Tales of Graces F: Some Thoughts on this Great JRPG . . .

Posted by spazmaster666 (1967 posts) -

I was initially planning on writing a review for Tales of Graces F but decided that what I had to say about the game fits a blog post more than a review since, well, I’m not particularly great at writing reviews. Anyway, here are my thoughts on the game after about 160 hours of playtime and two playthroughs.

As always, the skits add a lot to the overall experience

The story in JRPGs generally trend toward the cliché/cheesy and while Tales of Graces F doesn’t fit the latter, it certainly fits the former. While there are some heartwarming moments during the story, I definitely didn’t feel the plot itself was particularly compelling. However, I would say that I’m glad that I (with the help of a guide) saw all the skits in the game. I’ve always felt that the skits in the Tales series (which are ostensibly optional) were more interesting than the actual main plot and this is no different in Tales of Graces F. The skits range from whimsical to cute to serious to hilarious, but are never boring. In fact I would say that I felt far less desire to skip through the skits than I did through some of the story or side-quest dialogue (especially the voiceless dialogue which continues to be a thing in many JRPGs despite it being 2012 and the game being released on a Blu-Ray disc). The skits also bring color, humor, and a hint of romance into the mix as well (in fact, much of the romantic subplots in the game are really only elucidated in the skits). Still, despite my lack of enthusiasm about the main story, I still feel that it brings up some interesting themes that you don’t typically see in some other JRPGs.

Pascal is dumbfounded by how much I enjoyed this game...

Characters wise, aside from Asbel and Cheria (both of which irritated me throughout the game), the main cast is overall pretty great. My favorites of course have to be Pascal & Sophie. I won’t spoil anything, but Pascal just an amazing (amazingly hilarious that is) character while Sophie is just so darn likeable. Hubert & Malik aren’t bad either, each of them having interesting back stories of their own. I’m also quite impressed with the voice acting in the game, which is much better than some of the other JRPGs out there (though expectedly good for a Tales game).

Battles can definitely get quite chaotic...

As always, the main draw of Tales games is the combat, and I can say without reservation that the combat in Graces is the best that the Tales series has had to offer so far (with the exception of Xillia, which I have not played). Though the combat is still relatively simple, it has a surprisingly amount of variety and also requires smart tactics and quick reflexes on the harder difficulties. The combat isn't really tough for the most part, especially if you’ve leveled properly, but some of the boss battles can get quite tense, especially when they start busting out their Mystic Artes. Unfortunately the AI for your party members ranges from decent to terrible which means that depending on which characters you decide to use, you may need to step in and manually control some of your other three party members during some battles. In any case, the fantastic combat makes the grinding during later portions of the game (and post-game) actually enjoyable. Finally, the way the game incorporates titles into actual stat bonuses and skills for your characters instead of just as extras (as they were in some previous Tales games) is an interesting way of handling that aspect of the game. However, I have to say that it also means that if you want to acquire all the skills/abilities for all your characters, it’s gonna take a long time. In fact, if you feel like S-ranking this game, you're definitely in for the long haul.

I also felt that there was too much backtracking, which is a problem that plagues many JRPGs. This can be especially irksome since many of the game’s skits do not unlock until you progress past a certain portion of the main story, meaning you will often have to backtrack to previous towns, fields, and dungeons if you want to view all the skits (which as I mentioned previously, add a lot of flavor to the story). Of course, I played through the game with a guide in hand so I ended up not missing anything important, but I can imagine that it would be frustrating if you were just trying to find and do everything on your own. Then again, this is kind of par for the course when it comes to JRPGs and the Tales series in particular.

