Namco Bandai America Inc.’s Tales of Xillia for Sony Corp.’s Playstation 3 is an epic RPG with quick in-depth combat, multiple customization options, and a large cast of great characters.

Tales of Xillia features Jude Mathis, a medial student in Fennmont who subsequently discovers a military secret in an unauthorized research facility. At the facility, he encounters Milla Maxwell, a young woman who can summon the Four Great Spirits. At the facility, she utilizes the spirits to protect the world, but ultimately loses the aid of the spirits and must venture the world as a standad human.

Tales of XilliaUsers can select to play as Jude or Milla to gain an personal perspective between the two, but all characters in the party can be individually controlled in battle.

The title is separated into battle locations to gain experience and villages to advance the story, recoup, and purchase new gear. The overhead map features visible enemies which allows users to control the number of encounters.

The battle system is quick and action-based to offer great grinding process to level-up characters. Users have full control over one character while the AI can be pre-programmed to follow certain parameters or act freely. In addition to the option to free run and guard, users can combine standard attacks with magic-based Artes to combo enemies. Artes require Assault Counter and Technical Points which can be earned via standard attacks.

Also, users can link with one-party member to combine fight strategy. For example, a link with one member will cause the partner to pincer the enemy to add additional strikes, while another member will increase the likeliness to break enemy guard.

Finally, a link partner can deploy joint special attacks that can unleash added damage, and lead to another linked combo with a different partner.

The result is a fine battle system that combines action with plenty of in-depth options. Some battles against weaker enemies can even be finished in mere seconds to prevent fight fatigue. While boss can be particularly strategic, forcing the player to make the right player links, attack combinations, and defensive tactics to survive.

To develop characters post-fight, users can customize parameters like STR, VIT, INT, PSY, AGI, DEX with Lillium Orbs. The grid-based skill system allows users to spend GP gained by fighting and leveling up. If users activate four corners of the grid, an additional skill is unlocked.

Despite a large cast, Tales of Xilla holds a great band of unlikely soldiers who banter with honesty and humor. In addition the main story, users can hit select at various moments to view side-story banter illustrated by hand-drawn character art.

The graphics engine is solid at 30 frames-per-second. The characters and locations are well-built, even if a bit dated. The sound engine is great with grand orchestral pieces and solid voice work throughout.

Tales of Xillia is a fine entry in the ‘Tales’ franchise. The quality storytelling, solid gameplay mechanics, and customizations provide an in-depth and lengthy quest for the most avid adventurer.

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