Wow, this game is really bad.
Pierson, are you reading this? I’m playing this game because I remember you singing praises to it. Just so you know, if I ever get to England, I’ll track you down and kill you. In the meantime, if you ever replay the game, take a look at your walkthrough because you mixed up-down and left-right a good number of times.
To be frank, I haven’t finished the game yet. In fact, I’m only past Gnome’s cave in Celestia. I’m only writing this at this point, violating my own rule of not commenting on stuff I haven’t finished, because my endurance for mindless shit has reached boiling point.
First of all, the pace. Think of other Tales games. Remember the time you take in each one to introduce the cast and develop them a bit before you’re thrown in the main quest? There’s three pseudo-dungeons in Phantasia before you’re sent to the past. There’s quite a few hours of gameplay in Destiny before you’re sent to get the Eye of Atamoni, and even that isn’t the main quest. There’s a giant stretch of story in Abyss before you even know about the main crisis. That’s great. That’s exactly what draws me in to the Tales games: There is a world beyond the main quest, people are alive and there’s stuff going on.
In this one? “Oh hey Fara-BOOM! Random alien chick! Random enemy! You’re Banished! Oh hey Keel-OH SHITTHEWORLDWILLEND! Gather the Craymells!”. Wonderful. This whole thing takes a grand total of half an hour if you’re not too slow. I think “WARRIORS! Revive the power of the ORBS!” was better paced than this.
It doesn’t help that the plot after that is nothing to speak of either.
Speaking of the characters… well…
Reid. I like characters that step out of the norm, therefore, the possibility of a not entirely magnanimous down-to-earth random guy was appealing. A sort of Ryudo-esque kind of person, only without the venom. Except Reid isn’t that. Reid is a pussy who eventually ends doing the same things every other holier-than thou main character ever does for no other reason than he has no backbone to stand up to Farah and because he’s got the Samaritan thing in him as well. So he’s the same as every other random Cless Alvein copy-paste, except he whines too. Yeah, that’s totally a formula for success.
Farah. I know that I should expect some tragic explanation for her endless generosity and kindness, or so Ras made me believe. I don’t give crap, I’ve been dragged for over ten hours by this chick who has no reason whatsoever to do any of what she does and whose only response to any question or dilemma so far has been a vague and meaningless “No Problem!”. At least let slip something about her (I imagine) tragic past or whatever. Farah’s entire personality is summed up in that “no problem”. She has nothing going other than that.
Meredy. Remember Peppita from SO3 or Chelsea from Tales of Destiny. They are much like Meredy right? You know in what they aren’t like her? They were background tertiary characters that you could go the entire game without seeing more than twice. Because THAT’s how you manage these characters. Unless you can make them endearing for some reason (See Anise), you don’t want the squeaky cutesy little girl with no other character trait shoved on your face all the time. Certainly not making her a central character to the plot. “Help Meredy, save world, collect Craymels, go Celestia, me Tarzan you Jane, etc”. I really can’t remember her saying anything that wasn’t like that for the entire time I’ve played.
Keele. Congratulations, Keele’s not entirely worthless. Sure, he’s an arrogant nerd, but at least he’s got a bit of character. However, you can only do the “lol, Keele’s weak”, or “lol, Keele’s a bigot” joke so many times before you beat it to the ground. I guess he’s not so bad, it’s understandable that his own character seems so repetitive, since he’s the only one in the group with a glimmer of personality.
And the world itself? Of for the love of… There’s a grand total of five cities in Inferia, without counting the tree village that had one house, two shops and three random people that apparently sleep in the open or shack up with the old guy. Also, WE ALL LOVES OUR KING is the stupidest world setting ever. I guess it makes sense when there’s only five towns in the whole globe, but c’mon. Celestia seems a bit more interesting, but at the same time, I’ve seen little more than ruins so far. Even Destiny had three distinguishably different countries and several more different towns with people in them, and it was fun to just listen to them. Here everyone is a complete blank.
And Goddamnit, the battle system. I usually love fighting in Tales games. I get used to a couple of combo moves, get used to enemy patterns and destroy shit. Here, any semblance of technique is useless. You either bash buttons like a moron wasting all your TP or you get wasted. It doesn’t help that even the tiniest hit has the power to throw me across the screen, making even menial battles a timesink. Or I could chain endless combos with Farah making the whole thing cheap as fuck.
By the way, great idea on having me grind both thrust and slash. Except slash is infinitely more useful and, given the weapons I find, powerful, so in the end I have to spend thirty battles grinding Thrust every couple of hours in order to get the new shiny techniques, which then I have to grind even more to get better techs.
Oh and great job too in making damage numbers not only big enough to hide a lot of the most annoying and infuriating enemies, but also completely impossible to distinguish between friendly and enemy damage.
Oh and the dungeons. GOOD LORD MAN. Not even Destiny had them as bad as these. At least there the encounter rate was frozen in the puzzle rooms, here you wander back and forth endlessly fighting HORDES of enemies while figuring out what to do. And is it me or are they getting even more boring as the game progresses? Gnome’s cave was monotonous as shit, and right now I’m stuck playing the endless duck and spring dungeon over and over and over.
So that’s it. Fuck.