The Tales series of games has always utilized a more cartoonish, anime-like art style rather than aim for realism in its visuals. You could argue that for a PS3 game, Tales of Graces F looks distinctively last-generation (though considering it’s an upscale of a Wii game that shouldn’t be a surprise). But I’ve never had an issue with stylized visuals over realism, especially in the JRPG genre where it’s a much more common occurrence than other genres. Low-res textures aside, Tales of Graces F still looks pretty good with its colorful palette and impressive-looking spell effects. And though the skits consists basically consists of a series of anime-esque 2D stills, they are certainly well implemented. The few fully 2D animated anime cut scenes are also well implemented, though I kind of wish there were more of them. As previously mentioned, the voice acting is fantastic, and the music is also quite catchy (well as much as BGM can be anyway.) I even quite enjoyed the opening theme by BoA, though I would have liked an option to listen to the original Japanese version, especially since she sings both versions (as was offered in Tales of Vesperia)

Though it certainly has flaws, I can say right now that Tales of Graces F is my favorite game so far of 2012, and certainly one of the best JRPGs I’ve played in recent memory. It’s by no means a reinvention of the genre, but it’s not just a rehash either. It’s also a another great example of why production values aren’t as important as gameplay or storytelling. Let's hope that it sells enough copy here in North America so that Namco will release Tales of Xillia here as well.

#1 Posted by spazmaster666 (1967 posts) -

I was initially planning on writing a review for Tales of Graces F but decided that what I had to say about the game fits a blog post more than a review since, well, I’m not particularly great at writing reviews. Anyway, here are my thoughts on the game after about 160 hours of playtime and two playthroughs.

As always, the skits add a lot to the overall experience

The story in JRPGs generally trend toward the cliché/cheesy and while Tales of Graces F doesn’t fit the latter, it certainly fits the former. While there are some heartwarming moments during the story, I definitely didn’t feel the plot itself was particularly compelling. However, I would say that I’m glad that I (with the help of a guide) saw all the skits in the game. I’ve always felt that the skits in the Tales series (which are ostensibly optional) were more interesting than the actual main plot and this is no different in Tales of Graces F. The skits range from whimsical to cute to serious to hilarious, but are never boring. In fact I would say that I felt far less desire to skip through the skits than I did through some of the story or side-quest dialogue (especially the voiceless dialogue which continues to be a thing in many JRPGs despite it being 2012 and the game being released on a Blu-Ray disc). The skits also bring color, humor, and a hint of romance into the mix as well (in fact, much of the romantic subplots in the game are really only elucidated in the skits). Still, despite my lack of enthusiasm about the main story, I still feel that it brings up some interesting themes that you don’t typically see in some other JRPGs.

Pascal is dumbfounded by how much I enjoyed this game...

Characters wise, aside from Asbel and Cheria (both of which irritated me throughout the game), the main cast is overall pretty great. My favorites of course have to be Pascal & Sophie. I won’t spoil anything, but Pascal just an amazing (amazingly hilarious that is) character while Sophie is just so darn likeable. Hubert & Malik aren’t bad either, each of them having interesting back stories of their own. I’m also quite impressed with the voice acting in the game, which is much better than some of the other JRPGs out there (though expectedly good for a Tales game).

Battles can definitely get quite chaotic...

As always, the main draw of Tales games is the combat, and I can say without reservation that the combat in Graces is the best that the Tales series has had to offer so far (with the exception of Xillia, which I have not played). Though the combat is still relatively simple, it has a surprisingly amount of variety and also requires smart tactics and quick reflexes on the harder difficulties. The combat isn't really tough for the most part, especially if you’ve leveled properly, but some of the boss battles can get quite tense, especially when they start busting out their Mystic Artes. Unfortunately the AI for your party members ranges from decent to terrible which means that depending on which characters you decide to use, you may need to step in and manually control some of your other three party members during some battles. In any case, the fantastic combat makes the grinding during later portions of the game (and post-game) actually enjoyable. Finally, the way the game incorporates titles into actual stat bonuses and skills for your characters instead of just as extras (as they were in some previous Tales games) is an interesting way of handling that aspect of the game. However, I have to say that it also means that if you want to acquire all the skills/abilities for all your characters, it’s gonna take a long time. In fact, if you feel like S-ranking this game, you're definitely in for the long haul.

I also felt that there was too much backtracking, which is a problem that plagues many JRPGs. This can be especially irksome since many of the game’s skits do not unlock until you progress past a certain portion of the main story, meaning you will often have to backtrack to previous towns, fields, and dungeons if you want to view all the skits (which as I mentioned previously, add a lot of flavor to the story). Of course, I played through the game with a guide in hand so I ended up not missing anything important, but I can imagine that it would be frustrating if you were just trying to find and do everything on your own. Then again, this is kind of par for the course when it comes to JRPGs and the Tales series in particular.

