I’ve heard a lot of great things about the Tales series, and that holds true for Tales of Xillia 2. This is a series that many love and adore, and it is finally making its way to the United States. When I beat the game, I understood why this is so popular. Complimenting this solid game is the Tales of Xilia 2 strategy guide by Prima Games. Yup, you’re gonna want this add-on!
Considering this is a JRPG, and I’ve also never played a Tales game, I spent a hefty amount of time with the game basics section. Between the cat dispatching, crazy combat, and even how various choices change the game, there is a fair amount to take in. The game itself does okay at breaking in new players, but I was extremely thankful I could go back to the guide and read a bit more detail on anything I was left questioning. This was especially true in those moments where the memory got a bit weak.
Before hitting the main story walkthrough, the strategy guide goes into some immense detail on the characters. This is a lot more than just plain backstory or a grid of miscellaneous stats. Sure, there is an overview which gives vital info for quick reference, but I found things such as the tactics and recommended combos to prove the most beneficial. If there is a specific character that is giving you trouble, chances are this might give you some pointers to make gaming life just a smidge easier. I know it did for me!
The walkthrough and side quest sections are, well, bursting with content. Each chapter comes with maps that are simple enough to quickly glance at and utilize. Yes, the maps even include all the locations of the cats, thus making it easier to snag all 100 of those friggin furballs.
It is also nice to have each new areas enemies detailed per location, instead of just one massive index in the back. This made it much easier to plan how to tackle new places and not be totally blind going in. I do wish there was more detail on the boss fights. Some of the bigger boss battles have just enough info provided to make the battle not entirely controller smashingly frustrating, but some of the bosses only get a paragraph. I found myself asking for more detail in this regard more than once.
Also, if you’re a side quest junkie, there is plenty of love given to that section. It follows the same flow as the main walkthrough, and I found it pretty painless to jump from main story to side quest with the guide. There is a lot to do, so plan on doing a good bit of reading.
Finishing off the guide are sections dedicated to Item Data, Shop Data, and Trophies/Titles/Skits. Anyone that loves Excel will totally dig these sections. I liked how the author broke down the various items so that it was easier to find a specific piece of armor or consumable. There is just so much, it can take a minute or two of page flipping to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Now for the one area I skipped over, and that is the character story section. While I deeply appreciated this, I became turned off by the spoilers. The layout doesn’t change from the main walkthrough/side quest chapters. However, it was too easy to stumble upon a spoiler as to what was going to happen next. While this was still a useful section, it highlights one of my only gripes with the guide: spoilers.
Let me be fair and say that almost every strategy guide, outside of the racing and fighting games, contains spoilers of some sort. It’s just the nature of the beast. Sometimes I read what I need to do next and continue to read ahead a bit, and that is my fault. I am asking for spoilers with this action. However, this guide moves from one place to another, often right on the same page. There were a few times that it was far too easy for me to read a paragraph on what I needed to do at a specific point and run into a spoiler of how the story progresses. While most of the spoilers can be avoided with some effort, it just sucks that they are there and so easily stumbled upon.
One other gripe, and it might just be my guide, but I had some pages which clearly slid around during printing. Thankfully these were towards the end, and only a handful of pages. However, with the guide being so nice, having badly inked pages hurts. I hope this is a rare coincidence and not indicative of an entire run.
There are two things that caught me by surprise with the guide. The first is the letter from Hideo Baba at the beginning. I know that getting this game to various countries was a lot of hard work, and seeing the producer take some time to thank fans for all their support is a splendid touch here.
The second item that caught my attention was the Q&A with Hideo Baba. This gave me some great insight into the history of the series, as well as why the game was the way it was. It’s a wonderful look into some of the thought process that goes into designing a game. This is a short read and well worth the time.
Despite the spoilers and bad printing on a few pages, I loved the Tales of Xilia 2 strategy guide. It made my first foray into a Tales game completely enjoyable. This is one of those strategy guides that when you go to buy the game, just do yourself a favor and buy this along with it. Heck, it even looks pretty to boot.