The original Tales of Xillia is one of my favorite Japanese Role playing games of all time, so you can imagine my excitement when Xillia 2 finally came out in the summer. Surprisingly, Tales of Xillia 2 is one of the biggest disappointments in my gaming career.
Tales of Xillia 2 is aesthetically a carbon copy of the first game. The new locations are added to the mix, but 80% of the environments and enemies are the exact same as it was in the previous game. Exploring the same environments in a new game is the definition of repetitive. I explored them once for 40 hours in the original game, so why on earth would I want to spend 40 more hours exploring them again?
The enemies of the game are also reused, and they weren’t interesting enemies to begin with. That was one of the few problems I had with Tales of Xillia, so seeing the exact same problem in the sequel is very off-putting. The developers try to disguise the enemies by painting them in different colors, so you won’t notice that they are the same enemies you’ve been fighting for the past two games. Hilariously, they literally put a mask on an enemy so you won’t detect that it is the same common goblin from the last game, but you can TOTALLY see what it is.
The main character Ludger is perhaps the worst protagonist in a “Tales of” game. He is a silent protagonist, who isn’t really a silent protagonist. He utters a few sounds and words here and there, but he is devoid of a personality. It is even worse when he is standing next to this wonderful cast of interesting and voice acted characters, and he is the only one without a voice. But wait, it gets worse! When you finish the game, you can turn on the voice acting for him… That is right, you have to play this double-digit hour game to unlock the voice acting for Ludger, THE MAIN CHARACTER. At least they didn’t decide to make you pay for it with DLC, right?
Even if you want to look away from these technical issues, you’ll be stonewalled by the game itself. Ludger gets in a serious debt problem at the beginning of the game. He owes 20 billion gald, and no this isn’t one of those currencies that seems high but really isn’t, 20 billion gald is an insane amount of money that you won’t solve until well after you complete the game. It is interesting in premise, but borderline foolish in execution. To progress the story, you have to make payments on your debt. It starts off small enough, Making the entire experience much longer than it needs to be. To get money, your main way is to go on side missions, which are either fetch quests or the standard “kill X amount of monsters” missions. The game offers no variety at all, and the side mission/ debt combo just feels like filler to make the game way longer than it should be.
I’m still not done ranting about the debt system, because you are constantly pestered to make a payment on your debt. Once, I paid 30 thousand gald, took three steps, and was called to make another payment. I resisted the urge to throw the game out of the window, and made a payment of 10 gald.
One of the most annoying things in Tales of Xillia was the mutton guy screaming about his fresh mutton for sale. Just be aware that you can’t actually buy mutton in this game. So this pointless audio cue starts up almost every 10 seconds when you are in a town in Xillia. Sounds annoying right? That same freaking asshat is in Tales of Xillia 2. Don’t believe me? check out this video below.
If that isn’t evidence that they reused the same engine, project, or system to create this game, then I don’t know what is
Other changes include a few subtle changes to combat and a major change to how you level up and manage your skill points. The combat is still as good as it was in the previous Xilia game, but suffers because the game is so drawn out my so much of those filler missions. Also, the Lilum orbs that made leveling up so much fun are gone, and replaced with Allium orbs, a confusing and less streamlined way to level up.
Despite the major problems that the game has, all is not lost. Including the great combat system in place, the cast of characters brought back from the former game are as interesting as they used to be. The lengthy skits of the Tales games are present here, and it is a saving grace of the game. Character based side missions are also available to go on, where you get some more insight as to who these people have become. The overall story is also entertaining enough to incite most players to continue the dread of paying debts.
It seems like Xillia made the wrong changes in all of the wrong places. Leveling up and managing skills isn’t fun anymore, the main character has the verbal power of a tree stump, the story is blocked behind a virtual pay-wall, and everything just seems so unequivocally unbalanced. The graphics engine, audio cues and enemies and environments went unchanged instead, making Tales of Xillia 2 a defunct shell of its former self.
Tales of Xillia 2 actually soured my love for the initial game, and now I want nothing to do with any of the “Tales of” games.
+ The combat is as refined as ever
+ The main cast from Xillia 1 are still great characters
+/- The story is okay, when you aren’t running around doing meaningless side missions
– It is essentially running on the same plane as the original Xillia
– Reused dated textures, reused repetitive enemy types, reused uninteresting locations
– Ludger: The silent protagonist who isn’t really silent
– Story is stonewalled by constant debt problem
– The freaking mutton guy is still here
Overall: 3.5 out of 10