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Tales of Xillia - EU release on 9th August


davejm
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Anyone else looking forward to this? I picked up my PS3 only recently (just before Ni No Kuni came out) so I've been looking at the releases for the rest of the year. This seems to have been received well in Japan (a sequel has already been released there) and I enjoyed Tales of Vesperia on the 360.

Has anyone played the Japan copy? If so, got any thoughts on it?

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I pre-ordered Xillia yesterday. I don't know a whole lot about it other than it's a Tales game, though.

I've seen a few copies of Graces F about, some kind of special edition. Is it particularly good? The only Tales game I've played was that one on the GameCube, which didn't really grab me.

I think all of the first run of Graces f were 'special' edition (maybe all of them ever?) and Xillia seems to be the same way (with different levels of special). The stuff with Graces was borderline worthless, though (DVD of YouTube Q&As, CD of WAV files for the soundtrack and a tiny art book).

I really enjoyed Graces - I put over 70 hours into it doing side quests and stuff, but it is very generic. If you didn't enjoy Symphonia (which I think is pretty highly regarded as Tales game go), I'd give it a miss.

I've got higher hopes for Xillia, given it's a proper PS3 game, not a Wii port.

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  • 1 month later...

I was thinking the same. I have only played Symphonia, up to now.

But heck, I went ahead and ordered this. JRPGs tend to disappear quite quickly, although I have a bunch lined up to play, anyway.

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My favourite is the original game, Tales of Phantasia but it's a SNES game and perhaps not quite what you are looking for. Of the modern games Tales of Symphonia is probably the best, but I also really enjoyed Tales of Vesperia.

The thing with Tales games is that they are pretty much all the same though. There are variations in the battle system and such but the structure and gameplay always follows the same patterns so you need to be a pretty big fan of JRPG's in general and Tales games in particular to want to play more of them. So if you have already played Symphonia but you're not a hardcore fan it's difficult to recommend other parts of the series really.

Edit: Saying this I just noticed that Tales of Vesperia is really cheap so I can recommend that :P .

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What is the best Tales game? I played Symphonia and adored that. Any that are on par or better than that?

Vesperia's probably your best bet.

The Symphonia sequel's not as great and suffers a bit from nostalgia syndrome but it has some of the best skits in the game.

Graces F is a bit of a love it or hate it game but I personally couldn't stand it.

Abyss is on the 3DS and I quite liked it but it suffers from some odd characterisation.

Symphonia is getting a re-release probably next year with both games included on box.

Anyway, so far played an hours and Xillia's not proving too bad overall. I don't immediately hate either Jude or Millia so that's always a positive start.

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Unfortunately being a 3DS game, Abyss has absolutely terrible display issues in 3d. I'll just play it on ps2 if I ever getting round to trying it again. I've only properly played two Tales games before starting Graces recently, Symphonia and Eternia (psp, port of Destiny II, which wasn't actually a sequel to Destiny 1), but you only need to hear the music to recognise a Tales game.

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Vesperia's probably your best bet.

The Symphonia sequel's not as great and suffers a bit from nostalgia syndrome but it has some of the best skits in the game.

Graces F is a bit of a love it or hate it game but I personally couldn't stand it.

Abyss is on the 3DS and I quite liked it but it suffers from some odd characterisation.

Symphonia is getting a re-release probably next year with both games included on box.

Anyway, so far played an hours and Xillia's not proving too bad overall. I don't immediately hate either Jude or Millia so that's always a positive start.

Yeah, I hated Graces F too, the battle system was just horrible. Will be interested to hear if you're still liking Xillia in a few more hours, because it could probably convince me I'll get on with it!

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Abyss is the only Tales game I've completed after abandoning my original playthrough on the PS2 years ago. Negatives for the port are that it doesn't look as good when you're walking around the world map and suffers from some slowdown on the world map as well that wasn't in the original. On the plus side it fixes the horrendous load times that the PS2 version suffered from making it a lot easier to play. I really enjoyed it and up until Animal Crossing it was my most played game on the 3DS.

