|Dev: Bandai Namco|
|Pub: Bandai Namco|
|Release: August 19, 2014|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol, Violence|
The voice acting issues don't stop with Ludger, as Elle's performance is problematic as well. It's never easy hiring an adult to portray the voice of a child, but Elle's actor simply doesn't display the emotional range necessary for this difficult role. Elle is an innocent child with a bratty streak who goes through some serious trauma over the course of the game. Her English-language actor is good at Elle's mischievous side, but not as strong when it comes to sorrowful or otherwise emotional scenes, coming off as petulant when that doesn't seem to be the writing's intention. The rest of the cast cast has mostly strong performances, (I give particular kudos to Elize's actor for demonstrating the quick maturity that happens to young teenage girls) but it's a shame that the game's two central characters were fumbled.
Graphical issues complete the problems that drag down the game. Most of its areas are completely recycled from the first game, and the improved quality of the few new areas is obvious. Poor old Reize Maxia from the original Xillia is looking a bit tired, especially since none of the major changes to Reize Maxian society are graphically depicted in the game. In addition, technical issues that weren't present in the first game have cropped up. Transitions from the environment to battle screens often hang for several long seconds, and character models in populated areas frequently fail to load until you're right next to them, creating a rather startling pop-in effect.
In the end, Tales of Xillia 2 is most notable for its unusually dark storyline and strong character development. It's only truly worthwhile when played as a sequel, however, and is dragged down by poor design decisions. It's a quality 20-hour game that has been stretched out to an interminable 40-60 hours by filler content and mandatory grinding. As long as they're up for retreading ground and engaging in some very serious business, Tales super-fans will enjoy it. I'm not, however, comfortable recommending it to newcomers or to people with only a casual interest in the series. There's simply too much to wade through in order to get to the good stuff at the core.
Date: August 28, 2014