Tales of Xillia 2: Overall Thoughts

[skiddiks] Tales of Xillia 2 - OP [PS3 720p Vorbis][B377F13B].mkv_snapshot_02.05_[2014.11.02_22.46.24]

If you haven’t finished the Tales of Xillia, I suggest you tread carefully as I’ll be spoiling twists from it. Unless you don’t plan on playing it, in which case whatever.

Tales of Xillia 2 takes place around 1 year after the first game. Taking place mainly in Elympios this time around. Due to the varying culture, technological and even bodily differences between people of both continents, relationships tend to be quite rocky. Even going so far as some Elympions regarding Rieze Maxians as “monsters”.

 

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Taking center stage this time around is 20 year old Ludger Will Kresnik, looking to join the Spirius Corporation his brother, Julius Will Kresnik, is a part of. After failing the exam to become an agent at the beginning of the game he decides to become a chef on an executive train instead. Suddenly the train is hijacked and during the aftermath Ludger’s injuries are healed by a member of Spirius. Sadly for him, the medical attention comes with a price – 20 million gald! Ludger gets his wish though, as he’s brought into Spirius as an agent to work off his debt. Around the same time he gains a special power of the Chromatus. With these powers he’s able to jump into alternate/fractured dimensions. The prime dimension being where the main cast resides, fractured dimensions are what they are aiming to destroy. The problem here being that the spirit Origin is the one that cleanses soul energy – which there is a fixed amount of. The more dimensions there are, the more the energy is split apart, which also causes spirits’ power to decrease. During the reincarnation process when Origin removes the impurity from a soul, miasma is discharged, which Origin then seals away. As there are more souls than normal, that means more miasma, which also means a greater strain on Origin. So as dimensions are destroyed, they also help improve the prime dimension. Each fractured dimension has a Divergence Catalyst, which has to be destroyed (thus destroying the entire dimension) for the party to get back to the prime dimension. The group then needs to find the five waymarkers (which can be found in fractured dimensions as Divergence Catalysts), which are needed to summon the bridge that leads to the Land of Cannan; Origin’s domain. The trial of Origin was created to test humanity and see if they could strive for perfection while trying to control their greedy desires; all while keeping that impurity in their souls. The reward for collecting all of the waymarkers and reaching Origin results in Origin granting the wish of the person who reaches there. Of course, complications arise and many plot threads are brought up as the game goes on but that is all better left unspoiled.

 

As his role in the story is set quite quickly as the Chromatus user that needs to destroy dimensions, there is one huge thing that sets Ludger’s character apart from every other Tales Of protagonist – he can’t talk! A first for the series, I was incredibly sceptical once it was announced. After all, the Tales Of games are never known for their amazing plots but rather the characters and their interactions, so how are you supposed to care for a character who only yells out some grunts and maybe a name once or twice throughout the game?

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Here’s where I feel the developers really hit the ball out of the park: the choices. At first I was disappointed. After all, it seemed like nothing had any impact outside of the two or so times where there’s a route split (you still go through both routes but just decide what order to do them in), why waste the time giving the player the illusion of choice? Then it dawned on me that I was kind of missing the point. After all, I am absolutely fine with having no branching paths in an RPG – a single, well designed/thought-out dungeon will always be more fun to me than a game with hundreds of randomly generated dungeons that are practically all the exact fucking same in the end. The choices aren’t for the player, they’re for Ludger. Making him mute was actually a very smart choice, being that way means that he isn’t overshadowing the main cast – it still feels like the first Xillia game unlike a certain other Tales Of sequel. The choices are Ludger’s inner thoughts/monologue – only in this case, that’s all we get from him. But how are we supposed to see how Ludger develops? As the game progresses, Ludger beings to interact and become closer to certain members – his development becomes clear as his choices start to reflect that. His relationships with the cast members are actually believable!

