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Tales of the World photo
Tales of the World

First look at Tales of the World: Reve Unitia on 3DS

SRPG targets October release in Japan
Jun 01
// Kyle MacGregor
Bandai Namco showcased the first trailer for Tales of the World: Reve Unitia this weekend at the Tales Festival in Yokohama, Japan. And now you can take a peek for yourself. Reve Unitia is a strategy role-playing game featuring an assortment of characters from the Tales franchise. It's coming to Nintendo 3DS in Japan on October 23. No word on any plans for a western release.
Tales of Zestiria trailer photo
Tales of Zestiria trailer

New Tales of Zestiria trailer looks and sounds lovely

Now in HD and even zestier than before!
May 01
// Kyle MacGregor
This past weekend, Bandai Namco gave us another look at Tales of Zestiria from the Niconico Chokaigi live event in Chiba, Japan. As exciting as the new footage was though, the video quality wasn't exactly the best....

Tales of Zestiria Amazon placeholder gets me all excited

And then bummed out
Apr 29
// Dale North
We know by now that when Amazon puts up a listing for a game early, it's probably just a placeholder. There's one up now for Tales of Zestiria -- yes, already! It's the English version, priced at $59.96 (price is also likely ...
Tales of Zestiria trailer photo
Tales of Zestiria trailer

Namco brings the drama in latest Tales of Zestiria trailer

Apr 26
// Kyle MacGregor
I'm drowning in Tales games. And I kind of love it. There are definitely worse ways to die. Tales of Xillia was amazing, and its sequel is right around the corner. The Symphonia games look lovely in HD. And Tales of Hearts R...

Tales of Xillia 2 coming west this August, collector's edition detailed

Apr 22 // Steven Hansen
Xillia 2 has an inverted structure from the first, set mostly in the less magical Olympios one year after the first game. It's centered around the badly dressed 20 year old Ludger Kresnik and the 8 year old Elle who, in a bit of reverse The Last of Us, saw her father gunned down in front of her. This is all reflective of what is meant to be a darker story focusing on player choice. The point of view is always Ludger's and throughout the story you'll be tasked with making binary choices (mapped to L1 and R1) that affect how certain scenes play out, Ludger's relationship with party characters, and the end of the game.  We were treated to a cutscene where Ludger's brother, Julius, who works for a spurious company, tries to kill you and you have to choose between forcefully stopping him or reasoning with him. The some weird stuff went down where Elle's amulet started glowing and drilled itself into Ludger's head and he got weird face tattoos and monster hands. What is it with anime and face tattoos? It also follows the gaming-wide conflation of grittiness and maturity. "We changed the atmosphere to be a bit darker compared to the previous Tales of Xillia. In [the first game], the target audience is teenagers, 15-18, but for Tales of Xillia 2 our target audience is those who are older than 20 years old so we wanted to make a bit more mature and darker atmosphere." Ludger's crazy transformation is eventually represented in Xillia 2's "Cross Dual Raid Linear Motion Battle System," as he can transform and wreck house in his powerful monster form. There's also a real-time weapon swap system allowing for Ludger to swap between dual blades, a sledgehammer and dual pistols. Linking to characters allows for support attacks -- linked artes -- which are dependent on character affinity, which can change based on choices made during cutscenes. It took Xillia two and half years to release in the west after its Japanese release. Xillia 2 has a 15 month difference. Next year's Tales of Zestiria should be ready three to six months after its Japanese release. Congratualtions, Tales fans. Namco realized you want to play its games and will be working harder to get them to you in a timely manner.
Tales of Xillia 2 preview photo
Embracing a binary choice system
We knew Tales of Xillia 2 would be coming to the Americas before the first Tales of Xillia came out, but now we have a date, along with a bulky collector's edition. You can get your hands on the PS3 RPG on August 19 in North ...

Tales of Heart R photo
Tales of Heart R

Hideo Baba confirms Tales of Hearts R for Western release

A tale of too many awesome Tales games
Apr 18
// Brittany Vincent
Ready for more Tales games to invade your backlog? Who isn't, right? Like a fabulous shooter once said, get psyched, because Tales series producer Hideo Baba has just confirmed that the PlayStation Vita Tales entry Tales of ...
Tales of the World photo
Tales of the World

Tales of the World: Reve Unitia announced for 3DS

In Japan
Apr 02
// Chris Carter
Are you a Tales fan? Well you're in luck, as a strategy-centric 3DS iteration has been announced, titled Tales of the World: Reve Unitia. The only real details we have so far is that it will include a number of popu...

