Warning before you read this: I get heavily invested into video game stories. Crazy, I know. I mean, it’s not like people get so invested in other media, such as movies, to the point that they chase directors off of Twitter. I really delve into the story of two games in this post and provide quite a bit of analysis. You’ve been warned!
This post contains spoilers for Tales of Xillia and Tales of Xillia 2.
This is an incredibly detailed critical analysis of Tales of Zestiria‘s mechanics based on playing the import. The author is my friend Radiant Roar, who is a long time expert on the deeper mechanics behind modern Tales of games. There’s a few minor spoilers for certain party members and boss names in the post but is otherwise spoiler-free. This post covers the game’s mechanics and is not a critique of the game’s story. It’s definitely worth a read.
The 13th game in a popular, long-running Japanese RPG series starring a female main character for the first time in the series’ history. Unfortunately, the game faced some issues during development resulting in some disappointment among fans. Eventually a sequel was released that fixed many of the issues in the first game while introducing a new male protagonist and a weird, somewhat bizarre plot.
Think I’m talking about Final Fantasy XIII? Nope! I’m referring to the 13th “mothership” title in the wonderfully prolific Tales of series, Tales of Xillia.
So, Tales of Xillia. What is there to say? I’ve been a huge fan of this series since 2005, so of course I had to get this game as soon as it came out. This is the ninth Tales game I’ve finished now? I’ve kind of lost count at this point. I love this series, and it’s slowly creeping up to the same level as Final Fantasy on my personal hierarchy of favorite game series.
Before I go into detail about Project X Zone, let me first clarify something. I love crossovers. Video game crossovers, movie crossovers, book crossovers, cartoon crossovers, crossovers that bring together two completely different mediums. I love ‘em all. When Dissidia: Final Fantasy came out for the PSP 5 years ago, it was like a dream come true. Finally, after 20 years, there was a game that brought together characters from different Final Fantasy games. The fun fighting aside, it was even more fun watching the different characters interact even if the game’s plot and writing left something to be desired.
And that’s what I love about crossovers. Seeing characters from different “universes” interacting. Crossovers tend to highlight the similar themes across different stories as well as the differences between them. I find it all incredibly fascinating.
So when Project X Zone was originally announced, I was pretty excited. But considering the fact that its PS2 prequel, Namco x Capcom, was never released outside of Japan, I wasn’t very hopeful. I figured the game would have to be dubbed (ultimately, it wasn’t), and finding a voice cast for such an insane amount of characters would probably be crazy expensive. Plus, was there even demand for this kind of game outside of Japan? (Or in Japan, for that matter. Apparently the game didn’t sell all that well in Japan.)
Ah, the Tales of series. This series of Japanese RPGs is like a comfort food and/or guilty pleasure for me. Anime art style? Check. Voice acting? Check. Some of the most classic JRPG tropes ever conceived? Check. Over-the-top flashy attacks? Check and check. Not to say that the anime art style is something I look for specifically in games. What I do like in a game’s aesthetics, however, is a disregard for reality in favor of vibrant colors and an imaginative world. The Tales series has both of these in spades.