I’m gonna preface this article by saying that I haven’t finished Xillia 2 yet. I’m not even that far into it. These are just my thoughts on it so far; I’ll probably write a follow-up article when I complete the game. Remember that this isn’t a review, it’s just my thoughts on the game. As a result, it’ll probably be unorganized and I’ll probably be rambling a lot. Oh well.
As a person who put around 160 hours into the first Tales of Xillia and got the platinum trophy, there’s a reason why I’m not very far into Xillia 2 when most people have beaten it already. And the main reason is because I’m just not interested in it. I’m trying to get into it. I want to like it, but it’s just not doing anything for me. And I think my dissatisfaction with it (so far) stems from the fact that the main character, Ludgar, is a silent protagonist. He never talks, aside from the many choices you make, most of which are inconsequential. And even then, you don’t even see/hear him say the decisions you chose. You’re just presented with a sound effect letting you know that you made the choice. Those of you who know me a bit probably know that I usually hate silent protagonists in any game (I won’t go into detail as to reason why here; I’ll probably make a separate article about that). But it’s especially disheartening to see a silent protagonist in the Tales series, where one of the staples of the franchise is the heavy banter between the cast. There is literally no reason for Ludgar to not be voiced and as a result, I feel extremely disconnecting from him as a protagonist and by extension, the rest of the game.
My other main complaint that I want to get out of the way is the combat system, particularly Ludgar’s. I loved the combat in Xillia 1, I felt that it had just the right amount of simplicity while still not being a complete mashfest (*cough* Graces f) and being very fun. I’m happy to see that the combat system is largely unchanged in Xillia 2. Except for one thing: Ludgar. When playing as Ludgar, you have access to three different weapon, as opposed to the usual one, each with their own unique moveset. This seems like a great thing on paper, but in practice it doesn’t feel like it was implemented very well, at least in my opinion.
Without going into too much detail, it feels like they made 3 subpar weapons for Ludgar instead of making 1 really good one. The biggest problem with it however, is how it handles link partner skills with the 3 different weapons. Basically, each party member you can link with has a specific weapon that they prefer you use. I.E. to get the most out of linking with Alvin, you have to be using guns. For Elise, it’s the staff/hammer. So, in order to be most efficient, you’ll have to change your weapon every time you change your link partner. One of the things I liked most about the battle system in Xillia 1 was how quick and seamless it was to change between partners. Now in Xillia 2, it’s pretty much gone because it becomes a big commitment to change your partner since you’ll have to change your weapon as well, and by extension your entire moveset. It’s a hassle now.
Now that my big problems are out of the way, it’s time to talk about some of the less important stuff. Small gripes, little things I liked, etc.
I guess I should at least mention the debt and travelling restriction system since it seems to be one of the staples of the game. A lot of people hate this, but I don’t think it’s so bad. It’s kind of neat actually. Basically you need to pay a certain amount of money to progress to new areas and progress the story. The main way of earning money is by doing sidequests. As someone who generally enjoys sidequests and usually goes for 100% completion in games, I have no problem with this. In fact I like it because it makes me feel like I’m rewarded even more then usual for doing sidequests, increasing my interest in them.
Another common complaint about the game is that nearly all of the areas (towns, dungeons, outdoor areas) are ripped straight from Xillia 1 with little or no changes whatsoever. There are hardly any actual new areas in the game, so for most of the game you’re just revisiting places that you’ve already been in the first game. Yeah. It’s kind of lame. I don’t have much more to say about it. However @MDanishU brought up a good point in his Xillia 2 review and I agree mostly. I’m okay with games reusing assets to lowest their budget costs so that they can make a game that perhaps couldn’t be made otherwise. To an extent, of course.
And here’s a really nitpicky thing. When Nova contacts you to collect your payment, it puts the default amount to donate at 1/10 of the payment required. E.I. if the payment is 15,000 it puts the default amount to 1,500. Why does it do this? It should either put it at 0, and then you can easily add as much as you want, or start it at 15,000 and then you can go down from there. Whatever. Not really important, but it just struck me as strange.
So those are some thoughts I currently have on Tales of Xillia 2. Like I said, I’m not done with the game yet, so everything here is subject to change as I play more of it. I’ll probably write more thoughts on the game when I complete it. As always, feel free to leave comments and talk to me!