I ordered the stupid CE of Xillia direct from Namco and it's currently with a French courier somewhere in France for delivery to my home address tomorrow when I'm at work so I have no idea when I'm going to get to play it.

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Yeah, I hated Graces F too, the battle system was just horrible. Will be interested to hear if you're still liking Xillia in a few more hours, because it could probably convince me I'll get on with it!

Well I've only hit maybe the 3-4 hour mark and have three members in my team but thus far I am liking it so much more. The chemistry between the three is just enjoyable and not marred by that weird dichotomy of "Man, I can't believe the world's going to end and it's all our fault....Hey! Remember that time that Cheria punched a squirrel, that was sooo funny!" that Graces F had with it's characters. Thus far anyway.

The battle system seems to be a mix of Graces CC system in that you can only do a certain number of attacks per "turn" as it were but you can use whatever artes you like as long as you have the TP for it.

I must say though, it looks fucking amazing.

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Hmm. There's no audience for this here it seems, which is a shame - I've only played about two hours, but what's there is really pretty good. Voice acting's fine, backgrounds and especially the skyboxes are gorgeous and the story's not badly done so far. Certainly enjoying it a lot more than Ni No Kuni, for example.

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So far I'm liking it considerably more than Graces f, which I dropped fairly quickly, but I don't think the series is ever likely to properly win me over.

As with the other games I've played in the series, a lot of its elements seem very workmanlike. The soundtrack, for example, might as well be an RPG Maker asset given its level of specificity, the same being true for a lot of the art or monster design. For me there's little sense of place or coherence to the game world.

That said I'm not finding it unenjoyable, just unexceptional. I don't want to set fire to the characters so that's a new personal high with the series so far, whilst the system side has some interesting elements; I really like the Sphere Grid-esque levelling system. Supposedly things pick up once the first chapter's done so I'm definitely going to give the game more time.

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I'm only a few hours in, but already pretty impressed by the fair amount of depth on show for the combat system. Each character's got their own little quirk when you control them (Jude can pop up behind monsters when he successfully evades, Milla can either quickly fire off little spells or hold to cast proper ones), the linking system with link artes and linked character effects (Jude will heal you if you get knocked down, Milla will 'bind' enemies in place'), as well as skills which benefit linked characters too. There's a lot going on.

The only downside so far are the slightly identikit 'wilderness' sections in between the towns- these areas are incredibly generic, the graphics are pretty basic, and they're little more than corridors funneling you to the next destination with the odd side track for a treasure chest or harvest point. I want my world map back. Also, because there are so many monsters, and they seem to respawn upon re-entering these areas, it's difficult to get any idea of exactly how many you should fight/avoid.

Also, I slightly miss Graces' mapped out basic attack move tree for when you attack with a direction. I know the direction button influences the basic attack, but with some characters it's difficult to work out exactly what kind of attack they'll do at what time, which is especially confusing when some mix short and long range.

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Played a bit further through and assembled 6 of the cast currently. It's wearing off some of the initial good charm due to some (one really) of the new members and the storyline's beginning to grate a bit with it's non-subtle foreshadowing of future events/plot twists.

That said, it's still highly playable and certainly more than Graces. I'll echo Retroguy above and say while the linking areas between towns are probably the best they've done for a while, I do miss the sense of scale that a proper world map brings. It suspends disbelief when a character says reaching a neighbouring will take a day when the traveling takes all of five minutes.

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The field areas are kind of boring yet compulsive. There's not much to navigating them and in terms of scenery there's very little actual variation just a lot of palette swapping, but hoovering up the various items and keeping an eye out for crawl spaces is really quite satisfying.

Anyway, I've ended up warming up to this game considerably. Some of the genre staples are still maddening — awkward terms, needless exposition, oblivious characters that are lucky cars don't exist — but there is a lot of charm and intrigue to the world and its inhabitants if you manage to scratch away the layer of cliché. Despite being compelled to copy edit every other sentence in my head, the story does eventually head in some quite interesting directions, with the setting changing enough that I'm genuinely interested in playing Xillia 2 when it comes out next year.

