"Even if you present them with a more noble way, humans won't change. I've been watching them for two thousand years."
Another entry in the Tales Series, released in Japan for the PlayStation 3 on the 8th of September 2011. It currently holds the record for the fastest-selling Tales Series title and the second fastest-selling PS3 title with approximately 525,605 copies sold in the first week. It was released on August 2013 in North America and Europe.In the world of Rieze Maxia, humans and monsters co-exist with the Spirits, who grant their power to humans in exchange for protection. The most basic form of this is the ability to channel mana as Spirit Power, which can be used to power everything from street lamps to magical spells. Two countries vie for supremacy of Rieze Maxia: Rashugal, an empire whose extensive use of Spirit Power has granted it incredible prosperity; and Auj Oule, a developing country whose power comes from the control of monsters.Jude Mathis is a bright young medical student studying in the capital of Rashugal. When a large number of patients are suddenly admitted to his hospital, he investigates the cause and encounters a mysterious woman called Milla Maxwell. Milla claims to be "Maxwell", the legendary King of Spirits, and has come to investigate a recent wave of spirit deaths within Rashugal. Together, she and Jude discover a horrificsecret lurking in the heart of Rashugal, and are soon forced to flee from the military.Other characters include Alvin, a smooth-talking mercenary with a secret agenda; Leia Rolando, Jude's childhood friend and trainee nurse; Elize Lutus, a timid but gifted Spirit Summoner with a talking doll named Teepo; and Rowen J. Ilbert, the dedicated butler of a respected noble family within Rashugal.The battle system is a fusion of the Destiny (Capacity Points) and Symphonia (TP) styles featured in previous Tales games, allowing for constant combos as long as "Assault Counter" points remain. The most notable addition is "Link Mode", which allows two characters to coordinate their actions far more closely, protecting each other, attacking together and executing powerful tag team attacks called Resonance Artes. The Skit System from previous Tales games has also been expanded, now including more inter-party banter during battles and casual dialogue while wandering through the overworld. Since there has been an official name for them, but the game doesn't differentiate between the two "long" and "short" skits, the short skits have been called "chats".A direct sequel to the game, simply named Tales of Xillia 2, was released as a Japanese Winter 2012 PS3 title and will also be released in North America and Europe in August 2014.You have been warned of very critical spoilers!
Trope associated with this game so far:
Aborted Arc: Act 4 ends when Gaius hands Jude the key to the final dungeon and says "see you there," immediately ending the group's journey in Elympios and leaving the rest of that storyline (The Otherworld Reactor Project, human experimentation, etc.) to voiced-over sub-events.
Always with You: It is hinted in the ending for Jude's side, that even though Milla now lives in the spirit world as the new Maxwell, she still watches over him and presumably, their friends.
Amplifier Artifact: Boosters. They work by forcefully extracting more mana from a person's mana lobe that is normal (or healthy), thus allowing the user to cast more powerful Spirit Artes. The drawback is that it shortens the user's lifespan.
Armor-Piercing Question: Milla gives one of these to Gaius during his Motive Rant. Gaius reveals that his plan is to gather and store all of the world's superweapons not only to gain strength, but to protect the weak from those who would seek to abuse them. Milla counters with a speech to the effect of "But you'll eventually die one day. And who's to say the next guy who takes the throne in your place will have the same ideas you do?" Gaius briefly falters at that.
Artificial Brilliance: When you partner with someone, the AI is actually smart enough to wait to attack until after, or during your attacking. This means you'll do more damage and also keep the enemy busy. Not only that, they'll make sure to heal you or buff you as soon as they can and even when not partnered, they will often move in a way that allows them better usage of their artes.
They'll also do things like get you out of dizziness; and if you're knocked out on the ground and stunned, they'll snap you out of it usually right away. They also will guard attacks for you if a enemy is relentlessly attacking you.
Leia has a buff spell that gives a random elemental attribute to an ally's physical attacks. Not only does her AI fail to realise how unreliable this is, but she'll even cast it against enemies that resist all elements, where it will drastically lower your damage output. note However, like with all artes, you can turn this off so that she doesn't use it in battle at all
Ascended Extra: In a sense, Driselle. She's a minor NPC character, and yet she gets to be part of a few skits on Milla's side of the story, during their inprisonment at Fort Gandala.
