"Tales of" Games

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BlueSpark
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"Tales of" Games

Postby BlueSpark » Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:52 am

Savory Inventor wrote:I've only played Berseria. Could you recommend me another tales game from your experience?
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.
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...
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Re: "Tales of" Games

Postby Savory Inventor » Fri Jun 01, 2018 6:54 pm

Wow I wasn't expecting a huge paragraph. ::shocked:: I should of known better coming from BlueSpark.
Thank you for you recommendations.

I am fortunate to have own both a ps3 and xbox 360 although that 360 is on indefinite loan as i no longer use it much. I will definitely give Tales of Xillia a shot first due to your recommendation and by the fact that it retails quite cheaply on the used market where i live.

I was considering Tales of Zestiria for the story being set after Berseria but i guess i can put it on hold for a while.

Again Thank you BlueSpark for you recommendations you clearly are a big fan of the Tales Series. I hope to be able to talk to you more about the Tales series in the future.
I'll keep the thread updated on my progress.

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Re: "Tales of" Games

Postby BlueSpark » Sat Jun 02, 2018 1:53 am

Savory Inventor wrote:I'll keep the thread updated on my progress.
Roger that 8-). More than anything, expect very fluent combat and a cast of 6 characters with completely different mechanics and fighting styles when playing Xillia. It'll be interesting to hear who'll turn out to be your favorite.

By the same token, if you enjoy Tales of Xillia, then I highly recommend the sequel, Xillia 2. It's been rightfully criticized of reusing a lot of Xillia's maps and assets, but that didn't bother me too much; the main draw is that it adds 3 more playable characters (and they're all quite strong), bringing the count up to a total of 9 (more than any other Tales game in existence as far as I know). Combat in that game is simply a blast.
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Re: "Tales of" Games

Postby MojaveRena » Sat Jun 02, 2018 7:24 am

I've played Tales of Xillia on the PS3 about 3 times. A fast-paced combat with an interesting cast of characters and interactions during the game.

My favourite character in general is either Leia or Alvin. I'm actually quite good playing as Leia in battle and she has some good link-artes with Alvin. Alvin is really cool, with a good voice actor in my opinion.

What I like best are the skits - the conversations between characters, and some of the story events. ;)
For those who haven't played the game, I strongly recommend it.

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Re: "Tales of" Games

Postby TrES-2b » Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:17 am

I'm generally seen as the Tales guru among people who know me so here is my 2 cents...

I think I've played about 20 Tales titles... not 100% sure since I lost count a while back, and have been playing them for about 15 years, my first being Tales of Symphonia, so I'm one of the older fans in the fandom and has seen this series go through a lot of ups and downs over the years and play the Japanese games, generally unpatched. It's really difficult to pick anything other than Vesperia to be someone's intro to the series since I think in terms of battle system + plot/characters and how it's all constructed is, imo, what represents the Tales series ((at least in the west)) the best and is easy to get into. It kept me busy for a long time on the 360, then later importing it on PS3. It's a good all-around representative of what makes a Tales game a Tales game so it's always my suggestion to newcomers to the series. Abyss is great, too. I played it on PS2 when it first came out and is one of my top picks for best Tales story, though the battle system is a bit simple, still good for newcomers.

My favorite games are Vesperia, Destiny ((Director's Cut but I have soooooo much love for the PS1 version as well)), Graces f, Abyss, Hearts ((DS)) and Destiny 2.