The Tales series of games has always utilized a more cartoonish, anime-like art style rather than aim for realism in its visuals. You could argue that for a PS3 game, Tales of Graces F looks distinctively last-generation (though considering it’s an upscale of a Wii game that shouldn’t be a surprise). But I’ve never had an issue with stylized visuals over realism, especially in the JRPG genre where it’s a much more common occurrence than other genres. Low-res textures aside, Tales of Graces F still looks pretty good with its colorful palette and impressive-looking spell effects. And though the skits consists basically consists of a series of anime-esque 2D stills, they are certainly well implemented. The few fully 2D animated anime cut scenes are also well implemented, though I kind of wish there were more of them. As previously mentioned, the voice acting is fantastic, and the music is also quite catchy (well as much as BGM can be anyway.) I even quite enjoyed the opening theme by BoA, though I would have liked an option to listen to the original Japanese version, especially since she sings both versions (as was offered in Tales of Vesperia)

Though it certainly has flaws, I can say right now that Tales of Graces F is my favorite game so far of 2012, and certainly one of the best JRPGs I’ve played in recent memory. It’s by no means a reinvention of the genre, but it’s not just a rehash either. It’s also a another great example of why production values aren’t as important as gameplay or storytelling. Let's hope that it sells enough copy here in North America so that Namco will release Tales of Xillia here as well.

#2 Posted by TopSteer (657 posts) -

I'm surprised that you think the combat is the best so far. I'm the exact opposite and think it's the worst in the series. I'm only a couple of hours in so maybe it gets better but I really hate the changes from the previous games. Aside from the combat I am really enjoying it though.

#3 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4678 posts) -

I am literately playing the game right now. It's on pause as I read your blog. I am just about to fight Richard's Uncle, so I don't think I'm that far in. Seeing how I don't yet have the full party. The battle system is quite good but the rest of the game has been mostly a let down thus far. I don't think any of the characters besides Pascal are any good. Although they are getting better. I think the writing is not good with the exception of a few skits and battle victory things it has been boring and with little of the charm I would expect.

I don't want this post to go on too long so i'll leave it there.

#4 Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw (6198 posts) -

That is a fantastic write-up. I just bought a copy of Tales of the Abyss 3DS, and am looking to possibly pick this one up perhaps in May or June. Like you, I really hope Tales of Xillia makes it here/

Moderator
#5 Posted by Soapy86 (2621 posts) -

Tales of Vesperia is my first and only Tales game so far, how does it compare to Graces?

#6 Posted by Apathylad (3066 posts) -

Yeah, I really liked the game's combat. It's nice not having to worry about your characters running out of TP. The CC system also makes combat less button-mashy, since it functions as a stamina meter, and you'll need CC to dodge attacks. I finished the main game and started the Lineage & Legacies epilogue.

@ImmortalSaiyan: It took me about 45 hours to finish the main story, and I hear the Lineage & Legacies portion of the game is another 10 hours.

#7 Edited by spazmaster666 (1967 posts) -

@TopSteer said:

I'm surprised that you think the combat is the best so far. I'm the exact opposite and think it's the worst in the series. I'm only a couple of hours in so maybe it gets better but I really hate the changes from the previous games. Aside from the combat I am really enjoying it though.

You know, I was feeling the same way during the early parts of the game. But it got much better after you get past the childhood arc, start learning more Artes and start to get the hang of the CC, dodging, and movement system. I think the best thing about the new combat system is that you can go through a battle without taking any damage even against tough opponents if you're skilled enough, due to how the evasion and movement system works. Also I think this is the first Tales game I played in which I actually spent a good amount of time during battle guarding.

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

I am literately playing the game right now. It's on pause as I read your blog. I am just about to fight Richard's Uncle, so I don't think I'm that far in. Seeing how I don't yet have the full party. The battle system is quite good but the rest of the game has been mostly a let down thus far. I don't think any of the characters besides Pascal are any good. Although they are getting better. I think the writing is not good with the exception of a few skits and battle victory things it has been boring and with little of the charm I would expect.

