Review by DaemonscharmII
"Not only the best Tales Games, but Best Gamecube Game as well."
Note: My rating scale is different then others. On my scale, 5 is average, 7 is very decent, 10 is perfect. For a game to get a 10 is not only rare, but it is also truly deserving.
On with the review!
RPG's were never a big hit on the Gamecube.You had a few really good ones such as Paper Mario and Baten Kaitos, but compared to other systems such as PSone and Ps2, it had nothing. Then this shining diamond came along. This is not only the best Gamecube game, but is IMO the best Tales game to date, granted I do love Abyss and Phantasia. Everything about it is amazing. the story, the plot twists, and the characters are simply awesome. The music isn't the best, but in a world where nothing is perfect, calling something perfect can even mean it has a flaw or 2.
This is an RPG that uses Real Time Battle, which is one of the funnest battle systems ever. You go to different dungeons doing different things that are required. Each dungeon has a puzzle for you to figure out, which is something I loved about this game. You have 9 characters to use throughout the gam, each with their own fighting style, abilities, and weapons. The magic system is based on TP, which is much like MP. You gain new skills by using certain skills a good number of times. You upgrade weapons by either buying them, finding them, or building them in a Sync shop. You can equip 2 accessories to each character which is a HUGE plus for this game because in other Tales games its a hassle to choose just one accessory. The battles are not random, you can see the enimies. You travel on a world map, so it's not a straight-forword RPG, but has a lot of exploration. It features a Synopsis journal type feature that tells you what you have accomplished in the game, and/or have to do next. I think hats pretty much it for the basic concept. There is also a New Game + feature, but I'll explain that later. You also get titles throughout the game based on what you do. These titles can give you stat boosts.
Gameplay in this game has about a 10 minute curve, in other words it's very simple. You basically press A in battle to attack, and X and/or Y to cast magical skills. You choose to use whomever you want to in battle, which is a nice little feature and offers replay. You can also choose who you want onscreen when walking around towns, and each character has their own special features. You run around on the world map where towns are visible and can choose your own destination. Each dungeon has puzzles, so you will be doing a lot of running around in those.
The story is what I love about this game. It seems like so much work was put into it, which is pretty hard to find in RPG's these days.
The world is loosing Mana, you and your friends go on a journey to find out what's causing this. You meet tons of new people along the way. This game is jam-packed with plot twists that keep you glued in or on the edge of your seat at all times. there is also so much character development, that its so unbelbievable. Its a game that actually features each and every character having a backstory, and ads a little piece to the puzzle. Its kinda hard to review the story without including any spoilers but I'm trying my best. Just play it and experience it for yourself, it truly is amazing. Its does have its cliche "Oh no we must rescue the main female protagonist a lot" feature, but it also has some very original elements that make it so entertaining and truly amazing. It may be a bit complicated at times, but you'll understand it.
It has a Synopsis feature that allows you to look back and see what you have done, and/or need to do which IMO is one of the best features about this game. It gives you an option to explore or go to your next destination. One of the few games that won't require you to come here on Gamefaqs and look up and FAQ :)
This game has also got one of the best cast in any RPG I've ever played. Each and every character is useful, and its always so hard choosing who to use. Luckily the people you are not using level up along with the people you are using. There are also battle where you have to use certain characters for storyline purposes. Lloyd, who is the main character, is a very strong and solid main character with a good personality and optimistic attitude. Collette, the main female protaginist, is one of Lloyd's best friends, and plays a HUGE key art in the story, but I won't spoil it for you. Genis is Lloyd's best friend, and is a magic user. Raine is Lloyd's teacher, and Genis' older sister. Kratos is Kratos.. You'll learn a lot bout him int he game. Other characters are Presea, Zelos, Sheena, and Regal. Each and every one adding their own story. Each one having their own personality. Each one hacing a different fighting style and abilitites. Its so hard choosing who to use every time :/
The music was really nothing short of miraculous. It did have a few amazing songs, such as the Human Ranch themes and the main one. I didn't really expect a lot coming from this area in the game, but for it was better than I expected if that is saying much. I wouldn't go out and buy the OST though.
You know, I tohughtIwould give battles its own section because it is that dang good. The battles in this game are RTB (real time battle) which mean you control one person and the AI controls the rest. You can set the AI to do whatever you want to though, based on strategy which is VERY useful. This a rare game whererandom battle aren't annoying, but you will actually go aroun looking for battles. Each battle is action packed and full of excitment. The boss battles keep you on the edge of your seat. Some battles to require certain strategy ecspecially the ones that have multiple enimies, but thats just another amazing feature. I'd have to say that this game's battle system is the funnest I've ever played.
It as a few challenges here and there thrown at you. Some of the puzzles may take a few hours to figure out. Some bosses may even kill you a few times, but this game isn't what I would consider hard. I'd say it's medium. It does have a few frustrations, but nothing that will make you stop playing. Every obstacle in this game can be overcome pretty easily, you just need a strategy for boss battles and patience with puzzles.
This game has some of the best replayability for an RPG ever. IT is one of the only RPG's that you will want to play more than twice. It may even require 2 times to get things in the story you missed. You can go through playing as a totally different character than Lloyd, which can be very fun at times. I usually play as Zelos, Sheena, and Presea. There are also many sidequest that may want to comeplete that you didn't the first time around. You may even use characters you didn't your first play through. And the new Game + features will make you want to play again:
The New Game + Features
After you complete the game you have the option of saving, and then continuing from the beggining. From each and every battle you get "grade" depending on how well you did, how long it took you, or how much c=damage was taken, etc. By the end of the game you will have a lot of grade that will let you choose certain features for your new game + such as HP boosts, 2X and even up to 10X the expericence points gained in battle, keep the skills you learned, etc. Its an amazing feature that can allow you to do so much more in the game.
This gme is the best RPG on Gamecube, nonetheless. but that is honestly not saying much. Thats like saying you're the best Ninja in Canada. But I will say that is the best Gamecube game. It is also my 2nd favorite game to ever be released, right behind the only other game I would ever give a 10/10, Chrono Cross. With one of the most amazing story's, the best cast of characters, okay music, the funnest battle system, and so many amazing features, this game gets the rare 10/10, and my recomendation to anyone owning a gamecube. If you don't own a Gamecube, buy one and get this game. Ecspecially if you have played previous Tales games. It's very cheap nowadays. The only letdown is the music but everything else makes up for it.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 06/20/07
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