I'm going to say something that'd probably unpopular in this thread but I thought Xillia was a disappointing game and after the epic, flashy, fast-paced and detailed battle system of Graces, Xillia's battle system felt slow and clunky. It improved in Xillia 2, but I still feel as if nothing after Graces had as fun as a battle system, as if it all became "dumbed down" starting with Xillia. Xillia also felt very incomplete to me, with a story that felt short, less sidequests to do, no cameo battle in coliseum, lack of in-game costumes ((everything is DLC now)), having only one mystic arte per character and a bit of an unsatisfying ending with a fairly uninteresting EX dungeon kept Xillia in the lower ranks of my Tales gaming list. It's still a good game and I certainly enjoyed it, but it just didn't live up to expectations, imo, especially when Graces had my favorite battle system in the series ((with Destiny DC as a close second if not tied)) and had so much stuff to do ((I had 200+ hours of Graces while I had done basically everything in Xillia in less than 100 hours)). Xillia felt like less of everything in comparison to Graces. I loved Graces so much I played on all the highest difficulties as soon as I unlocked them, even as my friends would complain that it was "too hard". I preferred Xillia 2 to Xillia 1 because they did make the battle system better, even though it was mainly only when playing as Ludger, and the story actually went somewhere and had a real conclusion. Zestiria was a bit of a let-down as well, though I think sometimes people get too harsh on it in some areas ((I loved the water dungeon and most people hate it for some reason)), since it just wasn't as good as what the older games were for the most part ((I DO think Zestiria's story had great potential, but it was told very badly and ufotable didn't capitalize on this for the anime adaptation)). I haven't even bothered to play Berseria yet since a lot of my old Tales friends ((10+ years of Tales experience)) who played it had a mixed to negative reaction towards it, often mentioning how it doesn't have the charm of the older games and what made them Tales fans in the first place. Tales newcomers have a higher rate of enjoying Berseria than the old fans from what I've seen. The series has been going through a lot of changes and there is a rift between old and new fans within the fandom. IMO, the series quality dropped after Tales Studio disbanded. The "soul" of the series got lost there.

I don't know if I've moved on from the series just yet or not, or if I'm taking a break, but I crave the fast-paced and flashy battle systems of Graces/Destiny DC/Destiny 2/Rebirth and I wish the series would go back to those styles. Also, more interesting dungeons and puzzles need to come back, as well as more sidequests, better coliseum fights ((Vesperia PS3 coliseum should be a standard)), less DLC costumes and more in-game ones, more interesting boss fights/more difficult final bosses ((my fave final boss fight was totally Miktran Excessive in Destiny DC and would like to see more final bosses like that one; most of the bosses in newer games are so forgettable/easy)) and more stuff to do in general. What the series probably needs to do more than anything is stop with thinking they need a new game release every 1-2 years ((only to make games with an unfinished feel to them)) and do what Atlus did by spending like 7 years on a really great game with Persona5 so they could perfect it more. I miss the days when Tales games felt complete. Tales series also needs to stop focusing on mobile gacha games and seriously put all its attention back on the mothership console games ((before Tales of Link closed, there were THREE Tales mobile gacha games ongoing simultaneously; a franchise doesn't need so many!)). There is also so much merch now that I can't ever keep up and collect everything related to favorite characters ((I remember the days when there was barely any Tales merch and the fandom really was all about the games so each piece of merch that did come out felt more special)). It's like there's more fan service these days than there is actual material to be a fan of anymore, which annoys me a bit.

I still love Tales but I do prefer what it used to be over what it is now.

BlueSpark wrote:By the same token, if you enjoy Tales of Xillia, then I highly recommend the sequel, Xillia 2. It's been rightfully criticized of reusing a lot of Xillia's maps and assets, but that didn't bother me too much; the main draw is that it adds 3 more playable characters (and they're all quite strong), bringing the count up to a total of 9 (more than any other Tales game in existence as far as I know). Combat in that game is simply a blast.


There are 10 fully playable characters in the PS2 version of Tales of Destiny. Symphonia has 9 though only a maximum of 8 a time. PS3 Vesperia also has 9.

Outside of the mothership games, Radiant Mythology 3 has 70-something :'V

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Re: "Tales of" Games

Postby BlueSpark » Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:46 am

TrES-2b wrote:It's really difficult to pick anything other than Vesperia to be someone's intro to the series since I think in terms of battle system + plot/characters and how it's all constructed is, imo, what represents the Tales series ((at least in the west)) the best and is easy to get into.
I can go with that. Vesperia was my first ever Tales game, as well, and is what got me hooked on the franchise. I played Symphonia after that. Then I moved on to play the older titles on emulators. So I guess you could call me an old/traditional fan.

