Tales Of Xillia Hands-On: Swapping Characters And Languages

By Matt Hawkins . April 11, 2013 . 5:02pm


One of the centerpieces of last week’s Namco Bandai Global Gamers Day event was the official North American unveiling of Tales of Xillia. Much as it did last year in Japan, the English version will serve as the focal point of the 15th anniversary of the franchise in Western markets.


While it’s doubtful that the celebration will be as extensive here as it was other there (one notable highlight back home was the Tales of Cafe, which as the name implies was an eating establishment that sported a Tales of decor), the publisher is intent on making some noise nonetheless, since they know that the fan base in the west is growing.


Thus far, sales of Tales games have reached the 15 million mark worldwide. And it is hoped the upcoming localized version will do well also, especially the Collector’s Edition that was announced at the event, which is set to include an art book, soundtrack CD, and a figure based upon Milla Maxwell, one of the game’s two protagonists.


Members of the press were given the opportunity to give the localized version a spin. Those familiar with the original Japanese release will largely encounter the same game, save for the new English voice acting. It was hard to make an assessment of the overall quality, but during my time, I wasn’t once annoyed or offended by the performances, so that’s at least something.


For those who aren’t familiar: Tales of Xillia is 13th "mothership" release for the series and is notable from the rest in a few significant ways. First of all, and as noted above, the game has two lead characters. It was explained that the story for both will be fundamentally the same, but each has their own unique point of view, specific to the character. Each will also have narrative elements and objectives that are entirely unique to them.



Visually speaking, it’s a mix of the two previous mainline entries. Tales Vesperia sported a very anime-like look, whereas Tales of Graces f had a lighter, more pastel look. Tales of Xillia serves as a middle ground, with its warmer tones. Though the super deformed look of the past has been pushed to the side slightly, in favor of more life-like body proportions.


For the first time ever, the player has full control of the camera. As a result, much thought was put into the environments, with plenty of hidden secrets that can only be found by carefully looking around. There’s also more attention being paid to background detail in general, with a greater sense of scale.



The actual gameplay remains largely the same, but there is the new Link System, in which another character in your party is chosen to fight alongside you. Ease of use and clarity was clearly a priority; there’s no mistaking who your buddy is, via the line that connects both characters. And switching partners can be done on the fly via the directional buttons.


There are benefits to swapping friends in the heat of the battle. Aligning yourself with someone will reap certain benefits, like if such and such character has an affinity for healing. If you’re dangerously close to flat lining, said partner will recover health automatically.


Tales of Xillia is scheduled for release on August 6 in North America and August 9 in Europe.

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  • Freud_Hater

    Thanks… I, uhh, already knew all that, but I guess it’s good for newcomers and stuff ^_^

    • Taylor Davis

      I agree, and I already played it. I guess its time to refresh the old news to everyone. :)

  • Im super pumped to play this!

  • harmonyworld

    I just…need this game!

    • Why does it look so badass? Tales games are getting considerably better, even the PS Vita ones were badass….not that I should know being that I am from America right Namco? >_>

  • Martian Wong

    So does that mean it is dual audio?

    • Freud_Hater

      …No, there’s no dual audio. Hideo Baba confirmed there was no dual audio several times.

      • Martian Wong

        I c, I asked because I saw the swapping characters and languages

        • Magicks

          You, my friend, were trolled like the rest of us. XD I was expecting that as well.

      • Yggdr5

        Multiple times? So far the only official confirmation has been an interview that went up on kotaku last week. He was always ambiguous before and always made promises that he would make great efforts to include dual-audio. And now we’re here…

    • Martian Wong

      Why down vote me for asking a question? I asked it because of the topic…

      • Kai2591

        I know right? Some people. Sheesh.

    • CirnoLakes

      No, Siliconera teased us… ;_;

  • Oliver Oyanedel Saez

    Is the Japanese voice acting included?

  • fireemblembeast


    • Martian Wong

      You are not alone, I got mislead by the title as well….

      • gangrelion

        Me too! damn it!

    • 果林

      same here :( sad panda

    • Cerzel

      Yep. Damn shame.

