Tales of Xillia is pretty much what you've come to expect from the Tales series. Not much here offends, but not much stands out and makes this game a must-own. The level-up system is basically the Crystarium from Final Fantasy XIII done right - simpler and with less hassle. There's some truly hilarious dialogue that comes out of left field, but it's mostly confined to "skits" - brief interludes during overworld exploration where you can watch the characters' heads chitchat. For a system as powerful as the PS3, there's really no excuse to watch dialogue unfold in such comic book like fashion. Everything else is pretty much bog standard - you're on a quest to save the world from a mysterious entity, set in a high fantasy world with creatively designed towns and villages. After about 30 hours you'll be glad you rented, instead of bought.
Tales of Xillia starts with a lot of positives. A good story in a unique world where we are constantly learning new things and the characters are all great, with MVP honors going to Milla (the female lead) for both being able to act like an alien in human skin (which she is, you'll understand when you play the game) while also getting character development that makes her sympathetic.
The combat is great too. Its both chaotic and strategic and the linking system works great to make things even more chaotic and fun. There's a bit too much grinding but the story kept me engaged enough to not care. Also the Lillium Orb level up system is great too. To put it simply, its the Crystanium from Final Fantasy XIII done right.
At first, Tales of Xillia is truly a great game, an easy 9 and a must-buy for any Tales fan, until I got 31 hours in. 30 hours in there's a great twist that inspires a good character driven set-piece, but almost immediately after that, the story began to slowly fall apart.
Subplots were dropped with no warning at all and the game generated false tension by making other characters act like complete jerks for no reason. The final straw was when the story devolved into a worse version of the final parts of Tales of Symphonia. It felt like the game didn't get as much development time as it needed.
Overall its still a good JRPG and well worth the rent, but I would not recommend buying