"Everything rides upon this one choice. Not just your life... but the fate of the entire world."
The direct sequel to Namco Bandai's Tales of Xillia. Late Arrival Spoilers abound!One year after the fall of the Schism, Rieze Maxia and Elympios are enjoying peace. Research into the newly-developed Spyrite technology promises to one day end Elympios' dependence on the environmentally-degrading Spyrix, allowing the barren land to recover. But not all is well...On his way to start his new job as a cook at a train station, Ludger Kresnik encounters a young Mysterious Waif named Elle Marta whose father is in trouble. In order to help him, she's trying to board a train that she hopes will help her get to Canaan, a mythical land that can supposedly grant wishes. In the process of saving her during a terrorist attack, Ludger racks up a staggering twenty million gald medical bill with Spirius Corporation, where his brother Julius works as one of their top agents. But Julius has gone missing, and is now the top suspect in the attack. And thus, Ludger, aided by Elle, his cat Rollo, and the returning cast from Tales of Xillia, set out on a journey to find Julius, pay off his debt, and search for Canaan.Making things even more complicated, fractured dimensions have begun opening up and leeching off the prime dimension, threatening to destroy it. Ludger's bloodline gives him an ability called Chromatus, allowing him to transform into powerful, monstrous warrior capable of entering fractured dimensions and destroying the divergence catalysts that created them, eliminating them from the inside. Spirius Corp's CEO, Bisley Bakur, makes Ludger a deal: take a job destroying divergence catalysts, and he'll be able to pay off his debt virtually overnight. But the fractured dimensions seem to have some sort of connection to Elle, Julius, and their mysterious pocketwatches...All of the main characters from Xillia return, including some characters that were killed and make appearances in fractured dimensions. The combat system (Cross Double Raid Linear Motion Battle System) lets Ludger swap weapons and fighting styles on the fly, switching between twin blades, twin pistols and a hammer. Link Artes have been split into Unique Artes and Common Artes, the latter of which can be performed between any two characters that have the appropriate move. Furthermore, Ludger now has a special Limit Break gauge that activates his powerful Chromatus form, teleporting the battlefield into a parallel world where he gains incredible power for a short time.The game places a huge emphasis on choice, with many cutscenes allowing the player to make multiple-choice decisions affecting the course of the plot. The game received a Western release in August 2014.
Trope associated with this game so far:
All There in the Manual: A lot of information on the backstories of Ludger, Julius, and Bisley is only in supplementary material.
Amplifier Artifact: The pocket watches. Using two watches to transform instead of one temporarily increases the power of your Chromatus by one level. A bigger example is Elle herself, who unwittingly becomes Ludger's Amplifier Artifact as a Key of Kresnik and pays the price for his use of Chromatus.
Anti-Magic: Rideaux and Spirius Corporation create a portable version of the Spear of Kresnik from Tales of Xillia, which they equip their shocktroopers with like rifles.
Arbitrary Headcount Limit: For any given chapter, you will only have access to at most four members (including Ludger, who can't leave). If there are more than four in the beginning of the chapter, you can count on them leaving for some arbitrary reason, like splitting up to gather information, or washing dishes. And in the final chapter, when you have all 9 members ready to take on the final boss, miasma blocks your way through, and the Four Great Spirits can only protect, you guessed it, four (and Rollo).
Artificial Brilliance: Using a healing arte with an area of effect will result in characters directly moving into it, and even popping their own little area-of-effect healing arte to make sure everyone's back to full health. However...
Artificial Stupidity: ... If the AI initiates a Link Arte, there is a 90% chance that they will initiate in a way that will make sure that zero enemies will get hit by it. It wouldn't be so bad if it didn't stop you from using a Link Arte at the same time, potentially screwing up a carefully set-up combo.
Bag of Spilling: The entire Xillia cast are weaker than a year ago. Justified as Lilium Orbs have lost their power.
Big Brother Mentor: The relationship between Ludger and Elle is set to be a familial one. Given that there's a twelve-year age gap between them and they're father and daughter, it's for the best. Ludger also has his own in the form of Julius.
