by: CJ Boat
Release Date: August 6, 2013
I am a huge fan of JRPGs, and don't make any attempt to hide it. They are my favorite type of game altogether, but of course I am not a complete apologist, if a game is bad, it's bad.
That being said...
This game is really good. Put out by Bandai-Namco here in the US, it is a continuation of the "Tales of..." series, which, like many other JRPG sequels, has hardly anything to do with any of the other games of their series' name (Tales of Symphonia, Tales of Graces, etc.) except for maybe a couple of things. What this game adopts from the others is mainly the item names: gels are healing items, money is Gal, etc. also the battle system is an evolved version of the other games, which is a good thing.
The graphics in this are the odd 3D-but-painted graphic style, and goes very well with the area that this takes place in. The world is your pretty standard high-fantasy crossed with steampunk accents. Where the magic is in the main front, there are guns, ammunition, and some other gear-grinding items. The art flows very well, and does not really splinter into pixels that are unrecognizable, like some other games even in the current (previous now, I guess) generation.
The music is a kind of middle point, it's very Japanese which may sometimes detract from the storyline; every once in a while you'll get a odd note or even entire song, and maybe off-setting. Though, for the most part, the music you hear the most (Battle & World map) are good though, and fit in. The boss fight music could use some tuning, however.
The battle system, like I said, is an adaptation of other Tales / Star Ocean series games, where it is a random encounter system, where you control one character (or two if you have them turned on semi-manual) in a almost action-RPG where you issue a command to either attack, use an "arte" (Special attack) or blast a fireball at the monster's monstery face, and your guy (or lady, or guys, or ladies, or whatever your flavor is) kills a guy in the face. You can move in 3D, and sometimes you have to to avoid an attack, so that adds a little to the keg.
Final point I want to touch on is the writing and voice acting. They went above and beyond on the VA, where they translated not only the main characters but quite a few NPCs that may give you quests, or even just talk to you. As per the writing, the context works, and does not seem too far into the "Japanese" style writing (not that I have an issue with that, I LOVE that, but can see where people can't). It is also easy to keep up with, and is not too confusing, even though I have not finished the game yet.
NOW ONTO MY SCORING!
Average: 7/10 - the music really does this game an injustice.