Tales of Grace f – Review
Follow Genre: J-RPG
Developer: Namco Tales Studio
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Platform: PS3

Tales of Grace f – Review

Site Score
8.7
Good: Will keep you occupied for hours
Bad: A sense of 'Semi-Freedom'
User Score
10.0
(1 votes)
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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Tales of Graces f is a Playstation 3 exclusive released by Namco Bandai. The game presents us with a beautiful anime setting and lots of gametime. But is the game really worth investing that much time in?

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Story:

During the game you will be able to control a decent amount of characters but in the end the most important one will be Asbel, a young heir to be the ‘ruler’ of  a town called Lhant. The way his live evolves for the better and the worse. Mainly for the worse at the first few hours of the game that is. Tales of Graces f starts with you (Asbel) and Hubert climing a hill near your hometown (Lhant), while you are there you discover a cute looking girl that doesn’t know who she is or where she comes from. When combining the words ‘cute girl’ and ‘amnesia’ the best way as a man is ofcourse to take her home with you. Naturally Asbel being only 11 years of age is already very mature when it comes to this. When entering your hometown you bump in to an other female friend of yours, namely Cheria. She is immediatly interested in the girl you brought along and tends to ask loads of questions. (Jealousy much?) During the childhood part of the game you will pretty much spend your time getting used to small battles, figuring out who the mystery girl is (in which you don’t succeed) and you will make a new friend. (damn that sounds as if you’re playing a carebear games) This new friend is a young prince named Richard, who at first seems to think Asbel just wants to be friends with him to use him but eventually sees the good in Asbel. After a while Asbel gets tired of not being able to call the mystery girl by her name and dubs her Sophie. (after suggesting the name ‘Tiger Festival’ first – seriously?) Ofcourse all good tales come to an end – Sophie will pass away during a monster encounter and Hubert will be adopted by another family, which resulst in Asbel running away from home to become a knight who can protect the ones he loves.

All of the above is pretty much the introduction to the game and eventually you will spend the biggest part of the game as an adult. You will see Asbel being confronted with choiced on wether to return to his homeland to become the next lord or not. (after hearing his father passed away in battle) He will discover a new Sophie – or maybe the old one? And will get a rough reunion with Hubert, and has to save Richard again from people who want to get rid of him for their own good. Ofcourse the story involves a lot (and I mean a lot) more than only the fraction that is written down here. But eventually you will buy this game to enjoy the storyline and if you already know everything I doubt you will fully enjoy the plot.

The Story in Tales of Graces f is brought to us by an occassional anime cutscene or simple scenes with the ingame graphics. Both ways really suit the game and in my opinion there really isn’t a need to see loads of cinematics.

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Graphics:

As stated before the game has it’s own Anime style, which has it’s upsides but also it’s downsides. A style like this will mean (when made decently) that you will be presented with beautiful environment that you will only see when watching anime series, the lovable style of the characters and ofcourse the originality when it comes to designing areas. The game looks very pretty but this style has the downside that it makes it seem like the console isn’t using it’s full capacity. Probably because we are getting used to seeing more and more realistic graphics.

Sound:

Like all good anime series they always have a good soundtrack to get the mood going. Same can be said for Tales of Graces f, the music suits the game perfectly and the voice actors are very pleasant to listen to. The music changes the mood when it’s supposed to and it strengthens the emotions of the characters and the situations they are in. To keep it short – a job well done.

Gameplay:

The gameplay in Tales of Graces f is simply put the way it should be, even though it has it’s own few unclarities. Namely the extra options in a combat situation aren’t always that clear and the fact you can combine so many items is pretty much impossible to master if you don’t spend hours trying different options.

During the game you will run around in a semi-open world. This means you will get the feeling you are running in an open world but when trying to enter the wrong locations you will get the message that it’s not  the right time to be there yet and you will be denied to enter that location. For the people who love to have a little extra structure in a RPG game with a lot of content this will surely help in finding your way and will also motivate you to finish the game. The people that are looking for a game that gives you absolute freedom might be a little dissapointed but the overall gameplay of the game surely makes up for the lack of total freedom.

As in many RPG games you will have to run around from 1 location to another to complete the quest you are on and this can simply mean you have to run around in town to talk to different people or that you have to run around in the wild to reach a new location. When running around in the wild you will come across many foes and they are already visible on the map. This means you can decide to avoid them if you’re not a fan of having to battle every few steps of the way, but keep in mind that this may result in you being too weak when having to fight stronger opponents. The level system in Tales of Graces f does not solely consist out of your character gaining it’s overall level but you will also unlock ‘titles’ when playing the game. These titles can also be leveled aswell and each of them has it’s own benefits against different opponents, meaning some will aid you when it comes to being stronger when attacking and some will boost your defenses. Seeing the game throws loads of these titles at you, it’s also wise to try out a lot of them and ofcourse level them during combat.

3

The combat system in Tales of Graces f is also semi-free. You will pick a target (with the character you are controlling) and then perform your attacks or ‘artes’ (stronger moves) depending on the cc points you have. (action points) After a few fights you will get the hang of the cc system and you will see that guarding or moving away from your opponent pretty much refills your cc points again, meaning you can attack a lot faster again. (If you run out of cc points you can still attack but, a lot slower) The fun part of combat in Tales of Graces f is that you can invite a few friends over (max 3 extra players) to aid you in combat. (if your team has enough party members) This will make dividing roles a bit easier than having to go through all the available settings for your party members. Keep in mind that at the beginning of the game combat is in auto or semi-auto mode which means that your character will run to the enemies out of it’s own will. Only after ‘earning’ enough experience you can turn on the manual mode in which you are totally free to determine when the best moment is to strike or to handpick your own artes.

Note: In combat you can still change a lot of the settings that involve how your party members work and ofcourse you can use items to aid your characters – some of these items can already be inserted in to an item called the mixer to trigger them automatically when needed.

During you playthrough of the game you will find many items and many of those can be combined with other to ofcourse create new items which in turn are often able to be combined with others yet again. This opens the door to create better items that can aid you during combat or simply create better equipment. As stated before you will have to invest quite some time in this option to really master it.

Tales of Graces f also offers us a seperate playmode in which we can do battles with the team we are used of using during the main game. This mode is a fun gimmick but after playing through the game you will probably just test this mode a few times and that’s it.

Conclusion:

Tales of Graces f is a must have for those who are fan of J-RPGs, what it lacks in freedom it makes up in likeability. A game which will keep you occupied for weeks if you want to fully investigate/complete what is offered to you.

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Tales of Grace f - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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