Japanese developer Nihom Falcom are no stranger when it comes to action RPGs. They have proved their potential with the Ys series that has been popular more several decades now. Tokyo Xandu is their attempt at creating a brand new action RPG that takes inspiration from some of the social elements featured in the Persona series and attempts to mix them together with a robust action-based combat system
Tokyo Xandu begins with the introduction to Kou, a high school student who is also doing a part time job at an antique shop. One day as he on his way to return home, he finds a girl from his high school being chased by strangers. He follows them to soon discover that the girl shares a mysterious power. There are strange portals appearing all over the world called eclipses that can apparently kill any person near them and the girl appears to have knowledge of how to stop them. The story doesn’t take long to start off while we are introduced to Kou and his friends at the school while also going through his social life.
I played Tokyo Xandu after finishing Persona 5 so it was not easy for me to not compare both of them. There is a similarity here in term of how the developers have integrated the story and the social gameplay aspects. You can roam freely around the school and make new friends, however unlike Persona, there is no frustrating mechanic that simply forwards time whenever you decided to attempt some key events. The school will be the place for you when you are not doing any combat but there is also a social hub in the form of a marketplace that you can roam around after school. You have access to a shortcut menu that lets you drop to any point on the map without loading screen, so it can come in pretty handy.
The main characters in Tokyo Xandu however don’t appear to have the same uniqueness and backstory for them like in Persona 5 and this is one aspect that several undermines the game. The characters honestly look like they are from a generic anime and the story doesn’t really try to differentiate each one of them, but atleast the developers have attempted to add some characterization to them by giving them certain traits. Sadly the story itself isn’t really something special so it doesn’t really make the experience as memorable.
I have played a lot of Vita RPGs that seem to have a solid base but lack the production values that makes them stand out on their own. Tokyo Xandu thankfully is not one of these games and it features gorgeous visuals and a properly laid out narrative that attempts to bring some mystery into the mix. The game also has a strong ensemble of cast that helps in keeping the pace of the story. You can make friends with pretty much everyone in the school and it is always fun to check out on them to see how their lives are progressing along with the story.
The best part of Tokyo Xandu is arguably its combat system. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the pedigree of the developer, Nihom Falcom. The action RPG aspect is well done and the combat flows smoothly with ease of combos and special attacks. The boss battles are not easy if you simply button mash and there is also elemental weakness mixed in to try to differentiate the flow of the combat. You can rely on the elemental weakness of a monster to kill them quickly and since the combat mostly takes place in dungeons separate from the social aspect of it, you can also get a rank based on how you progress through each dungeon. Exploit the enemy weakness and take less damage and you will easily get an S rank.
You can play with multiple characters in combat, each of them with their own unique advantages during battle. There are special close-up attacks as well as ranged moves that let you attack enemies without worrying about getting hit. Exploration in dungeons is pretty limited though and the layout and design of the dungeons is rather generic for the most part, which is pretty disappointing.
Tokyo Xandu is a fun action RPG for the PS Vita that takes advantage of the hardware power offered by it to feature some nice looking visuals, arguably one of the best for a JRPG I have seen on Vita, and presents a fun character based combat system that relies on timing and skills to power through the host of enemies and boss battles. The social aspects of the game might feel lacking and the story has its own cliches and downfalls, but the main cast of characters and the combat system make it a great experience overall.
Tokyo Xandu Review (Vita)
Game Reviewed on: Vita
Game description: Tokyo Xanadu is an action role-playing video game for the PlayStation Vita. It was developed and published by Nihon Falcom, out of their desire to create a game of a different type and setting than their two other flagship video game series, The Legend of Heroes and Ys, and has roots in the Xanadu series.
Tokyo Xandu is an attempt from Nihom Falcom to tackle the Persona series. It is a solid RPG on its own although it is hard to draw comparison to the genre it targets here, but it has more than enough unique features to make it stand out on its own.