Authority Equals Asskicking: Both King Nachtigal and King Gaius are extremely tough bosses, with Nachtigal in particular being a Hopeless Boss Fight when you first meet him. (Gaius is arguably also a Hopeless Boss Fight the first time you fight him — the game proceeds in the same way whether you win or not, and suggests that your entire party is more or less equally matched with him...) Both, however, also have a certain degree of justification for this — Nachtigal fought in the army in his younger days, working his way up from footsoldier to general on merit alone, despite his noble birth (which, in fact, is the main reason he's king by now — when it came to a civil war between him and his older brothers, the army backed HIM.) Gaius, meanwhile, rose to power on a philosophy of Asskicking Equals Authority, and effectively formed his kingdom from a bunch of scattered Barbarian Tribes by virtue of being able to kick everybody else's ass — in a culture that greatly honors personal strength.
Badass Grandpa: For the first time in Tales history, a 60+ yr old butler joins the fray of playable characters. Bringing the roster to six, enter Rowen J. Ilbert.
Big "NO!": From Jude, when Milla appears to die at the end of chapter 3.
Big Damn Heroes: During the final boss battle, each member that isn't Jude or Milla comes into the battle to assist them one by one. What's so interesting about this particular trope is that each one of them comes in and uses their Mystic Arte for a Dynamic Entry effect. Yes, it is awesome.
Bittersweet Ending: The two worlds are saved, the well-intentioned antagonists are redeemed, and Jude and Milla finally admit their feelings to one another. However, Milla turns down the opportunity to be reborn as a human and live Happily Ever After with Jude, as she feels it is her responsibility to stay in the Spirit World as the new Lord of Spirits.
Black Magic: Spyrix machines. Unlike Spirit Power, which essentially recycles the mana by giving it to spirits in exchange for magic, a Spyrix burns up the mana completely and risks depleting the finite mana supply of the world, as well as killing the spirits used in the process by mana starvation. The most dangerous Spyrix machines (such as the Lance of Kresnik) even suck up the mana from every living thing around them (including Spirits) to power themselves.
The Cameo: The pre-order costume for the game features Jude as Cless and Milla as Stahn. Also, the already announced DLC costumes are from Star Driver.
Cast From HP: The Lance of Kresnik seems to be the most horrific version of this. It sucks out the life energy of everyone around it so it can fire a Wave Motion Gun. Even worse, Nachtigal is experimenting on his own people to improve the process'
On the smaller scale, Boosters are this as well, dramatically increasing an individual's mana output - at the cost of your life energy. However, as a soldier puts it, this cost is mainly only after long periods of use, and even then how much depends wildly among the afflicted. After hearing this, Rowen is worried for Elize, knowing full well that Teepo is a unique booster prototype.
Chekhov's Gun: There are quite a few events that foreshadow the development of Spyrite technology. When Jude and Milla search for a Spirit Fossil to power the device that will allow Milla to regain the use of her legs, they are carrying out the exact steps needed to make a Spyrite device.
Combat Medic: Jude, intentionally, but his small pool of healing moves makes his status as one disputable. Leia, on the other hand, is a true qualifier.
Combination Attack: Link Artes. Several between characters, depending if they have the artes that complement each other.
My Rules Are Not Your Rules: The bosses in Xillia blatantly ignore the rules of the game's battle system. For example, according to the in-game tutorial, you have to link in order to enter Overlimit and must link Mystic Artes from an Arcane Arte. Prepare to grit your teeth in frustration as bosses freely enter Overlimit without linking, and relentlessly spam their Mystic Artes. Ivar, in particular, can whiff his Arcane Arte completely and still perform his Mystic Arte as though it had connected. While Wingull skips using an Arcane Arte altogether and simply spams his Mystic Arte; ofttimes back-to-back.
Particularly obvious when you fight your own party members in the Arena, and they can use their Mystic Artes without linking. The exact same ones you need to be linked to use.
Darker and Edgier: Even by the standards of most Tales games, Xillia is up there in terms of darker content, complete with a higher body count than other games, a more complex villain, and deeper character traits. The Offical Guide provides more details.
