Entries in xbox360 (5)
Hey, everyone! Welcome back to the third part of this 3-year special! Now then, since I got my “hello” out of the way, let’s talk about the Tales games from Namco. If you are blinded with confusion about this series and saying to yourself, “what is this Tales series?” Well, you are not alone, and no, I was not insulting your intelligence. I’m serious, since, um…let me explain. The Tale franchise is apparently a huge fan-followed-action RPG franchise from Namco that has been going on since the first game appeared on the Super Famicom. It officially started to come here when the PS1 came to be, and FF7 made RPG’s a huge moneymaker here in the states. Namco caught wind of this and decided to start releasing the Tale games over here to take the big boys like Final Fantasy down a couple of pegs. This plan failed, but we did get some of the games over the years. The first game we got in the series was Tales of Destiny, the first game to be released over here in 1998 with good reception. They then released Tales of Eternia over here under the title, Tales of Destiny 2 with generally positive reviews, despite some complaints about the graphical presentation and sound work, but well received nonetheless. Sadly, after that, they basically have been releasing some of them over here, but not all of them. I think this is due to a good chunk of gamers really liking this series, but not a big enough chunk of customers to port over the entire franchise in the U.S. For example, we got left out of the ACTUAL Tales of Destiny 2’s release on the PS2. We got Tales of Symphonia for the Gamecube with it ending up as one of the console’s best and ONLY RPG’s with a cult following. Namco left us in the dark about Tales of Rebirth for the PS2, but gave us Tales of Legendia for the PS2. Namco also gave us Tales of Abyss, and are going to give us Tales of Grace for the PS3. I am going to review the most recent of the Tales game to come over here in the states known as Tales of Vesperia for the Xbox360. In my opinion, this could be the best Xbox360 game. This is debatable, due to people saying that Gears of War or Halo is the best game on the console, but this is my review, and I am going to say that Tales of Vesperia is the best game on the console, and I could highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great RPG for the console. Let’s dive our way into no man’s land and get onto part 3 of this 3-year Anniversary Special.
The story takes place in the planet of Terca Lumireis, where people live inside kingdoms and towns protected by barriers so that monsters don’t kill them. The story then takes us to the kingdom of Zaphias. Our main hero, Yuri Lowell, voiced by Troy Baker, is an ex knight who is kind of like a Robin Hood or V-like character, who watches over the little people of the lower areas of the kingdom and makes sure the royal knights don’t harass them. One day, there is some commotion when a magical item called an Aque Blastia is taken from the lower quarter’s fountain area and causes water to overflow. Yuri sees that the knights don’t really care, and decides to find out what has happened to the Aque Blastia and find who stole it. After letting the thief who stole the blastia run away, Yuri is accused of breaking into the mansion and thrown in jail. After the help of another captured hero named Raven, voiced by Joe J. Thomas, Yuri escapes the castle and takes along with him the princess of the castle named Estellise Sidos Heurassein, or for short, Estelle, voiced by Danielle Judovits. Yuri decides to leave the kingdom with Estelle and his dog partner Repede to find a friend of his named Flynn Scifo, voiced by Sam Riegel, to find out what is going on. The story is great, with some very well-developed characters that might be anime stereotypes in some ways, but they are fleshed out in such a way that you could care less about that. The story itself might be not the most original, but it’s a deep and multi-layered story with some interesting outcomes from both sides of the guilds and the royal knights. Later in the game you will even question some of the character’s later judgment and decisions. Besides Yuri, you will meet the human acting dog partner Repede, Estelle a shu- in princess with no knowledge how the outside world works, Karol Capel a young monster fighting guild member, Rita Morido a very stern and serious female spell caster, Raven, a laid back and smart-alecky veteran archer, and Judith an elf-looking spear-wielding woman with a mysterious other persona. In the PS3 version, which is only in Japan, you could also play with Flynn, a very stern and serious knight, and Patty Fleur, a mature-acting young pirate girl.
The gameplay featured in Tales of Vesperia is of an action RPG. The battle system used here is an upgraded version of the battle system from Tales of Abyss, called the “Evolved Flex-Range Linear Motion Battle System”. This is where you fight on a 2D plain, but you can also hold one of the trigger buttons to move around a 3-dimensional plain to dodge enemy attacks and flank them from another side. You can also block attacks and pull off combo attacks. Each character also has his or her own set of special moves they can pull off to do things from super attacks, healing others, strengthening others, and other abilities that your characters can pull off during battle. You yourself can only equip 4 special moves at a time, but you can equip them anytime outside or inside battle. Sometimes, the special moves will have to be used to solve a puzzle from time to time within a boss fight. Monsters are all visible on the overworld and dungeon map so you can pick and choose your fights, but like I said in Grandia and Lunar: Silver Star Story, you will need to grind a bit to make yourself strong enough with the huge amounts of boss fights that are in the game. Sometimes, you can surprise the enemies and get a lead in the fight, but that can work against you also. When enemies catch you by surprise, it will cause your team to be mixed up, and you will usually have characters swapped with other characters that are not cut out for those specific enemies. While the super moves are nice, you can also pull off Over-Limit mode, where your attacks are stronger, and you can pull off an even stronger move while in this mode. There are even elements of quick-time events, where you can pull off a quick attack that will usually end up killing the weaker enemies and cause major damage to bosses. There is a lot of strategy, and even though button mashing will help in some areas, you will need to be more strategic in some fights or else you will get wailed on. There are other RPG elements, like an alchemy system, healing items, buying better equipment, but I think one of the best features is the leveling-up system. You level up normally, but the best part is that your unused party members aren’t left out of the leveling up since they level up and learn skills and new moves along with your used party members. Oh yeah, there is offline multiplayer where your friends can take charge of the characters that aren’t being used by you. It’s an overall complex action RPG that is easy to grasp for any gamer old and new to get into.