I don't want this post to go on too long so i'll leave it there.

I would agree for the most part that the writing isn't that great. But like I said, I felt the skits really brought me back into the game story-wise after I basically stopped caring about the main plot. But then again I can't say that I was really all that enthralled with Vesperia's or Abyss's plots either, or many other JRPGs for that matter.

@Soapy86 said:

Tales of Vesperia is my first and only Tales game so far, how does it compare to Graces?

I would say that Vesperia has a better cast than Graces for the most part and while I really enjoyed the combat in Vesperia, after playing Graces, I kind of prefer the combat in Graces. I went back and played a couple hours of Vesperia recently and I found myself not really enjoying the battles very much. One thing I feel that Namco did a good job with with Graces is that it doesn't have a lot of easily-abused combat mechanics. In Vesperia, there were many ways to exploit the combat system and just completely dominate your enemies (i.e. Rita tidal wave spam). This isn't really the case with Graces. In fact, aside from the "piggyback" method, there really isn't much to exploit about the combat mechanics.

@Apathylad said:

@ImmortalSaiyan: It took me about 45 hours to finish the main story, and I hear the Lineage & Legacies portion of the game is another 10 hours.

Yeah, Lineage and Legacies is pretty short, though it's pretty decent for what is basically just an extended epilogue that only exists because of Sony's rules about re-releasing games on the PS3. I ended up spending about 30 hours only because I was going for the 80 titles trophy for Richard. Otherwise, I don't think it would have even lasted 10 hours. However, that said, it's a great way to level up and prepare for the bonus dungeon (which can be very tough) since enemies during the Future arc are overall stronger and give more experience than any of the regular enemies prior to the bonus dungeon during the Adult arc.

#8 Posted by xyzygy (9996 posts) -

45 Hours for a Tales game seems kind of short to me. I think I cleared Vesperia in about 70 hours. I don't really like to look of the game as much, but what you say about the combat makes up for it. I'll probably wait til it's dirt cheap TBH

#9 Posted by Phatmac (5726 posts) -

How does it compare to Tales of Vesperia? I'm sort of in a love/hate relationship with the Tales games. I'm just hoping that I don't buy another Tales of Symphonia 2 situation again. It equates to the story and characters being stupid cliche' angsty teen anime people being dumb. ToV handled it's characters decently, though my love for it is mostly Yuri. I haven't investigated this game too deeply so I hope someone can help address my questions. I just hope it's good enough for a purchase.

#10 Posted by spazmaster666 (1967 posts) -

@Phatmac said:

How does it compare to Tales of Vesperia? I'm sort of in a love/hate relationship with the Tales games. I'm just hoping that I don't buy another Tales of Symphonia 2 situation again. It equates to the story and characters being stupid cliche' angsty teen anime people being dumb. ToV handled it's characters decently, though my love for it is mostly Yuri. I haven't investigated this game too deeply so I hope someone can help address my questions. I just hope it's good enough for a purchase.

I think that if you really enjoyed Vesperia, you'll really enjoy Graces as well. The combat does take some time to get used to but is incredibly fun once you do. As for the story, I would say it's comparable to Vesperia's and the characters are pretty decent as well (even though Asbel and Cheria can be annoying at time, the rest of the cast is pretty likeable.)

@xyzygy said:

45 Hours for a Tales game seems kind of short to me. I think I cleared Vesperia in about 70 hours. I don't really like to look of the game as much, but what you say about the combat makes up for it. I'll probably wait til it's dirt cheap TBH

It took me about 100 hours to clear the game on my first play through, including the Future Arc. Though this is also me doing almost all of the sidequests, watching all of the skits and getting most of the titles (i.e. at least 100 for each character). I suppose if you were to only focus on the main story, 40-45 hours probably sounds more reasonable, but doing side quests and viewing skits has always been an important part of Tales games so I consider it to be part of the key experience.

#11 Posted by kindgineer (2727 posts) -

I want to play this game, but that would require buying a PS3, and that's not going to happen anytime soon.

I hate console exclusives..

