Revisiting: Tales of Xillia (PS3)

Tales of Xillia was a fantastic JRPG that I had a lot of good to say about when I first played it, so it’s no surprise that it made an appearance on my stream over the past month. As a followup to what was an eventful and enjoyable stream, I’ve decided to do a secondary review of the game as to how it was as an experience for me to stream, as well as touching on how the game felt for a second playthrough.

It’s been a fascinating experience seeing how games appear in a different light when you stream them as opposed to just playing them. Xillia is a very long game, and it would’ve certainly required a lot of either off-stream time put into grinding or long, dry stream sessions if not for the New Game+ bonuses. The New Game+ bonuses eliminated all of the stuff that would’ve been too dry to stream though, allowing for the game to maintain a fast pace, and keep moving through the story at a good clip. We got good laughs at watching my characters gain 6+ levels from some boss fights due to me gaining 10 times the normal experience. The New Game+ bonuses also made it much easier to tackle all of the secondary content, allowing me to see the aftermath of the Devil’s Arms sidequest, which I was never strong enough to do in my first playthrough.

Most importantly, though, were the visual accessories. It was interesting communally picking how our characters were going to appear… in the end, we ended up with Jude looking lovely in pigtails and a tiara, Milla sporting a fetching heart eye-patch, Elize with Elf Ears, and we gave Alvin a set of shifty-looking facial hair and a pipe to suit his roguish character. The accessories really shine when you have more than one person’s input on them, and they became a focal point of the game rather than just something I glossed over when playing alone.

It really changed the experience for me to have Princess Judith seek an understanding of Bazongas(this legendary quest has become a favourite among my viewers, who will probably continue bringing it up for months, if not years), Elf Elize become a pinkist, and Love-Pirate Milla gradually come to understand humanity. But, it wasn’t just the accessories that changed everything… the biggest gamechanger was the fact that the game’s story was twinned, meaning that you could choose which main character to follow, which alters the events you get to see.

I’d done Milla’s story, so I was really curious to see how Jude’s played out – since there were dozens of scenes where the two had different perspectives of events, and several where they had completely different scenes. One scene, for example, had Milla simply waking up after being injured… but playing as Jude you got to see him, and the rest of your party, agonizing over her injuries as she lay unconscious. There’s something special about seeing the same events from a different perspective, and seeing how much that can alter the feel of the story.

The combat system was everything I remembered, both good and bad. It was fun, exciting, and interesting to watch – which was good, because JRPGs can be somewhat dry to watch at times. The ability to chain together linked skills created quite a spectacle for the viewers, especially those who hadn’t seen the combo attacks before. But showing the game off for others made the few flaws in its combat system all the more apparent. Solo combat became a chore, even in small doses – both to watch and play through – and by the end, I was wishing I could show off more combos with my viewers’ favourite characters, but they just didn’t have many to show off.

In the end, though, the game was just as good as I remembered… and a lot better as a spectator game – both to watch and play – than I’d expected. It was a great and memorable experience, both for me and for my viewers.

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