Deconstruction: The game is a deconstruction of the Undying Loyalty aspect you see in Role-Playing Games by showing us what happens when someone becomes so loyal they become blindly loyal and also shows that you can't always rely on pure loyalty to make it in life and that everyone needs to find a Goal in Life of their own.
Also, the game deconstructs the Determinator trope you see in the Tales series when it comes to following your beliefs. What happens when you become so determined to follow your beliefs that you're willing to become the very thing you despise, and also shows just how empty simply focusing your entire life is when you just simply follow your beliefs and nothing else.
Diesel Punk: Everything about Elympios. Trigleph especially feels like it was ripped straight out of a hardboiled detective movie.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: Direct-tethering, a method of channeling spirit artes, takes on a rather... naughty tone in a skit about it. Muzét's experience with Jude in that method made Milla jealous, and the following line didn't help matters.
Muzét: "Jude was able to fill me up with loads of mana."
He does care for his son, but because of his professional and strict demeanor he comes of as rather hard-hearted. (It also doesn't help much that one of the people Jude's traveling with is responsible for him becoming a wanted criminal, and another is someone that Jude's dad is implied to have a bit of a history with and knows is bad news.) If you go purely by the main story, he's simply a jerk, but multiple supplementary side-quests show him privately proud of his son growing a spine, and taking responsibility.
Gag Bazongas: Not in a direct way, while Milla has big knockers, they instead uses Jude's lack of knowledge about that for humor (TEACH ME ABOUT BAZONGAS!!!). After all, 'Bazonga' is a slang word for 'boobs'.
Götterdämmerung: Maxwell's creation of Rieze Maxia was this for Elympios, effectively leaving them with no alternatives to Spyrixes for basic necessities where once they could rely on help from Spirit Arte users.
The Greatest Story Never Told: Since the game has players choose between Jude and Milla, certain portions of the game won't be seen in either route. For example, in Jude's side you get to see what happened to the team when Milla pulled out a Heroic Sacrifice, the last fight with Ivar, and what happened to Agria and Presa at the Hollowmont while in Milla's side you'll find out that, around that time, she had revived as an empty shell thanks to the spirits. Generally speaking, Jude's side revolves around the many characters that stand in their way while Milla's side focuses on her mission and the nature of spirits. You do get explanations from other characters about what happens during splitting paths.
Nearly at the end of their routes, they have exclusive parts where the event is radically different while it takes place in the same location. Namely, on Jude's side you fight Gaius for a second time while in Milla's side you fight Muzét instead.
Green Aesop: The spirit-consuming spyrixes are a pretty clear reference to the conflict between nature and industrialization. Spyrites are basically renewable energy, offering hope to Elympios, which would otherwise die due to completely depleting its natural resources.
Green-Eyed Monster / Fatal Flaw: Ivar becomes increasingly jealous of Jude, a flaw that continually bites him (and, eventually, the entire world) in the arse.
Guide Dang It: Some missions have a very spefic timeframe they must be done or the quests become Lost Forever. The most jarring part is that while some skits tell you what you need to do, they don't tell you WHERE to go, meaning you can end up wasting a good while searching for a NPC and miss out on some very good interesting side quests.
There's another side to this too. While the skits that hint at sidequests are an attempt to avert this, the hint skits themselves count for 100% Completion. The Guide Dang It here is that doing certain sidequests too early can result in some hint skits being Lost Forever. And is it's often not obvious which sidequests can safely be put off until later and which will disappear after a certain point.
Hopeless Boss Fight: The first few rounds of the fight against the real Maxwell is one, as no matter how strong the party is the boss will hit them with his Mystic Arte (which ironically doesn't do much damage to a properly equipped party) during the fight to result in a cutscene of the party getting back up and attacking again a total of 3 times before the fight the player can actually win begins.
Instant Expert: Milla, very much so. With just a bit of instruction from Alvin, she goes from an inept fighter that can't even swing her sword more than once in a row, to an extremely skilled swordswoman the equal of any Tales protagonist. In a skit shortly afterward, she comments that she's finally getting the basics of swordplay down, and that the trick is to view the sword as an extension of her body. A flabbergasted Alvin informs her that's not the basics, but rather the final part of mastery.
Instant Runes: While typical of a Tales game at this point, this iteration makes the runes from Abyss look like preschool art projects (just look up any Mystic Arte exhibition).
