Tales of Xillia 2: the Saddening aka Tales of Xillia 2: You Can (Not) Stop Crying aka Tales of Xillia 2: Kresnik’s wild ride aka Tales of MUTTON, FRESH MUTTON aka Tales of Xillia 2: everything hurts forever aka Tales of Xillia 2: Gaius is suddenly the funniest character aka Tales of Xillia 2: like Bioshock Infinite but not bad aka Tales of Xillia 2: I’m still crying aka
I have a real love/hate relationship with this game. It does some things really great and is real interesting in it’s own special way. That doesn’t excuse that a lot of the little technical things and the boring return to the same places as the first are a real pain in the ass.
So let’s get the things that brought the game down for me out of the way first.
I was real disappointed the Lillium Orb was replaced! The Lillium Orb was fun. ‘Capturing’ artes and special skills and not necessarily dealing with the little stuff you don’t care about if it’s not relevant to the way you play, I totally loved the Lillium orb. It took me quite a few hours and chapters to figure out Allium Orb. Well, to figure out there’s nothing to figure out.
I guess it’s kind of like the Title system from Graces (which was totally great and fun) except bad. The way I understood it was you pick a Extractor and leave it until you run out of things to really gain from it. Super boring and from what I can tell, you can’t really even preview or see a description of the skills/artes you’d be gaining? All in all it was a major step back, just a level above the complete nothing Vesperia had.
Another big thing was the debt.
Would you count this as padding the game? On one hand, sure making quests easy to track is nice though this can’t be said of their own menu interface. If you’re going to make it such an integral part of the game at least make them easier to keep track of through your menu, not the bulletins. Having to go to one menu, three menus over and then scroll around through an ever growing list was tedious. From what I saw there was no way to sort at all. Like, sorting by location or type of task would have made things hella easier.
Ok but that’s not my problem here. My problem is how you have to pay off a certain amount of debt before you can progress. Early on I didn’t mind and it’s just a thing to do. It was when the plot would get really rolling and a major climactic reveal and game changing incident would occur and then whoops, time to pay off 200k gald instead of advancing like you want to and seeing what happens next. Though they did give story reasons why you’d be continuing despite the severity of the situation and changed Nova’s tone about the thing but it was still incredibly anticlimactic.
Sometimes it was easily done by hunting big game monsters or doing side stories but sometimes those both weren’t options. It also meant I was really conscious with my gald and went for a long time without any good equipment. This was mostly to me playing poorly and wanting to rush the story along than anything.
So I’m just saying the debt broke up the flow of the game because i’m bad at vidyas.
There are some other minor grievances like everyone being in Elympios at the beginning the sheer goddamn repetitiveness of the monsters and, that yeah I know it’s a sequel but, having to go through the same awful dungeons from the first game again was a real pain in the ass. The whole reusing the exact same landscape with little change was kind of cheap, really. At least add some new areas to it or something.
But the good things? Well, I ended up liking Ludger and Elle a lot more than I expected I would. A trend for me for Tales is looking at the characters and being like ugh but then falling in love with them. Elle was adorable. It may be I’m just weak but she never was especially annoying at all. She seemed like a pretty genuine little kid and was quickly able to worm her way into my heart like a pesky little parasite.
Ludger was bland on purpose because you make choices when it comes to dialogue and all that but even he kind of won me over. Maybe it was because you’re supposed to insert yourself in his place that the ending and the choices you had to make there made such an impact? If he had been overly chatty, it might have ruined it. But his silence made those scenes a lot more powerful. But I didn’t feel inserted in his place as I should? Or I didn’t think I did.
My goal was ‘protect Elle’ but it was always from the standpoint that it’s a messed up situation but you still love her and need to do what’s best for her because she’s both yes, your daughter and no, not your daughter.
And gotta say, I felt real stupid not realizing the Victor thing out. I had my own ideas what connected the two of them but it was the kind of thing where afterwards, looking back it makes so much sense. I didn’t understand the humming part here but when it happened again in the true ending, that’s what got me to tear up.
