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Thread: Tales of Series

  1. #801

    Default Re: Tales of Series

    I’m away for a couple weeks but I plan on buying this immediately after. I haven’t even seen that much outside of the initial gameplay demo but I always have some weird optimism for new Tales games and a strong review average is encouraging. I myself haven’t truly enjoyed a game in the series since Vesperia/Graces and even going back and trying to replay my favorites usually results in eventual boredom and/or dropping it for other new games. That said I thought Berseria was playable, on a casual level. I’m looking for a game that grips me enough to want 100% completion, or like maybe at least possessing even mildly interesting and rewarding side content.

  2. #802

    Default Re: Tales of Series

    I'm a few hours in and feeling pretty good about it. The gap in terms of presentation and general visual/audio polish between this in previous games is pretty substantial. Might try a few too many things, but it's definitely got the improvements in music and world that I'd been waiting for since...Xillia? (which also had some serious issues in its "world map"). Still very much a Tales game, with super-anime but good voice acting and people expositioning very seriously but earnestly about ludicrous concepts. Some things I might have to grow into--skits are more like Valkyria Chronicles cutscenes now, and I miss the cartoon-y cutscenes--but I'm cautiously optimistic.
    Hang in there, Kierkegaard.

  3. #803

    Default Re: Tales of Series

    Well, I think I'm sufficiently deep into the game now to cast sweeping judgments, and...eh. Think my prior cautious optimism wasn't really borne out, though it's a perfectly fine game for the most part.

    In terms of story, Tales games fall into one of the two categories, games where it's generally a crew of pleasant like-minded friends with one or two ne'er-do-wells out to save the world (Symphonia, Xillia, Vesperia) or ones where everyone performatively hates each other until way too deep in the game (Berseria, Abyss). This one tries to settle right in the middle and it just doesn't make a lot of sense. Two mains in particular have an "I don't need your help" relationship that persists way beyond the point where it narratively makes any sense. Also, the sweet spot for Tales games has always been fairly generic storytelling with above-average characters and localization, and this one seems much more generic anime in that regards; even the skits aren't particularly funny. There's no Jade or Pascal or Zenos to keep things fun.

    Now, combat...I will readily admit I am not good at Tales games, with Graces F being the only one where I felt like I learned the systems enough to hold my own at high difficulties by the end, but something seems flat broken in this game to me. The upgraded visuals are very nice and the action-heavy animations are great, but in boss battles in particular it's borderline impossible to tell what's going on and whether the various effects are good or bad. Add in that the main character's central mechanic is big attacks through self-damage and a much more limited healing pool than in past games (WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT). Also add in that the game emphasizes dodging over guarding [only one character actually can guard), but has long animation windows and a very precise dodge timing, plus a camera/targeting system that is wildly inconsistent, and it is not good times.

    So, yeah, the core of the game has been nicely modernized and I hope they can build on it in the future, but the game at present definitely lacks the heart and fun of my favorite Tales games. On the bright side, I'm still enjoying it enough to keep playing, which is more than I can say for Berseria and Zestiria, so I'll update if it manages to pull together in the next few acts (from what I can tell, there's still quite a bit to go). Just...not as much as I hoped.

  4. #804

    Default Re: Tales of Series

    Hmm I'm a decent chunk in (just got to the 5th realm) and in some ways I agree with you, but some of my gripes are kind of different lol. But I will preface this with the statement that I'm also having fun in the end.

    In an overall sense I think you're right about the lack of humor and it goes with something I've been feeling for a while which is that the game takes itself way too seriously. This might be carryover from Berseria where everyone loves edgy grimdark Velvet. It works there because there were still always clowns hanging around, or at LEAST quirky characters. The mage usually fills at least one of these roles (ones like Pascal, Rita and Magilou are both). But here they went all-in with how absolutely terrible everything is. Every character has some tragic backstory or in-game story and has to be depressed about it. You can have a serious story without it being like that ALL the time. The closest they get is very minor jabs like how Shionne eats so much or how annoying the Wonder Bard is (I miss the Wonder Chef... ). I don't mind the new skits format-wise, and they still add a lot of extra world-building and insight but they're never silly, which I hadn't actively thought about until reading your post. They also get REALLY repetitive sometimes... they could definitely cut out a bunch of them or at least shorten them because they can go loooooong at times and recycle lots of information from previous skits or story events.