Big Screwed-Up Family: According to the World Guidance Book, the Kresnik Clan and its offshoot family of the Bakurs, full stop. Affairs, incest, children born out of wedlock, and casualties ahoy.
Let's not forget that Bisley had his first child, Julius, when the mother was 22. Pretty good, right? Well, he was 15. And after his wife died, he ended up in bed with her sister, which produced Ludger.
Bishounen: Almost all of the male characters so far. Especially the Kresnik brothers. Looks like good looks run in the the family.
Then there's the Bad Ending, where Ludger refuses to kill Julius, but in defending him must kill the rest of the party and doom the world. And even though the brothers find solace in each other, Julius is still infected by his divergence catalyst and has no hope of a cure.
There are good news and bad news. The good news is that if Julius can hold on long enough, Bisley will most likely lose Elle during the inevitable fight with Chronos, thus turning her into the 1 millionth catalyst and saving Julius. The bad news is that Elle will die instead.
Bleak Level: Chapter 11. The atmosphere right from the start hammers in that things are about to get very bad. Even the gameplay reflects this, where you're suddenly given a time limit to rescuse NP Cs who will die if you take too long. Adding to the sense that the chapter is not going to end well is the dungeon itself, which is a replica of the first game's Bleak Level, right down to the background music. The chapter ends with Alternate Mila's death.
Blessed with Suck: On paper the Chromatus sounds like a awesome ability. However, continued usage risks turning the user into a Divergence Cataclyst, which in turn causes them to turn into a Fractured Dimension. Oh and powering it up to furthur stages does it even faster.
Bloodier and Gorier: In a significant departure from the usual Tales Series policy of Bloodless Carnage, Xillia 2 includes frequent blood splatters and Blood from the Mouth, mostly when Ludger stabs someone to destroy their divergence catalyst. This was probably a significant factor in the "C" rating* 15yrs and up given to the game, as the Japanese rating system is much harsher on visible blood than other territories.
But Thou Must: In a rather blatant example, early on Ludger gets tricked into an absolutely massive 20 million Gald debt by the Smug Snake Rideaux simply for healing Ludger and Elle is basically held for ransom if he doesn't agree to take out a loan to pay for it. Despite the choice system in the game at no point is the player or anyone else for that matter allowed to tell Rideaux to shove it, or even attempt it.
Many of the dialog choices themselves are the same idea expressed two different ways.
Call Back: One of the first lines Alt!Milla says to Jude is "you really are a do-gooder, aren't you?" He answers "yeah, I get that a lot." That is, word for word, something the prime dimension Milla said to him.
Due to the nature of the game, a lot of the callbacks amount to Fridge Horror. For example, the scene in which a fractured version of Alvin accidentally shoots Presa is disturbingly similar to the scene from the first game where Alvin shot Leia.
And as another call back to that same scene, what's Leia weak to when you fight her in the bad ending? Shot-type artes. Thanks, game.
The ESS Pelune uses the same design, layout, and background music as the ESS Zenethra from the first game. And like the first game, it ends with Fractured Milla sacrificing herself.
Camp Gay: Aska in one of the fractured dimensions.
The Corruption: Divergence catalysts, which empower their hosts but eventually consume them. It is later revealed that the use of Chromatus causes one to become a divergence catalyst, and the only way to avoid this is for a Key of Kresnik to act as a conduit... in which case, they become a divergence catalyst instead.
Cruelty Is the Only Option: What's that? You want the Platinum Trophy? Be prepared to have to kill off the entire gang from Xillia if you want it that badly.
Diabolus ex Machina: The discovery that the party need a Soul Bridge to reach Canaan, and that either Ludger or Julius need to die in order to get it.