    • Kai2591

      I knew it was too good to be true :(

    • Crazy_O

      My wallet was scared for a moment.

    • Ty Austin

      C’mon, guys! Just be happy we’re getting the game. :)

  • Demerson

    Is this localization going to let you turn off the english and use the original japanese voices?

    • MrSirFeatherFang


  • Strid

    Talk about a misleading title – that’s almost Kotaku worthy right there.

  • DawnWolf

    This is what happens when it takes two years for Namco to localize a game… anyone who truly wanted it long since knew about this. Hype kinda got killed.

  • Closet_Ninja

    I’m really looking forward to this game recently finished graces f and near finishing Abyss going to need a new Tales game. perfect timing

  • MrJechgo

    This game is great, I’ll get it for sure :)
    However, I’m disappointed on how they screwed up their major feature. You have 2 protagonists… but only like 10 if not 5% of the entire game changes according to your choice. You don’t get 2 distinct playthroughs. That’s my major gripe against it. They could have made essentially 2 games into one.
    Nevertheless, it at least does give you a reason to replay the game. I just wished it was a bigger reward to do so.

    • MrSirFeatherFang

      I guess that’s one of the signs of the game being rushed (since it was stated that is was rushed by Baba).
      I also hear it’s pretty short, but that’s fine with me.

      • It’s a ticket for Xillia 2. I’m all for it.

      • 果林

        its not that short, but they did have to take a lot out from what was originally planned i believe due to budget problems such as Gaius

    • Arrei

      Eh, I much prefer this way, personally. If there’s too many different events, but the same story, then both characters’ stories tend to come out full of holes, pretty much making a second playthrough a necessity if you want to get a proper experience.

  • Reindeer

    What a misleading title.

  • Closet_Ninja

    what a miss leading title for an article considering all the hate i’ve been seeing on this game for its dub =/

  • Jordan

    Comes out after my birthday. STILL GONNA BUY IT! <3

  • Pichi

    First, not saying Dynasty Warriors 8 has English VA and now trick titles to think there would be dual audio in Tales of Xillia. Siliconera, why??

  • Charles

    It’s a little late for an April Fools prank Silicon.

  • 果林

    silicon’s first troll

    • outlawauron

      “silicon’s first troll today.”


  • C.C.

    I already played the japanese version so nothing new other than having it in English instead of Japanese. Oh well, time for my 3rd playthrough and 4th :)

    • MrSirFeatherFang

      But, with a friend? :D

  • mirahsan2

    Can’t wait! To the people who’ve never tried a Tales Game, please get Graces new and this game to. The money directly shows if the games are doing well and not to mention the games are great!

  • Nitraion

    What Hands-on?! O-o
    i envy you
    Also Lol for jude in first screenshot

  • fireemblembeast

    Elise is just too adorable! ^ //w// ^
    *points at avatar*

  • Nice title, got my hopes up. I curse the ground you tread upon…okay, not really. Still though, that title is extremely misleading and you should be ashamed.

    Seriously though, what is Namco’s beef against dual audio? If NISA can manage it when they are known for their -notoriously- small budgets, then Namco Bandai could damn well do the same…they absolutely have no excuse.

    Normally I wouldn’t care, but having played both ToX and ToX 2 already… listening to them in English is going to be hard.

    • M’iau M’iaut

      Please note this is a subject that has been discussed many times on our threads. In short, Namco is targeting audiences beyond the niche and thus simple and straightforward English localization with very recognizable VA talent is the safest play. Such provides the fewest barriers of entry for folks to enjoy the game.

      • Yggdr5

        You can’t really think that including a dual-audio option would alienate customers? If so shouldn’t Bandai Namco also have scrapped the Japanese voice track in Ni no Kuni which appealed to a much bigger audience?
        It’s the same as for the Vita releases and why we never saw ToV PS3:

        • M’iau M’iaut

          Every game is a little different. Ni No piggybacked off Ghibli and thus came with a different set of expectations. Namco has always at least made an effort to make their RPGs appeal to a broader buying public.

          We can also stop with the doesn’t care about the West when we are speaking of a company bringing over Project X. They have given darn near every series in their library a chance here — it is not completely their fault that we have said no.

