Tales of Xillia from Namco Bandai 2 is a direct sequel to the hit JRPG, Tales of Xilllia that was released in 2013 in the west. There are a lot of similarities between the two as they share a lot of the same music and assets, etc. Although this plays into the games strengths, that sense of familiarity allows players to just jump right back into the world and enjoy the world of Xillia all over again. So, if you haven’t played the first game I highly recommend doing so to get a real sense and feel for the character and setting.
In the first title you had a choice of two characters and played through their story however, in Tales of Xillia 2 you play as a chef, Ludger Krenik, with his cat Rolo following along (who is the conduit for how you will experience the story for characters new and old). You also meet a mysterious girl Elle who joins you. This is one the areas where I feel Tales of Xillia 2 really excelled as they succeeded in having her not feel like a burden to the team and that she is a really great asset to the party, even if she doesn’t actually do any fighting.
The way the story progresses is all done through our silent protagonist Ludger, which is a bit of an odd design choice as at times I just felt frustrated and just wanted him to speak up for himself. The way he reacts to situations is by making a choice of 2 dialogue branches for him that changes the outcome of how the scene plays out but, rather than just blindly picking whatever dialogue branch that pops up your choices can affect an affinity metre that you have with all the characters. So, by choosing appropriate dialog options, some characters may get more affinity points which can lead to new skits with that character and skills.
Without spoiling anything you also fall into debt which you pay back slowly; this essentially allows you to move the story forward after paid a certain amount. For me, I liked this system as it encouraged you to go do side quests such as hunting down monsters, gathering and more to get money rather than just only doing the story and maybe missing what the game has to offer on a whole.
With its large cast, the character development in the game does not suffer at all as characters all get their own story arcs. As the game progresses through the story you can delve deeper into how each character works. The story arcs were impactful and great to follow through. Make sure to go through each characters story chapters as they are side quests which can be missed at times but luckily the game informs you of when they are up to play through.
The staple real time action combat of the Tales series makes a comeback, having you swinging hard and fast as you pull of a string of combos cycling through a set of three weapon styles Ludger can use. By pressing L1/R1 you can cycle through three very different play styles by dual wielding guns, swords and a single hammer. The guns are great for ranged attacks whereas the dual swords are great for up close and personal attacks and the hammer is amazing for smashing any defences an enemy may put up against you. The game retains it links system from Tales of Xillia where you can link with a character and partner up pulling of team special attacks and more.
The way you upgrade your skills is very different from Tales of Xillia as now you have something call an Allium Orb and you obtain different ones through various things such as hunts. You can equip these Orbs to any character and the longer they are equipped the skills on the orb will be passed onto the character. I can sort of compare this system in a way to Final Fantasy IX’s Ability Points system you earn Ability Points points from the equipped item then the character learns the skill its something akin to that. A nice feature to the game that adds more fun to the game is that if you bought any DLC costumes from Tales of Xillia you can use them in Tales of Xillia 2 so the money you spent on consumes aren’t redundant.