sagesoren: (D:<)
[personal profile] sagesoren
I finally started seriously playing Tales of Graces f this week! It actually got here on release day (I was surprised, too), but I was a little over-engrossed with Avatar at the time, so I didn't do too much in-game. Now that I'm done Avatar, though, I've been playing regularly.

I think they really did a good thing by trying to mix up the battle system a little. Each character plays distinctly differently and has different nuances to their play style, the world map is a decided improvement (though approximately on par with Vesperia's, regardless).

However, I think Tales Of needs to reconsider its story-writing strategy.
I'm seeing evolution in their gameplay in pretty much all areas, which is great because they're changing it and making it new without taking away from what makes it feel like a Tales game, but the plots are getting weaker and weaker with time.

I mean, that's not to say there have been no steps forward since, say, Symphonia; obviously the complexity of game storytelling and the quality of localization have increased since then. The problem is that they're using the same ideas over and over again, and it's getting to the point that it's too predictable to be compelling.

I don't know if it's that they're using the same writer or what--maybe they get different ones and ask for plots of a similar nature every time, but at this point, it's starting to feel really convoluted. I'm about 15 hours into the same, and I've predicted every major plot point hours before it happened. Nothing surprising is happening except that they expect me to not see any of this stuff coming. It's all par for the course.

Even Vesperia, which I consider to be the most well-rounded of the Tales titles, tripped itself into many of the typical Tales story cliches, and I think Graces does it to a much greater extent. I mean, the foreshadowing in Graces is like a punch in the face. Someone says something really unsubtle, and you know exactly what's coming for the next five hours of gameplay.

It's a little frustrating.

I like Tales games. I like their replayability, I like how colorful they are, I like how they're not overly serious (most of the time, anyway), and I like how they play. The stories just really need work. They can keep their standard character set. Honestly, I don't mind, and RPGs have been doing that since forever. It's just... there has to be a newer, fresher way to use these characters. Give them more humanity. Make some of their problems a little more real and understandable. I realize that it's a game, and it's a pretend world, so at least some of their problems are pretend problems, so to speak. That's not bad or wrong. I just don't think that can be the whole deal anymore.

Everyone hiding info from everyone else shouldn't be the driving plotline in any game ever, because honestly, I've seen it too many times and it's sort of terrible. (I love Abyss and it's one of the biggest offenders.)

Wow, I organize my thoughts really poorly.

Before I stop, I just want to add that Graces is by no means a bad game. The core of any game is, well, gameplay, and it does that really well. There's a lot to collect and find and make, and the fighting is fun. If you've never played a Tales game, you're not as likely to see everything coming from 50 miles away--maybe just 40 instead. ;)

But it's solid, and the PS3 needs more JRPGs, even if they're a little predictable.

April 2013

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