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The second new main character for Xillia 2 is Elle Mel Marta. As far as I know because she’s 8 years old, she ends up as the youngest Tales Of main character (and technically playable because of the bonus dungeon). Elle’s a very lively girl who isn’t afraid to voice her opinion on anything. She meets Ludger at the very beginning of the game on a hijacked train. While being chased by mysterious people with her father in the opening cutscene, he tells her to find the “Land of Cannan” which can grant any wish before sending her off alone. She’s actually surprisingly well developed and ends up with quite an important role by the end of the game. She also has an incredibly grating english voice, god damn it just hurts to listen to.

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Pretty much every character from the first game returns with a sizeable role during Xillia 2. The old cast are pretty much the only other playable characters as well, so thankfully there are no god damn monsters this time around. As Ludger’s heading towards his new job he ends up bumping into Jude. As Jude can’t find his way around town, Ludger shows him the way to the train station (if you choose that option, at least). After the 1 year time skip, Jude is now a researcher rather than a medical student. The research specifically being based around Spyrite (Origin in the japanese version, yes, the thing Jude is working on has the same name as the spirit). As Rieze Maxians have mana lobes they can naturally use spirit artes by “channeling”, which is just a way to describe the act of a person giving mana to spirits in exchange for having the artes cast. Elympions on the other hand don’t have mana lobes, so they turn to Spyrixes. A Spyrix being a device that brings in spirits just like normal channeling but the spirits don’t actually receive any mana from the Spyrix; causing them to use their own mana and in turn, dying. Jude’s solution to this are Spyrites – a different kind of Spyrix. Using a Booster (pretty much a mana amplifier) they pump a Spirit Fossil (physical form a spirit takes after using up all of its mana) with mana and the spirit then takes on a physical form, aiding the human that summoned it by using mana that’s stored in the fossil to get around the spirit dying instead. While this is technically sound on paper, Jude and his team are constantly struggling to make it work, with spirits even going out of control or even funding issues (which is the main reason why Jude couldn’t help with Ludger’s debt at the start of the game). This entire issue is pretty much what all of Jude’s character episodes are centered around. He’s definitely more mature and composed than the first game, which becomes especially noticeable as you can see how he handles the amount of hate he gets with the Elympion people, as many see it as trying to take away the thing they need the most while trying to replace it with something with less than stellar results. There’s also his relationship with Milla, as near the end of his character episodes they manage to summon the Spyrite Celsius and it turns out in her past life she had a relationship with a human. As she goes into detail about it, it ends up in a really neat direction as for how much Jude and Milla really understand and trust each other.

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Milla makes her return as well, although quite late in the game. By the events of Xillia 2 she’s pretty much taken the responsibility of being the new Maxwell completely and joins the party hoping to tip the scales of Origin’s Trial in their own favour. Alternate/Fractured Milla actually joins early on while Milla is still trapped between dimensions. The mission she set out to do in the first game was completed while she was still 6 years old, leading to her stuck up/tsundere personality and not being able to make any friends as a result. Elle pretty much becomes her first real friend and so she treats her in a much kinder way compared to everyone else. It was quite odd hearing her [Miyuki Sawashiro] talk the way she did as Alt Milla after hearing her talk in a much more dignified and serious manner during all of the first game.

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Milla’s big sister Muzet also makes a return pretty early on. She’s still pretty crazy but not in the way that brings out her anger towards other people, it seems. While Muzet does have some plot importance being a powerful spirit, she’s definitely taken a big role in comic relief. Constantly teasing other characters, her character episodes add on top of it seeing as how they’re centered around Ludger putting on a bracelet and being able to hear all of Muzet’s inner thoughts.

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Rowen’s role is actually tied in with Gaius, as Rowen is now the Prime Minister of Rieze Maxia. As Gaius is now undercover, putting his duties as king of Rieze Maxia on hold, all of the political affairs are sent towards Rowen first, keeping him constantly busy. Gaius on the other hand decides to go under his real name, Erston Outway, and goes through Elympios as a normal person. He tries to learn of how commoners live and even ends up making friends along the way. This is what he decides to be the best way of finding out how relations between Rieze Maxia and Elympios can improve.