#12 Posted by Chop (1997 posts) -

They took out aerial combat, so it sucks. Judith was the only thing that kept the series interesting for me and instead of expanding on that, they completely demolished it. I fucking hate the game.../bitter

#13 Posted by Phatmac (5726 posts) -

@spazmaster666 said:

@Phatmac said:

How does it compare to Tales of Vesperia? I'm sort of in a love/hate relationship with the Tales games. I'm just hoping that I don't buy another Tales of Symphonia 2 situation again. It equates to the story and characters being stupid cliche' angsty teen anime people being dumb. ToV handled it's characters decently, though my love for it is mostly Yuri. I haven't investigated this game too deeply so I hope someone can help address my questions. I just hope it's good enough for a purchase.

I think that if you really enjoyed Vesperia, you'll really enjoy Graces as well. The combat does take some time to get used to but is incredibly fun once you do. As for the story, I would say it's comparable to Vesperia's and the characters are pretty decent as well (even though Asbel and Cheria can be annoying at time, the rest of the cast is pretty likeable.)

@xyzygy said:

45 Hours for a Tales game seems kind of short to me. I think I cleared Vesperia in about 70 hours. I don't really like to look of the game as much, but what you say about the combat makes up for it. I'll probably wait til it's dirt cheap TBH

It took me about 100 hours to clear the game on my first play through, including the Future Arc. Though this is also me doing almost all of the sidequests, watching all of the skits and getting most of the titles (i.e. at least 100 for each character). I suppose if you were to only focus on the main story, 40-45 hours probably sounds more reasonable, but doing side quests and viewing skits has always been an important part of Tales games so I consider it to be part of the key experience.

Sweet! May get it when I have some more time. Have they hinted at a ToV 2? I'm all in for that. Just gimmie more Yuri dammit!

#14 Edited by xyzygy (9996 posts) -

@spazmaster666: I actually don't do much of that stuff in the Tales games - in Vesperia I hardly touched sidequests, came out with a pretty terrible run with my characters not really having much in terms of good weapons (I know they were out there I just didn't take the time to find them) and I still racked up 72 hours. I checked a little earlier at my exact playtime. Although I do think Vesperia was a little long.

I have since S-Ranked it but I'm talking about my first run through. Regardless, I'll be picking Graces f up at some point and seriously hope that Namco Bandai decides to localize Xillia.

#15 Posted by Helios1337 (325 posts) -

Great write-up/review. For the people near the start of the game not enjoying the combat as much as TOS or TOV, don't worry. Once you get out of the intro/childhood arc the combat system improves greatly.

#16 Posted by SMTDante89 (2581 posts) -

I agree with just about everything said here. Currently trying to get through the bonus dungeon myself, now I just need to dualize better items to gain access to a couple of the higher floors.

#17 Posted by Yummylee (21656 posts) -

Looking forward to when this is released over here.. whenever that it is. Summer, I think? I could always import, but I'm not willing to pay the extra for what is still a wii port. The regular £38-40 is still stretching it a bit. Besides, plenty of games in between that can keep me more than occupied.

#18 Edited by spazmaster666 (1967 posts) -

@SMTDante89 said:

I agree with just about everything said here. Currently trying to get through the bonus dungeon myself, now I just need to dualize better items to gain access to a couple of the higher floors.

Yeah the bonus dungeon was pretty tough on my first playthrough. It's a lot easier on NG+ with the 10x EXP grade bonus and the ability to inherit all your titles, etc. Still, even in NG+, I ended up playing most of the bonus dungeon at Evil instead of Chaos difficulty (which is the difficulty I played at for the rest of the game) since the enemies just did way too much damage on Chaos.

I didn't have any trouble with the item offerings though since you can just dualize an Iselberg (rare sword + reticent crystal) twice with magical shards and it'll be enough to reach the 10th floor.

@Abyssfull said:

Looking forward to when this is released over here.. whenever that it is. Summer, I think? I could always import, but I'm not willing to pay the extra for what is still a wii port. The regular £38-40 is still stretching it a bit. Besides, plenty of games in between that can keep me more than occupied.

It is technically a Wii port, but I still think it looks better overall than Tales of Vesperia did on the 360. Not to mention that all the skits and anime cinematics are fully in HD.

