Tales of Xillia is somewhere between Excellent RPG and the phrase 'am I missing something...'. You see I've now played it through as the male character Jude Mathis. And all the way through the story...I was desperate to find out what the hell the other main character, Milla was up too.
Well the wait is over - I have now completed Tales of Xillia twice (and it didn't even feel like a chore) and I have to admit - Play the Side Quests. The first time round I only picked up the occassional side quest and that was a mistake. They flesh out various points - Alvins background (the saddest story ever told), Jude's Dad (the biggest prick you'll ever meet) and even Gaius (who if you're female...you will want him even more and if you're a guy - you want to be him even more). It also helps you connect better with the main story.
There aren't as many costumes to be unlocked this time round (in comparison to Tales of Graces)but there are plenty of add-ons that are perfectly capable of changing a serious scene into a hilariously crude effort.
I'm also not a purest when it comes to needing the authentic japanese voices with english sub - Infact I (ducks under a box) prefer the english voice actors. Having said that....Teepo makes me want to smash my head off a wall. I wish Alvin had shot him.
The animated scenes are flawless, the plot is strong, the characters well done. I've read other reviews that have said that the game is short. It is not short by any stretch of the imagination. The battle system is really good but I felt I couldn't side dodge or move around quite as easily as in Tales of Graces. The skills tree was perfect for me and also - some side quests unlock special skills as well.
I only have one complaint to be honest - I miss the katz/cats. There are hardly any cats (many dogs) and theres no special katz world or even a footnote reference to our feline friends. You no longer have kitties demanding food. I've heard that Tales of Xillia 2 will feature cats better. Having said that - you'll have to wait till next christmas....sorry UK & US.