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Alvin has been working towards making amends after what he did in Xillia over the past year. He’s now trying to run a business with Yurgens, his close friend; sadly, things aren’t going the way they initially thought it would. Certain problems escalate as his character episodes go on, with one tying back into the problems people of Rieze Maxia and Elympios have with each other (being a huge theme in Xillia 2, if you haven’t figured it out yet) as trust issues are brought up near the end as Alvin is an Elympion with a bad history of betrayal and trust issues, putting doubt in Yurgens’ mind.

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Leia… probably has the worst character episodes from the entire cast. While she was studying to become a nurse in the first game, she decided on becoming a reporter in the second. She’s still quite inexperienced though, leading to some character episodes only being things like walking around and talking to some NPCs to find a good scoop. Thankfully, things do get interesting for her once you enter other dimensions, particularly one where Agria is still alive instead of dying near the end of Xillia. With Leia having saved her they’re now good friends and reporters in that dimension as well. Sadly a short experience, it was definitely cool to see how relationships could change and how the writers could put a spin on old events from Xillia.

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And then there’s Elize. She’s a kid, she’s cute, she has a plush that’s alive called Teepo and the writer just loved shitting all over her. Not in a bad way, though. During Xillia she actually had quite a dark past along with being socially inept because of it. Although near the end after travelling with the others for so long she opens up, finds a good family and everything’s looking up. It shows, after all – she’s much more out-going in Xillia 2, not scared to talk to strangers at all and even making friends outside of the main cast. So what’s next for her? Being so young, her views on the world are very naive. Her character episodes pretty much break down all of that. The first of two examples being a dimension where someone is kidnapped by terrorists and confronting them she promises to talk it over with the government officials outside about how they’ll be safe (rather, have a much lighter sentence) if they give up willingly. Said official then proceeds to pretty much blow off all of her suggestions on the grounds of her just being a child, going off the fact that they almost killed some people very important towards building a better relationship between the two continents; and as such, goes through with ordering their executions.

 

The second example, also including an alternate dimension, where Elize is Jiao’s adopted daughter. This includes Yurgens as well as he was working behind Jiao’s back with poachers. Due to clan rules though, Jiao then has to execute Yurgens. Luckily, Elize actually convinces him to bend the rules this time – only to find out the poachers/Yurgens end up trying to blackmail Jiao at the end of it all, causing him to go on a frenzy and murdering everyone there. With this also revealing that Jiao is the Divergence Catalyst, meaning that Jiao of that universe is also meant to die at the hands of the party. Of course, it’s not always suffering, as her character episodes are nearing their end and after all of these experiences she most definitely comes out much more mature than before. It’s surprising how much development characters like Elize actually get, instead of just being shoved into the “obligatory healer” role once her initial character arc is finished.

 

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Pressing L2 brings up the debt payment screen.

And now for possibly the most questionable addition to the game – the debt system. As mentioned before, Ludger’s slapped with a 20 million gald debt. Normally this would just be something that is mentioned once in a while during a cutscene (or in a skit as a joke) as a reminder that Ludger is having money problems. Instead, it’s actually worked into the gameplay – a debt counter is added to the menu screen with how much gald you have and how much your next debt payment is. Now here’s the thing, unlike the first game, Xillia 2 is broken up into chapters and after finishing a chapter you’re blocked from continuing the main quest until you give your next payment. This can be seen as a way to pad out play time and forcing the player to grind multiple times throughout the game. Is it true? To an extent, sure. What saves this game from being a drag to get through is that the game is designed around the debt system, not the other way around. Sure you get gald but you also have to spend that buying items and weapons; so that means you’ll have to grind to make up for the difference needed for the debt, right? Wrong.

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The first game’s shop levelling system.

