release an english version.

LeozinhoGaiato
LeozinhoGaiato

I hope to launch this game in West. It looks one more masterpiece of the Tales of series.

santinegrete
santinegrete

Please Namco, determine to Bring this game to the west. Don't itch about losing money later if you don't release games that people actually want to play. Western RPGs won't turn me away of funny JRPGs like Tales mothership titles, and if someone told so, deserves a shot in a feet.

BasilVZero
BasilVZero

I hope this gets a US release D:

sagameister3
sagameister3

Any new Tales of game in the US would be nice.

AzelKosMos
AzelKosMos

Been ages since I played a Tales game, hope this gets an EU release!

thetruth7
thetruth7

yay more tales :) hopefully it comes to na XD cant wait for graces f also :D

Smithers2286
Smithers2286

They need to bring out Tales of Graces for Wii in the US!

Nickman300
Nickman300

@blackace actually, the 360 did so poorly in Japan that Japanese support of it has been largely withdrawn. While it's still probable that Japanese games that are developed with the 360 in mind from the get go will still get an American 360 release, very few games will be developed for PS3 and then later translated and ported.

blackace
blackace

All the other Tales have come out in US, so I don't see what they would omit this one. Namco needs to bring it. Hope they bring it out for the XBox 360 as well. Tales of Vesperia sold great on the 360 in Japan. They should bring these games out for both systems. The XBox 360 had tons of JRPG it's first 2 years and now they are skimping on it. Sure WRPG are going to sell better on the XBox 360, just like JRPG will sell better on the PS3 in Japan. WRPG are still released on the 360 in Japan, even though they aren't going to sell great.

CMakaCreative
CMakaCreative

sucks that Tales of Vesperia (PS3) never came out in the US. I enjoyed it thoroughly on the 360 & wanted to play it with all the extra's. I hope they don't stiff us on this one...looks pretty interesting.

KPKeeley
KPKeeley

It looks promising. Hopefully an English release is planned.

gaubanrei
gaubanrei

i would love to also see this on the 360. * here's to hopeing*

Slash_out
Slash_out

I am one of those eagerly wauting for the english release. Come on Namco. Wake up.

shaks101
shaks101

Need more English version please! Nice looking game regardless.

sakuranoame
sakuranoame

I have so much faith in this game so I imported it. Still waiting for it to arrive in the mail. As always, Canada Post is slow as a snail.

OrNiGhTZ
OrNiGhTZ

hm..I'll give it a try, let it hit the north

h1221292h
h1221292h

even if they determine it now, with Tales of graces f coming in 2012, I doubt it'll arrive before 2014. cuz namco takes a whole year for JUST localization!

Trebblebase
Trebblebase

If this come's out here in the west like Ni No Kuni, RPGs are looking up for the coming year :D

Hellavation
Hellavation

The English version has been yet to be determined but I hope they bring it to America because the combat system and crafting elements seem very interesting.

AceJakk
AceJakk

Well, they should determine it now.

yxw
yxw

@HyouVizer  

Guess not it has been over a week..... kinda sucks guess I will just use a different source.

dark_kartos
dark_kartos

 @TwiliPrincess93  Your prayers are answered. It only went to xbox, cuz microsoft paid through the nose to get it. Doubt they will do that again.