I didn’t really care about Julius like I think I was supposed to? Like if I had to choose between him and Elle, I would pick her hands down and without hesitation. But I guess that is me playing Ludger how I like because without those choices there would be hesitation so I guess props to making the decision to have him played how you want? Maybe I wouldn’t mind this model in future Tales games if it means avoiding boring protags like Asbel. Still, the final animated scene with him (which I was surprised there were so few of) where you kill him was pretty sad, I’ll give them that.
There weren’t very many new characters though. Nova and Vera were both pretty good characters. Nova never really annoyed me though I could see how she would for others. I thought Vera would be a fight at first but I was glad she wasn’t. Bisley though? Like did he roll up to your hairdresser and ask to look like the most scheming villain he possibly could?
You do get two new party members. I didn’t expect Gaius and Muzet to be all that much because they were the villains in the last game and all. Muzet was the worst fight in the first one and just as annoying in the like three times you fight her in this game. But personality wise, she and Gaius got the most laughs out of me. Gaius had some great lines in his skits (not that Muzet didn’t, her lewdness was great in 1 and it didn’t disappoint here). I was constantly laughing out loud at something unexpectedly because of him.
His actual side chapter was… trite and not very interesting, however. Muzet’s started off comical and though it got pretty cliche, it was still cute to see her thoughts. Though if people had complaints about the voice acting that would be one spot I would point out.
And hell, Milla and Jude having to be apart is one thing but that hand brush at the end from Muzet made them parting from the group even worse. I hadn’t even considered those two would be close enough to the point that he’d miss her too or something.
The side chapters were a nice touch since they broke up the monotony of the debt collecting real easily. Some like Rowen and Elize (though her final chapter was pretty dang sad) were kind of boring and I’d save them until the end but the others were mostly interesting. Jude’s was not only because he’s my favourite character but because chapter five is Jude/Milla fluff (which is another one of those aspects that weighs on the story to make it feel a bit disheartening, that they can’t be together) and made my fragile heart want to explode.
I was surprised they actually showed older Elle! I had seen images but had assumed it was a fan thing. I’m real disappointed they didn’t show the rest of the gang aged up. Like yeah we know Jude succeeds and is great (what else is new) and that Leia manages to succeed at her job, but I wish we could have seen them. Could have found out if Milla was able to return or if that was the last time they got to see her.
And now she hums again and wow who knew I would tear up just at a stupid song like that.
I have so many mixed feelings about this that it’s genuinely confusing for me. I love the Xillia series as a whole. It doesn’t have stellar storyline but hey have Tales stories ever been the best written? No, you play for the adventure and characters and goofiness and for the battle system and the constant innovation. I love all those things.
And while this game was lacking in some departments, it also had a strange feeling to it that I can’t describe. It was melancholic and had an air of sadness about the whole thing from start to finish. Even little things, seeing characters who had died in the game prior or TsunMilla realizing she had killed Jude in her world, all had such a heavy weight to them. Though it might have just been my perspective as a viewer and that there was little follow up to these things kinda took away from the impact.
But still, I was happy to see characters I had liked playing as again. Happy to see they had grown and changed and am now sad to see them go again.
But I can’t really recommend it to people who didn’t enjoy or play the first one. While there are some significant differences that might make it enjoyable to those who didn’t like 1, the same monsters, faces and locale might really turn you off. And while you could play the game with no knowledge of the other game (since there’s an in depth encyclopedia detailing the events and characters of the first game), seeing the Chimeriad in fractured dimensions and doing the gang’s side stories would be worthless to you.
So how do I feel in the end? It’s impossible to say it was great and that everyone should play it, because there were just so many little things that added up to annoy me and that I couldn’t ignore. I had trouble putting it down though. And I love it for what it is, bad technical stuff, reused assets and all. I’d take something like this that was completely, unexpectedly bittersweet over any old adventure any day of the week. Maybe I’m a sucker or easily moved but regardless, I was just happy to see the old gang along side two new characters that I came to love and care about one last time.
And I don’t think I’ll be forgetting their story any time soon.
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