It’s been a year since Namco Bandai Games released a new title in the “Tales” role-playing series, but if you’ve already beaten “Tales of Graces f,” it’s not yet time to put down the controller: The new “Tales of Xillia” comes out for PlayStation 3 in August.
This time, players take on the role of Jude Mathis – whose fists not only are used for fighting, but also hold the fate of two divided worlds – and his friends in a quest to save their planets from a new and dangerous military technology.
Everything players love about the “Tales” series makes a return in “Xillia.” The characters are beautifully designed; the series’ classic skits, short, fully voiced conversations between the characters, will be reused; stunning anime cut scenes are included; and the battle system, the core of every “Tales” game, will have some new touches.
As with previous games in the series, the “Xillia” battle system allows the player’s characters free movement. The player can control one character while the game’s AI controls three others.
What makes “Xillia’s” battle system unique is the ability to link characters’ abilities in order to make combination attacks.
The game has six different playable characters with different personalities and backgrounds, and unique weapons, fighting styles and abilities. As always, characters’ attacks and abilities can be assigned to different button combinations on the controller.
Like most other RPGs, the characters can be customized with different combinations of weapons, armor, trinkets and titles. The titles are labels that can be given to characters, and are earned by completing certain tasks in the game.
The “Tales” games are known for their high replay value, with players able to change the difficulty at any time, and start over with added bonuses after completing a game. Factoring all of that together, players could put in hundreds of hours on a game.
The bonuses are purchased in the Grade Shop at the beginning of a replay file, with rewards – called Grade – collected throughout the story.
Unlike the games before “Xillia” and “Graces,” in which Grade was awarded or deducted after each battle, Grade is accumulated in different amounts with each title acquired in the story. Unfortunately, in “Xillia,” Grade seems to be the only thing that the titles give you.
The Entertainment Software Rating Board rated the game “T” for Teen, because, as with the rest of the “Tales” series, it contains mild fantasy violence, some light swearing and some mild sexual themes. The game contains hardly any blood or gore, making it appropriate for people of middle-school age or older (emphasis on “or older”).
“Tales” series fan Zach Schikora spoke enthusiastically about the game’s release.
Schikora had previously played “Tales of the Abyss,” “Tales of Vesperia,” “Tales of Graces f” and “Tales of Phantasia.”
“I’m glad ‘Tales of Xillia’ is coming out in America,” said Schikora. “I can’t wait to play it.”
This new installation to the “Tales” series is one for fans of the series and newcomers can look forward to. Gamers should be on the lookout for the game’s sequel, “Tales of Xillia 2,” which will be released in 2014, and check out other “Tales” games, which have been released on a variety of platforms.
Let the battles begin.
Clancy D. Crismore is a University of Montana journalism student and an intern at the Missoulian.