Originally released in Japan in 2011, Tales of Xillia is the eagerly awaited thirteenth core JRPG game of the Tales series, and was developed by Namco Tales Studio and published by Namco Bandai Games. The plot’s central theme is known as “Yuruginaki shinnen no RPG” in Japanese, or in English “RPG of Unwavering Convictions”, and is set in a fictional world that is on the brink of destruction.
Tales of Xillia revolves around the two main characters Jude Mathis and Milla Maxwell, who live in a fictional world known as Rieze Maxia. This world is isolated by a magical barrier, separated from Elympios, the rest of the world. This barrier was created two thousand years ago by Maxwell, a spirit that wanted to help both humans and spirits escape the Spyrix, a power source that consumes spirits in order to produce its power. Jumping into the present day, you can choose to play through Tales as either Milla or Jude; your choice of character gives you a different perspective throughout the game, alongside individual side-quests, unique cut scenes, and more, although the storyline and overall events do not change. Make your choice, and then your story truly begins…
Medical student Jude Mathis meets Milla Maxwell, the successor to the spirit Maxwell, as they’re both investigating a suspicious military research facility. Together, they discover a Spyrix-powered weapon called the Lance of Kresnik had been created at the facility, and in her attempt to save Jude, the Lance absorbs the spirits that gave Milla her powers, leaving her unprotected and vulnerable. In an attempt to discover why this dangerous weapon has been created, the pair decide to journey to the land of Rashugal to confront the King Nachtigal, the person responsible for endorsing the Lance’s creation.
Throughout your travels, your party grows in number as others decide to join you on your quest. Alvin, a young mercenary, Elize, a young girl with an extraordinary teddy bear called Teepo, Rowen, an elderly but experienced warrior, and Leia, Jude’s childhood friend and nurse. This diverse group make up your core party along your journey, and each provide their own individual skills and talents either when in battle, or in a conversation. Having this diversity adds layers to the overall arc of the story, and exploring their own original story arcs allows for intrigue and interest to be found outside of the main plotline. This is utilised in the form of side conversations that can be activated using the “Select” button on your controller, where the entire group can have their say on events that may have just unfolded, how they’re feeling about certain situations, and much more. Having these optional conversations really allows for the other character’s personalities to feel more fleshed out and real, as if you are on a journey with friends.
Alongside character development, Tales of Xillia also provides you with a wealth of character upgrading systems to explore, alongside fast-paced, explosive and action-packed combat. With a foundation of basic attacks, Xillia also adds in Artes, special skills that each character has that can be thrown out during battle. The game also has a levelling system known as the Lilium Orb system, a unique character development grid that allows you to focus a character’s strengths and abilities by spending points on improvements. Tailor your character to specialise in magic, grow in strength, or whatever you feel you need to make your party members the best they can be in battle, or simply opt for auto-level for them to grow without your involvement. Xillia also offers a wide variety of other features for you to get stuck into, from skillsets you can unlock within the Lilium Orb system, to its unique equipment system, where new gear is only unlocked via donating items and Gald, and many more, it will be easy to get lost within the nitty gritty of customising your team and making it the best it can possibly be.
It’s safe to say that Tales of Xillia is a game that offers you a wealth of story, character development, and much more to delve into right from the get go. With enough to appeal to veterans of the Tales series, as well as newcomers to these JRPGs, players are guaranteed to get lost in exploration of this incredible game, if not just to learn more about the people you’ve encountered on your travels. A must play for all fans, whether old or new.