Demoted to Extra: Everyone from the original except Jude and Milla. There's still the Character Episodes, but aside from that, don't have a major involvement in the story arc itself.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Elle and Rollo will only appear on the title screen and Kitty Dispatch menu if they're with your party. Whenever one or both of them gets separated from the group, whoever's gone will disappear until they come back. You can still use Kitty Dispatch as normal, though, since the cats you collect are the ones who pull most of the weight during Dispatch anyway.
Elle will also appear and disappear from Ludger's status image depending on whether or not she's accompanying the party at the time. In addition, once Ludger gives Elle her watch back, she'll start wearing it in her status image.
A subversion of the trope occurs if you have one of the Xillia 1 characters in your party wear their outfit from the previous game. Whenever they're wearing the outfit, their status image and mystic arte cut-in will change so that they're instead wearing their old outfit. However, none of their other 2D artwork changes. So skit faces, battle chat images, and even the icon on the bar you click in order to go to their status screen in the first place still use their new outfit no matter what they're wearing.
Dug Too Deep: The fractured dimension in chapter 2 of Jude's story has shades of this.
Engineered Heroics: In the final episode of Muzet's Character Quest, Muzet schemes to set up a surprise attack against the party under the rationale that after she swoops in to save the day, everyone will like her. Unsurprisingly it goes terribly wrong when the monster is far more powerful than she expected. While she does get chewed out for it, it does make everyone realise how ostracised she feels and leads to them making more of an effort to befriend her.
Everybody's Dead Ludger: The bad ending. Ludger chickens out at the last minute and decides not to kill Julius, however the party, and Julius himself, tries their hardest to convince him otherwise. Gaius decides that their best course of action is to go through Ludger and kill Julius themselves, since they NEED to get into Canaan. Surprisingly, Ludger snaps and goes into full protective mode, snatching Julius' pocketwatch, and uses it to hit his third Chromatus form. What follows is an epic cutscene where the entire party tries to fend off Ludger, which ultimately leads into the final battle of the Bad Ending... The ENTIRE PARTY. Gameplay-wise, this could easily turn into Curbstomp Battle, but after the battle, we see Julius in absolute shock and horror, then we cut to a shot of Ludger looking at Canaan with bloody swords and blood smears on his cheek. The party is nowhere to be seen. That's right. Everyone you knew and loved from the first game, who had hopes and dreams and good futures ahead of them, all dead. Murdered by you. Of course, since Bisley is going to sacrifice Elle to save the world, and you decided not to help, she'll eventually die too.
Expendable Alternate Universe: Deconstructed in true Tales fashion. To a certain extent, the parallel worlds are reality to those who inhabit it. Milla is very angry when it's explained to her that Ludger has just destroyed her world.
In another example, Elle gets very upset after the alternate Milla is sacrificed so that Milla Maxwell can return. To her, the former is the "real" Milla and she is upset by both her loss and the party's diminished reaction to it. Learning to accept Milla Maxwell as a person in her own right is one of the focal points of Elle's character arc.
Chapter 10 drives this home with the Epsilla Ruins and the divergence catalyst, Odin. One which knows it is one, due to having defeated all attempts to destroy it. The reason? It has been waiting for over 90,000 years so that the people who have been digitized in its data banks can be revived. Before you fight it, Odin asks you to talk to some of the recorded memories before events force the fight. After it, the everyone feels just how hollow the victory was, and the price of it.
And this point is underscored by The Reveal that Elle herself is from one of these parallel worlds.
Expy: Chronos shares a lot of his moveset and general disdain of humanity with Dhaos, leading to many fans nicknaming him "Dhaos 2.0".
Also another one for Chronos. Chronos is a spirit sent from another time/dimension to kill the main character as well as to test him. Not only that, being voiced by Junichi Suwabe makes it clear that Chronos has elements of Archer in him.
Fake Longevity: Early in the game Ludger inherits a 20 million Gald debt that must be paid off over the course of the game, but a certain amount must be paid off in order to advance along the story, which requires grinding for money and doing other monster and item fetch quests.
