Since aspiring Tales fan Savory Inventor asked me for game recommendations, I thought it'd make the most sense to create a new thread dedicated to the franchise as a whole.Savory Inventor wrote:I've only played Berseria. Could you recommend me another tales game from your experience?
I daresay I might be the 'authority figure' on this forum when it comes to Tales of Games. I've played every major title that has seen a release in the west, and even some that haven't (via fan translation patches). Some games I've played through 2 or even 3 times. As such, I'm happy to share my enthusiasm .
One factor to keep in mind regarding recommendations is obviously the platform you're looking at. A couple of years ago, I bought a Nintendo 3DS because Tales of the Abyss was released for it. To this day, it's the only 3DS game I own - and I've played through it 3 times. So yeah, it's one of the best in the franchise as far as I'm concerned, but if you don't have a 3DS lying around... Well, you might still be able to grab the old PS2 version, but don't ask me for details.
The console that's going to cover most of your Tales needs is the PS3. Unfortunately, the Japanese remake of Tales of Vesperia for that platform never made it to the west; if you want to play Vesperia, which comes highly recommended as well (not least for its beautiful art style and engrossing story), you're going to need a XBox 360 (I bought a used one just so I could play ToV).
For the PS3, my #1 suggestion would be Tales of Xillia. One of the major downsides to that game is the boring level design; whereas in older Tales Games, every location has its unique flair, the geometry in Xillia is highly homogeneous. A similar thing can be said for the weapons and armor in the game - they feel 'mass-produced' instead of the unique feel each piece of equipment has in, say, Vesperia.
However, I think these flaws are easily overshadowed by the brilliant battle system; it's my favorite in the franchise by a margin. The level-up skill system also feels cool and unique, and the character cast is very enjoyable, as well. I also appreciate how the game indicates new sidequest opportunities for you, whereas in older titles, you need to do a lot of backtracking and prodding around in previously visited areas (Vesperia is notorious for this). But your mileage may vary here - some people like that exploratory aspect.
Those 3 would be my main recommendations. If you've played Berseria, you might get a kick out of Tales of Zestiria purely for the story overlap. However, for me personally, Zestiria was probably the biggest letdown in the franchise overall, so I can't suggest it in good conscience. I didn't really enjoy the characters or the story. The battle system was atrocious in my eyes. And man, that item crafting system was obtuse as all get-out...