#19 Posted by Downside (48 posts) -

I'm about 35 hours into this game now. I was a huge fan of Vesperia, it's definitely my favorite JRPG of this generation, and really I don't feel anything else is that close, though I haven't played Xenoblade Chronicles yet(that comes after Graces). Personally I think the story and the characters dialogue are pretty poorly written other than Pascal and Sophie. Even they suffer from many of the same problems as the other characters, they just have have more enjoyable personalities. I will say that this game has zero characters that I hate or find incredibly annoying, just the writing is very dull. The characters are so slow to pick up on concepts that have become blatantly obvious and they verbalize the most obvious of things.

The story isn't particularly good or bad in my opinion, pretty standard JRPG faire. As the OP said though the combat and skits are what really drives this game. I agree that the combat is the best of the Tales games that I have played(Hearts, Abyss, Vesperia), and I began to like the combat even more once you adopt Hubert(Who I choose to lead as) into the party. The game doesn't compare to Vesperia to me, as I feel Vesperia outclasses it in pretty much every department other than Graces CC system being superior.

Was worth the purchase for me though, especially if it supports the effort to bring Xillia to NA. Xillia is the real Tales game I am dying to play.

One thing I did really miss from Vesperia though was Judtih! Judith was such a blast to play as, her combo's in Vesperia looked badass, and she was a Dragoon for fucks sake, how can you not love playing as a Dragoon?!

_______

Also, nice write up by the OP

#20 Posted by Downside (48 posts) -

Also forgot to mention, and I didn't notice it in the writeup, but the dualizing and mixer system are both done well I thought. Really thought the mixer was pretty cool, and dualizing was just Tales weapon customization, but I appreciate it none the less. How can you not like upgrading the stats and appearances of your weapons, not enough JRPGs do it.

#21 Edited by PixelPrinny (1030 posts) -

Ahh good to see someone did a fancy writeup on this as I was slacking off and have yet to get around to it myself. The game certainly deserves more love and attention and it's nice to see you've treated it to such. Cute graphics and good write up :) I'd argue with you about the story not being cheesy though; the story is cheesy as hell! You play a perpetually positive hero who thinks friendship is the answer to all of the world's problems, and is basically Jesus throughout the whole thing, forgiving the worst of sins with a smile and a hug.

The only other thing I'd argue with you on would prolly be the music, but not so much argue with you about it as point out there was one or two "songs" that were pretty terrible, consisting of literally 3 notes playing over and over (eg. the Barona Catacombs). Not sure how they okay'd that song.... >.> Oh and that opening theme! Auuuugh *dies* Sorry, I couldn't stand it XD

I can't say I found all that much backtracking or getting lost and I didn't use a guide. *shrugs* I unno, maybe I'm just used to that sorta stuff in Tales games.

Yes, Pascal is fantastic! She, alone, is enough reason for people to play this game. She's so great. Who else has a staff that turns into a rifle?!

Oh and dude, the game has TWO lengthy endings that provide plenty of closure in an era where most games can't even do one ending right. Hell, even Vesperia had a disappointingly short ending, but Graces F does a phenomenal job with closing everything out.

Here's hoping we see Xillia localized sometime in the relatively near future *fingers crossed*

#22 Posted by GalacticDonut (30 posts) -

Great writeup!

I just finished up the main game and future arc finding most of the sidequests and skits (I'm going to run through NG+ with a guide now) and I agree with most of your points, you're right that the skits fleshed out the cast a lot more than the main story did. The future arc alone was fantastic for that, if only for Malik and another character constantly winding everyone up about romances.

I can't believe they got that "painful finish" skit in though, that's probably the dirtiest thing that's been in a localised Tales game!

The combat took me a while to get used to having not played a CC Tales game before, but eventually I got the hang of it. It's definitely more rewarding about dodging/guarding and being able to spam the hell out of attacks in burst eleth was super satisfying. Oh and the Eleth Mixer is amazing, having the cooking options set to triggers mid-battle and the item production on the field was great. I hope they put something similar back in after Xillia.

Which guide did you use for your playthrough? The one on the Tales forum looks comprehensive enough so I was going to go with that.

