The Tales of series has been a staple of the RPG since 1995 when Tales of Phantasia released and has seen a wealth of new titles since, gracing multiple different consoles. The latest iteration of the series to make its way stateside is Tales of Xillia, which we got to sit down and play over the Namco Bandai booth.
Right up front, the main thing you will notice about the game is that it features two main characters: Jude Mathias and Milla Maxwell. At the beginning of your game, you will have the option to select which character you want to live the story through. During the game, you will have times where the two will split up and whoever you chose will be the one you control. This should give players a high amount of replay value.
My demo put me on a large map where I was able to freely run around and take part in battles to test the combat system. On the battlefield you will see your enemies and be able to try and sneak up on them to get in a first strike, making them stunned for a short period when battle starts. The same can happen if you are surprised, but you can assign skills to try and negate this.
Combat is the same action packed system that you have seen in past Tales game, however it has one big difference. You can link up with another character on your team during combat and, after building up your gauge, you can pull up a combination attack which is different for each combination of characters in your party, which you can have four people in your party total. If you don’t really want to link up, you can also unlink and just mash away with a basic attack.
Tales of Xillia also features a skill board similar to Final Fantasy X-2, where you can spend GP points earned in battle to unlock new skills and upgrade your stats. Each character in your party also has a set number of skill points that can be assigned. Each skill available to you has a certain point value, making it where you have some strategy in what skills you have assigned to your characters.
Graphically, the game looks much like the past Tales games, with a bit of uptick on the characters themselves and the world around you, which looks great. The story will feature plenty of side missions to learn more about each character and unlike past games, all the skits will be voice acted and they will all be dubbed into English.
With over 35-45 hours of gameplay and 65-70 with extra stories and all, this is a game that will take up a lot of your time when it releases. Even though my demo was just the combat and a map, it was enough to win me over and get me super excited to play through it when it releases exclusively for the PlayStation 3 on August 6th.