Just gunna say right off the bat... easily one of the most adorable endings to a tales of game.
Hell one of the most adorable endings of any JRPG i can think of.
Anyways, i'm only beaten the main game, i plan to try out some of the extras tomorrow but it's late for me when i'm writing this.
In my Xillia ramble i went on a huge tangent of why i think Xillia/symphonia/phantasia could all potentially be the same world.... i'm not going to do that here... but i am going to bring up Phantasia a lot... and i think i may spoil some things so just incase you don't wanna be spoiled for a game thats nearly 20 years old... the long and short of this ramble is I really enjoyed this game... some of the plot points are silly and sometimes the character are incredibly stupid but i still really really liked it.
how much did i like it?
if i had to rank it... it would easily be fighting for second place with Abyss and Vesperia.... Phantasia will always be number one...
But yeah way better then Symphonia and even better then Xillia in my opinion.
Anyways... quick synopsis, point form bit and finally a really long ramble no one will care about.
Responsibility is enough to frighten anyone. For a young Asbel Lhant it's just too much, after an incident with his friend Cheria, his brother Hubert, the prince of the land Richard, and a mysterious girl names Sophie he finds it all too much and runs off to become a knight worthy of protecting those he cares for.
upon returning home he learns that a lot can change in 7 years and some harsh realities need to be dealt with. Confusion runs rampant as he and his companions try to find their place and purpose in this world and they end up on a journey that will truly tend the bonds of friendship.
And i think thats about a vague as even i can manage.... well thats not true... i could have said "stuff happens and they go fight things" and that would be just as accurate.
The most jarring thing [and now that i'm used to it the thing i like the most] is the combat system... it is way different from any other Tales of game. I almost never block or evade in any game... this time i was doing it constantly while i waited for my meter that determines how much i get to attack filled up. at first i felt like it bogged down the system but it actually adds a complexity to a game that always felt like it was a bit of a button masher.
I still think it's incredibly stupid that Asbel will sheath his sword in the middle of combat but whatever... minor gripe.
The music is okay, nothing super special like Karma from Abyss but nothing that made me turn down the volume.
Acting is really good and the character skits are the best they have ever been... the half body images add so much more imotion then the squares in every other game.
The characters are so loveable, i grew attached to all of them extremely quick... seeing a few of them as children did help... just so cute.
However it can't all be good...
character are really stupid... like... just missing some obvious 'evil guy here' clues.
"gee i don't remember darkness spewing from him.... i'm sure it's nothing..."
"oh he can fly as he laughs like a madman? it's no biggie"
"oh he's doing something that may destroy the world... well i'm sure he has a reason"
"Hey female character, you sure seem to love that other character"
"hey i heard my name and the word love in a sentance, what are you guys talking about?"
"NOTHING" runs away like a Tsundere.
"hey i'm totally gunna say evil things right to your face but in a monotone voice so you trust me"
"oh no... curse you sudden and inevitable and totally not predictable betrayal!"
just to name a few.
Still, despite the stupidity i really liked it and i look forward to playing the mode that you get upon beating the game.
I will say this... and it's a bit of a spoiler...
The packaging has some characters with appearances that differ from the game... so when one character had a different outfit and another character had a different feature i was confused and waiting for that to be explained.... and it is.... but WAY further then i expected for something that is on the cover.
I know now that because this was a remake-ish thing for the Wii version the F actually stands for something and the artwork is reflective of that... btu stilll was very confused.
Character, story (despite the stupid moments), skits, combat and pacing.... pacing felt so much better then Xillia...
The not so good:
They are so stupid... if they just used their brains for two seconds this all could have been resolved early on.
Sometimes characters can have odd expressions that don't look completely right but it's such a minor grip.
Hearing BoA again was strange... i haven't heard anything from them since early aughts and yeah... the sound didn't change much... and the engrish lyrics do not help at all. if i had to pick which games had the worst intro songs this and phantasia would be fighting for number one (yes i love phantasia but that intro song [snes version] doesn't fit at all... the anime/ps1 version is a lot better though)
Okay.... can i ramble now? i'm gunna ramble.
So first, why no attempt to connect it to phantasia?
Easy... no connections... yes their are two worlds and a tree but that is really it. the summons are different, they don't use any type of stone/pendant thing to help them fight and there is no mention of things like the rings with different stones (opal, ruby, emerald, ect.) or a town that happens to be a lot like japan (though i think Xillia lacks that too)
still i like connecting games but not this time.
That all being said... Graces F is easily the closest story wise that it's been to phantasia in a long time.
SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ON.
In phantasia you play Cless (or Cress, whatever... same thing) who has his homtown destroyed as well as being sent out of his time all thanks to this one jerk names Dhaos...
only thats not what the story is about at all... Dhaos come from another planet which is dying because Yggdrasil isn't able to produce enough mana to sustain both worlds.... Dhaos comes to help the trea only to find out humans are doing stupid shit like using the mana for super powerful weapons... in his attempt to stop them he is sealed away.
When he is released he wants to make the people pay for having possibly destroyed his world but also their own.
Cless however is mad and even when Dhaos helps him and his companions put more mana into the tree he still can only see his revenge for those who were killed back in his own timeline.
The end of the game made me cry as you realize Dhaos is not the villain... you are, he was only ever trying to stop people from killing the world but his methods were wrong and now with this knowledge you have to try and make it right. even though it took a lot of death and destruction to make it to that point
In this game it's similar... again.... spoilers... last chance i mean it.
The antagonist isn't really evil... what they are doing is harmful yes but instead of going in guns blazing like Cless... Asbel does something only he can do and gets the best possible result for the situation... he isn't blinded by his own rage or hurt he just wants to do what he can to protect those he cares for... and destroying an innocent isn't part of that plan. It's a return to form for the series as it shows us not everything is black and white... and it shouldn't be.
So yeah, i really enjoyed this... it was fun with great characters and a great ending... again i'll probably play a little more tomorrow since it's too late for games right now... still if you have been curious about graces but unsure i say go for it...
I do have Xillia 2 to play but Smash should be arriving on monday so it may be a little while before i get to it.