Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

GAME DAZE [Derived Headline]

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

GAME DAZE [Derived Headline]

Article excerpt

'TALES OF XILLIA'

* Critic;s Call: ***

Gamers occasionally get themselves worked up about a new release that receives international fame. However, some games, like "Tales of Xillia" (PlayStation 3; Namco Bandai; T, for Teen), take a wee bit longer than others to cross the vast oceans and actually arrive here. "Xillia" debuted in Japan some two years ago, so after all the acclaim and hype, the expectations may have been too high. The final product doesn't hit all the marks it should.

Not to say that gamers will walk away disappointed. Far from it. The game delivers exciting combat, a colorfully vibrant world to explore and a story dominated by two compelling leads aided by quirky extras.

Jude and Milla approach the story from different angles. He is a student learning to master new skills, and she is a once-all- powerful being whose powers were stripped away. But they quickly forge a bond that continues throughout the game.

Gamers reap the rewards of seeing their stories through to the conclusion, but a plot glitch hampers the overall effect. You must choose between Jude and Milla as to whose story you want to focus on -- meaning, to see how events unfold for the other, a replay of the entire game would be required. "Xillia" packs a lot into the game, so devoting that much time asks a lot of gamers in a crowded marketplace.

Controlling one character while the three others in the party are controlled by the AI works well. Rather than coming off like gnats just swarming around the battlefield, here the allies actually perform useful tasks like stringing together attacks, healing party members and generally making life difficult (and short) for enemies. The skill tree used to level up the characters comes off limited and constrictive, giving you less of a sense of freedom to mold skill sets.

The cutscenes and interactions, combined with excellent combat encounters, all join with other elements to make "Tales of Xillia" an engrossing RPG game that gamers will certainly enjoy. …

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