|Developer||Namco Tales Studio|
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Considering that the sequel, Tales of Xillia 2, has already been out in Japan for seven months, this one’s been a long time coming for North American fans of one of the last traditional Japanese RPG franchises still making a significant impact in the West. Tales of Xillia will be a bit of a different experience for these devotees, though, offering them a choice between two very different protagonists: hardened, serious warrior Milla Maxwell and naïve medical student Jude Mathis.
It’s always exceedingly difficult to judge an RPG based on a demo—and that’s especially true with Tales, where so much of the appeal comes from the interplay between characters and exploring the expansive world. Based on the hourlong snippet I got to play, though, I’m impressed by how much of it’s already resonating with me. The battles are quick, action-packed affairs, and you can even link together two Artes between characters now. And while I’m a fan of the series in general, I’m a longtime eye-roller at the endless parade of dunderheaded Tales main characters we’ve seen over the years (outside of Tales of Vesperia‘s suitably badass Yuri Lowell), so the banter between Milla and Jude also made me grin—if you’d ever wanted to smack a dopey Tales pretty boy across the head, Milla’s your gal.
It’s also refreshing to finally get a female protagonist in a Tales game, and series producer Hideo Baba says his team took the creation of Milla seriously as part of the franchise’s 15th anniversary. “We wanted to have a very strong character that players could look up to, adore, and really respect,” he reveals. “That’s why Milla was created as such as strong character.”
I’m confident the whole package will come together nicely here, but if nothing else, I’ve also gotta give Xillia props for allowing us to also finally play as a game character attending med school (well, outside of a Trauma Center title, at least!).