I was originally disappointed that they removed the shop levelling mechanics from the first game but as I went on I was beginning to understand why. The shops are back to being unique to each area and at the same time new areas are only unlocked once your debt is paid bit by bit – meaning that they’re stopping you from wasting gald on weapons you wouldn’t even need at the time and directing that towards your payments. But what if you get to a new area and spend all of your gald on items and money? As soon as your debt is introduced so are the Elite Monster quests. Powerful bosses that spawn at certain locations; you don’t even need to go to the quest board to accept the quest first! Once you reach a certain mid-point (like between chapters 2-3) and go on to the world map you can find the monster, kill it and claim your reward. As an example, your first debt payment is 5000 gald. Let’s say you spend whatever gald you have on items and now you need to grind but it turns out the first Elite Monster is unlocked and guess what, the reward is 6000 gald! Of course, the elite monster rewards are pretty much never more than the payment beyond the first time or two. Taking on Elite monsters as well as rationing your remaining gald correctly means you do not need to grind at all. To me, a good RPG is one where the game challenges you in even small things like money. I should never have so much money that I’m just mindlessly buying everything I see “just because” – I should be making a decision between how many items I think I need to get, maybe I should get a weapon instead and lower my item count to potentially make battles easier? Who knows.

 

The next thing I want to focus on is how the character episodes end up relating to both the debt system and Ludger’s character. In the debt sections of the game (between main chapters) side-quests pertaining to each character are unlocked at certain times depending on the point you’re at. As every episode focuses on a certain member of the old cast, it’s a fantastic way of making characters that may not have a huge role during the main story still feel important. Using Dawn of the New World as an example – characters like Regal or Raine pretty much feel like an after-thought, who only show up for small amounts of time and leave before any notable development happens yet because of how little time they spend together the way their relationships are portrayed with the new cast feel very stilted.

 

As Ludger works for the Spirius Corporation the cast is sent on missions to alternate dimensions once they’re detected and Vera, one of the workers, contacts Ludger. Another big factor that puts this game above Xillia for me is when it comes to the pacing. With so many points of “down time”, the cast is always split up between different areas – it feels natural. Everyone is always doing their own thing, making the world of Xillia feel alive and expanding upon it without hindering the main plot. For example, episodes related to Jude, who is constantly taking abuse from Elympions who consider Rieze Maxians freaks of nature; which also slowly shows how things are developing between people from Elympios and Rieze Maxia as relations are incredibly hostile at the start but slowly lighten up (also seen in Gaius’ episodes but from a different angle). Sometimes you may even be going into an alternate dimension that expands upon relationships from the previous game, such as Alvin and Presa, after Alvin is missing from the party for a while in the first game you get to see a bit of what was going on during that time. Having all of these short stories helps make Ludger and Elle mesh together with the old cast in a very natural way.

 

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Now for the battle system. Every character has AC – an Assault Counter; AC is used to do any move in any order, if you’ve played Tales of Graces or Destiny PS2 this should seem familiar. While in those games that counter (Chain Capacity, in the case of those two) was all you had, the pace was incredibly quick because you did not have to worry about TP at all. The gauge was refilled almost instantly and could string together any combo you’d like. Yet in Xillia there’s a twist; while you still have the freedom to do any artes in any order (and in Xillia’s case any arte will cost 1 AC) they will cost TP as well. This adds the extra dimension of having to monitor your TP gauge as well as AC. Along with not making normal attacks obsolete due to the fact that if you don’t have any TP-restoring gels they’ll be your only way to recover TP in that battle.

 

In Xillia 2 it remains largely the same, now known as the Cross Double-Raid Linear Motion Battle System aka XDR-LMBS (rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it?) with some minor changes that drastically improve the overall experience. First of all, the removal of being able to swap out party members mid-battle at any point. As mentioned earlier, your party is constantly split up so you’re not always going to have a healer. How do they get around this? Every character now has at least 1 healing arte! Of course Elize is still extremely useful but it’s now much easier to just pick whatever characters you like during, say, side quests (like Elite monster battles) and not have a problem. Some new skills that were added actually allow you to manually increase your AC for a limited time by guarding. Doing this helps increase the pace at the start of the battle by giving you additional effects as well – the Power Charge series of skills. Which gives you the effects of 25% lower TP costs with +1 AC, the second charge giving your next attack the power hit/weakness properties with +1 AC and the final charge having your next non-arte attack stagger the enemy with another +1 AC. You also can’t switch party members while on the world map. Before leaving a town you choose who to put into the 4 slots of your party – this works really well because it encourages you to try x character because they may be useful in x situation (everyone still gets experience points) so there’s no real drawback to trying out characters you may have passed up on especially when every character has a unique ability while player controlled and a unique ability when linked to as a computer.

