Tales of Xillia 2 is a direct sequel to the original Tales of Xillia game. Set roughly 12 months after the conclusion of the first title, you play the role of Ludger Will Kresnik. The Kresnik family have a particular trait that allows them to interact with fractured dimensions. With these fractured dimensions playing host to a decent amount of the games controversy as its guardian cannot control the balance any more it is up to Ludger and his mates to solve the problem and an even deeper mystery. All the while trying to get a small child named Elle to the mythical land of Canaan who is instructed by her father to do so.
Characters from the original make a return and expand on situations explored in the first game. Needless to say previous knowledge of the original game is a basic necessity. This was my first time with the series and I was a duck out of water. Fortunately enough there is an encyclopedia of sorts accessible from the menu at any time for those unaware of particular circumstances or in need of a refresher. From a development or series veteran point of view, it is an excellent method to dive right into the game whilst skipping unnecessary introductory formalities.
As far as presentation is concerned, Tales of Xillia captures the very essence of what anyone would expect a JRPG to entail. It is exceptionally elegant whilst still maintaining a high standard of mystery and excitement.
Characters new and old are individual and intriguing enough to each warrant your attention and concern – some even have their own missions swaying aside from the main plot to dive deeper into their persona. As I mentioned before this is a direct sequel to the first game and revisiting previously explored areas from the old game may feel unimaginative for returning players of the series.
The worlds are expansive and varied (even for the recycled portions) enough for anyone to become fully immersed in the game. Where I believe the game truly shines are its anime segments that are used for the story introduction and particular cut scenes throughout the game. Being translated from a game that originally released in Japan a couple of years ago the translation has shone through wonderfully leaving no blatantly obvious hiccups in the transition and is well received by a decent to strong voice cast.
As with any JRPG there are numerous items to be picked up and collected each offering various advantages and perks. Particular foods can regenerate health, AC or TP. As always certain enemy types have strengths and weakness which need to be taken advantage of during battle and it is a basic system that worked well. It forces the player to take on new strategies with their item loading, attack patters and even who they take into battle.
Tales of Xillia 2 features a decision making system for the progression of the game. It is usually press R1 to say this or press L1 to say that, similar for actions as well, react and fight now or question a situation and don’t fight for example. Over the course of the game the different choices can create quite a separate experience over two different play through, which is a great design choice if players are willing to plough through a roughly 20 hour campaign twice. I found the decision system to be one of merit and moral, it wasn’t all black and white, good or bad as other games have based themselves on (cough InFamous). Some choices also need to be made within a short time limit which really shows the inner workings of some people as a quick hasty decision may often come back to bite them.
I didn’t mention this in the story segment as this is more of a game play trait but early in the piece Ludger acquires a significant debt to be paid and only by paying segments of this debt will it allow him to progress through certain chapters of the story. I see how it ties into the game well but found it to be an exhaustive system of farming money just to progress through an already interesting story.