In Medias Res: As compared to the previous game's Prolonged Prologue, this game's story dumps you into the action immediately, with explanations of what's actually going on and how we got to that point coming later. This is to the point that the game actually skips over the OP and title screen when starting up until you pass a certain (very early) point in the game. This is even more apparent if you're on Mila's story: while Jude gets a bit of time to wander around Fenmont Medical School and talk to NP Cs for some backstory, Mila's throws you right into the middle of an action sequence.
Intimate Healing: "Direct tethering" is apparently this, as it allows a human to provide a Greater Spirit with mana. Naturally, Jude fails to realize this.
Kid Hero: At 15, Jude is one of the younger protagonists that the Tales series has seen along with Kyle and Ruca; the standard Tales hero age seems to be 17.
Inversely, Rowen is the oldest playable character who isn'tReally 700 Years Old in the main series, being 62 years of age.
Last Lousy Point: For those going for 100% skit completion, "The Gel Abstainers" is likely to be this. While most of the other "Misc" skits are fairly obvious and easy to get through normal playing (have the party all reach a certain level, have the main character's stats exceed a certain number, eat a certain food item), this one requires you to never use a single Gel until you reach Xian Du, which is roughly one third of the way through the game.
The sub-event skits might end up being this too, since doing certain sidequests too early can cause you to miss some.
Level Up Fill Up: Anyone who has learned the skill "Level Restore" gets the benefit of this.
Rowen is also a Magic Knight, though on the sliding slide of magic versus melee, he skews closer to the former.
Magitech: All technology in Rieze Maxia can be explained as applied Spirit Artes. A Spyrix is a more nefarious example. Spyrite, which is developed during the events of the game, is basically a spyrix without its one glaring drawback.
Mood Whiplash: If playing Milla's path first, sometime after she returns to life and rejoins the party, you will get a skit that casually informs you that the rest of the party fought and killed Agria/Presa in her absence. Oh, and that Alvin nearly killed Jude and Leia. This skit triggers quite randomly, dampens the levity of her return and may leave the player saying "what?".
Two worlds vying for existence with one supposedly having to be destroyed to save the other and the heroes ultimately deciding they want to save both? And one world is more technologically advanced that the other? Why hello there, plot of Tales of Symphonia. However, that side that is supposed to be destroyed is overly dependent on its resources — so much that this over-dependence will eventually destroy said world. So we're combining Symphonia and Tales of Vesperia now?
It's a bit of a shaky comparison, really. Even though Elympios is the more technologically-advanced nation, it's in a period of sharp decline because of its critical mana shortages. And while Gaius certainly believes that one world should be destroyed to save the other, the heroes are actually presented with a viable third option from the very start. If anything, Xillia features the plot elements of previous Tales Series games but approaches them in new ways.
The game's plot mixes a lot of Vesperia and Symphonia together, as mentioned above. It also has elements of  with its dying original world that was destroyed by its absue of nature and sealed paradise that gets infected by a remenant of the old world. Milla and Muzet can be seen as Sophie and the Little Queen respectively in that regard, as the former is a living weapon created to destroy the corruption (spyrix here), and the latter is an immune-system like program that destroys any incursions.
The first 3 chapters are also reminiscent of Tales of the Abyss. The major two countries have a shaky peace that is moving closer to war all the time (spoilers for Abyss/Xillia) and it turns out that the countries are being manipulated into the war by a third organization for their own ends: in Abyss it's the Corrupt Church, here it's Exodus.
The game was originally meant to be a homage to the other tales games for the 15th anniversary of the franchise.
Lilium Orbs are special spheres that humans use to awaken their inner potential and allow them to be able to fight monsters, but where they come from is a dark secret. They're basically Exspheres, except they don't really factor into the plot outside of a sidequest or two, and their dark side (the Bonus Boss made them and distributed them so humans could grow powerful and he could copy their strength and add it to his own) is easy enough for the party to take care of.
Many of this game's main characters are references to other characters in the series.
