E3 2014 Impressions: Tales of Xillia 2 and Tales of Hearts R

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Tales of Xillia 2 from Bandai Namco takes place about one year after the original Tales of Xillia and the setting has changed drastically. Instead of the fantasy and magic, Lord of the Rings type setting, Tales 2 is more of a cyber/steam punk setting with a darker more noir style.

Ludger-smallIn the first game, the world’s inhabitants could talk with the spirits and share manna but the people of Elympios (the main setting in Tales 2) can’t. Instead, they use something called Spyrix which literally sucks manna from the natural world. As a consequence their technological advancements are faster but come with an environmental cost, leaving the world more industrialized.

The main characters in the game include 8 year-old Elle Marta. She sees her father shot and killed and as he lays dying, he tells her to go to the land of Cannan. on her way there she meets Ludger Kresnik, a 20 year-old who’s trying to find his place in the world.

The other main character is Julius Kresnik, Ludger’s older brother who is a top agent of the Spirius Corporation, the group that pretty much runs everything in Elympios. Unlike his brother, Julius knows exactly who he is and knows his place in society.

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Besides the setting, the other major change to the game is in the battle system. The new one is an enhancement of the Tales 1 system and it’s called the Double Raid Linear Motion Battle System. In the first game, you chose your weapon before a battle and you were stuck with it until the battle ended.

This time around, battling as Ludger you’ll have the ability to do a weapon swap at any time during the fight. Switching between short range swords, a mid range hammer and long range pistols, each bringing new move sets and strategies. I got some hands on time with this and it’s handled seamlessly with the touch of a button. In general, it made the fighting feel better to someone like me as a casual RPG fan.

Ludger also has a special ability called Chromatus which is the ability to transform. There’s a gauge that fills during the battle and when full you can trigger the Chromatus. Doing so renders Ludger invulnerable for a short period of time giving him flashier and more devastating attacks. It takes time to fill the meter though, so you’ll need to be careful about when and where you want to use it.

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You’ll have dialogue choices during the game which will ultimately affect other character’s affinity towards you but the overall story won’t really change all that much.

As with most RPG’S, your travel will be restricted initially, but this one integrates it nicely right into the story. Ludger goes into debt to help Elle after a train accident early in the game. Because he’s so deep in debt and considered a flight risk, his travel is then restricted by the Bank. The optional side missions of taking contracts to kill monsters, find items and deliver goods all help to pay the debt down.

Another interesting addition in this game is the inclusion of Character Chapters. These all focus on the original characters from the first Tales of Xillia. As you recruit them and move deeper into the story, multi-chapter plotlines for each character become available. They give you information about what happened to the various characters between the first game and this one. These are also completely optional, so if you haven’t played the first game or you’re just not interested, they can be skipped entirely.

As in the original, there will be DLC costumes available in Tales of Xillia 2, so prepare to break out the swimwear outfits, butler and maid, [email protected] and more. The best thing about this is that not only are the DLC costumes cross-compatible from the original Tales to Tales 2 but any new DLC costumes will be backward compatible as well.

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The Western release of the game won’t have an English voice-over track. Instead it will keep the original Japanese dialogue with an English subtitle option.

Tales of Hearts R for the PlayStation Vita was also (very) briefly discussed. A remake of the Nintendo DS game Tales of Hearts, it’ll be the first Tales game brought to the West for the Vita and like its big brother, it will also have the Japanese voice over with English subtitles only. It also includes two new playable characters that weren’t in the original game. I got some hands on time with this one as well and it looked and played really well, although as a casual RPG fan I may not be the best judge.

Tales of Xillia 2 will hit the US on August 19, 2014 in both a Standard Edition and Limited Collector’s Edition while Tales of Hearts R should be available some time this winter.

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  • Tales of Xillia is the best $10 i ever spent. Can’t wait to play these but with Tales of Symphonia Chronicles it’s not like i don’t have enough Tales to play