 

Every character still retains their unique abilities from the first game and Ludger’s in particular adds two new features to the game. One is weapon switching (not to be confused with being able to open up the menu and switching between the same types of weapon, which you can do for everyone), which allows you do hold L1 and hit R1/R2 to switch between dual swords, dual pistols or a hammer. While switching to another weapon in an idle position there’s no delay but if you switch in the middle of a combo everything will pause for a couple of frames, which gives you just enough time to decide on what to do next. Because of these new weapon types additional elements have now been added: Slash (swords), Shot (guns) and Strike (hammer). Ludger’s CPU ability is both great and a disappointment. When linked to him, he will have the link ability of whatever character you’re using. Now if CPU Milla – whose ability is “Bind”, which freezes an enemy in place for a couple of seconds is linked with CPU Ludger that pretty much doubles the chances of having an enemy binded (as far as I know, you can’t bind an enemy while having Milla player controlled); which is actually pretty fantastic but I really do wish that he had his own original ability.

 

Every character is now categorized under these new elements with certain characters having multiple types (like Alvin, who uses both a sword and a gun). This also means that enemies can resist them, making it seem like Ludger gets an unfair advantage being able to get around these incredibly easily. Resistances have also been buffed in the enemy’s favor – if you hit an enemy that resists the element, on top of a major damage decrease they do not get stunned. At all. Thankfully when it comes to characters such as Jude, who’s normal attacks count as Strike, not all of his artes are counted as Strike as well. To help with this though, there’s a bigger emphasis on exploiting enemy weaknesses. When hitting an enemy with a weakness a small gauge in the form a circle can appear above the enemy, constantly decreasing as soon as it appears. During this time all of the enemy’s elemental resistances disappear, so there’s no fear of an enemy just destroying you in the middle of your combo. On top of this, let’s say for example you hit the boss with a fire arte, which it’s weak to. The circle would appear red, and as it’s almost gone you hit the boss with a water arte – the circle would then go back to the maximum length it could go, resetting the counter but this time the circle’s blue! You can do this for every single element but they do try to stop you from totally abusing it because you can only use one element per “cycle” this way.

 

If hitting an enemy while the circle is above them, another small gauge under your hit counter appears – Power Hits; think of it sort of like Devil May Cry’s Style gauge. If the gauge is at, say 12 hits, under it it’ll say “x200%” which means that all of your attacks will be doing x200% damage. The damage increase also increases depending on how many Power Hits you have so ending a long combo on a Mystic Arte can lead in an incredible amount of damage. To help other characters further, many enemies (mainly larger ones) now have a “weakness spot”, when switching between enemies you may see a red circle over a certain part of them and hitting that spot will instantly break their guard, leading to the ability of starting a combo with the weakness gauge appearing over them. Not to mention the fact that you have 3 other party members, so even if you’re playing as a character like Jude and having a bit of trouble, there’s a big chance that the computer can end up hitting the enemy you’re facing with an arte they’re weak to or just breaking their guard altogether. Gaius’ link ability in particular deserves special mention as well for being arguably the best link ability in the game. Just before getting stunned Gaius will run between your character and the enemy, guarding you. As this is happening three different light effects appear around both of you and activate 3 things: your first attack after getting up will break the guard of the enemy, second is that the same hit will count as whatever weaknesses the enemy has and finally beyond that first hit the entire combo will have its TP cut cost by 25%.

