Tales of Graces f

■  Platform: PlayStation 3                               ■  Category: Role-Playing

■  Publisher: Namco Bandai Games              ■  Developer: Namco Bandai Games

 

Namcos handling of the Tales series is notoriously dickish, so it was a pleasant surprise when Tales of Graces ƒ actually made it to market, and in a surprisingly un-dickish move, only the extended cut made it state side, though, that also means the original was out in japan for years and never made it across the lake…

Tales of Graces ƒ plays like any Tales game; battles are real time and special moves are assigned to different directions on the left joy stick.  Picking a direction and an attack type allows you to preform either basic or special attack chains.  Unlike most Tales games Tales of Graces ƒ does not use SP to cast spells or use special moves; instead you use CC that can be replenished by simply guarding for a short period of time.  Every moves requires CC to preform, and dodging at the right time allows you to store more CC than you could normally.  Also introduced are titles that you equip and level up, each level granting you a new permanent upgrade to either skills or base stats.  Each title also comes with a unique ability that is only available while that title is equipped making title choice fairly important during boss battles.

Does the game do what it says it does? Full Star

As a Tales game Tales of Graces ƒ can only really be compared to other games from the Tales series; and I have to say, it is definitely a Tales game.  Everything from the simple, but fun battle system to the feel good story screams Tales at the top of it’s lungs.  It’s a good formula that has been and still is working for Namco, hopeful they’ll stick to it.  For now Tales of Graces ƒ is an excellent entry into the Tales series.

Is the game enjoyable? Full Star

More or less, there as some balancing issues, and the game seems oddly short.   Unlike most Tales games Graces ƒ doesn’t feature a ridiculously large world full of things to explore.  Instead it features 7 towns, the capital of each of the 3 countries and 1 major city, and a smattering of port towns that offer little more then an inn and an item shop.  Tales of Graces ƒ seems to lack the impact of it’s brethren.  The nagging feeling that something is missing might explain the extended version, which adds hours to the end of the game.

Do you think other people will enjoy it? 

The Tales series can be daunting to jump into, particularly Graces ƒ.  With a card game staring heroes from previous games, as well as a break-neck difficulty curve this game might not be the best starting point.  The Tales series has always been deceptively simple, and Graces ƒ is no exception, though the distinct lack of unfinishable quests…as long as you don’t sell anything you find, is Tales of Graces ƒ’s one saving….grace…

Did the game make you laugh? Full Star 

It did, often.  The Tales series has always been lighthearted but Graces ƒ is even more so then usual.  Though the asides (called “skits”) are just a likely to be informative as they are funny, the tone overall remains less dramatic then past games.

Did it make you cry? No Star 

As I’ve said before Graces ƒ has a feel good story, as such there is nothing that could even be remotely cry worthy.  If anything one could in someway call it a romantic comedy, albeit one where the hero saves the world and is denser then a stone wall.

Final Score: Full StarFull StarFull StarNo Star

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