I Hate Past Me: Alvin encounters a fractured version of himself in chapter 4 of his character story. He already hated how he used to be, but seeing himself first-hand painfully drives it home.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: When you leave a town, your party remains the same and you can't change it unless you return to town despite the characters being there and commenting on events. Especially odd since in the first game you could switch in the middle of battle.
Gotta Catch 'Em All: The cat sidequest, which involves you finding and adopting several stray cats (many of which bear a resemblance to certain Tales Series characters), then forming your own cat army to scavenge the streets for items and funny hats. (There is no part of the preceding sentence that is inaccurate.)
Heroic RROD: A divergence catalyst in the process of forming manifests on its host as black patches on their skin and possibly red eyes if it spreads to their face before the host becomes a full-fledged catalyst. Once the transformation begins, the only way to stop it is to kill the host.
Irony: There's a skit in the first game where you find out that almost everyone in the party prefers dogs to cats note the sole exceptions being Alvin (a cat person) and Milla (whose favorite animal of all time are humans). Guess what kind of animal serves as the mascot for this game, and guess what species of animal you have to track down 100 of in order to help you complete a sidequest and utilize a game mechanic based around the animal? (hint: they're not dogs)
The "Xillia Encyclopedia" entry on Kresnik the Genesis Sage refers to them using female pronouns, despite their gender not being mentioned in the previous game. So it's obvious their gender is going to be a plot point in this one... This could be blamed on Lost in Translation though.
Interspecies Romance: The original Maxwell is implied to have had this relationship with the genesis sage, Milla Kresnik, especially since two thousand years after she died, he still cared enough to give her name to Milla Maxwell. Dr. Howe, the man who developed spirit artes, turns out to have done so because of his attempts to woo Celsius. This discovery gives Jude the epiphany he needs to perfect spyrite technology. Also applies to Jude and Milla if Milla's feelings towards Jude are interpreted romantically, since she is now a full spirit. There's also Ship Tease between Gaius and Muzet.
It Runs in the Family: The Chromatus Ability, the ability to cross through worlds, runs through the Kresnik family blood. The pocket watches serve as keys to triggering the ability.
Kid Hero: Averted. Like Yuri, Ludger is a grown man who's past his teenage years.
Killed Off for Real: The body count by the end of the game is surprisingly high, with the parallel universes allowing for plenty of carnage. Of the main characters though: Alt!Milla dies no matter what you do. The entire party is killed by Ludger if you choose to save Julius. Julius has to die for the party to be able to go to Canaan. And either Elle or Ludger have to sacrifice themselves to complete Origin's trial. Pretty much the only main character who survives no matter what is Rollo.
Light Is Not Good: The player must fight the great spirit of Light, Aska, in two separate fractured dimensions, though only one is required. Afterwards, Aska admits that he is inclined to agree with Chronos.
Luck-Based Mission: Any job that asks for a rare item that can only be obtained through kitty dispatch. Collecting all the cats is this as well, as kitty dispatch is the only way to find some of them.
Mama Bear: Ludger's mother, Claudia Kresnik, according to supplementary materials. She disappeared when she found out she was pregnant so he wouldn't be drawn into Origin's trial or the Kresnik clan's infighting. She was even willing to kill her own nephew when she thought he had been sent by Bisley to retrieve Ludger. Unfortunately, Julius found them completely by accident and had no intention of taking Ludger anywhere, but Claudia didn't believe him so he was forced to kill her in self-defense.
Mega Corp.: Spirius Corporation. They're such a powerful, influential and omnipresent organisation in Elympios that they may as well be considered its de facto rulers. Having a private army helps in that regard.
Multicolored Hair: Ludger, Rideaux, and Nova. The former even has differently coloured eyebrows.
Ludger chooses to sacrifice the world to save his brother, Julius.
The world is saved, but Elle has to sacrifice herself in the process. Humanity technically passes Origin's trial, but on a bittersweet note because of Elle's sacrifice.
The world is saved, but Ludger sacrifices himself in place of Elle so that she can live. Humanity technically fails Origin's trial, but Origin allows them to pass anyway because Ludger's selflessness proves the point the trial was meant to test.
