Important Importables Review: Tales of Graces F for PS3

January 30, 2011 - 3:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports Review: Tales of Graces F for PS3

Section: Reviews, Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Consoles, PS3, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers, Genres, 3D, Action, Role-Playing

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テイルズオブグレイセスF Tales of Graces F for PS3

Title: Tales of Graces F
Price: Asian version: $64.90, Japan version: $94.90
System(s): PS3 (Available on Wii as Tales of Graces
Release Date: December 2, 2010
Publisher (Developer): Namco Bandai (Namco Tales Studio)
ESRB Rating: N/A, Cero B for Ages 12 and up
Pros: Interesting story, looks pretty, good battle system that’s easy to get into, lots of titles to collect, DLC costumes available, epilogue added to the PS3 release, quite a few side-quests, lots of save points, barely noticeable loading times, unified world map, lots of trophies to earn, can explore surrounding areas for memories and skits and it has good voice acting.
Cons: Doesn’t seem as challenging as other Tales games and DLC costumes are expensive. Tales of Graces Wii owners’ version looks pretty bad in comparison. Item creation only happens at shops. TP points are gone, which could be seen as good but it does make the game less challenging.
Overall Score: Two thumbs up, 95/100, A, * * * * 1/2 out of 5

On December 10, 2009, Namco Bandai released Tales of Graces for the Wii, the first original Tales game to debut on the system. While it had a lot of promise, including a simplified battle scheme that made it easier for beginners to adjust, it was plagued by bugs and glitches. There was even a recall, where Namco Bandai had to send out repaired discs.

Then, Namco Bandai did something that broke Wii owners’ hearts. It announced Tales of Graces F for the PS3. Just like the Tales of Vesperia PS3 port, the Tales of Graces port features lots of new content and a refind and remastered version of the game free from any unsightly issues.

テイルズオブグレイセスF Tales of Graces F for PS3

A tale of childhood friends, political intrigue, amazing powers and a girl who NEVER ages.

11 year old Asbel Lhant and his 10 year old brother Richard are playing in a mountain meadow near their home, Lhant, when they see a young girl lying their. Asbel wakes her up and they learn she is an amnesiac who just found herself there. Asbel names her Sophie, and she comes home with them. Asbel’s father, Aston, is lord of Lhant, which is part of Windol. Asbel learns the country’s prince, Richard, is staying with them. The two boys and Sophie become friends, making a childhood oath to stay together.

Of course, things go awry. After Richard returns home to Baronia, Windol’s capital, Asbel sneaks over there. The two of them, along with Sophie, Cheria and Hubert, end up discovering something hidden below a local church, which has devastating results. Sophie disappears, Richard is hurt and the Lhant family decides to adopt Hubert out to the Ozwell family to take him away from Asbel’s influence. Asbel then runs away from home to Baronia, to join the Knight’s Academy so he can protect those he loves.

After the introductory adventure, Tales of Graces F fast forwards seven years. Asbel is now a knight, but has just met up with Cheria, who tells him his father is dead. He must abandon his dream and return to Lhant as its next Lord. However, when he returns he finds invading forces and an old friend.

テイルズオブグレイセスF Tales of Graces F for PS3

Easy to play, pretty to look at and lots to do

Tales of Graces F is a very fluid game. While there is a world map, each area is connected to each other so it’s more like you’re actually roaming real environments. Load times are scarce and Everything feels quite connected. It’s bright, vibrant and colorful, with detailed characters and even a few detailed monsters. The visual quality remains constant, whether you’re in a battle, experiencing a cutscene or wandering around a town or field.

It also has a story that, while it isn’t revolutionary, is still quite interesting. There are underlying elements of political intrigue, since the three nations of Efinea, Windol, Strata and Fendel, are at constant war with one another and Hubert was adopted by a ruling family of Strata. Plus, there’s the ever popular supernatural uber being trying to take over the world and it seems like, for most of the story, that two of the primary characters will have to die to defeat it. Each Tales game has a theme, and Tales of Graces F‘s theme is about protecting people. Asbel wants to protect both of his friends, and spends most of the adventure trying to find some sort of compromise that will keep everyone safe.

Tales of Graces F also has plenty of classic Tales touches. There are plenty of skits, fully voiced. This time you see a character’s whole upper body when a skit is going on, so you can get a better sense of how they’re reacting to one another. It is kind of odd that they mainly take place near save points, but at least it makes it easy not to skip them. Item creation (cooking, combining, strengthening) returns, though it can only be done at shops. There are also tons of titles to collect for each character, which players level up to unlock extra abilities, sometimes even extra costumes, for characters. Another interesting point is that TP points are no longer used for special attacks or magic. Instead, characters charge up and then attack as normal, using whatever moves they’d like as long as they have enough stamina to keep doing so. There’s even an arles pot, which players can fill with items to make battles easier or acquire certain items.

Namco Bandai also did a really good job making sure people would buy Tales of Graces F, even if they had already purchased Tales of Graces. After you complete the main story, there’s another extra adventure – an epilogue following Asbel after he’s fully accepted his role as Lhant’s lord. It’s quite a substantial extra story. Also, the main game itself has been enhanced. All of the bugs and faults from the Wii release are rectified, the graphics are improved and in HD, more story events and segments have been added, there are new titles and artes and there are plenty of DLC costumes.

テイルズオブグレイセスF Tales of Graces F for PS3

The best version of Tales of Graces

If you were to compare Tales of Graces F to Tales of Vesperia, Vesperia would undoubtedly emerge as the better game. However, Tales of Graces F is quite strong on its own, with interesting characters, a battle system that is both fun and easy to learn, lots of titles to collect and story that asks players if they would be willing to sacrifice their loved ones to save the world. It’s smooth and plays well, and I think RPG novices and Tales fans alike will enjoy it.

If you do get Tales of Graces F, go for the Asia version. It’s identical to the Japan version, only it’s much cheaper. It may be best to just wait, since it looks like Namco Bandai might actually release Tales of Graces F in North America.

Editor’s Note: Hot Japanese Imports and Jenni Lada are now on Twitter. Follow @JMariye for mini-import video game updates.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports talks about UVERworld.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week talked about Axis Powers Hetalia.

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