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Tales of Xillia: Why Playing as Milla Sucks

Updated on March 13, 2014

For the first time in Tales history, Tales of Xillia allows you to choose which character you want to play. You can play as the medical student, Jude, or as the mysterious summoner, Milla. Jude’s introduction shows him being late to class while Milla’s shows her burning a snake with Efreet. Suffice it to say, my initial impression was that Jude’s introduction was lame in comparison and there was no way I wasn’t playing as Milla.

Thirteen hours into her story I was almost completely fed up with her, so I did some research. Here are the reasons playing as Milla failed to meet my expectations:

1. Monotone Voice Acting

I covered this a bit in my Voice Acting in Video Games: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly article. <> Tales games typically have really solid voice acting and Xillia is no exception. When you first meet Milla, her voice seems to fit like a glove—she’s cool and collected and a bit aloof. As she travels with Jude and the other people they meet on their journey she begins to open up and even joke with the other members of the party.

All in the same monotone voice.

Every other character I’ve met in this game has stellar voice acting and it makes Milla stick out like a sore thumb. I’d be able to tolerate her voice acting better, I realized, if I wasn’t stuck with her 24/7 thanks to playing as her. So that’s one point for Jude.

Also the voice of Flynn in Tales of Vesperia.  Go figure.
Also the voice of Flynn in Tales of Vesperia. Go figure.

2. I'm Not a Spirit Lord

Milla’s backstory initially seems like a plus. After all, she’s the Lord of all Spirits; what’s not to like? The problem is that Milla is so far removed from society she’s impossible to relate to. Her ignorance in the ways of humanity is funny and a little endearing, but frankly: I’m no Spirit Lord. When I’m playing as a character, I need to be able to relate to them in order to truly engage in the role-playing aspect of the game. When Milla comes across some dead humans early on in the game, her reaction is basically, “Oh look, dead humans. Meh.” When Jude sees the same dead humans, he freaks out. You know, like a normal person. So that’s another point for Jude.

Your indifference bothers me.
Your indifference bothers me.

3. The Fighting's Still Fun on the Other Side

The gameplay is one of the strongest aspects of any Tales game. Battling is fun—though playing as some characters is more fun than playing as others. In Tales of Xillia, playing as Milla in battle is pretty awesome. You start off being able to summon spirits that totally obliterate whatever you’re facing. And then…she loses them. We discover she doesn’t even know how to swing a sword. While it wouldn’t have made sense to go through the game completely overpowered, losing that power still sucks. Playing as Milla becomes fun again once she learns how to properly wield her sword again. She even has the ability to change her artes (special skills/magic) between close range and long range. While this is a cool idea in theory, in practice it just doesn’t work. While casting, Milla fails to move far enough from the enemy to avoid getting pummeled. Her short range artes are quicker and just as powerful, so it seems like her ability to transform them to long range was just thrown on for show. And after two hours playing as Jude, I can testify that playing as him is just as fun. With no really significant difference in their play styles, what’s keeping me playing as Milla? Three points Jude.

Plus this move is way too cool.
Plus this move is way too cool.

4. You Did What Without Me?

This is the final, and most compelling reason to play as Jude. When you play as Milla, several key parts of the story get resolved…without you. That’s right: the story, arguably the most important part of any role-playing game, is left with a giant hole in it should you play as Milla. I am so glad I found this out before it happened—I can only imagine the anger I would’ve felt had I reached this part of the story without knowing I was about to get jiffed. So if playing as Jude means I get the whole story while playing as Milla means I get to “go shopping” (literally my mission 13 hours in), I think it’s obvious who I’ll be playing as.

So Don't Be Fooled...

…By the glitz and glamour of Milla’s introduction. Playing as Jude is just as fun, his voice acting is better, he’s far more relatable, and he has access to the entirety of the story. This new “choice” of main character isn’t really a choice at all.


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      BobbyJ 2 years ago

      #2 sort of made me laugh. This is an out-of-the-box console RPG. I understand what you mean by "not relating to a character" creating a barrier to really enjoying them, but I don't think anyone ever really puts themselves in the role of a character in these types of RPGs, regardless of them loosely using the term "Role Playing Game". You can't assume roles of any characters in these games because there is no freedom to do so. They act a certain way and are programmed to follow a certain path and story - you as the player don't assume their role, you just play the avatar of the character. So I don't really agree with that point based on how you described.

      Assuming the role of a character is only done in pen and paper type games or games wehre you have no clear path laid out for you and you have freedom of choice to do different things. Generally, you have to create the character to assume any role - since it is your creation. Second: you have to have freedom to dictate how that character acts in certain situations or how they will respond to any given situation. Do you attack? Do you run away? Do you help the poor? Do you pray to your god? Do you kick the bum in the face begging you for a coin? Console RPGs and most story-driven RPGs in general don't give you this freedom, so never consider yourself assuming any role - it's all laid out for you. Anyway, just my thoughts years after you posted this, but it annoys me when people act like they assume some role of these characters. That's a joke - you can't, because the character has no freedom.

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      Andrew 2 years ago

      You do realize the monotone voice is part of her character.... she isnt human.