Hello all! Megan Highwind back once again to bring you my opinion about a game that has been taking over most of my time for the past few weeks. This is not the most recent game on the market, but I ended up being quite impressed with how good this game was and wanted to let you all know that it is worth picking up before the Ps3 era comes to an end! Without further ado, the game that I am speaking of is part of Namco’s famous Tales series…Tales of Graces!
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this game. I picked it up on a whim while at a gamestop one day. I had heard some good things about it here and there but it was not on my must play list. However, now that I have played it, I highly recommend going out and buying it. Even though there are a few things about this game that do not really stand out above any other such as the presentation, which is good but will not blow anyone away, and the music, which is fairly common fodder for an RPG. That being said, however, Tales of Graces shines in two of the most important things that I look for in a great RPG, storyline and gameplay. These two things alone make this game a must have.
Basically, the story centers around a boy named Asbel Lhant who finds a girl named Sophie who cannot remember who she is. Along the way, Asbel’s brother Hubert, a neighborhood girl named Cheria, Asbel’s instructor Malik, a prince named Richard and a strange girl named Pascal all join the quest to find out who Sophie is and her purpose on their world. Throughout the journey, the characters experience many happy and heartbreaking moments that made me feel like I had to share my love for this title. The game starts with Asbel, Hubert, Sophie and Cheria as children and lets the player get a feel for how this group becomes close friends and their bond that is forged into adulthood. The game then picks up with the characters as adults and how they have changed over the years. The player learns not only through the main story, but by skits that can be accessed at different points in the game, what has been happening behind the scenes with the various characters. Not only does the player get a current view of the characters, but they are also given glimpse into their past which I quite enjoyed and drew me further into the story. Being a newcomer to the Tales series, I loved seeing these little scenes as they added more depth and personality to each of the characters and show the player how the characters feel about one another and how things going on in the world affect them. I think that the game does a great job of providing material that makes the player care about what the characters are going through and root for their success.
The other wonderfully done part in this game is the gameplay. There is an A-artes and B-artes system and you choose which attacks to use using the O and X button and a direction on the analog stick. The player gets to choose which B-artes attacks are used by placing a certain move with the corresponding direction on the analog stick. The A-artes, on the other hand, not only are based on which direction you press on the analog stick, but also where in a specific combo the player finds themselves. In order to build up command points, or CP, the player can block oncoming attacks. This makes someone like me, who never likes to use the block button, actually take heed and make sure that I am using the block command to build up my points. Another pro to using the block feature, which the player can use by pressing square, is that it sometimes restores HP and also allows for critical hits when used at the right time. Not only are artes customizable, but as more battles are fought so are the titles that are acquired along the way. Titles are just what they sound like, a description that a character has next to their name on the menu page. However, titles are used as a way to gain skills throughout the game. This is another area where the level of customization in the game shines. The player could choose to focus on a title that gives a character more HP, better skills, a better defense or a mix of the three.
Overall, I loved Tales of Graces. The music and the presentation may not have been the best that I have ever seen, but the storyline and the gameplay more than make up for this. That is not to say that the music and presentation is bad, it is just not anything new. However, the characters and the story that they are what make me really enjoy this game and is a big part of what I look for in my RPG. Likewise, the gameplay makes me want to actually spend the time to level up my characters, which if you know me is a BIG deal(just ask JoshuaEvo), since I hate taking the time out of doing sidequests and the main story to level up. I enjoyed everything about this game and I hope that you all will pick this title up before the end of this Ps3 era if you have not already, and if you have please let me know if you agree with my assessment! Until next time as always please read, review, and share!
-Megan Highwind has left the party