52 Weeks of Gaming: Week 10 (3/5-3/10): A Look at the Tales Franchise

Have you ever played video game and can’t stop thinking about it weeks after beating it? For me, I am still obsessing over Tales of Vesperia even though I haven’t touched the game in a couple weeks. I couldn’t stop myself going online to read things about the game on Reddit and other gaming websites. At some point, I read threads that listed the games in the Tales series that people should play, which made me decide to buy Tales of the Abyss for the 3DS and Tales of Berseria for the PS4. This week, I spent a lot of time trying out games in the Tales series.

Tales of Symphonia: In my previous entries, I have mentioned that I did not have an enjoyable time trying to get into Symphonia. My biggest problem with the game when I first played it was the combat system. I couldn’t grasp the system and kept on getting game overs in the tutorial dungeon multiple times. Now that I finished Vesperia, I felt that it was time to give the game another shot. This time around, I was able to understand how to fight since it is very similar to Vesperia’s combat system. That’s when I figured out why I couldn’t grasp the system during my initial playthrough: the tutorial. In Vesperia, the tutorial occurred during battles, which allowed me to figure out the controls before being put into a real fight. That isn’t the case with Symphonia, where the tutorial explains the control outside of battle.

I have always enjoyed the environments and the characters of the game. Now that I understand how to play the game, I can see myself playing through the game in its entirety sometime in the future, but my GameCube controller broke down in the middle of my playthrough this week, so I can’t play on until I find another one.

Tales of the Abyss (Nintendo 3DS): In majority of player’s top games in the Tales franchise, Tales of the Abyss was ranked in the top 3 with Vesperia and Symphonia. When I first played Abyss, I forgot that games on the 3DS have a standard definition look to them (guess I am spoiled with the Switch). Even if it looked like a PlayStation 2 era game, it still looked and feel like a Tales game.

With the story and characters, I like Luke as the protagonist. He is an unlikeable kid who is ignorant and complains a lot, which is something you don’t see in protagonists in most stories. Considering he has been holed up in a mansion as long as he remembered and losing his childhood memories, I could understand that he is bored with his life and why he acts the way he does. I think that the development of Luke’s character in this story will be satisfying, just like Neku from The World Ends With You.

Since I recently played Vesperia, I was able to get used to the controls quickly and enjoyed battling. The only problem I had is that the skits are not voice acted. I know that Vesperia was a later entry in the series and that’s why it had voice acting, but the skits in Abyss felt weird at some points. The dialogue goes by slowly just like if it was being voice acted, and there was no way to manually advance it. When skits happen in areas with little to no music, it felt awkward to read through them. Just like Symphonia, I will eventually get back to this game and complete it.

Gravity Rush 2: After playing the demo and the first 3 hours of the game, Gravity Rush 2 looks like an all-around upgrade from the first game. Visually, the colors are more vivid, and the models pop out more than it did in the original. It looks like the game is going for an anime aesthetic, contrasting the comic book visual style the first game went for. I like the change in environment, with the game starting in a village and in some ruins. I’m not sure what happened in between games, since the cliffhanger that the last game left off at didn’t give the impression that Kat and Syd were going separated from everybody from Hekseville and end up in a different area.

Even though I thought the first game was near perfect, the small quality of life changes that were made in this game were appreciated. While performing gravity kicks and special moves, it was more clear which enemy you are locking on to or not. I also liked that the upgrading system seems more rewarding, by including different moves and increasing your combos. The tutorials of the game felt much longer than the first game, which made the first couple hours feel a bit boring. At this point of time, I feel like I might be a little burnt out playing Gravity Rush, so I probably will take a few weeks off from the game.

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