e3 2014

Tales of Xillia 2

Six Things To Expect From Tales of Xillia 2
by Kimberley Wallace on Jun 15, 2014 at 09:30 AM
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Developer: Namco Tales Studio
Rating: Teen
Platform: PlayStation 3

What started in Tales of Xillia is hardly over; Tales of Xillia 2 picks up one year later after the worlds of Rieze Maxia  and Elympios were united. The two worlds are different as night and day, which brings its own problems as the two populations try to coexist with one another. During E3, I stopped by Bandai Namco to see how the sequel due out this August is shaping up. Here are six things to expect when you set back into the Tales of Xillia universe.  

Two New Protagonists Unite
While you will encounter characters from the first game, Tales of Xillia 2 has two brand new protagonists: Ludger and Elle. Elle is only 8 years old, but had to grow up fast. Her father is gunned down by mysterious assailants before her eyes; his last words are for her to save herself and find a place called Canaan. Ludger, age 20, is dealing with the fallout from failing an exam to become an agent at the Clanspia Corporation where his brother works. Ludger must take a job working for a train station instead. While Ludger is working at the train station, terrorists attack. During the chaos, Ludger finds Elle and feels protective over the young girl. From the get-go, you can tell Ludger’s heart is in the right place and that he’s going to look after her. He quickly agrees to help Elle in her mission to reach Canaan. 

Seeing The Cast From Tales of Xillia
The cast of the first game broke the Rieze Maxia/Elympios barrier, helping bring the two worlds together. However, that doesn’t mean those characters have completely disappeared or that their work is done. They’ll fight with Ludger and Elle in battle, and even have a large role in Tales of Xillia 2’s story. Tales of Xillia 2 also has optional chapters that explore what the original cast has been up to in the past year, lending more backstory to the original six. Bandai Namco said playing through all six characters’ side stories adds about 15-25 hours of gameplay. They aren’t just one random side quest; each character has multiple chapters in their backstory. You choose when in the story you want to complete these various chapters; they have no limited availability. These are entirely optional and skippable, but for those enamoured with certain cast members, it should provide some interesting character development. 

A Mix Of Old And New Combat
Bandai Namco took fan feedback into account when creating Tales of Xilla 2’s battle system. Fans responded well to last entry’s link system, where you could pair up characters to flank opponents, lending you special bonuses and linked artes depending on the characters. That’s still in place for Xillia 2, but new is the ability to swap weapons. As Ludger, you can equip three different weapons at a time and switch between them on the fly. For example, you may want a sword for a close enemy, but if there’s a flying one, you’ll want to swap to a gun. These all have different battle stances for Ludger, and each stance has its own unique arte. Ludger also has a transforming ability called, “Chromatus.” This gives him a special boost in strength and defense for a short time. You decide when to activate it; it can be used to get yourself out of a jam, or give you an early edge in battle. 

Building Relationships On And Off The Battlefield
Ludger has an affinity meter with every party member. The meter increases when he’s linked with characters on the battlefield, but it also extends to Ludger’s dialogue choices. Certain ways he responds and reacts to situations will improve his affinity with particular party members. Raising your affinity bar with characters also unlocks new cutscenes and skits along with other perks, such as gifts, weapons, and new attacks. 

Paying Off A Large Debt
After Elle and Ludwig’s train fiasco, they find themselves needing medical attention. This leads to a huge and unfair $15 million doctor’s bill. Jude tries to get them out of the pickle, but it’s no use. Ludger must find a way to erase the debt. This is especially important as you’ll have travel restrictions until you pay off certain portions. You have multiple ways to accumulate money to open up more travel options. Basic random battles lend you cash, but you can also take on contracts, which have you doing deliveries, eliminating a certain amount of monsters, or taking out bounties. Bandai Namco thought having areas closed off based on the narrative would make more sense than merely not allowing you to visit places too early. 

DLC Costume Cross-Compatibility
Costume DLC has been popular for the Tales games. Bandai Namco knows players like to change the look of their characters; therefore, all the costume DLC you purchased in the first Tales of Xillia will carry over to Tales of Xillia 2. It also works both ways. Bandai Namco is planning to release costume DLC for Tales of Xillia 2, and those will also work for the first Tales of Xillia, should you decide to go back to it.

Tales of Xillia 2 is coming exclusively to PlayStation 3 on August 19.