    The combat leaves me conflicted because they did so many things right, but with the presence of a few issues along with different overall game issues, it somehow does not add up to something as satisfying as it could or should be. The different characters' playstyles are distinct and overall fantastic, and they did all the right stuff mechanics-wise to make them fun to play. In particular I absolutely love being able to charge/save and stack spells, and the mix of straight-up casted spell artes and more instant magic artes, plus the ability to do aerial magic. It feels so much more dynamic and rewarding to control now. But like you said there's something weird about the perfect dodge/block mechanic, which heavily drives lots of aspects of combat. Sometimes it feels unresponsive, sometimes you feel it should trigger but it doesn't, and many times enemies just don't attack coherently. And speaking of coherence, what frustrates me to no end is that the AI does some things flawlessly but then they'll stand there eating the most devastating attacks like they're dumb as bricks. It's SUPER unrewarding to fight a boss or strong optional enemy and be playing out of your mind, then watch the enemy slowly drop a big fireball onto the field which you avoided 5 seconds ago but 2 of your other party members look up at the sky and watch it 1-shot them. It makes me feel like there's absolutely no way for me to take on anything more than a couple levels above me, no matter how well I play. Because sometimes I'm like "okay I'll just take matters into my own hands" but they also have this game tuned to where enemies are massive HP sponges and unless I'm doing something wrong, I'm always already slightly underleveled so anything especially strong requires flawless playing for a long, loooong battle. This is amplified by the game's nasty habit of dangling things out of reach constantly -- introducing enemies or challenge that are just a few levels out of reach but that will be almost trivial if you come back and do them one area later. Or showing you weapon upgrades that you can't craft because the materials drop from future enemies, but by the time you have access to those enemies, the weapons stop seeming as good and a new one is already on the horizon.

    Oh and yeah Alphen's self-damage mechanics can freaking blow me. I have been controlling other characters ever since I got enough characters to bench him (would've done it sooner but letting the AI control Alphen is a terrible idea, so instead he's just off the main team). The low healing factor and constant CP anxiety just make Alphen feel miserable to me, not to mention that the one thing that's fun -- long combo strings -- often doesn't work... it's annoying how often enemies just fall out of aerial juggles because of their dimensions. I'm really hoping SOMETHING will eventually unlock to mitigate some of this... almost every other Tales game has skills or accessories that actively provide HP/TP regen and I think it's vital. Sure you could sometimes end up pretty busted, but unlocking and finding those overpowered combinations were a lot of the fun. Meanwhile in this game it takes an ABSURD amount of time to even unlock the ability to map a second set of artes. It's kind of ridiculous, especially considering you only get three arte buttons compared to four in the past. But the artifact system seems promising, if there are cooler ones out there. I've only found a few. Actually overall there has been a surprising lack of additional combat badassery. Extra mystic artes when (also is it just me or do mystic artes feel underpowered)? Oh and what's the deal with gels? How in the HELL is it 3k gald for an orange gel? If you're going to make that shit prohibitively expensive then why are you capping my inventory at 15?

    Anyway yeah. The game is fun but some things leave me scratching my head. Others are fillery and tedious. I'm looking at you, fishing/ranching and (optimal) accessory crafting. Even the way you can only cook upon resting is kinda lame. But hey this game finally has legitimately decent side-content, even though it's tuned kind of poorly IMO, as I previously mentioned. I have to wonder if the endgame/postgame will have anything interesting or rewarding, and I guess NG+ as well even though these days I don't have that kind of patience. Definitely wouldn't be happy with the old Tales formula of content that isn't realistic unless you're on a run with full GRADE cheats and like 10x experience because the game wants you to be level 200 for that superboss.