          • Yggdr5

            I’m quite thankful that Project X Zone is coming to the west, even more so that it features (only) the Japanese audio. But now we have the situation that Tales of Vesperia is only available with English dubs and the same characters only speak Japanese in Project X Zone. Nobody can be happy about this.

      • outlawauron

        I don’t really understand how you can say they’re trying to target beyond the niche by using very recognizable VA talent whenever it’s the same 10 voice actors who only do games and anime. They’re only recognizable to the same niche that plays a lot of RPGs and watches dubbed anime. Surely, that’s not what you meant.

  • JustThisOne

    Question about the link system!

    A friend of mine has played the japanese version and says that you cannot perform link artes when you are playing with four players. I’m not sure if that means that you can only perform link artes with AI characters, or if the one player loses control when a link arte is being performed.

    Is it possible to hear some details about the link system over all? I just wanted to understand how it plays.

    • Yeah, you can only perform link artes with AI, if a friend is using a char and i link myself with him, his char changes to a normal AI while we stay linked :S, if i break link he can control char normally again.

      • JustThisOne

        Ohh! Okay, that’s not terrible then. I play with three others, so I was just worried that we won’t be able to do link artes at all. I don’t mind having to relinquish control once in awhile.

        Thanks, man.

        • If you really want to thank me accept me as your harem master

          • JustThisOne


  • Jungo

    Was I the only one who understood that ‘swapping languages’ meant from the Japanese release, which he’s played, to English?

  • Jude, wht have you done to get a monster biting your head……

  • Kai2591

    either way, the game sounds real nice :)

  • CirnoLakes

    When I read the title… I thought they were going to give us dual audio…

  • Zoozbuh

    Aufghjgnf, want this even worse than I did before now.. Each Tales games improves so much over the last, and personally I really don’t care about the English voice track!! I prefer English voices <3 (Just have to finish Graces F first…)

  • Ladius

    If anyone is interested, Xillia’s limited edition is available for preorder on the US Gamestop site: http://www.gamestop.com/ps3/games/tales-of-xillia-collectors-edition/109114

  • Maumac77

    Don’t see how this was misleading, however the request for dual audio isn’t something I’ve desired regardless

  • Setsuna ♥

    I love the first image used. Tipos the best ~

  • Crimson_Cloud

    I watched the official English trailer today, and even though I’m so stoked for the game, I had to cringe at the crappy and utterly uninteresting trailer that could turn away someone quite easily… So yeah, they won’t sell it well with that crappy advertisement.

  • ShadowDivz

    August 6th? F*CK!
    That’s the same time as my anime convention…

    And i wanted that damn figurine…

    • Asrialys

      Won’t pre-ordering a copy ensure that you’ll get one as long as you pick it up in time?

  • Brian Senne

    Obviously, I’ll be alone in this train of thought, but Im extatic about another Dub tales game gracing my shore! Dub actors have gotten better translation, barriers are nowhere near as crippling to the overall story as it used to be, and to be honest,if Bandai added words to a japenese game it would probably take another 2 years to get here! I actually enjoy Dub anime though. I admit that I thought Graces voice acting was atrocious mostly (except malik which brought back memories of Lelouch’s ponytail activist reporter). But I loooved the Dub of symphonia and escpecially Vesperia to muchlet that damper my nostalgia for the series. We are getting another Tales game, shouldn’t that be worthy of elation alone? This is the only game series I salivate for. And since all you fan boys and girls will already thumb me down faster than a critics review, I personally thank Japan that it’s dubbed rather than subbed. At least I’ll get my cake and eat it in front of all of you Dub haters. (ok that last bit was admittadly cynical but no one see Dub has gotten.) I promise you the overall story wont lose meaning because the entire voice cast dosent sound like prebubsant school girls. If its that much of a deal breaker for you, curl up under your rock, learn japenese so you can buy an imported copy or be content with the plethera of good anime anime subbed shows Im still waiting to be dubbed; but whatever you do, dont rag on my tales! Even if you do complain about it, just know you wont ruin my cake…

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