Namco Bandai´s Tales series has always been a storytelling platform of epic proportions. Tales of Graces f, a remake of the original port, reinforces this notion.
Game Review: Graceful Tales
THE 12th Mothership title from Namco Tales Studio, Tales Of Graces, has been given a new lease of life in the form of a US release for the Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3). Originally developed for the Nintendo Wii, the PS3 version – renamed Tales Of Graces f (TOGf) – has, much to the fans delight, been given the go-ahead to be translated and re-packaged for the English speaking market. Notably, the English voice-over dub is rather decent and not as annoying as other translated Japanese Role-Playing Games (RPGs). Like most Tales games, TOGf starts off by introducing players to the main cast within an immersive environment that will allow them to interact and learn (for newbies or those who need a refresher) the movement and fighting game. This session, which takes place in the childhood arc, is used as the story´s prologue as it is designed to intricately explain the circumstance of each characters and their initial background stories. Players will take control of Asbel Lhant, a young naive noble and the idealistic aspirational hero of TOGf. The story begins with Asbel planning a short trip for Lhant Hill with his brother, Hubert, to watch the Sopheria flowers bloom. What they found upon arriving at the hill instead was an unconscious girl lying in a field of Sopherias. She seems to carry an air of mystery about her as the story reveals that she has no memories of her past and is not able to recall her identity. On a whim, Asbel named the amnesiac girl Sophie, likening her to the flowers that surround them. Almost eight hours long, the introduction was a fine mix of adventure, action and soul searching. The plot elements within act as fore-shadowing pieces of a larger puzzle that sets the stage for Asbel, Hubert, Sophie and their friends later on in the game. Avoiding any spoilers, this arc ends in a pretty tragic manner, causing many adverse results on the young heroes. Wanting to create an unusual twist for a Tales game, the developers of TOGf have done a seven-year time-skip right after the prologue, allowing Asbel and company to age into late-teens. Picking up after the gap, the story reveals Asbel, now an accomplished member of the knighthood, to be a strong-willed and determined young man who hopes to ultimately protect those he loves. However, his dreams of being a great knight are dashed upon receiving news of his father´s untimely death. As he rushes home to address the crisis, he finds himself entrapped in a confusing web of politics, deceit, betrayal and crime. These trials will put Asbel and his friends on a journey that will see them traverse the game´s entire over-world, exploring towns, dungeons, castles, forests, and lairs to unravel the confounding layers of conspiracies that they are caught in. The challenges they face will test their friendship, question certain actions and cast into doubt what they once thought was absolute.