  5. #805

    Default Re: Tales of Series

    Think we're pretty close to agreement on this one, just you're finding slightly more to enjoy than I am. Again, it's not a bad Tales game, it's just not quite the return to form I hoped. The part that you mentioned that made me cackle was the way air combos break, because SWEET MIKE is that infuriating. My old go-to in previous games was the juggle into the air, quick air combo, then dive-kick down, and in this game, you juggle into the air, for some reason do a full-animation combo literally 10 feet from the bad guy as it slowly drops back, then dive-kick 10 feet over its head, making contact with nothing on the other side of the arena, where the spell it has had time to prepare will then hit you. The fact that basic combos are so broken in this game is wild.

    The "AI players dying in boss battles" thing doesn't bother me THAT much because it's an old Tales standby, at least how I play it, but when combined with the incredibly penal healing limits and expense of items, it definitely feels worse.

    Considering turning it down to Easy then seeing what the Grade Shop and Artifacts look like for a second playthrough.

  6. #806

    Default Re: Tales of Series

    Yeah the game requires you to do uninterrupted combos too, for the boost strike mechanic or whatever, which makes the juggling problem that much worse. It's actually funny because I was playing punchy-dude (lazy spoiler avoidance) and I sometimes have a problem where during air juggles he pushes enemies UP too high and drops the combo! Like just from basic attacks in the air and some horizontal artes. But he has another really annoying problem which is that pretty much only his basic attacks break enemies and the arte windup is so long that by the time I try to knock them in the air, they've recovered and it doesn't work. The only character I feel is quite successful at juggles is rod-man, just because the weapon has such a big hitbox and he has some decent artes that pull enemies upward in the air. But he does not have the same combo potential as the others, at least with what I have available.

    As for boss battles (which includes gigant monsters and other stuff like that)... yeah it didn't really matter back when multiple characters could heal, had individual TP pools, and TP restoration was no big deal. With an orange gel costing THREE TIMES as much as a life bottle, you might as well disable resurrection and just do it with items because the CP cost to revive is ridiculous. It also wouldn't be so bad if it didn't feel impossible to farm gald. Enemies don't drop it, so I guess you're just supposed to sell random ingredients once you no longer need them? But how do I know when I stop needing them? Mining certainly doesn't bring in enough. I try to be as conservative as humanly possible but just weapon crafting to keep characters updated stops my gald from ever going up much at all. That's with completely ignoring shop armor and all that.

  7. #807

    Default Re: Tales of Series

    Well I'm one "catch all fish" trophy away from plat in Arise, and I don't think I've ever felt so conflicted about a Tales game. Trying to decide where it places in the series is difficult. I definitely put it above Xillia because that's the game that made me give up on the series for a while... but overall I can't decide whether I like it more than Berseria, because some things are clearly much better while others are much worse. Trying to keep a somewhat modern context because so much has changed, and it definitely doesn't come close to Graces, Vesperia, Symphonia, etc. anyway.

    When I wrote my previous posts, I thought the story aspect was overall fine, if a little excessive with the depressing tone. Unfortunately that tone never lets up and the game suffers from MASSIVE pacing and narrative issues for the final portions. You get interrupted ever three feet with a cutscene with nothing new to say. The writers seriously had nothing of value to contribute after a certain point but they just keep piling on stale conversation after conversation, and skit after skit. Not to mention the heavy-handed tone. Characters are just poorly written and developed through and through, and while I find most of the cast likable and well-designed, they are ultimately pretty boring or unremarkable at the best of times. At worst their schtick just gets reallllly old. Alphen is maybe the most uninteresting protagonist ever? He's written to be perfect with all the right things to say at every point, and it's completely unearned and uninteresting, especially when the party already has a mother figure. Thinking back to older Tales games, the protagonists tend to either be highly flawed or at the very least naÔve, powerless, etc. Not "yeah I'm the chosen one who understands everything." His little five-minute midgame crisis is a joke.

    On the other hand I think most of the area designs are great, the music is great, and the side content is much better than I've come to expect lately. I still really wish they went back to having dungeons with puzzle elements, but that's a minor gripe. No aspect of the abundance of "JRPG mechanics" is TOO terribly cumbersome, though I still think fishing is pointless. I do wish they added more items or abilities to abuse combat mechanics. Never did get a decent way to regen HP/CP or other stuff you'd expect like making it impossible to stagger spellcasting.

