Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tales of Graces ƒ - Final Thoughts

At last another game beaten~ And this game took quite a bit of time to do. But in a very good way. So, let's get down to business and discuss the finer points of Tales of Graces~

First of all, this game has a ton of stuff to do. And it's actually organized very well. You can keep track of sidequests, collectibles, and many other things in a section of the main menu called the Library. To give you an idea, I spent over 100 hours on this game ^^; And that was following a FAQ to do and get most of the stuff in the game but not going for completion. Completion would take you way more than that. But anyways, the point is that the game keeps you entertained in between dungeons, story events, and even after you beat the game. It also makes it well worth it to do another playthrough. So yeah, this game will keep you busy for quite a while no matter what. Tis good stuff~

Second, let's talk about the story. It's very obvious that Bamco wanted to take a different turn with things here. And try not to be as predictable and cliche I suppose. Though they kinda end up going there just in a different way from previous games. There's still the mysterious girl who came from another world aspect. Though Sophie in this case isn't even human. She's a humanoid created specifically for one purpose: to kill Lambda. And Richard spends almost all of the main game possessed by Lambda (Thank goodness for the Future Arc, otherwise you'd hardly get to use him at all). A tough hand to be dealt. To have to fight your friend. And that's pretty much the party's predicament.

It's all very similar and reminiscent to what Bamco usually does with these stories but just done in a different way. And it actually works to be honest. I still say that Abyss is pretty much the most unique in story of all the Tales games I've played. And that's just my opinion. But the story of Graces is very enjoyable to watch unfold. It's not exactly cliche either. Predictable at times, yes. The main focus of the story is friendship and while some may groan just hearing that it's not what it appears. This game is actually a pretty good reminder of what a friend is. Something I think many people have forgotten since their childhood.

Put simply, a friend is someone who is always there for you, helps you out, and would lay down their life for you. That is a true friend. Another aspect of the story is overcoming your past. All the characters have something from their past that holds them back or haunts them. The game has some great character development all around really. But Tales games are usually pretty good about that too. The party even helps the final boss overcome his past. Asbel allows him to share his body with him so he can show him the world and that humans have potential. Actually, they help both final bosses of the game. The Future Arc final boss becomes one with Sophie to help watch over the world. There's quite a bit of forgiveness on both sides of the playing field here.

Anyways, let's move on to music now. The soundtrack of this game is pretty amazing really. And I have to say that a lot of the music in this game reminds me of Star Ocean. Yes, it's the same composer but Tales and Star Ocean both have different sounds. Quite a bit of it was reminiscent to the Star Ocean sound. One of the end game battle themes and some of the dungeon music too. It's not a bad thing at all. In fact, it was pretty cool. But for the most part, the soundtrack was very much in true Tales fashion. You knew it was a Tales game from the music. Sakuraba did great work as usual. I just love his music in any game. He sets the mood, tone, and feeling very well.

 Last but definitely not least about the game, the battle system~ Oh yes, the battle system is probably the best aspect about the game. And they integrated so much into it which is perfect. Having two different battle styles, maxing out Titles, gaining new Titles and artes, creating new weapons and armor, loads of Mystic Artes, trophies, and more. The battle system just keeps you coming back for more. And you may become overleveled and not even realize it. Meaning you will want to fight every single random enemy you find. It's excellent. If Bamco improved on anything after all this time, it is the battle system here. I know that Tales of Destiny Remake was pretty similar but this is the first one the US has gotten with this kind of battle system. It's good stuff. Keep it coming Bamco.

And on that note, let us hope that we don't have to wait another like 4 years for a new Tales title. Seriously, like I keep saying, if Bamco can't bring these games over then freakin' Atlus or someone else who can get the job done needs to take over. The fans of the series need not suffer because Bamco can't manage the series very well any longer. I certainly don't want to miss out on any more new, great games like this in the future. So, let's get freakin' Xillia over here hopefully next year.

So, in conclusion, Tales of Graces is a really awesome game. I enjoyed it to the fullest and I'm looking forward to possibly another new Tales title in the near future. I just love this series and I want to keep playing it while I can. Until next time, folks~

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