Alvin is basically Kratos, by being a mercenary who constantly back stabs people and is connected to the game's villains; and Yuri, by being a older Anti-Hero who is sarcastic — the two even have Dragon Swarm. He even gets Kratos' 'Traitor' costume as a DLC outfit, complete with some of his memorable lines as victory quotes. "Blame your fate!" He also has a lot in common with Leon Magnus. He's related to a socially prominent villain, obeys said villain because of an (indirect) hostage, is a traitor from the start who grows to like the people he's supposed to betray because of their constant trust in him andhas Dragon Swarm.
Rowen is a combination of Jade, being a much older spellcaster who is famously known in-universe; and Malik, by playing a supportive role to the main character as a teacher.
Milla is a Determinator on a mission to destroy the Lance of Kresnik, and has blonde hair as well as a laser-like arte, a tetra-spell-looking linked arte, and a Mystic Arte that uses Instant Runes to attack the enemy with a elemental beam. She's basically Dhaos, only not evil or male. Howevever, her endgame status is more like Luke, being a artificial life form made by a major villain.
As mentioned on the characters page, Agria is basically the bastard child of Emeraude and Zagi.
Gaius is interesting in that some of his aspects are from more than one villain. He has Dhaos's motivation to save his world at the possible cost of another, Mithos'sNecessary Evil in regards to the two worlds, Richter'sGood All Along, but Anti-Hero status, and Van's in-universe Memetic Badass levels as well as having a personal group of powerful generals by his side. He also gets to wield The Eternal Sword, which puts him in the company of Cress and Lloyd.
After you defeat the Bonus Boss at the end of the Tatalian Abyss, Jude wonders if it might have sought the miasma out on purpose in order to die, since it was constructed to be an immortal fighting machine. Milla replies that "the idea of a being created for an unwanted purpose, desperately battling with its own destiny...doesn't sound too far-fetched." This conversation is a reference to (spoilers for Tales Of The Abyss) Luke, who is a clone created to avert a prophecy about the end of the world, and who eventually sacrifices himself to destroy the miasma.
Some of the attachments are references to older Tales games. The stuffed dragon is Ba'ul from Tales of Vesperia, and the half-frame glasses look a lot like Hubert's from Tales of Graces.
New Game+: Once you beat either Jude's story, or Milla's, you get access to the New Game Plus option. Based on how many Grade Points you received in the first completed playthrough(which you get from getting titles), you can give new attributes to your new save file, such as XP boosts, regaining the levels your party had at the end of your last save file, etc.
Older Than They Look: Jude's mother Ellen is 51 years old, yet could easily pass for her forties or even thirties.
Peninsula of Power Leveling: Old Vicalle Mine. A somewhat early sidequest is likely to send you there: while the enemies are strong, they're far from impossible to beat at level 25 and can give over a thousand of experience points in a single battle. Add XP-adding dishes to the mix, and, well...
Penultimate Weapon: Despite what the game tells you, the unawakened Devil's Arms are far from the strongest weapons in the game. By the time you're strong enough to defeat the Devil's Beasts guarding them, it's possible shops may be selling stronger stuff, and you can't awaken their full power until after beating the game, making them more of a Bragging Rights Reward.
Plucky Comic Relief: Ivar. He's hyper, he moves like typical western cartoon characters, and has comical SFX going in for him.
Relationship Values: A mild case. The order your four remaining party members enter the final boss battle depends on their total link time.
Spell My Name with an "S": Certain characters had the spellings of their name changed for the western version, but not the pronunciation. For example, Elise and Tipo are now Elize and Teepo.
Scenery Porn: The game is really beautiful, whether it's the anime cutscenes or in game scenes. Then again, the anime cutscenes were produced by ufotable.
Ship Tease: Invoked by some of the titles you can earn going through the game, to earn grade. "Jude and Milla have spent so much time linked together that people are beginning to gossip", for example. They have a title for every pairing of the main characters, and each involves their names with a heart between them.
Professor Haus (pronounced House) is a highly accomplished doctor at Jude's medical school. He performs unethical medical experiments and doesn't like to see patients. Sound familiar?
One of the skills Elize learns allows her to cut the party's battle-escape time by 80%. It's called Chicken Run
Jude quotes Sherlock Holmes at one point: "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." Milla and Rowen later repeat the quote.
Spock Speak: Milia's speech is extremely formal, avoiding contractions and expressions of speech, and she constantly refers to human behavior with a mixture of wonder, bewilderment and, occasionally, disappointment.