 

Linking also has been buffed. Normally when using something that can activate a link arte a yellow symbol will appear on top of your character. Now while that still happens, if using an arte that doesn’t go to a unique link a blue circle will appear instead. Hitting the link arte button then will result in a “common link arte”, which there are 3 of. Link Cannon, a huge shot that appears when using your dual pistols. Link Pillar, a huge vertical attack that looks like flame which appears when using your hammer, and Link Charge, an attack where you and your partner dash across the screen when using your dual swords. On top of having these common link artes, depending on who you’re linked to the element of said common arte is changed as well. Mystic Artes – strong “finishers” that you can only activate once you enter overlimit (the link bar being at the max and turning gold) and using it effectively ends overlimit; which means you should generally be using it after a handful of link arte chains. While they’re pretty much the same characters now have 2 different Mystic Arte images depending on their costume and certain characters have dual Mystic Artes as well. Namely Ludger, who if he gets a character’s affection rating towards him high enough unlocks a dual Mystic Arte – meaning he technically has 11 Mystic Artes altogether (solo, two when using the Chromatus and 8 dual mystic artes). Unlike the first Xillia game though, in Xillia 2 all Mystic Artes are now non-elemental.

 

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Probably the biggest addition to the battle system though, is the Chromatus. The special ability of characters related to the Kresnik family, allowing them to transform and become much stronger. With yet another gauge added to the bottom right of the screen, it slowly fills up over time and can go up to 4 levels. With each level adding more “armor” on to Ludger as well as stronger moves being available (such as the 2 different Mystic Artes). Once activating this power the three other characters in your party disappear and you enter another field along with all enemies. If they hit you the gauge starts depleting quicker but as you start unlocking more of the Chromatus abilities you do get skills such as if you’re attacking in the air the gauge goes down at a much slower rate (there are also a couple of infinite combos you can do to make sure you get the most out of it that you can). This is also a great way of stalling out a boss’ overlimit by removing any harm from other party members and with it being incredibly easy to run away with moves that can dash right through enemies and have very little recovery.

 

Now let’s see all of that in motion.

 

While I have been singing praises for Xillia 2 so far, there is one area where I felt disappointed: The Arrowcell (Allium in the english version, I think) Orb. When it comes to unlocking artes and skills in Xillia there was the Lilium Orb. Spread out like a spider web, there are many small orbs surrounding one in the middle and connecting all of the orbs around it unlocks that skill or arte in the middle. You need GP to “activate” the orb you want and you get a small amount of GP by levelling up. Whatever orb you activate, when wanting to activate another orb it has to be the one directly next to the one activated first. Each orb that’s not in the middle though, connects to a stat. So while trying to get a certain arte or skill you’ll be increasing something like HP, strength or TP even. Sometimes you may even be unlocking skills that can increase a stat (e.g. HP +5%, +10% or +15%). Without using the Lilium Orb nothing relating to any character will unlock or increase. This gives the player something to look forward to, it makes each level up meaningful and always keeps things fresh because you’ll always be unlocking something that can improve or change how a character plays. While having everything automated isn’t exactly bad, I’m someone who loves to micro-manage my character’s stats and what unlocks at what point. I can prioritize what I need in future playthroughs without being restricted by a boring skill tree.

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Yet, this is exactly what they got rid of in Xillia 2. The Arrowcell Orb is split up into 6 categories – one for each element. Everyone has an orb and you equip an  Elemental Extractor. Let’s say you equip Ludger with the Rain of Fire extractor, which is fire, wind and water elemental. Through the extractor you can gain artes or skills and everything has an Elemental Ore cost. Every Extractor has the same skills/artes depending on the character, so you’ll always be unlocking things in the same order with the only choice being what elemental tree you want to go for first. Yet later in the game you get Extractors that are multiple elements, making even that “choice” useless (hell there’s even some late-game that sets EVERY element). At the end of battles is how you can obtain Elemental Ore. Once the cost is filled you unlock it, with everything in that extractor sharing the Elemental Ore cost. While this whole thing seemed complicated at first I quickly realised that it came down to one simple thing: Set what extractor you need and forget about it. That’s my main issue with it, frequently throughout the game I was finding that I completely forgot about whatever extractor I had set; only to find out that the extractor has been done with completely for who knows how long, wasting the ore I could’ve been putting towards another skill or arte. It was boring. I understand that it was changed for plot reasons (that actually make sense, surprisingly) but it’s such a downgrade. The one good thing I can say about it is that it introduces the concept of upgrading artes e.g. making one arte Level 2 may make it so TP consumption is lowered, while Level 3 can make it so there’s a chance for that arte not to use up AC. Minus these additional effects there really is no pro over the Llillum Orb, I find. Levelling up your characters in an RPG is important, it’s not something that should be happening in the background. The Lilium Orb is not unique – it’s good because it’s a system that works, and works very well at what it does.

