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Tales of Xillia 2 Review: Take me back to Rieze Maxia

The new antagonists, Ludger and Elle

The new antagonists, Ludger and Elle

Welcome back everyone to my esteemed blog.  The crickets have been chirping quite a bit on the blogging front, but there are a couple of reasons for this.  First, my company recently had their annual meeting, which really took it out of me.  So, after the conclusion of that successful meeting, I took a few days off and just relaxed.  I also had to attend a wedding or two, which involved quite a bit of traveling.  Now fans can rejoice, for I have returned.  Let us begin.

Bandai Namco is best known for the Tales series.  Now they have brought us the direct sequel to Tales of Xillia.  Tales of Xillia 2 takes place one year after the events of the first game.  With the huge success of the first installment, does this sequel measure up to it’s predecessor?  Let’s review.

Graphics:  There isn’t much to be said about the graphics of Tales of Xillia 2, reason being, it looks exactly the same in and out.  The characters both new and returning still retain the same design and art direction, minus a few wardrobe and hair changes (it has been a year since the first game ).  Score:  8/10

A little of the new mixed with the old.

A little of the new mixed with the old.

Sound:  Tales of Xillia 2 brings back some familiar tunes along with some new tracks to spice up the roster.  Motoi Sakuraba brings his delicate touch back to what is already a great franchise.  The voice acting is done fairly well, with the original cast returning to compliment the new characters.  On a sad note to some, Teepo is back.  Ayumi Hamasaki brings her vocal talents back with the intro theme “Song 4 U.”  Fans of the first Xillia title soundtrack won’t be disappointed with this second dose of gaming music excellence.  Score:  8.5/10

Gameplay:  As with most Tales games, this is where it all comes together.  Tales of Xillia’s core gameplay is in the fighting system.  When you’re fighting monsters, it feels more like a fighting game and less of a “select your attack and wait” kind of game, which is pretty cliche in most JRPGs.

Outta my way!

Outta my way!

The story, which is excellent, picks up one year after the events of the first game.  There is a twist, you don’t get to play as two separate protagonists, instead you only have one hero, Ludger Kresnik.  I have to say, I was somewhat disappointed with Ludger as a protagonist.  Although his story involving his brother Julius is well plotted, his portrayal as the more often than not silent protagonist is very off-putting, and while you make selections on Ludger’s responses and choices-it feels bland all together.  Elle is the other protagonist, a non-playable character who is also a huge element of the story, although not being able to use her caused me to disassociate myself from her almost entirely.  I much preferred Jude and Milla.

Feature-2-TOX2

The story progresses smoothly, except for times when you are forced to pay off your ridiculously exorbitant debt.  This results in you having to sidetrack your mission to accomplish fetch and monster slaying quests.  Except for the “elite” monsters, I found the remaining quests to be very tedious.

Battle of the brothers!

Battle of the brothers!

The orb system has had an overhaul as well.  I was a huge fan of the “Illium Orb” system in the first Xillia game.  The new orb system called “Allium Orb” is something that I am not too fond of.  You equip each character with an orb that slowly levels up and earns you new and upgraded skills and artes.  Think of it as a Final Fantasy 6 esper system, but much more detailed.  The only downside to this system is that with everything going on in this game, you are forced to do some severe micromanaging.  To some this is ok, but for others, it can be somewhat of a burden.

Meet the new Allium Orb system.

Meet the new Allium Orb system.  I’m a fan of the japanese version, sorry folks.

One addition that I thought was an excellent touch is the character story lines.  This allows Ludger and Elle to go on separate quests with each of the original characters from the first game, thus learning more about that individual character and increasing the bond you have between them, and you can earn a costume accessory here and there.  Score: 9.0/10

Tales of Xillia 2 is an incredible story that brings this tale to a wonderful close.  Any Tales fan should definitely add this to their library.  One thing, if you never played the first Tales of Xillia, I would recommend playing that one first.  It helps bring events of the sequel to better light.  Thanks again for following my blog.  I am reviewing a niche title called Fairy Fencer F.  Stay tuned for my review coming soon.  Thanks everyone!

Final Score: 8.5/10

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Tales of Xillia Review: Does this Tale tell it all?

ImageWelcome back friends to another edition of my esteemed blog.  The Tales series is celebrating its 15th anniversary, and what better way to ring in the year then with the release of another Tales title.  This time around they have brought Tales of Xillia to our Playstation 3 console.   Let’s see if this tale is as telling as the others.

Graphics:  These days a lot of people are interested in soulless polish.  Although Xillia does feature anime style characters and interesting environments, the graphical quality is not up to snuff with other titles such as Ni No Kuni.  However, despite its lack of graphical muscle, it still delivers a visual experience.  Score:  8.5/10

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Sound:  The music is pretty well done.  Fans of previous Tales titles will enjoy this wonderful work from Motoi Sakuraba.  This soundtrack tends to draw you into the game, especially towards the climax.  The voice acting is well done overall, except for the voice actress who plays Milla.  I found her voice to be slightly substandard and performed with little effort.  Score: 8/10

