To me, certain types of video games are all about the story, the characters and how we react to them. With that being said, the reaction can be something good, bad, or in the middle. In this case my reaction was both good and bad as Cheria Barnes from Tales of Graces F is a character that I have a love/hate relationship with for many reasons. I have recently realized that while I enjoy the more flamboyant and energetic characters (think Pascal or even Riku from FFX) I actually sympathize and understand the shyer, demure characters like Cheria a bit more. My best guess to this would be that since I do have a shy side I can relate to these types of characters and see the strength in them even when they are unsure of their own strength.
When the Lhant crew were all younger Cheria had some sort of disorder that afflicted her causing her to become exhausted if she over exerted herself. While she tried to take care of herself she also wanted to overcome this problem and be able to be useful to Asbel Lhant as well as the people of Lhant. With this we can already see that Cheria is very strong willed and wants to overcome her obstacle the best way she knows how.
She was raised by her grandfather, the head butler to the Lhant estate, as her parents died when she was really young. Possibly as a result of this, a need to fulfill something she was lacking, Cheria is often the mother figure of the group, trying to take care of everyone physically and emotionally. She tries to help Sophie understand the way of the world all the while reminding them all to eat healthy, in addition to keeping them fully healed up in the wake of any danger.
This is something that can be quite draining and really not an activity that someone with her affliction should be taking on as their responsibility. The mere fact that she does this goes a long way in my eyes of showing what type of person she truly is. Someone who puts the needs of those she cares about above her own and who will step up and go the extra mile when needed. We could all use a bit more of that aspect of hers to reside within us. What a wonderful place the world would be if we could all feel this even a little bit more than we do.
Her character is very much in love with Asbel though she cannot quite bring herself to say it out loud, and don’t even get me started on how clueless that dude is about it all! She stands beside him through everything going on when they are younger, and then again years later, even with such a long absence in between then and when she is reunited with him. She finds almost no problem with going right back into that same role. She once again becomes his companion and sets out so help in any way she can. I am not sure how most of us would react to suddenly being back in the life of someone we had such deep feelings for who basically bailed on us for 7 years. Cheria though took it for the most part in stride and was able to forgive Asbel and focus on what was going on in the here-and-now rather than dwelling on the childish actions of a person who had more than ample reasons to run off.
As Tales of Graces F continues on after the introduction, we see her strength coming out more and more. When last we left her, her love had run off, Sophie was dead, Hubert was adopted by another family and overall things were not looking too bright for her. Having been mysteriously healed from the ailment that had her so weak as a child, Cheria has taken advantage of the situation, taken charge of healing the villagers, and overall did a fine job turning into a beautiful vibrant young woman.
She heals her fellow village people in their time of need, all the while helping out where she can to eliminate the monsters that are enraged and attacking anyone and everyone. She’s also trying to figure out who or what is behind all of the craziness going on in her world. Later on, she helps protect Sophie in many ways and helps her adjust to everything that she is dealing with. Cheria is a character who people either love or hate but I chose to see the positive side of her and give her credit where it is due.
Cheria also has a side to her that gives us the hate part of my love/hate feelings of her. She tends to question everything she does and wonders why Asbel can’t quite see her the same way she sees him. It’s completely lost on her that all of her inner thinking, worrying and wondering has done her no good, and in short, she needs to put her big girl panties on and speak up and say something. I can relate to her on this even if it is a part of my personality that I do not like. Thinking and feeling everything so deeply can be a great experience or a horribly painful one if you forget in the meantime to show and tell people how you feel. While she on occasion does a decent job of showing people how she feels, you have to look deeply into her actions to truly understand and most people need to hear the words as well as see the proof in one’s actions.
Overall she is a pretty solid character who I can easily identify with. I enjoyed the cutscenes that included her and I had fun seeing her transform from the child she once was into the woman she could be. Having not completed the extra part of the game I do not know exactly where Cheria will go or how things will end up for her. I am hoping for the best outcome possible but honestly just thinking of her happy in whatever becomes of her is good enough for me.
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