...and then the game just shatters all pretense of the fourth wall by having Hideo Baba request a sword to trim his beard with.
The fact that Elle, Ludger and Julius all have very strong opinions on tomatoes might be a sneaky reference to Tales of Symphonia, where the fact that both Kratos and Lloyd hate tomatoes is a sneaky hint they're related.
A whole bunch of the cats are references as well, as a good chunk of them are named after previous characters, including Malik and Suzu. Some are also coloured to look like the characters they're based on, including Woodrow, Keele, and Emil. There's also Tartaros, which may be a mistranslated reference to Jade's Cool Ship, and Natalina, which is likely a mistranslation of Natalia (given that the cat shares her colour palette right down to her hairband.) Some even go the extra mile and put references in their requests; the request to find Luke mentions that he's kind of slow and that his hair needs a trim.
The technologically advanced ancient civilization that collapsed in the Epsilla Ruins is called Thor.
Nerf: Several skills get this treatment, by raising their SP cost and/or weakening their effects. HP/TP Surge for example, used to completely fill their respective meters upon a resurrection. Now they only add 30% more health to whatever you were going to get.
Never the Selves Shall Meet: Characters from alternate worlds can be brought back into the "real" world, but if they ever meet the original then they fade away.
And his last name is Kresnik. If you played the last game, think about the possibilities.
Bisley also has access to Chromatus, and uses it during the final battle with him. This is because the Bakur family branched off from the Kresnik
Parental Abandonment: Implied to be the case for Ludger and Julius. It says that Julius, who is eight years older than his younger brother, has taken care of Ludger since he was young. Ludger also lives with only his brother. Confirmed in supplementary materials. Bisley is their father, and Julius's mother died from being the conduit for Bisley's Chromatus. Her sister is Ludger's mother) and was killed by Julius in self-defense.
Plot Coupon: The Waymarkers of Canaan, which can be harvested from certain divergence catalysts. When all of them are gathered, the road to Canaan opens. But to actually get there, you need a "Soul Bridge", which can only be harvested from someone of Kresnik blood.
Powered by a Forsaken Child: Elle is (accidentally) used as a conduit for Ludger's Chromatus, which means that she will suffer the consequence of turning into a divergence catalyst instead of him. This method also caused the death of Bisley's wife, which is how his Chromatus ability got so advanced. Subverted in the Semi-Good/Good Ending when Ludger makes a proper contract with the watches that empower Chromatus, unleashing the full power of his Chromatus and freeing Elle from the equation.
Red Right Hand: While not exactly villainous, Julius's single glove is hiding the divergence catalyst manifesting in his left hand.
Victor wears a mask to hide the right side of his face, which is being consumed by a divergence catalyst.
Relationship Values: Completing their Character Episodes and selecting certain dialogue options will strength Ludger's friendship with his party members. This unlocks additional scenes with these characters, and eventually their Link Mystic Arte with Ludger.
Retcon: Many, most notably and inexplicably Rieze Maxia's spirit climes (such as the eternal night in Fenmont), which were shown in Xillia's ending to have been caused by the Schism and faded when it fell. A bonus scene with the Four indicates they have also forgotten that plot point.
Team Pet: Rollo, Ludger's extremely fat cat, who's mostly usurped this role from Teepo. He accompanies him almost everywhere, only staying behind for the final battle due to Ludger's concern for his safety. Even then, he shows up in the aftermath.
Tomato in the Mirror: People in fractured dimensions usually don't know they're from one. Unfortunately, neither do the fractured versions of the Kresnik clan, at least until they gather the Waymarkers and attempt to reach Canaan, only to be denied entry because Canaan is only in the Prime Dimension.
Unusual Eyebrows: Ludger's are different colors, Julius has a bald spot in one of his due to a faded scar, and Bisley's are shaped like the letter Z.
Voice for the Voiceless: While Ludger does talk outside of the player's control, it's just in short one word responses at the most. As a result Elle will very frequently speak for him, especially during the victory quotes.