Gameplay:  The story of Xillia takes place from the perspective of two protagonists, Jude Mathis, a medical student trying to discover the reasoning behind the absence of the spirits, and Milla Maxwell, lord of the spirits on a quest to regain the “four” that have been stolen from her.  Even though you have the choice of playing one of the two protagonists, they’re individual quests intertwine with one another. 
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The combat system is as fun as ever, with a few new additions to it, that being the new link system.  The link system allows the character your controlling to link with another character.  You and that character work together as a team, one character will hack and slash at an enemy, while the other attacks or binds them from behind.  There are also special attacks that can be performed with each linked character combination to deal an even more devastating and flashy blow to your opponents.  The status leveling system is more than just gaining a level and increasing most of your status attributes automatically.  This time, there is a grid leveling system similar to that of Final Fantasy 10.  While not as diverse and robust as FF 10, it is still a nice addition that adds depth to the process of level grinding.  There are also numerous side quests that add to the journey.  All in all, a good blend of depth that adds to the amazing adventure.        Score: 9/10 

Tales of Xillia is a great way to ring in the 15th anniversary of the series, and with the sequel already in the works for a state side release, we can only wait in anticipation for the sequel to an already amazing adventure.

 

Final Score: 8.5/10

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Review

ImageWelcome back friends to another edition of The Gaming Angel.  I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, and here is to the start of a new year.

Great RPG’s have become a rarity in recent years, and fans have began to wonder whether or not there will ever be another great RPG that will make leaps and bounds above today’s current RPG’s.  Well folks, I am happy to answer that question with a big solid yes.  Namco Bandai has satisfied the hunger of RPG fans with the release of Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch.

I apologize in advance for the delay with this review, but I wanted to enjoy this game thoroughly, since I have been waiting for over a year for it’s release.  So, is this title worth an RPG fan’s time?  Here’s the verdict.

Graphics:  From the moment you turn on the game…Breathtaking is an understatement when describing the beauty of this game’s graphics.  The beautiful environments, cel-shaded characters, and amazing animated movie cut scenes courtesy of Studio Ghibli all blend together to bring us a timeless tale chock full of eye candy.
Score 10/10

Sound:  The musical score of Ni No Kuni is absolutely flawless.  It was composed by the world famous Joe Hisaishi.  The music was performed by the Japanese Philharmonic Orchestra.  This duo is a sure formula for perfection and it is executed brilliantly.
Score: 10/10

Gameplay: The gameplay of Ni No Kuni is a unique blend of Tales of Destiny meets Pokemon.  The exploration is pretty much like your typical JRPG.  The battle system is a nice refreshing subject.  Battle consists of all characters being in an open map area much like Tales of Destiny, and you have the option of fighting the characters yourself (Oliver) or you can summon these Pokemon like familiars to fight in your place.  It’s a blend of past gameplay elements that work wonderfully together.  RPG fans all over will drool over this.  Score: 10/10

Ni No Kuni is an RPG that fans have been waiting for!  If you have ever played an RPG (past or present) or a hardcore RPG fan that has lost hope in a perfect RPG ever coming around, then you need to pick up Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch.  You will not be disappointed.

Final Score: 10/10

Thanks for reading my blogs, and be sure to subscribe and tell your friends!  Also, for those that may not know, I have a YouTube page which consists of me playing games (past and present) and doing commentary at the same time.  Be sure to subscribe folks!  My username on YouTube is CrystalEsper.  Thanks again folks and see you next time.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Review: Tag teaming never looked so good.

ImageHello fellow gamers and welcome to another edition of the gaming angel.  Before we begin, I would like to apologize to my followers out there for the long hiatus, but there was a few factors that kept me distracted from keeping my fellow gamers updated with the latest and greatest in gaming goodness.  First off, I started a new job shortly after graduating from college, which I am very thankful for especially in today’s economy. There was also a series of unfortunate family issues which demanded my immediate attention, so again to all of you, I apologize.  Anyhow, it has been over a decade since Tekken Tag Tournament was released for the Playstation 2 console.  Now the sequel has arrived, however does it exceed over it’s predecessor?

Graphics:  From the moment you insert the disc, the graphics blow you away.  Character details are well developed and animation is clean and crisp.  The backgrounds are robust and eye popping.  The CG cutscenes are very high quality as well.  Keep in mind, characters have CG cutscene endings.  So, there are a good number of CG scenes, all of which are great.  Score: 9.5/10

Sound: The traditional sounds of Tekken make a huge return.  Different genres of music and the ability to upload custom tunes via the Tekken Tunes option is an excellent addition.  Sound: 8.5/10

Gameplay:  Veterans of Tekken will be all but too familiar with the huge arsenal of moves and combination capabilities that have made Tekken so legendary.  Controls are smooth and responsive.  The new menu options are extremely vast and giving each character his or her own ending will keep players coming back to see them all.  The online mode is pretty much similar to Tekken 6’s online mode.  Novice players will be investing a lot of time in mastering the combos and techniques for the characters, but practice makes for a deadly adversary.  Score: 9.5/10

Issues: One critic complained massively about the menu and as a result gave the game a less than worthy review.  I’m sure Namco was focusing on a lot more than merely the menu option.  I personally had no trouble navigating this menu screen.  So don’t be fooled by the critics that complain about this.

TTT2 is probably one of the best fighting games out there.  There is more than enough to keep you entertained for MANY HOURS to come.  So strap on your controller and prove you’re man or woman enough to conquer the Iron Fist Tournament!!!

Final Score: 9.5/10

Thanks for reading my blog and be sure to follow me.

Lucas