Developers: Namco Tales Studio
Publishers: Namco Bandai
As a child, particularly when it comes to those troublesome teenage years, you often find yourself looking forward, wishing you were a little older so that you could have more fun. But the formative years of one's life are important, even if they could be construed as lacking the opportunities afforded to the young adult generation.
It's an outlook that sits at the heart of Tales of Graces f, a Western release of (and considerable upgrade to) the Wii game that never quite made it out of Japan. You spend the best part of five hours toddling about with eleven year old Asbel Lhant and his childhood friends, disobeying parents with headstrong abandon, getting into scrapes and scraps, and trying to work around the limitations that have been set upon you as the young, childish heir to a provincial seat.
It's a ll a bit tedious at times, to be honest, but it's a hit that the Tales Studio take in order to further narrative immersion and impact later on in the story. You're constantly looking forward in those opening hours to a time when you'll be let off the leash (well, as much as you can be in a relatively linear JRPG), and if you can make it through Asbel - the childhood years, you're in for a treat later on.
Of course, many won't. It's nowhere near as frustratingly obtuse as FFXIII, and the combat system (we'll get to it) is far more engaging, but there are some towering cliches that will no doubt put of those who managed to make it through the cloying intro music video. There are classic character tropes such as the dethroned monarch, an idealistic hero and his underappreciated brother, a magical female powerhouse in the form of an amnesiac 14 year old, and a loud, kooky charming/irritating genki girl.Click here to read more...