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HYBRID MONTH: Tales of Graces f Review

Tales of Graces F is a JRPG developed by the Namco Tales Studio for the PS3. The game was originally released for the Nintendo Wii with a total of 2 arcs and was ported to the PS3 with updated graphics as well as new content and an entirely new arc with 3/4th the content of the original arc. The game has a total of 3 arcs. The first arc is the child arc, then the main story arc, and lastly the future arc. The game takes places on a planet known as Ephinea, which is pretty much the same as Earth except for the fact that the world relies on obelisk like structures known as Valkines Cryas which supplies it with eleth. The game features probably the best battle system in tales game as of yet, an okay story and long as hell cutscenes. THE BIGGEST COMPLAINT YOU COULD HAVE FOR THIS GAME IS THE DUALIZING SYSTEM. The dualizing system is basically upgrading your equipment. Sure, at first it seems simple and harmless but after hours and hours of gameplay you finally decide to google search how to make some great equipment only to find out that it’s complicated as all known hell and it takes multiple playthroughs to perfect your equipment.

The first arc of the game is the Childhood’s End arc. The main character Asbel Lhant and his younger brother Hubert Lhant go exploring outside of of the village towards Lhant Hill and find an amnesiac girl who they eventually name Sophie. Upon returning to the village, players are introduced to Asbel and Hubert’s friend Cheria, a young sickly girl who has an infatuation for Asbel. After a scolding from their father, Asbel is told that the Prince of Barona is to visit Lhant and he is not to meet him. Going against his father’s wishes, Asbel, Hubert, Sophie, and Cheria meet with young Richard anyways. For no apparent reason, Asbel decides that the best thing to do is take the young prince out of the village and to Lhant Hill. After more tedious battles, more backtracking, long cutscenes, and finally an assassination attempt everyone decides to be the bestest of friends ever. Some child abuse later, Asbel and the gang head to Barona to visit Richard. Some time later, Sophie dies, Hubert is adopted, and Cheria is just Cheria. The arc concludes as Asbel leaves Lhant and heads to Barona to become a knight in order to protect the family and friends he couldn’t in his current state.

The main arc of the game comes in after about 4 hours of gameplay. It has been 7 years since Asbel joined the knight’s academy in Barona. Upon returning from his mission, Asbel learns from Cheria that his father has died and he is to return home. After seeing his mother for the first time in 7 years, Asbel is asked to take his role as next Lord of Lhant. As a great plot device, neighboring country Fendel invades Lhant. Sophie magically appears again and defends Asbel, and right after Hubert appears with an army to defend Lhant. Hubert, now being a huge dick, exiles Asbel from Lhant and he heads back to Windor. After meeting with Richard, Asbel is asked by him to assist him in regaining the throne. On their journey, the group meets Pascal who joins them. Halfway through the journey Cheria rejoins the party. Eventually the group makes it to the castle and to the throne room where Richard goes insane and kills his uncle. Long cutscene later, Richard tells Asbel to go back to Lhant to tell Hubert the great news that he’s going to get invaded. Richard’s invasion is stopped by Asbel, Hubert and Sophie and sadly Richard will not be playable for the rest of the arc. Soon after the failed invasion attempt, Hubert is asked to return to his adoptive country Strahta because he isn’t doing his job correctly. Asbel, Cheria, Sophie, Pascal and new party member Malik Caesar decide to accompany him in order to request Hubert stays as lord. The group meets the president of Strahta who agrees to keep Hubert as lord as long as they can fix a problem with the Valkines crystals. Oh my god it’s Richard. The new main antagonist Richard makes a brief appearance as he absorbs the eleth from the Valkines and makes an escape. If there are 3 Valkines in the world, Strahtas was just absorbed, and there’s 1 located in Windor, the only logical choice to head to would be Fendel. Many many tedious battles, cutscenes, and plot twists later, the group arrive at the Valkines in Fendel to stop Richard but fail in doing so. In the process, Sophie is mortally wounded by Richard and unable to assist the party for a good few hours of gameplay. Richard head’s towards the worlds center. ALTHOUGH IT MAY NOT LOOK LIKE MUCH, THE STORY IS ACTUALLY LONG AS HELL. NOW, the group finds out the they must go to space, YES SPACE, to save Sophie’s life. During their time in space, the group learns that it is Lambda possessing Richard and his goal is to basically absorb all life from the planet. By the way, Sophie is an android whose person is to destroy Lambda. Now, millions of plot twists, tedious grinding, and puzzles later, the group returns to Ephinea and heads to the world’s center to stop Richard. HUGE AMAZINGLY NOT EXPECTED PLOT TWIST, and final boss time. After Lambda’s defeat, Asbel takes Lambda into himself and get a sick purple eye. FINALLY AFTER SO LONG, ending credits. Now, as with every tales game, the player may choose to start new game+, or start the future arc.

The future arc doesn’t conclude or even add to the main story, nor is it actually necessary. What this arc does is basically conclude events of the main story.

On to the gameplay. As the intro stated, the battle system is fantastic. The battle system uses something called Chain Capacity in order to combo and use skills. Basically, skills and attacks cost anywhere between 1 and 4 to use. In a regular combo, the first attack costs 1, then 2, 3 and lastly 4 before the combo is reset or the player uses a skill. There are 2 forms of attacks. Regular and Cryas attacks which are both based off of different stats to calculate damage. Best part about most attacks is that they are really flashy and nice to watch. Outside of battle the game is really boring. Every path is linear, there’s barely any exploring and not too many secrets to look forward to. As a matter of fact, there’s no free roaming until about the final hour or 2 of main arc gameplay. As the intro also stated, the dualizing system sucks. It isn’t necessary to completing the story but if you want to complete the game on the harder difficulties you have to make use of it. The best cutscenes are hand down the anime based ones. These are the ones that contain all the cool fights, conclusions to main events, and explosions.

The graphics are actually really nice. The colours are bright, the effects are really cool and everything looks smooth. Even though the game looks really good, it feels as though the best parts of this game are the anime based scenes. The environment each area has fits perfectly. When entering the snowy lands of Fendel it looks damn cold and when you enter futuristic based areas, it doesn’t look overly bizarre.

The music isn’t too memorable. The songs are good, but are the kind that you wouldn’t realize they are there until you mute the volume.The best songs are played during battle, and especially boss battles. The songs do fit the scenes properly but you’ll be more focused on your surroundings as they overshadow the music anyways.

In conclusion, Tales of Graces F is definitely a good game. The battle system is great and the scenes are beautiful. The anime based cutscenes compliment the game nicely but it feels as though there are slightly too few of them. The characters are very memorable and the cast compliments eachother perfectly as the characters share very lifelike relationships. Overall, this games gets a 7/10.

 

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