Fans of the Tales of series may rejoice, for here returns the usual colorful cast of characters, visuals, and flashy moves. Unfortunately, I can’t say I was nearly as impressed with the combat of Tales of Xillia 2. While it’s very nice to be able to switch characters on a whim, controlling their different moves, there isn’t enough of a variety of moves to warrant a very exciting combat experience. Instead, with an arsenal of combat opportunities, Tales of Xillia 2 seems to shoot blanks, making for a fairly boring battles. The occasional flashy move just isn’t enough to convince me that there is enough substance at play.
As a whole though, the rest of its presentation holds up well with very crisp graphics and interesting character designs. The Tales of series must often conquer the feat of avoiding falling into the generic mold of your standard JRPG, but the cast of characters seems to stand out pretty well. Except there is one guy in particular who is presumably the antagonist who has just about the lamest hairstyle I have ever seen in a video game in my entire life. I couldn’t take him seriously at all. Still, it doesn’t detract too much from the experience.
With a sleek interface and visuals, it’s a shame that the core of its gameplay feels so dull. The combat system is often the cornerstone of a JRPG, and Tales of Xillia 2 could have used more time in the oven before giving players a reason to actually get in on the action. Simply put, the Tales of series could use a revamped battle system to help revitalize the series. Still, fans of the first game will likely find stuff to love about this one when it releases in North America on August 19th for the PlayStation 3.