TrES-2b wrote:I thought Xillia was a disappointing game and after the epic, flashy, fast-paced and detailed battle system of Graces, Xillia's battle system felt slow and clunky. It improved in Xillia 2, but I still feel as if nothing after Graces had as fun as a battle system, as if it all became "dumbed down" starting with Xillia. [...] It's still a good game and I certainly enjoyed it, but it just didn't live up to expectations, imo, especially when Graces had my favorite battle system in the series
Well, there's the major difference in perception/opinion. To me, it's the battles of Graces that felt clunky. Not because of the SP system or how the moves were executed, but because of the weakness system. That's why I can hardly stand the combat in Graces, Zestiria and even Berseria (Although the latter did make it more tolerable by allowing you to assign all artes to your controller's buttons). Every time I entered a new area and encountered new enemies, it was basically "battle starts -> hit R1 and check enemy types and elemental weaknesses -> open artes menu and figure out the ideal combo to hit those weak points -> hit the same combo over and over again". It was very tiring and unexciting to me. On the flipside, Xillia only plays with elements, which are much less of a hassle to remember. And, most importantly, you can map the artes to your buttons yourself and always know which button to press to execute a wind attack, a stab attack, what-have-you.
That, and I've always prefered battle systems that allow (and promote) jumping over sidestepping.

TrES-2b wrote:I haven't even bothered to play Berseria yet since a lot of my old Tales friends ((10+ years of Tales experience)) who played it had a mixed to negative reaction towards it, often mentioning how it doesn't have the charm of the older games and what made them Tales fans in the first place. Tales newcomers have a higher rate of enjoying Berseria than the old fans from what I've seen.
Well, then take me as living proof of one to break this trend :P. I'll agree with you that it definitely doesn't catch the charm of an atmospheric masterpice like Vesperia. But that brings us to the age-old question of how similar the games of an ongoing franchise should be. I, for one, welcomed the fresh and revolutionary approach in regards to the characters and story. As I said, the Berseria cast entertained me to no end (aided but the new way skits are presented, which is the best in the franchise by a large margin IMO), and their adventures were thrilling because the concept of playing as a gang of scoundrels for once was so compelling.
The bottom line is, if you're looking for more of what made up the 'old' Tales games, I would indeed advise you to steer clear of Berseria. If you're open to something new, it might surprise you like it did me. Plus it has the same style of combat system as Graces did, so that should be a plus for you (also, the Break Artes and more frequent use of Mystic Artes were very welcome changes in my mind).

TrES-2b wrote:There are 10 fully playable characters in the PS2 version of Tales of Destiny. Symphonia has 9 though only a maximum of 8 a time. PS3 Vesperia also has 9.
Ouch, you got me there :P. I only played half of Destiny because the ROM glitched out and I had to watch the rest of the game as a Let's Play. But that was on the PS1 version, at least I'm pretty sure. Also, yeah, forgot about the remastered Vesperia (which isn't available in English, so it's not on my radar).
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Re: "Tales of" Games

Postby TrES-2b » Thu Jun 07, 2018 4:06 am

BlueSpark wrote:Well, there's the major difference in perception/opinion. To me, it's the battles of Graces that felt clunky. Not because of the SP system or how the moves were executed, but because of the weakness system. That's why I can hardly stand the combat in Graces, Zestiria and even Berseria (Although the latter did make it more tolerable by allowing you to assign all artes to your controller's buttons). Every time I entered a new area and encountered new enemies, it was basically "battle starts -> hit R1 and check enemy types and elemental weaknesses -> open artes menu and figure out the ideal combo to hit those weak points -> hit the same combo over and over again". It was very tiring and unexciting to me. On the flipside, Xillia only plays with elements, which are much less of a hassle to remember. And, most importantly, you can map the artes to your buttons yourself and always know which button to press to execute a wind attack, a stab attack, what-have-you.


