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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Tales of Phantasia X (テイルズオブファンタジア クロスエディション)

I've started just about every Tales game in the series but never got much further than the first few hours. I generally couldn't get into them because of the constant mashing of buttons that is required. I also made the mistake of playing on hard difficulty because as a gamer elite, I always play my games on hard. I eventually discovered that playing a tales game on hard just means more grind and even MORE button mashing. It's not like Metal Gear Solid where you can just get good at the boss fights and use something called um I dunno... skills?? It's a standard RPG where you need to equip the right equipment and be at an adequate level just with more mash. HULK MASH! ME MASH GOOD!

Even though I'm obviously not a huge fan of the mashing battle system, I found it didn't detract too much from the game. You can set special moves for each direction + x button and your TP recovers slightly after every battle. This, combined with the Holy Symbol, was a nice touch that saved you from having to heal yourself every few battles unlike pretty much every standard (FF/DQ) RPG up until you know... Squeenix went all crazy n shit. As you gain more abilities, I found myself queing them up in boss fights for the other characters cause the AI kinda sucks. For example: nurse, nurse, INDIGNATION, nurse, Maxwell, INDIGNATION, nurse, EXASPERATION, FRUSTRATION, nurse, DEPRESSION QUEST. The later Playstation versions updated the battle system so spells don't pause the game and it can get kind of frantic, waiting for that nurse to kick in while you and Mint are getting your asses kicked.

INDIGESTION! (sorry had beans for lunch)
I played on the PSP, the best system of all time, OBVIOUSLY. Not only does this version have voice acting for the main story, an improved battle system, and a whole new party member, but it also comes completely FREE with the sequel: Narikiri Dungeon X. HOLY SHIT BATMAN! You just have to get the day one edition and hope the DLC code hasn't expired... LOL just kidding, this came out back in the good ol' days instead of the diarrhea shit we deal with today.

OMG, there's so many versions of this game. This is PSP version I played #BAE
The skits, which are now a standard Tales feature, was a great idea. They add tons of additonal details into the characters in nice fully voiced short sequences that are nonintrusive. I just wish there was an icon or indicator that showed when a new skit was available so I didn't have to constantly press select to see if a new one popped up. And by the way, speaking of those skits, Chester is SUCH an asshole. Also, Arche #1 WAIFU no contest.

There are also tons of missable side quests that also trigger their own skits including a cute one where Mint teaches a girl piano. I referenced a guide from time to time in order to avoid missing the good ones.

Speaking of guides, while most of the dungeons are not that bad, there are few nasty puzzles especially in the Moria mines (ugh). For example, how the hell you supposed to know to leave Arche on a switch because she can fly up through a hole? JESUS! Besides some lame puzzles, and not one but THREE dungeons that require you to heal yourself every few seconds with environmental bullshit (not bathing in lava at least), the dungeons were pretty manageable and not too obnoxious.

Another interesting note to make about the gamplay is how terrible the items are managed. Rune Bottles are like your bread and butter. You can use them to save 50% on shop purchases, they identify unknown items, and you can turn shitty Apple and Orange Gumi into the good shit (AWWW YEAH). Yet, they are just another item in a huge list of shit. Yeah, you can sort but is having a category asking too much? Not to mention weird items that add options in your game settings or enable combo gameplay. Finally, you get titles for doing various whatever and as far as I can tell, they don't do JACK except for ONE title that lets you do a super move in a pinch by pressing □+△+○. Maybe they explain it all in the manual but my DLC code for it expired already.

You may want to skip to the end of the post if you are super spoiler sensitive.

As for the story, man, it starts off REAL heavy. GAWD DAMN! I first got interested in the plot a few hours into the game ironically when meeting the extra bonus character in the remake: Rondoline E. Effenberg. EFFENBERG LOOOOOOL

I guess she's in mobile gacha shit nowadays. EFFENBERG DAT SHIT!
Anyways, you meet her and she's like, oh, you don't know me yet? Hmm... the plot thickens. Unfortunately, as you later find out, the overall plot just makes no freaking sense and you can clearly tell Rondoline was kinda shoved in after the fact.

On the one hand, I'm kinda glad it wasn't a hollywood, "oh somehow we saved everybody kind of story" but still. Whoever wrote this story apparently never watched Back to the Future. That's all I'm saying on that matter.

I didn't think too much of the soundtrack but was later pleasantly surprised at the variety and some straight up gems in the OST.

Score: 3 well that story made no sense- OOH Arche #1 WAIFU!!! out of 5 (35 hours and apparently 1,146 encounters to beat)

While I'm biased against ARPGs in general, I still thought the mechanics of the game was fun to play. While the story was a mess, I just couldn't help but like the characters and their little skits. Sure, there's barely any character development but I'm a sucker for that nostalgic classic 90's anime voice acting. This was clearly apparent when I booted up the sequel  (on the same UMD remember, DEAL!!) and it had the standard moepocalypse VA. It's fine but it definitely lacks that 90's charm. If I wasn't playing the PSP #BAE full voice edition, I would give this game a meh 2.5. However, Arche and Suzu bring this game up to a solid average score of 3 even IF Suzu is pretty much useless in battle. She's 11 years old and yet not super annoying like moe child characters nowadays. And that's good enough for me.

If you're not a Jhipster, your best option is to probably go for the PSX fan translation since they shit canned the microtrans buttonless iOS crapfest. Or if you wanna go all official English retail, then pony up the moola for the inferior GBA version. Yeah, you're missing out on the best version but you should be used to that by now.

What? Just sayin'
Oh, and how can I forget to mention this cute little mini-game? That's like almost three games in one ISO- err, I mean UMD. DEAL!!!

3 for 1 deal just in time for black friday too!!

0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

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