The graphics, while not pushing the limit of the 360, look amazing. The cel-shaded anime look is taken full advantage of here, but it looks glorious. What I am trying to say is that everything is colorful, detailed, and it’s an overall beautiful package. The character designs are great, with anime and manga artist, Kosuke Fujishima who is known for his work on You’re Under Arrest!, Oh My Goddess!, Sakura Wars (1997-2005), and some of the other major Tales series like Abyss, Symphonia, and the recently released Xillia. His artwork is amazing, and it’s really well-animated, with each character having a bunch of personality to their movements. The game also uses in-game, CG, and anime cutscenes to tell its story, and they all look great, especially the anime opening the game with the song, Ring a Bell by BONNIE PINK. It all works well. The voice acting is great, with voice actors like Troy Baker, Danielle Judovits, Julie Ann Taylor, Michelle Ruff, Joe J. Thomas, Megan Hollingshead, Sam Riegel, and other great voice actors make up the cast of the game. The funny thing is half of these people aren’t that famous, and I think they do a great job. I know there isn’t a Japanese track to this game, but I don’t think it’s needed. The music is wonderful with the composer being Motoi Sakuraba. He is mostly known for his work in Star Ocean: The Second Story, Beyond the Beyond, Shining Force 3, Valkyrie Profile, and is the main composer for the Tales games. There are a lot of great tracks featured in the game, and it’s definitely worth looking for the special edition of this game just to get the soundtrack. He has also worked on the Mario sports games, the other Star Ocean games, and the Golden Sun series. I know I already talked about how great the characters are, but I’ve got to talk about Yuri as an example. At first, he might come off as the “rebel leader”, but later in the game he will kill off two main villains without the others knowing. I won’t say whom, but their deaths are gruesome and he won’t even tell everyone that he did it. He is also very calm-minded, but he makes sure to put the team’s priorities first hand unless he needs to take things in his own hands. I could easily stretch this into a 30-page review and take up half of the review talking about the characters, but they are all just amazing and I don’t feel like making this a 30-page review.
Even though this is just a wonderful game there are a few minor flaws. Switching from the 2D plain to a 3D plain feels a tiny bit clunky. I also don’t like how Namco is selling level upgrades on the Xboxlive market place. I really didn’t need any of them since grinding is cut like a fine steak to where you don’t really need to buy the level upgrades. My final complaint is a common one amongst RPG’s and its unbalanced boss fights. Seriously, there are everywhere in RPG’s! Last Remnant has them, Final Fantasy has them, and of course the older Dragon Quest games have them. It’s annoying when you are feeling good and then you have to fight off a giant beast that is overly powerful. It isn’t as bad here, but it has happened a couple times, but mostly in the early part of the game.
This is a GREAT RPG for the 360. I dare say it’s even the best RPG on the system. I could recommend this to anyone more so than Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey. This game is a bit pricey still and 40 bucks is the cheapest I have seen. You could also get it for about 20 bucks off the Games on Demand series for 20 dollars. The collector’s edition is about 10 bucks more, but it is totally worth it. It’s one of my favorite games and is my favorite out of the Tales series. I say go find it. It is totally worth more than other games like Infinite Undiscovery and the recent Star Ocean game. This has been part 3 so let’s get moving to an adventure that you will never forget. Next time we will jump into the grand adventure known as Dragon Quest 8: Journey of the Cursed King.
This game gets a solid 9 out of 10
Welcome, everyone, to the multi-part RPG 3-Year Special. Since a lot of people liked how many RPG’s I did leading up to the 200th review of Lunar: Silver Star Story, I decided to do some more RPG’s since it’s slowly becoming my favorite genre of games. I have played about 20 or so RPG’s and reviewed about as many on my blog. I decided to review a modern day Japanese-style RPG that did surprisingly well over here in the states, and sold a total of 348,000 copies in America. The more amazing thing is that it is on the 360. Even though there are some pretty solid RPG’s on the 360, like Blue Dragon, the amazing Tales of Vesperia, and again depending on who you ask, The Last Remnant, the console is more known for its group of male-centric bullet-riddled shooter games like Halo and Gears of War, to name the two big dogs. This game is made by the famous Mistwalker’s Studios, founded by Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi. This game is known as Lost Odyssey. While some people could complain that it’s stuck in old world style of RPG’s with turn-based combat, random encounters, and a somewhat generic story, but I think it’s one of the best games on the 360 if you’re not interested in the shooters on the console. Let’s dive into the mysterious world of Lost Odyssey.