    From a general quality of life perspective, I think it's pretty polished and streamlined, and like I said before there are lots of good decisions made in combat that SHOULD make it really fun, but it still suffers from all of the same problems brought up in earlier posts. Later in the game you get enough CP to not worry QUITE as much about healing, but it's still annoying, and I'll still never understand the self-damage decision. Combos not feeling reliable is ultimately what ruins combat the most for me, and there are plenty of extra annoyances, like how you can be in the middle of a combo and then an ally uses a mystic arte and for some reason this resets your position to be far away from the enemy and the combo is immediately lost. Combat still feels "better" toward the end of the game... smoother I guess? But it's too little too late. Overall I honestly stand by the opinion that for battle systems without TP, Graces is still the gold standard. There are a few pretty dang cool (optional) boss battles though.

    Quote Originally Posted by tatermoog View Post
    Considering turning it down to Easy then seeing what the Grade Shop and Artifacts look like for a second playthrough.
    You probably know by now but there is no Grade shop and absolutely no incentive for subsequent playthroughs lol. You can carry over most of your progress via artifacts and that's it. Good and bad, I'd say. No additional ways to break the game for enjoyment but no need whatsoever to do multiple runs.

  8. #808

    Default Re: Tales of Series

    opening aside: i enjoy that, while we have reasonably similar opinions on most of the Tales games, you loathe Xillia and it's probably my favorite. *shrug*

    That said, I finally tapped out on this game towards the end of the fourth area. Finally decided that while so many things were on the edge of being interesting or fun or novel--the story, the combat, the characters--it was never going to get there. If the story had been slightly better, I could have tolerated the characters and combat, if the combat had been slightly better, I could have tolerated the characters and story, etc. The best Tales games are better than the sum of their parts and this one, as far as I can tell, was worse.

    So while I genuinely don't think it's a bad game--there are aspects of combat in particular I would argue are objectively bad, like combo breaking, but hey--it just didn't do anything for me as a Tales game. It felt like so many generic PS2 JRPGs with a shinier coat of paint, and the best Tales games always had a little something extra I never found in this one. Oh well. I may also have just slowly drifted away from the series over the years, since it's now been three in a row that did nothing for me.

    Also:

    You probably know by now but there is no Grade shop and absolutely no incentive for subsequent playthroughs lol.


    I did not in fact know this and am very happy I didn't continue. Good Scott, when's the last Tales game without that?

  9. #809

    Default Re: Tales of Series

    Yeah the opinion difference with Xillia is interesting heh. Anyway, I got the plat a few hours after my post, so Iíve had a few days to digest it and itís a really weird feelingÖ like a weird emptiness lol. Usually I have one of a few reactions. One is addiction; I loved the game so much that after doing everything Iím still itching to play and stay in the game world even though I have nothing left to do. Plain satisfaction is another, where I feel very fulfilled for the experience and Iíll probably keep thinking about it and discussing it for a while. If I didnít like a game but still went through with completion for whatever reason, itís more like relief. ďThank god thatís over; now I can move on to other games.Ē Maybe Iíll still discuss it for a while for how bad it was but not for long. But Arise just leaves me with this dull indifference of ďwell, that happened I guess. Kind of a waste of time maybe, I dunno.Ē Like I just canít muster a strong enough feeling overall in any sense.

    The overall sentiment is probably just disappointment at how the game could have easily been great if they hadnít sabotaged a few key aspects. Oh well.

    Oh tater since you didnít finish, some spoilers to maybe make you facepalm:

    Spoiler:
    Shionneís tsundere loner schtick lasts the whole damn game. Probably on four separate occasions they address it directly and she ďchangesĒ but the regression is real. You think itís FINALLY over after she gets kidnapped and gets mad that they came to save her and they go through a whole deal about how much everyone cares. But nope! Later she goes and tries to ditch the whole party to go essentially commit suicide to destroy the thorns, because now she cares too much and canít bear to face them. Then at the very end after hoooours of forced exposition about how theyíre gonna save everyone including Shionne, she still tries to ask Alphen to kill her lol. And the only reason they can asspull an alternative is because they use a literal DBZ spirit bomb to use the planetís energy.

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