The Tales series is known for its action packed battles. The problem is very few of the Tales games have come to the West. This seems to be changing with the release of Tales of Graces F. Yesterday, August 6th, Namco Bandai released Tales of Xillia. The follow up Tales of Xillia 2 will follow on the PS3 early 2014. May got into the Tales series with Tales of Symphonia which will be seeing an HD remake along with Dawn of the New World on PS3 as well. Altogether it is a great time to be a Tales fan if you have a PS3.
Tales of Xillia brings some interesting changes. First up you decide between two main characters. The player sees the story unfold from that character's perspective. You choose between Jude Mathis and Milla Maxwell. Jude is a medical student and Milla is a "mysterious young woman." While the story may not change much this could give incentive to play through the game again to see other possible plot points.
Jude starts off coming out of a class and going to see another professor. Long story short, things do not go so great and he ends up meeting Milla. Eventually you begin facing enemies in battles. The first few are tutorials but after this you'll only occasionally get some tips as you go on. Battles control like you'd expect, you have basic attacks, Artes, a block/dodge. You can move back and forward in a straight line or hold L2 to free run around an point. Once you get to the point where you level up you see Tales of Xillia's new leveling system. Gone are the days of doing demon fang 150 times to get a skill. This time you unlock orbs on a grid that give you various stat bonuses and can lead to skills or Artes being unlocked.
This could be a double edged sword. It could really help you adjust your party members to your playstyle but not really knowing which character is good at what could be a problem. For example Jude starts off with a healing spell, but it's not clear if he has enough spells to be a dedicated healer or if he is more of a support healer, one would guess the latter. It will likely make some hope there is a respec option somewhere during the 40+ hour adventure.
Graphically the game may not look amazing, but it does a good job with the characters and the environments. Battles look nice, seem to have plenty of effects even this early on (an hour or so). Anime cutscenes are absolutely gorgeous as expected. Overall it looks to be a very fun experience that Tales fans won't want to miss.
What do you think? Have you gotten Tales of Xillia? Planning on getting it?