Features & News

Hands On: Tales of Graces f

July 9, 2012, Author: Diogo Miguel

Namco Bandai is like the saviour of the current generation, when it comes to bringing RPGs to the West. Not only have they released the highly anticipated Ni No Kuni and Tales of Xillia next year, but they also have a few treats for PlayStation 3 owners. The first is the upcoming summer release, Tales of Graces f. Europe is the last region to get it, but will it be worth the long wait? I had a chance to preview the title and find out.

Arguably the ‘Tales of’ series hasn’t really changed that much over the years. This latest entry doesn’t change this trend, but this doesn’t mean that it’s lost its relevance. Visually, it’s similar to the recent Xbox 360 exclusive Tales of Vesperia, but it also feels a lot more fantasy based, especially when comparing both character designs. It’s almost as if it’s a Tales adventure aimed at a younger audience.

Dialogue is not only reserved for cut-scenes and interactions with other characters. The main characters occasionally have conversations, which get triggered when the player press a button. These don’t add anything to the main story, but are still enjoyable to witness. The characters aren’t as serious either and tend to make jokes at the expense of each other. It’s these sort of interactions that make the Tales series entertaining after so many years.

He doesn't hold back.

The characters themselves start out not knowing much about the adventure they are about to embark on. It’s quite interesting, since it means they learn at the same pace as the player. This is yet another reason to engage the player in the story. It does have a bit of a slow start though, due to making the player go around obtaining information from other characters.

Fortunately there is a button that shows the current objective on-screen. This doesn’t always guarantee that the player will know exactly what to do, but it is handy when taking a break and coming back for more.

Leaving the town’s safety zone will mean having to face monsters. It’s still early, so all the characters have wooden weapons. This provides some amusing sights where they keep hitting enemies with little effect. Combat is slightly different when compared to Vesperia; it’s a lot more combo-based and it’s possible to mix different moves. There’s a stamina bar that limits the number of moves used in succession. Fortunately, it recharges automatically so that the player doesn’t have to worry. It’s an easy combat system to get into, and it’s promising to think how it evolves, as the story progresses.

It’s not a surprise, but the soundtrack is full of cheerful music tracks. It’s a staple of the Tales series that will surely bring a smile to many fans. The areas explored weren’t exactly open based, but it was fairly early into the story. It will hopefully open up as the characters get further away from their home town.

The preview was only a short glimpse, but it certainly has all the makings of a Tales video-game. It goes to show how well-designed Tales video-games are, when one that is out in other regions for a while still feels relevant. Tales of Graces f seems like a fine new adventure for European role-playing fans to get stuck into this summer.