#23 Edited by spazmaster666 (1967 posts) -

@Downside said:

Also forgot to mention, and I didn't notice it in the writeup, but the dualizing and mixer system are both done well I thought. Really thought the mixer was pretty cool, and dualizing was just Tales weapon customization, but I appreciate it none the less. How can you not like upgrading the stats and appearances of your weapons, not enough JRPGs do it.

The mixer definitely came in handy both in battle and outside of battle (i.e. made it easier to craft without having to grind endlessly for materials) but I wasn't a fan of how min/maxing the weapons and armor works in that it's simply way too time consuming. Also, that damned "Gentleman" trophy (i.e. fulfilling all the inn requests) is annoying as hell. I'm about 90% of the way there but the remaining 10% is probably more annoying than the previous 90%.

@PixelPrinny said:

Ahh good to see someone did a fancy writeup on this as I was slacking off and have yet to get around to it myself. The game certainly deserves more love and attention and it's nice to see you've treated it to such. Cute graphics and good write up :) I'd argue with you about the story not being cheesy though; the story is cheesy as hell! You play a perpetually positive hero who thinks friendship is the answer to all of the world's problems, and is basically Jesus throughout the whole thing, forgiving the worst of sins with a smile and a hug.

I guess I just considered it more cliched than cheesy, but I guess that's kinda arguing semantics at that point. :P You're right about Asbel though, whose "good-hearted" (i.e. naive) nature can get a little overbearing at times. He's definitely pretty down there among the ranks of Tales protagonists (I probably liked Luke more than I liked Asbel). And despite being the protagonist, I feel he was also the least-developed character (though I suppose I could say the same thing about Yuri; but at least Yuri was a badass).

@PixelPrinny said:

The only other thing I'd argue with you on would prolly be the music, but not so much argue with you about it as point out there was one or two "songs" that were pretty terrible, consisting of literally 3 notes playing over and over (eg. the Barona Catacombs). Not sure how they okay'd that song.... >.> Oh and that opening theme! Auuuugh *dies* Sorry, I couldn't stand it XD

I can't say I found all that much backtracking or getting lost and I didn't use a guide. *shrugs* I unno, maybe I'm just used to that sorta stuff in Tales games.

Yeah, BoA is usually hit and miss for me in terms of her music, but I did like her intro song, the original Japanese version anyway, the English version wasn't as good (I've heard her speak better English during interviews). But not as good as "Ring a Bell" by Bonnie Pink (Vesperia's intro) of course. As for the backtracking, there was definitely more of it in Vesperia (especially when it comes to missable events) but I still felt the fact that they force you to backtrack multiple times in order to view all the skits to be slightly annoying.

@GalacticDonut said:

Great writeup!

I just finished up the main game and future arc finding most of the sidequests and skits (I'm going to run through NG+ with a guide now) and I agree with most of your points, you're right that the skits fleshed out the cast a lot more than the main story did. The future arc alone was fantastic for that, if only for Malik and another character constantly winding everyone up about romances.

I can't believe they got that "painful finish" skit in though, that's probably the dirtiest thing that's been in a localised Tales game!

The combat took me a while to get used to having not played a CC Tales game before, but eventually I got the hang of it. It's definitely more rewarding about dodging/guarding and being able to spam the hell out of attacks in burst eleth was super satisfying. Oh and the Eleth Mixer is amazing, having the cooking options set to triggers mid-battle and the item production on the field was great. I hope they put something similar back in after Xillia.

Which guide did you use for your playthrough? The one on the Tales forum looks comprehensive enough so I was going to go with that.

Yeah, ToG definitely had more of those type of skits than I would have expected (i.e. I didn't expect it would any.) As for guides, I used mainly Kurusu's faq on Gamefaqs since he nicely pointed out how to see all of the skits in a relatively efficient manner.

#24 Posted by Downside (48 posts) -

I would alos just like to say that I HATE the memorization card game. It's so annoying to know which card is correct, but the computer grabs it like 1 second into the line being read, when you have to sift through 30 cards or whataever...

#25 Edited by Downside (48 posts) -

Yeah, I just got the 300 Hard version perfected, fuck that stupid card game. Fuck it up it's ass.

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