“Truly Mental Storylines”
I don’t know if it’s just my recent rediscovery of the fantastic Japanese world that is ‘anime’ but this week’s game, Tales of Xillia, really appeals to me. Japanese popular culture is littered with heroes with over-the-top, pointy hair; girls with large moon-like eyes and truly mental storylines. I expect nothing less from Tales of Xillia.
Now, if you’re anti-Japanese RPGs, then this game is unlikely to change that opinion; it looks to be as typical as a Japanese role-playing game can be. But that’s all part of the fun!
“It’s Taken A Couple Of Years”
Tales of Xillia was originally released on Playstation 3 over in Japan back in September 2011 but it’s taken a couple of years to reach these shores; how fucking slow must those ships have been!? This is the 13th entry to the Tales series and the 8th to be localised for Western audiences. Think: Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest but less of a household name over here.
Taking place in the fictional world of Rieze Maxia, the game follows Jude Mathis and Milla Maxwell. The pair discover top-secret military research that involves spirits and no doubt spells doom for the whole world. It’s not really anime/manga/J-RPG if it doesn’t revolve around preventing the end of the world.
Gameplay is split between the field map and a battle screen (similar to the aforementioned Final Fantasy series) which implements the Dual Raid Linear Motion Battle System. I prefer the good old Active Time Battlesystem, personally. Even if just for the more simplistic naming convention.
“Seems ‘Crazy’ To Us”
I think it’s interesting to compare the typical Western RPG with their Eastern counterparts. There’s no surprise most UK and US-based gamers prefer Western-made games because they more accurately represent our culture; anything other than that seems ‘crazy’ to us.
Likewise, in Japan, they no doubt see our games as ‘boring’ or unoriginal. I grew up playing the fuck out of the Final Fantasy series so I’ve always had a place in my heart for Japanese RPGs; possibly more so than Western RPGs (though, I admit there are some fantastic Western RPGs: the Mass Effect and Fallout series’s to name just two).
Not surprisingly, Tales of Xillia has spawned a series of manga, books and audio CDs. It’s all unlikely to capture Western gamers but it’s similar to games like Dead Space spawning comic books and even animated feature films.
“A Beautiful World”
Looking at the review scores, Tales of Xillia actually looks like a good shout for RPG fans: 79% on Metacritic with 18 positive, 3 mixed and 0 negative reviews. Not too bad, eh?
So, if you’re a fan of the RPG genre (and of Japanese games in general) I’d pick up a copy of Tales of Xillia at your local online retail store. If you can get past the obvious ‘Japanese-isms’ you’ll discover a beautiful world you can get totally lost in for hours on end.
And, if you’re a multiplayer faggot, there’s 4-player online co-op.