REVIEW: Tales of Graces f

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

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Generally speaking, Tales of Graces f is a pleasing game to look at. It’s not going to blow you away with detail, but it always appears very crisp, and the character models are well designed. It does, however, seem apparent that the game was originally designed for Wii. Not in the textures or characters, but in the overall design of the world. There are a lot of invisible walls, and the overall map designs are very plain and remind me of how games were designed during the Playstation 2/Gamecube era. Not necessarily a bad thing, but the game’s world doesn’t exactly speak for itself very often, if you know what I mean.  I remember walking around Windor thinking, ‘where are all the people?’

The overall sound quality for Tales of Graces f is a bit of a mixed bag. There are some musical pieces that stand out and really compliment the game, but I found that there were a bit too many generic songs playing in the background that didn’t really lend to the atmosphere of the game. I generally come to expect more out of Motoi Sakuraba, one of the game’s composers, who has worked on many a JRPG soundtrack in his day, and has composed some of my favorite video game pieces.

The voicework also echoes some of the same feelings I have for the audio as a whole. At times, the voice acting is spot on and very enjoyable, especially with most of the main characters. Unfortunately, there are a couple of characters in the game that are grating to my ears. At first, I thought Pascal was a fun character, but her voice only became an annoyance later in the game. Also, her sister Forrier’s voice is the human equivalent of nails on a chalkboard.

In the beginning I spoke of some pretty glowing praises, but there are a couple of things that keep Tales of Graces f from being more than just a ‘good’ game. One of those downsides, besides the audio, is that the general storyline goes through some pretty dull moments. While it never got to the point that I wanted to quit, there were definitely some areas in the game that felt more like busywork, almost as if the developers were completing a sort of ‘JRPG checklist’ of what the usual tropes are.  That isn’t to say that Tales of Graces f is a boring game, because that is far from the truth.  There are definitely some great moments in the story, and the depth of the relationship of the characters kept me engaged until the end.  That being said, at times I found myself more interested in the optional ‘skits’ than the main story itself.

Despite a couple of minor complaints, there really isn’t much that Tales of Graces f actually does wrong. The game is literally packed to the brim with content, and I found the hundreds of skits that are littered throughout the game to be hilarious, and I would go as far to say that I consider them another high point next to the battle system. Even if the storyline isn’t as compelling as it could be, it’s worth going through the game to see the relationship of all the characters and how they interact with each other. This kind of comaraderie is something that not very many games pull off, or in fact try to pull off but fail.

Tales of Graces f is totally worth the full price tag if you’re a JRPG fan. It is one of the most complete designs I have seen for a game in a long time, and finding all the hilarious skits and titles kept me busy for a long time.  The battle system design is among the best of this generation and has the ability to really challenge you if you want it to.  For anyone who is  considering purchasing it on release in Europe, I definitely recommend it, especially if you want to see more Tales games like this in the future.

Review Score

Oprainfall’s Review System:

5 Stars- A Must Own Game. Games don’t get much better than this. We recommend you buy it if you can.
4 Stars- A Great Game. It’s not perfect, but it’s close. If you like the genre, you should like this game.
3 Stars- A Good Game. This game may have some flaws, but is enjoyable. Give it a try, you might like it.
2 Stars- A Poor Game. There is something off about this game. Fans of the series or genre might like it.
1 Star- A Bad Game. There are obvious flaws that keep the game from being enjoyable. We cannot recommend this game.

About Clinton Nix

Former Volunteer- Clinton started following the movement back when it was still being hosted on the IGN message boards and with the Amazon push of Monado. He’s also an audio engineer, studying in Seattle and waiting for his big break into the world of audio (but not to the detriment of video game writing, of course).

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