allium orb info

Something small such as that increases the amount the player becomes invested quite a bit in the long run. Another thing to note is that early on it’s quite easy to “abuse” the elemental ore because just like materials you find in the world, ore respawns pretty much infinitely. So if you can find a good area to farm (the ore mostly come in 10+ “points”) you can unlock early skills incredibly quickly (since early skills/artes are only a few hundred points). Although not really applicable later on in the game because of point increases, I pretty much see it the same way as “abusing” the shop levelling mechanic of the first game. Sure, materials spawn infinitely on the map and technically you can spend hours upon hours farming them to level up the shops to an incredible level very early on but it’s not really worth it because you can more than enough materials to level up at a good pace by just playing.

 

The music is, simply put, fantastic. The opening song, Song 4 U (I really hate that it’s spelt that way), sung by Ayumi Hamasaki sets the tone perfectly. Also the singer for the opening of Xillia, she does a great job once again. Definitely one of my favourite opening themes, striking a great balance between “melancholic” but fast paced enough to get you excited. Although a downside to some people would be that there is quite a bit of music being recycled from the first game (as expected, honestly), I did enjoy how they used old battle themes and victory fanfare. When fighting enemies at certain areas from the first game, Jude’s second battle theme will be playing instead of the Xillia 2 battle theme that plays depending on the point of the story you’re at. While town/overworld themes are quite good, I feel like Xillia 2 really shines at battle themes – especially as a huge fan of violins. The main boss theme you’ll be hearing is Break the Time Factor which is, well, pretty self explanatory. But because of the fact that the Divergence Catalyst/Time Factor of whatever alternate universe you’re in almost always has a significant relation to one of your characters such as one of the universes in a character episode for Rowen where you come face-to-face with Nachtigal once more. The difference this time is that Nachtigal is a very kind ruler as he was when Rowen was once friends with him. So even though it could’ve been talked through, any discussions are broken down by the fact that Rowen has to pretty much kill his friend again because it’s the only way to escape and save the prime dimension. As things begin to escalate near the end of a dimension, the theme perfectly brings together the intensity and desperation of the party, being forced to do the things they do. Special mention also goes to Splendid Dance Performance of a Spirit which sadly only plays once in the entire game. The initial build up over the first minute or so that plays during the end of a lengthy cutscene as you’re just about to finish the chapter; then the song picks up and you’re put into a boss battle was just wonderfully done. While I would like to talk about some of the later battle themes, I feel like those are better kept secret. Such as the obligatory 1 versus 1 battle near the end of the game which actually mixes in plot-related music into it, things like that just don’t have as much impact until you actually hear it for yourself while playing the game.

 

Overall, do I think the game is perfect? Not really. Do I absolutely love the game? Hell yes. An extremely loveable and well developed cast with amazing character interactions and music, a much improved battle system and building upon the story of the first game in a great way really brings it together in the best way possible for me. Now if only I could finish my god damn playthrough of Xillia again before moving on to Xillia 2, come on guys.

 

First Playthrough                                                                                                             Overall play time: 51:18                                                                                           Difficulty: Hard

I guess you could say I enjoyed the game.

 

Oh who am I kidding, it’s not like any video game story is ever going to match up to something like Muv-Luv. I don’t even know why I bother with this shit.

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