Tales of Graces f begins with two young brothers, Asbel and Hubert, who find a mysterious girl while exploring a place called Lhant Hill. After some discussion with this girl, she has no recollection of who she is or where she is from. She cannot remember any other important details that would help identify her. With this information in mind, eleven year-old Asbel decides that it is too dangerous to leave her by herself and takes the mysterious girl back to his hometown to request the help of the townsfolk in identifying her. After no one in town is able to identify her or give him information that helps him identify who she might be, Asbel decides to take personal responsibility for her. Asbel names her Sophie based off of the Sopheria flowers that grow in the field they found her in. Asbel and Sophie, along with their other friends, begin an epic journey in the making.
Everything about the world and environment in Tales of Graces f screams “WOW!” The story, the characters, the world itself is exactly what a player expects from a RPG. The game’s ability to draw the player into this epic world was a bit slow, but if the player is willing to tough it out, the reward was well worth it. The flow of the story is well structured and fast-paced. A player will feel led by their nose through a large portion of it. Despite the story being fast paced, its transitions were smooth and the game kept your attention. The world itself is completely original. The characters are well-rounded, each with their own distinct personality that evolves into something completely likeable or detestable. The monsters of the game are unique. However, they give you the feeling that you have walked into a toddler’s nightmare. Hitting toys that squeaked and fighting what looked like rubber ducks just doesn’t seem to mesh well in a game that has serious elements in it.
The graphics in Tales of Graces f are an absolute compliment to the created world. The inhabitants (characters, monsters) are rendered with explicit detail. Despite the monsters that came straight out of a daycare-gone-wrong, the graphics of the world’s inhabitants are of great quality. These graphics are evident almost everywhere in the game: in conversation cut-scenes, anime-style scenes, through abilities in actual combat, and the overland environment. The environment does get a little bit repetitive. The over-world environment, even in different areas, shares a lot of the same landscape features.
The unique gameplay elements offered by Tales of Graces f take very little time to learn. There are several elements to be introduced. The “arte” system, which is the games skill system, allow you to customize your characters skills even to the point of deciding which combination of buttons activates a particular skill. The “titles” system gives your characters a label appropriate to their character as written by the developers, or how the player has been playing that specific character. For example, if you use the First Aid skill often, the “First Aid Adept” title will come up that strengthens the use of that skill. The final gameplay element that I will point out is the mixer. The mixer is a magic bottle that will create items that are useful as long as it is charged with Eleth, the game’s energy source. The items the mixer creates each have their own condition on how or when it will be created. Some items will be created simply by walking around, others when certain conditions are met in battle. These three quick-to-learn elements make Tales of Graces f a unique and fun game to play.
With a highly unique world, complimented with great graphics, Tales of Graces f sets the stage for a great game. Add in unique and easy-to-learn game mechanics with the ability to fully customize the way they work, and you have created an amazing RPG. Tales of Graces f will not disappoint any RPG fan, and with the anime-style cut scenes and graphics, it is bound to please anime fans as well.
Blending all of these elements together creates an entertaining RPG in which a player can enjoy the characters that evolve and the events that unfold. I give Tales of Graces f a 9.0