Namco Bandai’s Tales of Graces f is an HD-port of Tales of Graces, a Wii game that was released back in 2009. It features essentially the same game content with upgraded visuals, plus a complete extension (f in the game title refers to Future) called “Lineage and Legacies”.
I have to admit that I haven’t played a lot of Tales of games prior to this one; the only other I played is Tales of Symphonia for the Gamecube a few years ago, and I wasn’t really a fan of the series back then. However, after a few hours in this really cool Action-JRPG, I was really impressed by how fun this game is!
Tales of Graces f Opening Cinematic
The story focuses on Asbel, the young heir of the Lhant family, and his friends. The prologue takes place while all the main characters and their friends are children and gives an insight on both their backgrounds and their own motivations. After a few hours, the story fast forwards a few years in the future, when the characters are young adults. This is when the main story takes place.
At first, friendship is the story-driving element, but it soon unfolds to a greater scale, where Ephenia — the planet — is at risk. It might sound like a typical Japanese-RPG, but the story is very well-written and will keep you up later than usual!
Tales of Graces f features a fast-paced Action-RPG battle system that is easily the greatest highlight of the game! Your battle party consists of four characters, one of which you control. Each party member has is own attack pattern, so switching from a character to another completely changes the battle gameplay. Enemies are always visible on the field (no random encounters) and most of them can be avoided if you want to go quickly from point A to point B.
As for the battle system itself, your attacks consist of “Attack” and “Burst” Artes, and can be fully customized to your liking by assigning them to buttons on the controller. An awesome feature is how you can change the assignments in real-time right in the heat of the battle when you realize your setup needs adjustments for a specific enemy. Each attack requires a set amount of CC (stamina), and attacks can be chained until your available CC runs out. A chained attacks uses more CC than the previous one, but they also yield more damage. Luckily, it replenishes very quickly in battle while guarding or by moving. This is great because it prevents the battle system from falling into button mashing and requires strategy!
Finally, for those of you who like to play with friends, Tales of Graces f offers a much welcomed local multiplayer feature in which each player can control a different party member. Battle difficulty can also be raised if you want more of a challenge, up to 4 levels harder than the default. Rising the difficulty gives more Experience, Skill Points and rare item drops, so there are plenty of good reasons to switch!
Another big highlight of the game is the sheer amount of content it includes! The world is huge, and when a typical JRPG title would last around 25-35h, this game features a 60h-long campaign, plus a ton of side-quests. It even comes with a 10h in-disc extension called “Lineage & Legacies” that becomes available once the main quest has been completed.
There are also a lot of optional and hidden cut-scenes that are often related to the story progression or that appear randomly at the battle victory screen. Some of them are really humorous and actually made me laugh! This game even includes a very easy to use “Dualizing” system, which allows you to mix two items to create a totally new one!
Audio / Video
In Tales of Graces f, Japanese culture is really prominent. The game features cut-scenes, videos and characters all in anime. The characters are likeable and their voice acting is also usually very good. However, there are no options to switch the voices back into their original version, which was quite a deception. The soundtrack is both good and expansive! For example, each continent has its own field and battle theme.
The rendering engine uses cell-shading and is as beautiful as it is polished. Landscapes are gorgeous, frame rate is rock-solid and transitions from field to battle are instantaneous. There are a few loading times when switching from one zone to another, but they’re minimal thanks to the game installation on the PS3.
It had been a while since I played a game with such a strong story and with a fun and rewarding battle system. With a gorgeous game engine, a campaign lasting around 70h, local multiplayer and lots of unlockables, everything in Tales of Graces f has been done with the player in mind. Namco Bandai delivered an awesome game, and I can’t wait for more iterations of the Tales of series on the PS3.
|Lots of content on a single disc, 70h+ campaign|
Extremely pleasant, progressive and rewarding battle system
Interesting and well-told story
Local multiplayer and adjustable difficulty
|No Japanese voices available|
You can purchase Tales of Graces f from Amazon.com here.
Total amount of time played: 94 hours.
Game was completed before writing this review.
This review is based off of a retail copy of the game purchased by reviewer
Written by: Ceidz
- Contributing Editor