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12 November 2014 @ 10:56 pm
more experiences in video games  
So yeah, I finished playing Tales of Xillia the other day.

I was playing with runespoor who’d finished the Milla version of the game just before, so we were doing the Jude version of the game.

I mostly liked it a lot, at least I very much enjoyed the characters and ambiance and gameplay. I have a bit more mixed feelings about the plot and themes.

In terms of misgiving I felt the rhythm and pacing of the plot was pretty weird and off-putting at times, and I had a hard time feeling like there was a unity of the story.

The story is very resolutely anti-manicheist, which was pretty freaking awesome in term of position to take, but doesn’t help it in term of coherence by shifting of Main Bad Guys very regularly. But it’s still a very refreshing and interesting way to deal with things, and those Bad Guys were all relatively well realised.

I did have a problem with how much time the game spent telling me how cool and awesome Gaius. It was pretty tiresome. Which is sad, because Gaius himself is a pretty well realised character. Just… game stop telling me that he’s so very awesome. The Chimeriads as a whole I have relatively more positive feelings about, despite the ridiculousness of their charadesign (well asides from Jiao. I mean, he doesn’t have a ridiculous charadesign.) and that I kinda wanted them to be explored more in depth than they ended up being.

In term of themes, I really liked the handling of the ecological ones, and how they were balanced with issues of needs. It felt much more nuanced than how those things typically are handled in media.

All the stuff with gender roles reversal were pretty great and refreshing. And often very fun. There’s also a lot of stuff done with relationship between various female characters in a great way.

While the theme of strength and determination and leadership wasn’t too badly handled (I feel this is the one topic on which the co-lead thing worked out, in that Milla and Jude’s journey are fairly different on this and highlight it from very different PoVs), I can’t say it very much spoke to me either and there were times (say, when Gaius was discussing with the protagonists for ex) when my eyes were basically glazing over. I do feel the story ended up, err, not condemning fascism strongly enough? Maybe. The thrust of the story does provide some fairly tailing contrasts, like between Milla-and-Jude and Gaius-and-Muzzet but hmmm, it didn’t feel extremely explicit in contrast to other things it said? Not entirely sure about this one.

The health and disabilities motifs throughout was pretty great, except for he way they completely and appallingly dropped the ball on the topic of euthanasia.

To nobody’s surprise my favourite characters would be Alvin and Leia. (I went “okay, you’re all right” at Alvin when he did the echo skit, because shit, it’s not because you’re a suspicious individual obviously spying the group for a dodgy agenda that I’m going to automatically like you - but if you’re also going to be a dork, heh, okay you’re all right. With Leia it was “Wow, I didn’t think I would like her so much” upon, err, 5 minutes of her arrival? Then I proceeded to get annoyed on her behalf at Jude a lot. I think it weirded Runespoor out a bit - and she loves Leia too!! but yeah it’s not like characters who are very enthusiastic and fun loving aren’t always some of my faves). I also really love Milla and Elize. Milla has a very refreshing and well nuanced personality and Elize is a surprisingly well realised child character all around and one with a great character development. I ended up liking Jude much less than I expected - not that I disliked Jude, far from it, just, didn’t like him as much as I expected to like him. Definitely pretty fond of Rowen too; so… you know, I like everyone in this bar :3

On the villain side, Muzzet would probably be my favourite (there’s a level of OTT venomousness and yandereness that made her appealing to me. And I like the relationship she has with Milla - complicated siblinghood <3 - there isn’t enough siblinghood in this game). Presa is pretty great too; and Windul is pretty damn adorable.

Gameplay was extremely fun and fluid. The game is fucking gorgeous. I especially loved the atmosphere in Xian Du, the whole Noir atmosphere of Aujoule + the Himalayas/Central Asia cultural touches + recent past of warring clans was a very interesting and vidid set up.

Having only played one path so far, I’m actually rather skeptical of the co-lead path thing. It feels like that only ended up preventing me from getting the full story rather than exploring one PoV if that makes any sense. It feels like a gimmick more than anything as a result. But I might change my mind when I play the other path.

I dunno exactly when that’s happen - or when I’ll play Tales of Xillia 2.

Next game I’m playing with Runespoor is Fire Emblem 4. :3

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