Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I want it all and I want it now

Last week I mentioned that shops do not automatically get new and better equipment as time passes in Tales of Xillia. You need to invest in them, either with items or money, to unlock said equipment. It adds one more number that you can watch get bigger. As is human nature, I wanted to make it as big as possible as quickly as I could. In other words, I immediately wanted to break the mechanic by grinding out weapons far more powerful than I should have. Namco Bandai is smarter than I am, not that this should come as a surprise. While it is possible to unlock very good weapons money is portioned out in such a way that it is very difficult to afford them. I have created my own carrot and stick, one that I will never reach and that keeps me coming back for more.

There is no denying that Tales of Xillia is hitting each and every JRPG trope but it is hitting them so precisely that it is never boring. It is a game for fans of the genre that never even bother to try to appeal to anyone else. Combat slowly builds in complexity, moving from one on one mashing to linked attacks to chained linked attacks to whatever other wonderful wrinkle they throw at me. The characters are fresh out of every other role playing game but they are better. The fresh faced youth is weak and naive but actually thinks about his decisions. The stacked twenty something lord of the fairies knows very little about how humans interact but makes an effort to learn. The mercenary who is obviously going to betray everyone else already regrets what he is going to do. I have played this all before but it is just better here.

Now the 'if': if only the game didn't look like a shiny PS2 game. Perhaps I am spoiled by the impossible beauty of Final Fantasy XII-2 or am looking forward a little too much to my shiny new hardware, but this game does not impress visually. Textures are bland, monsters lack detail, character animation, especially when they talk, is just not good. Given the choice between spending the time and money on looks versus content I think they made the right call but I am a selfish, selfish man. Have you seen the screenshots of Lightning Returns? I want a game that looks like that and play like Tales of Xillia.

Yes, I want the impossible.

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