I heard that the Jude route is narratively the better experience on the first playthrough.
This. According to @pepsiman, the story is hacked up a little should you choose Milla and it isn't as easy to follow. It aparently throws a lot of stuff at you without explanation that the game assumes you already know, so it's weird why they even give you the option when it's most beneficial to go with Jude first.
Though even besides that, Jude looks like a really fun character to play as from the gameplay videos I've seen. Sam Riegel, as far as voice actors who pretty much exclusively voice in anime and JRPGS go, is a decent enough voice actor at that.
@bocam: Ohh, well, I think I may want to stick with Jude anywhoo, if only because he looks really to fun to play as. That and because Milla looks like she's meant to be a 'mysterious' sort of character, so it might even benefit the story to leave a little extra mystique surrounding her.
Then it would, in theory, be super awesome to uncover more about her in a following playthrough.
How do the different playthroughs work anywhoo? Because I've seen a lot of Jude and Milla still fighting together. I assume there's portions of the game where the two will split-off from one another?
This picking a main character was not what I expected. I picked Milla, and Jude was there right from the start. I was expecting this grand story where they wouldn't meet until the second Act or something. Or one where there stories barely cross until the last Act. I may start over with Jude. Because starting with Milla it felt like I was thrown into the story after the start of the game already happened. And I feel like I missed something.
I will say that so far I am really digging the game though. A lot more than Graces. I had a hard time playing Graces to the end. I don't think I will have that with this. This one is reminding me of the fun I had with Vesperia.
For the record, when I said in my review that Milla was a poor choice for a first run, it was more than just because of what I felt was problematic world-building. I feel like Milla's introduction actually did an ironically poorer job of contextualizing her initial motivations compared to the Jude route and ultimately that extends to his motivations as well for her story in those openings segments. I haven't really played the game since I reviewed it last year, but if memory serves me, her intro basically goes from her dramatically realizing something is wrong in the game's version of The Schwartz to her suddenly making the initial break-in where she meets with Jude. The same cutscene is used for that moment in both storylines despite only one of them providing what I feel is adequate enough information ahead of time to first-timers as to what's actually unfolding. Milla has a handful of moments that are exclusive to her route that attempt to establish her character before that event, but otherwise I still feel like the backstory stuff that Jude's introduction has actually provides a better context for why she's doing the things she's up to in those opening hours. Bocam is probably right in that in terms of just understanding basic stuff like how spirits work you're not missing out on that much if you're already familiar with how they operate in other Tales games, but I recall Jude's route being the only one that actually gives the story enough breathing room to actually contextualize that knowledge relative to Milla's character and specifically establish what makes her so important in that world.
Like the OP, I was expecting Milla's story to start off similarly to Jude's in that she would have some breathing time to just be playable on her own for a while before hooking up with him; the Japanese marketing certainly liked to imply their narratives are more unique, but that's definitely not what I found. Jude's story was still what I played through first, so I was lucky enough to not actually experience that sensation of being lost in those initial hours, but since I started her route right after I cleared Jude's, the structure of his route was still fresh in my mind and it just struck me how flagrantly imbalanced the amount and depth of the content was for the initial segments in Milla's route. I don't think it's impossible to get up to speed on the nature of the world and whatnot if you start with Milla first even if you haven't played other Tales games, but I just think that too many specifics are left out regardless of the similarities to other Tales entries for it to feel like the two are on otherwise even footing. The fact that Namco essentially deleted basic plot details you can only now find in Jude's route makes me suspect that Milla's story was originally designed to be a new game plus type of reward rather than something players should be able to access from the get-go, but I have no actual evidence to back that suspicion up.
The most important thing obviously is that the actual game-playing part of Milla's story is still as excellent as Jude's stuff since so much of the content is otherwise the same. I just think those opening hours leave a lot to be desired as a first run through that story.
@zeik: I'll admit to having never completely finished Milla's route because marathoning a game like that for 50 hours over a few days for a review kind of sapped my motivation as much as I otherwise liked the game, but I suppose that would be a plausible approach to take. The flip-side for Milla's side being so lacking in the beginning is that it's also very brief compared to Jude's route; you'll be out of that opening area and starting to explore the rest of the world in like an hour, hour and a half tops, versus the two to four that Jude tends to take. At that point, from what I remember, the storylines don't diverge again for quite some time, so you wouldn't be playing catch up with Milla for too long before you'd move on to new narrative content. The game's combat doesn't restrict who you actually play as in either route, so on that end, I don't think the choice is a big deal either way, but yeah.
Yeah I started over with Jude, and found the opening to be much more of an opening experience that I was expecting. As apposed to hers where the first scene in the game is when they meet on the water. And you are left thinking did I skip a cut scene by mistake? I think I will continue with Jude's story and then go back to Milla's in a new game plus.
Thanks for all the input @pepsiman, much appreciated!
that is not the reason....
If you play as Milla first you will have scenes that makes no sense. For example in the beginning of the game. Suddenly something just happens and if you play jude'S part you know exactly what happend. Jude is the better choice for story reasons,
I started with Jude, though if we had the JP audio track I would have had to go with Milla. Jude sounds like a little girl and Milla was voiced by the wonderful Miyuki Sawashiro - so I couldn't help it in that case. Other than that though, Jude is basically a male version of Sophie (from Graces F) in terms of play style, plus it's cool to find an MC in a JRPG that isn't running around with a sword of some kind - not to mention the fact he can heal. In games with choices of your fighting style (like MMOs), I always tend to pick hand-to-hand stuff, so that fit my tastes pretty well.
Ended up loving both leads, but I can't say I've been displeased (about 30 hours in now) starting out with Jude. Though it's sad to hear the two-lead experience isn't handled as well as it has been in other games, such as Star Ocean 2. Still looking forward to Milla playthrough though.