Lazy, but fun.
In my review of the Tales of Xillia, I praised the title for its fast-paced combat and likeable cast of characters.
While I would echo that sentiment once more in its sequel, it feels as though much of the game is a rehashed bit of fan service, riding the coattails of its predecessor rather than blazing a trail of its own.
Voice Acting: ENG only
Multiplayer: No online functionality outside of DLCs
Demo Availability: N/A
Length: Around 40 hours for main story and much more for all the side content.
The story picks up shortly after the conclusion of the first title, and follows the exploits of Ludger and Elle. It’s a typical sci-fi adventure involving multiple realities of “what-ifs”, and while it’s nothing too inspired, it kept me interested enough to want to know what would happen next.
This isn’t due to the pacing or writing of the overarching storyline itself, but more so due to the endearing characters who I got to know very well in the first title. The Tales staple, “skits” system is back and as entertaining as ever, with characters taking time to put their wacky personalities on display.
The combat is better than ever with a new “link” system that provides unique benefits for joining forces with one other character to pincer the enemy in for devastating combo attacks. The main character, Ludger, is also capable of swapping between three weapon types with their own skill sets on the fly,and it was common practice to switch up weapon styles several times in one fight to take advantage of the enemy’s weaknesses.
One of my complaints about Xillia 1 was that there wasn’t much to do in terms of end-game content after the main story is finished, but Xillia 2 really shines with a ton of extra content in the forms of elite bosses, dungeons and quests to tackle.
There were also unique quests that unlocked over the course of the story that further fleshed out the vibrant cast of playable characters even more, which was welcome change of pace.
Early on in the game, Ludger is slapped with a massive debt numbering in the millions, and it becomes a constant struggle to keep up with payments.
While I would’ve gladly ignored this aspect of the title, after every major story development, a payment must be made in order to progress the story.
This meant undertaking MMO style quests of collecting items or killing X number of monsters in a given area, and it felt like an artificial barrier to pad out the game play time more than anything else.
Worse yet, much of that was done by exploring places I’ve already explored to death in the previous game, with only a handful of truly “new” areas to delve into.
It’s like I’m sitting in on their conference meeting that must’ve transpired years ago.
Suit 1: “So, Xillia 1. People were complaining it was too short and lacked extra content.”
Suit 2: “What if we force them to do a bunch of random quests after every story mission?”
Suit 1: “No, people won’t have it. It would seem obvious that we’re just padding out the game time.”
Suit 2: “But what if we made it a part of the story and they needed to raise money or something?”
Suit 1: “Brilliant.”
Suit 2: “And we want to spend as little time and effort so we’ll just reuse all the old areas and make them revisit them over and over again.”
Suit 1: “But…”
Suit 2: “It’s fine. We’ll just call it a fractured dimension or some bullshit.”
Bandai Namco CEO: “GIVE THIS MAN A RAISE!”
Yep, that’s how it went down, I’m sure of it.
Lastly, as there are dozens of quests to finish, the lack of a quest log or menu where I could check my progress was jarring, and felt like a complete oversight.
It’s certainly disappointing to see the poorly devised debt system and lack of new areas hold back an otherwise great title filled with terrific combat mechanics and a fun cast of characters.
Still, even with all its rather glaring flaws, it’s still well worth checking out. That’s especially so for the fans of the original, who will surely love all the bits of fan service Xilla 2 has to offer.
Fun Tidbit – Playable Gaius and Muzet are almost worth the admission by themselves!
Review copy of game provided by publisher.