EVEN IF YOU bust your ass for minimum wage on a daily basis, the fact
remains that most of us are able to earn a crust (or at least scrape by) without the fear of going bankrupt. Even so, the idea of being in an almost crippling amount of debt isn’t something that many (if any) videogames have touched upon. It seems strange, then, that Tales Of Xillia 2 the direct sequel to last year’s Tales Of Xillia fancies itself as a bit of a debt consolidation simulator, because as soon as you have stepped into the shoes of Ludger Kresnik, the smartly dressed protagonist, you’re slapped with a bill for 20,000,000 Gald.


To put that into perspective, we’d paid off roughly 500,000 Gald after playing the game for nearly 20 hours, but far from being an insightful take on the current economic climate (this is a JRPG with a spell-casting schoolgirl, after all), the debt only serves to pad out the completion time. To open up different areas and advance the game’s story, you have to pay off the debt in larger and larger instalments. The most efficient way to do this is by completing the various side-missions, but when
these boil down to fetch quests and monster culls, the whole process quickly becomes a chore.

Thankfully, the intriguing story and excellent voice acting go a long way to making the grind worthwhile. The game is geared towards those who saw the first Xillia through to completion, but even if you don’t know the difference between Rieze Maxia and Elympios, the story isn’t all that hard to follow. It all kicks off when Ludger has a chance encounter with Jude and Elle respectively the protagonist from the first game and an eight-year-old girl who’s searching for the mythical Land of Canaan. All three get caught up a terrorist attack on a speeding train, and before you know it, Ludger is battling through parallel dimensions alongside the cast of the first game.


Judge a Tales game purely on its story and it’ll be above-average at best, but what makes this series stand out from the crowd is the technical and fast paced combat system. It’s not quite up to 2D fighting game standards in terms of complexity but there are many shared principles. It’s all about evading enemy attacks, managing your Technical Points and learning which Artes build the most
devastating combos, and while the same could be said of the last five Tales games, Xillia 2 mixes things up with two new systems. Weapon Swap lets you switch between three different weapon types on the fly primarily to target an enemy’s weakness while Chromatus is a Limit Break-style move that turns Ludger temporarily invincible.

“WHAT MAKES THIS SERIES STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD IS THE TECHNICAL AND FAST PACED COMBAT SYSTEM”

As far as new mechanics go, these are less game-changers and more subtle additions, andyet, considering how much strategic depth and party customisation the series offers already, it’s easy to understand why the development team didn’t shake the boat too vigorously. This isn’t a bold new sequel that takes the themes and pillars of the last game and then fashions them into something genuinely fresh it’s the next episode in an existing storyline. You also have some minor say in how the story unfolds, and when we say minor, we mean the odd two-pronged dialogue choice that seems to have little bearing on Ludger’s ultimate destiny. Mass Effect this certainly isn’t.


It’s safe to say that Tales Of Xillia 2 didn’t exactly wow us, and compared to the likes of Tales Of Symphonia and Tales Of Vesperia, its mix of recycled environments and financial woes just doesn’t command the same sense of epic discovery. But for every tepid turn you take during the enforced downtime, there’s a tricky boss battle, comical side-story or lost cat to draw you back in. Andeven though Ludger is little more than a blank vessel for the player’s actions, the returning characters deliver a charming performance that’s only slightly marred by anime cliché. This isn’t a game worth borrowing £45 off a loan shark, then, but if you have the funds to spare and are in the mood for a solid JRPG, you could do a lot worse.

7/10