The story is focused around a man named Kaim Argonar, voiced by famed voice actor Keith Ferguson. A pretty awesome warrior in the opening cut scene suffers from two things. The first thing he suffers from is amnesia, where he sometimes gets random memory flashes of his past that he can’t fully remember. The second thing he has going for him is that he is immortal. He has lived for about 1000 years in the world where a Magic Industrial Revolution is taking place. Due to these random memory flashes, Kaim decides to partake on a journey to understand what is going on with him and to undertake a task of finding out the true intentions of a structure called Grand Staff. Along the way, Kaim is joined up with many heroes. He is joined on his journey by Seth Balmore, another Immortal who was once a famous pirate, Jansen Friedh, a womanizing and powerful mage, Sarah Sisulart Kaim’s immortal wife, Ming Numura, another fellow Immortal who is nicknamed the 1000 year-old queen, Cooke and Mack, two young spellcasters, Tolten, the heir to the country of Uhra, and Sed, Seth’s son and famous pirate captain. The story might seem clichéd in some areas, but it’s a really entertaining tale if you like stories that moves at a slow pace. The characters are great, even if some of their characteristics might be, once again, a bit clichéd, but they are entertaining characters and you feel for them in some pretty dark moments in the game. It’s an overall entertaining story, but I can see why some people don’t care for it. You kind of have to change your mindset for this kind of game, and when you do, it’s really good.
The gameplay is about as old-fashioned as Japanese style RPG’s go. It’s turn-based and there are random encounters. The turn-based mechanics are improved though, so it isn’t as tedious as some people make it out to be. One of the mechanics used is the wall mechanic, where you place the characters in one row in the front and one row in the back. This makes the characters in the front row take more damage, but have a higher attack power, while the characters in the back have more defense, but weaker attack. Boss fights and some tougher fights will end depending on whom you have in the front and back row, like have the magic users in the back and have the melee users up front. The next mechanic is the ring mechanic, so when you attack, you can hold and release the right trigger button at the right moment to add an extra effect to that character’s melee attack. Another mechanic used is a somewhat buddy system, where immortals like Kaim who can’t learn magic and special abilities, can be learned by a mortal character like Jansen or Tolten. The other turn-based mechanics are the typical ‘choose your attack’ and wait for your enemies’ turn to end. On the other hand, enemies also use the wall system, so battles are more strategic due to you having to be wise about what enemy is better to kill first instead of just wailing away on everyone with no strategy at all. A good example of this is the first boss fight with this giant bird-like creature when you have Kaim, Seth, and Jansen. It’s smart to have Seth and Jansen in the back while Kaim is in the front, due to Seth acting as a healer and also an offensive character. You can also have up to 5 characters on the field, so the strategy grows more complex depending on whom you have up front and in back. There are some small side quests and mini-games, but even without those, you will get about 30 to 40 hours out of this game if you include the DLC for the game.
The graphics and look of the game are beautiful with the use of the Unreal 3 engine, even though some of the hair in the game doesn’t look as good as it should. The whole steam punk world has a misty hue to add some realism to the look of the game. The music is fantastic with famous composer, Nobuo Uematsu being the guy behind the soundtrack. It’s filled with some great Irish folk sounding music and of course epic scores and rock music to round out the package. The voice acting is great in Japanese and in English. They went all out with the English voice acting and got some really talented voice actors. The list includes Keith Ferguson, Tara Strong, Kim Mai Guest, Salli Saffioti, Michael McGaharn, Kath Soucie, Mika Futterman, Chad Brannon, Jesse Corti, and Michael Bell. The entire cast does a good job even if you don’t care for some of the characters, which can be understandable.
Even though this is a great turn-based RPG, there are some minor flaws. Even though I like how it does use random battles, I think they could have easily done the Blue Dragon or Last Remnant route and have enemies visible, since its 2011 and Lost Odyssey still runs on a random encounter system that does make some RPG’s annoying. I also don’t like some of the mini-games, like the stealth section that happens early in the game that is just tedious since you go all the way back to the beginning of that min-game if you get caught. That’s really all I have against this game. There are some minor things like some texture loading and long load times, but it’s not as bad as it sounds.
Overall, I love this game. It’s one of my favorite games on the 360 and I would highly recommend it for anyone looking for a great RPG on the 360. Lost Odyssey is cheap now, so it should be easy to find, and if you can find it, I would get it. This has been Part 1 of this 3 Year Special, and see you for Part 2.
This game gets a 9 out of 10