Hmmm I literally never had that issue. If my damage seemed abnormally low then I'd check elements, especially on gear, but otherwise, I tend to just do whatever I wanted, usually trying to get the hit counter as high as I could get or whatever combo made me feel the coolest. Tales games aren't difficult enough to constantly check for weaknesses, imo, so it's better to just do whatever feels the most fun. I'm not sure how to explain it but I guess I learn by doing so during battle, if I notice a certain arte is doing a lot less damage than my other artes, I'll simply avoid using that arte for that particular battle rather than looking it up. Same for weaknesses, I guess. I'd rather learn in the heat of the action and then somehow that made my memory of what to do or not to do against x enemy a bit better. *shrug*

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Re: "Tales of" Games

Postby BlueSpark » Thu Jun 07, 2018 4:44 am

TrES-2b wrote:Tales games aren't difficult enough to constantly check for weaknesses, imo, so it's better to just do whatever feels the most fun.
I don't know, I think the newer titles actually place a lot of emphasis on exploiting the enemy's weaknesses by rewarding you with staggering them, increased chance for status effects etc.. I played Zestiria one difficulty level above the default, and even regular battles in the EX dungeon took ages if I wasn't capitalizing on the enemies' weaknesses. I don't think I was underleveled, but if I was, it would have taken an excruciating amount of grinding to get my party leveled up enough.

In Xillia, I can intuitively form an arte chain that hits the enemy's weak elements and then continue adding other elements from there to drive up the damage multiplier. All while picking the specific artes I want to use on my own instead of being tied to a predetermined button scheme like in Graces or Zestiria. I'm also not a fan of the fixed 4-arte combos those games employ. Xillia's system, comparatively, offers so much more freedom.
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Re: "Tales of" Games

Postby TrES-2b » Thu Jun 07, 2018 5:19 am

BlueSpark wrote:
TrES-2b wrote:Tales games aren't difficult enough to constantly check for weaknesses, imo, so it's better to just do whatever feels the most fun.
I don't know, I think the newer titles actually place a lot of emphasis on exploiting the enemy's weaknesses by rewarding you with staggering them, increased chance for status effects etc.. I played Zestiria one difficulty level above the default, and even regular battles in the EX dungeon took ages if I wasn't capitalizing on the enemies' weaknesses. I don't think I was underleveled, but if I was, it would have taken an excruciating amount of grinding to get my party leveled up enough.

In Xillia, I can intuitively form an arte chain that hits the enemy's weak elements and then continue adding other elements from there to drive up the damage multiplier. All while picking the specific artes I want to use on my own instead of being tied to a predetermined button scheme like in Graces or Zestiria. I'm also not a fan of the fixed 4-arte combos those games employ. Xillia's system, comparatively, offers so much more freedom.


*shrug* Like I said, i learn in the action so I'll do whatever I figure out works as I do it, but I really don't think Tales games are generally very difficult. EX dungeons and certain bosses are different from main game stuff, usually, so those would be harder and exploiting weaknesses is more important, yeah, but the average enemy that you're fighting for a majority of the game? Nah.

The 4-arte combos do have freedom if you know how to use them. I'm not sure how a base combo that's the same thing basically every time like in Xillia would be more freedom but to each their own I guess. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy both battle systems quite a lot and always spend time in every Tales game just fighting random monsters for fun and not advancing the story. I think all the games have fun battle systems, except probably Legendia haaaaa ((it has other strengths tho)).

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Re: "Tales of" Games

Postby BlueSpark » Thu Jun 07, 2018 6:56 am

TrES-2b wrote:The 4-arte combos do have freedom if you know how to use them. I'm not sure how a base combo that's the same thing basically every time like in Xillia would be more freedom but to each their own I guess.
For me, it's the fact that I need to get to the 4th attack in a combo to actually perform the level-4 artes. It just doesn't sit quite right with me. Xillia doesn't have an equivalent to Graces's A-artes, but I actually do prefer the basic attacks (freely mix-and-matchable with artes) over a rather complex set of A-artes I can only use in very specific patterns.

TrES-2b wrote:I think all the games have fun battle systems, except probably Legendia haaaaa ((it has other strengths tho)).
To be fair, I thought all of the 2D battle systems were pretty meh, but Eternia and Legendia at least cranked up the speed so it felt a bit more exciting.
But yeah, I'll probably remember Legendia mostly for its characters. Norma was a blast, and Grune was just... out of this world. And of course, the epic final coliseum battle: "Bread Rain Alpha!" "Tiger Bread!"
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