Tales of Xillia could be PS3’s last great JRPG

by freelance writer Jonathon Ottman

When it comes to JRPGs, people recognize names like Final Fantasy and Star Ocean. Another fairly well-known series, the Tales series, has a new release on the horizon: Tales of Xillia.

Originally released in Japan on September 7, 2011, Tales of Xillia sold over half a million copies in the first week of release and is recognized in Japan as the most pre-ordered Tales game to date. Set for North American and European release on PlayStation 3 in August, Tales of Xillia will commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Tales series.

So, why should you care? Well, Tales of Xillia brings with it a deep storyline, amazing visuals, and extensive combat scenarios.

This adventure takes place in the world of Rieze Maxia, a place where humans and spirits share a symbiotic relationship with each other. The game’s story delves into a time when two countries—Rashugal and Arjur—are in a state of conflict. You navigate this war as one of two characters: Jude Mathis, a medical student in the capital city of Rashugal, or Milla Maxwell, an incarnation of the Lord of Spirits. Playing witness to the story through two unique persectives is somewhat novel in JRPG gaming, and each playable character has a unique fighting style.

The character differences between Jude and Milla create new twists on the Tales series’ signature Linear Motion Battle System. Tales of Xillia’s reworked version of this system is called the Dual-Raid Linear Motion Battle System, or “DR-LMBS.” Along with the normal active combat system, where players control characters in an arena setting and use a combination of regular attacks and Technical Point, or “TP,” consuming skills called “Artes,” this battle system now features a new Link Mode which allows for two active party members to attack together and employ powerful dual-character “Link Artes.” Link Artes are a new concept in the Tales series, adding tactical urgency and bombastic abilities to an already frenetic battle system.

Outside of combat, players are enveloped in a realistically scaled 3D environment where they are able to freely run through open areas filled with vivid scenery while exploring towns, dungeons, and other areas. This world-exploring freedom is anchored by various instances called “skits.” These skits consist of animated character portraits that display the current emotion of the characters through intimate conversations. Skits contain subtitles and are all fully voice-acted. They contain material from character development to side story details and humorous exchanges.

If you’ve played any Tales games prior to Tales of Xillia, you know what you’re getting with this latest installment. If you haven’t, look forward to great storytelling, an exceptional combat system guaranteed to keep you entertained, and hilarious skits that will keep you entertained even in dry periods of travel. As a localization of a JRPG classic well-received in Japan, Tales of Xillia has the potential to be the best entry in the Tales series and a great addition to any RPG collection.

Tales of Xillia will launch in North America on August 6, 2013, and in Europe on August 9, 2013. Check out our game gallery for the latest news, videos, and screenshots, and stay tuned for our eventual review. Peep the Tales of Xillia Collector’s Edition below, and let us know in the comments if you’re excited for what may be the PS3’s last great JRPG.

Collector’s Edition includes –
Limited Edition Packaging
The Tales of Xillia Game (duh)
A 100-page art book featuring original artwork from the Dev team
An exclusive 21.5 cm figurine of Milla Maxwell
The Tales of Xillia OST