A Tales of Xillia UpdateThat is, details AND screens.01.27.11 - 7:04 PM
Admittedly, there has been next to no information on Tales of Xillia
since its announcement, so all we had been able to provide are pretty pictures. This week Famitsu finally provided some real information - and quite a bit at that.
Last week, Weekly Shounen Jump briefly mentioned a new character, but Famitsu got into more specifics. Alvin, a skilled, world-travelling mercenary who carries both swords and guns, is the third character to be introduced. The two main characters can be seen in the game's announcement trailer, Jude and Milla. The 26-year old Alvin stands 182 cm tall (I'm not sure why they decided to be so specific), and comes off as friendly, though the magazine suggests he might have other intentions.
He joins Jude and Milla and helps them at a certain plot point, and at first it seems like he is just living his life as it comes. In reality though, he is calculating every single move. While Famitsu went into a lot of detail on the event where Alvin assists the two, I'll keep it short for the spoiler-sensitive Tales fans. Having met due to a change in the spirits of world of Liese Maxia, Jude and Milla are in some kind of military facility where they happen to stumble upon a huge secret - and come under attack as a result. After escaping the area, the duo find themselves being pursued by the army even in the city, only to discover that Milla's ability to summon the elemental spirits is no longer. This is the point when Alvin helps them out. Afterwards, the three set off to find out how to restore Milla's powers.
There was also a lot of talk about Tales of Xillia's gameplay, for which the game employs a 'Double Raid Linear Motion Battle System' battle system. This keeps important elements from past Tales battle systems, like Linear Motion Battle, but also allows the player to link up the character under their control (Master) to another character in the party (Partner). That means that the partner character will attack the enemy you're attacking, will have your back (literally - they will attack an enemy coming at you from behind), and even shield you from blows. The link system is optional however; and probably not a very good idea if there are a lot of enemies.
In the battle menu interface (not in the screenshots), you will see an Assault (either Assault Counter, or Assault Points) gauge, which depletes by one each time you attack regardless of the type, but defensive actions won't cost AP. These points then automatically replenish after you've attacked. There is also a technical points (TP) gauge, which is for skills. Different skills will cost different amounts of TP, but unlike the AP these won't replenish automatically. Instead, either using items or performing certain actions you take in battle will refill your TP.
Each of the playable characters so far introduced also have their own unique attacks. Jude will sidestep to evade an enemy attack, then move quickly behind the foe. Milla's skills are 'magi' - she can change a skill depending on its element by hitting the arte/skill button, for example, a fireball can become a flare bomb in her hand. Alvin's 'charge' is activated if you keep holding down the skill button even after he's executed the skill. This has him to combine his broadsword (right hand) and gun (left hand) for a 'charge' skill. As you level each character, their unique abilities will change.
Finally, the magazine talked about some actions you can perform outside of battle. The game calls these 'map actions' since, well, you'll be able to perform them on the map, usually to progress. Famitsu showed Jude jumping up to a high ledge, grabbing on and pulling himself up, and it sounds like you'll have to squeeze through tiny passageways as well.
For 16 new screenshots, view the game's gallery below. Tales of Xillia is slated to release sometime this year in Japan.