I think the fighting system gets significantly better as you unlock more Artes, but my earlier experiences with it were also marred by certain aspects not being surfaced as well as they could. A simple one is that you can run into the backs of enemies on the field for an opening advantage — or walk into them for an even better one — but I also didn't grasp the importance of Arte Chains until many hours into the game. It's a cool mechanic once you've set up your party to make proper use of it, but as you don't explicitly need to I ended up neglecting it for a long time. I'd urge people to get comfortable with the systems early on rather than coast until things get challenging as it really does make battles more enjoyable.

"Unexceptional" probably still fits this game but I'm much more comfortable recommending it to people after putting more time in. At its worse it's inoffensive, so if you can stomach some anime tropes there's a lot of fun to be had. Xillia's systems are compelling, and pleasingly exploitable, so if you're in the mood for some less intensive JRPG meandering you could do significantly worse than picking it up. It's going to be the first Tales game I've ever finished, so that must count for something!

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Great post Aimless.

I must admit, I'm struggling to engage with it. I'm only 4 hours in so I'm going to keep going, but I'm finding the cut scenes excruciating. There doesn't seem to be any flow to the dialogue - so a character says something; there's a delay; a head/body movement or facial expression; another delay, before the next character does the same. It's painful. I think the Last of US has ruined me :( That said, I had prepared myself mentally for this as I know these games don't excel at that, so I'm hoping I can get past that and that I can engage properly with it.

Can you describe the Arte chains in a bit of detail? I like the combat, but I'm just winging it at the moment and I don't really feel like I know what I'm doing. I'm spamming Demon Fist and building up my gauge until I go into overlimit. Is there anything I might consider doing differently? Can I use other artes when chained? I don't think my Cerberus Strike builds the gauge up?

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Can you describe the Arte chains in a bit of detail? I like the combat, but I'm just winging it at the moment and I don't really feel like I know what I'm doing. I'm spamming Demon Fist and building up my gauge until I go into overlimit. Is there anything I might consider doing differently? Can I use other artes when chained? I don't think my Cerberus Strike builds the gauge up?

I don't claim to be an authority on the subject, but the gist is that whilst Linked to another character any attack builds up the gauge on the left of the screen. Once a segment of it is full an icon at the top of it will flash yellow signifying that you can pull off a Linked Arte by pressing R2 when the circular symbol appears over your character after pulling off a linkable Arte. An important thing to note is that doing so doesn't eat up your gauge as you might expect, so you don't need to be conservative.

The Artes that can be linked depend on your current partner. You can access a list of compatible moves in the Artes menu, either from the overworld or by pressing Triangle during battle; a green symbol next to the name of an Arte is a quick way of seeing attacks relevant to your current partner. As such your characters' potential for Linked Artes grows as everyone learns more abilities and they gain more points of connection.

When your gauge is capped and you enter Overlimit, pulling off a Linked Arte gives you a window of opportunity — denoted by a symbol in the middle of the screen during the animation — to segue into another linked Arte. As an example, if I know that the Artes I have mapped to up and down on the right stick can be Linked with my current partner I can chain both together by pressing up on the stick, hitting R2 to activate the Linked Arte and then pressing down on the right stick during the chain window.

Each Linked Arte can only be used once per chain, so the more options you have the longer it can be; certain character pairings seem more 'compatible' than others. That said you can also change partners during a Chain using the d-pad, so if you can remember which Artes link with the various characters you can knock out a very long chain.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Finished this today. All in I thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes the skits are crap, as always with the tales series. Yes the voice acting was shonky with some awful, grating voices (if only you could mute just bloody Teepo)

But......when the linking system clicks and you get into grinding materials to level the shops the whole thing opens up and becomes utterly addictive. So much so that I over levelled prior to the end fight and had way better weapons than the supposed ultimate weapons dropped by the devil monster things.

At the end of the day it's yet another trad JRPG, great for fans of the genre but unlikely to win over any new converts.

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