Nov 092015

Status: Completed Most Intriguing Idea: A Tales game where the hero isn’t a moron! Best Design Decision: Sorey’s palette of elemental attacks. Worst Design Decision: The water temple, which is just awful, continuing a proud tradition. Summary: Look. Zestiria is still a Tales game, all right? Its themes are not exactly deep, its villain has stolen his motivation and possibly his jacket from Final Fantasy X’s Seymour, and the game can barely keep its lore straight. Zestiria’s main break comes in the tactical qualities of combat. In almost every Tales game to date, it has been possible to win by [Read more…]

A World of Canyons

 Critique, Role Playing Games  Comments Off on A World of Canyons
Sep 052013

Playing Tales of Xillia made me think of Final Fantasy, which was probably not the intended effect. Of course, Xillia is unquestionably a Tales game. Its story leans heavily on the series’ core tropes – dual worlds, alienated (or alien) young women, uses of magic causing imbalances in nature – and its chaotic combat could never be confused with the more stately pace of the active time battle system. Several Tales hallmarks are downplayed, however – Xillia has possibly the simplest food system in the series, and the title and grade systems have been fused and shoved down into a submenu [Read more…]

Tales of Graces f

 Role Playing Games, Short Take  Comments Off on Tales of Graces f
Apr 162012

Status: Completed main quest, second quest… mehbe later Most Intriguing Idea: Essentially eliminating “mana” and cooldowns. Best Design Decision: The dodge/cc-regeneration mechanic. Worst Design Decision: Pretty much everything else. Summary: Thanks to Tales of Legendia, Tales of Graces f is not the worst game in the Tales series, but oh how close it came. That’s through no fault of the combat design; I found the battles to be exceptionally slick and with very few exceptions very enjoyable to play. By removing the separate “mana” gauge and linking all combat actions to a single, recharging counter, the battles gained a lot [Read more…]

May 182010
Who wants to be Lloyd Irving?

Having explained what I thought was wrong with Infinite Space, I feel obliged to talk about what it did right. In this context I’m going to discuss something lots of other games get wrong, from my point of view. Let me start with the proposition that games express values. That may seem trivial to anyone who has played through twenty or so JRPGs with the same neo-luddite earth-friendly themes, but I’m actually not talking about that kind of expression. Games also have intrinsic values that are communicated by the kinds of characters that are chosen as protagonists, the way that [Read more…]