Review: Tales of Symphonia Chronicles

Feb 21 // Chris Carter
Tales of Symphonia Chronicles (PS3)Developer: Namco Bandai GamesPublisher: Namco Bandai GamesReleased: February 25, 2014MSRP: $39.99 Symphonia is one of the most critically acclaimed games in the Tales franchise for a reason -- it's a damn good RPG. Here in the Chronicles package on the PS3, you'll get remastered visuals, dual audio, and a few minor content extras (like new Mystic Artes, costumes, attacks, and a few extra skits, so nothing major). This isn't just an upscale, as most assets were overhauled and there are some all-new illustrations in tow. It's not going to look as good as the recently released Tales of Xillia or most of the recent JRPGs currently on the market, but fans of the genre should be able to cope just fine. Symphonia offers up essentially everything you could want from an RPG experience, from a colorful cast, to an overworld you actually want to explore, to an engaging battle system. Lloyd Irving is also one of my personal favorite genre protagonists, and he's a general fan favorite for a reason: he is likable, fun to watch, and most of all -- he has flaws, and feels human. The narrative is very reminiscent of the "Crystal" Final Fantasy games (or most recently, Bravely Default), and just as charming. Lloyd and his party must assist Colette Brunel, a savior of sorts, in regenerating the world and unsealing its five temples. From there the story takes off with a series of twists and turns (and interesting player choices) I won't spoil here, but suffice to say it's worth the ride. Characters interact with each other by way of skits and numerous dialog sessions, and genuinely feel interconnected with one another, rather than an isolated collection of fighters. The battle system is in real time, and in Tales fashion, operates similarly to an action-JRPG hybrid. From a party of four, one member is controlled by the player, and the other by the game's AI component. Thankfully, you can set up parameters for said AI to act before combat, and they actually stick to the plan more often than not. It's all relatively simple but fun, and after dealing a certain amount of damage you can spring "Unison Attacks," which involve the entire party. Skills work by way of "EX Gems," which allow you to equip abilities similar to Final Fantasy VII's materia. Standard stuff, yes, but it all works. As good as this sounds just don't expect anything revolutionary from Symphonia. Most of your time is going to be spent in a typical RPG manner, watching the story unfold by way of cutscenes, or in dungeons fighting off monsters. Symphonia is a meaty game overall, with 40 hours worth of content at minimum, and around 100 if you do everything (and you probably will, since the game draws you in so well). The second piece of the Chronicles package, Dawn of the New World (released for the Wii in 2008) is a tad shorter, and sadly, not as essential. To be blunt, the majority of New World is forgettable. Lloyd and his companions take a backseat in favor of an updated cast, lead by newcomers Emil Castagnier and Marta Lualdi, and they aren't nearly as likable. It sets up an interesting premise in that Emil's parents are allegedly killed by Lloyd (who in turn had to face his mother's murder), but it doesn't really go anywhere from there. It also doesn't help that exploration is limited due to a lack of a real world map, and the game on the whole is easier. There are a few new mechanics, though -- the main draw is the ability to capture monsters -- but it isn't nearly as deep a system as the game thinks it is, mostly due to the fact that they feel utterly underpowered compared to the rest of your party. Capturing monsters is also a chore since you have to line up specific elemental Artes and abilities to even get them. The crux of the problem is that the new cast just isn't as interesting to watch (and the old cast that does return doesn't sound or feel the same), and as such, the story isn't as poignant. That's not to say it's bad, but when compared directly to its predecessor, it's tough to not want to go back and just beat Symphonia again. The good news is that if you love Symphonia and want more out of its world, New World sort of delivers on that promise. While only half of the package is truly worth the price of entry, the fact of the matter is Tales of Symphonia is required reading for JRPG fans. If you've been itching to get into another giant quest filled with twists, turns, and a top-notch battle system, this is your chance. For fans of the original, all of the components that made the tale so great the first time around are still here. Think of the sequel as a bonus for those of you who can't get enough.
Tales reviewed photo
Lloyd Irving returns at last
The Tales series often doesn't get the same recognition as big-name JRPGs like Final Fantasy, and that's a shame. It's a consistently quality franchise that has been delivering year after year, but one of the problems wi...

Tales photo

Tales of Asteria is like 'Tales Allstars' on mobile

I expect a divisive reaction
Feb 17
// Chris Carter
Guys, there's a new Tales game! But it's for Android and iOS! It's called Tales of Asteria, and apparently it'll be a "who's who" of the Tales series. Specifically, it'll include six heroes of old -- Lloyd Irv...
Namco Bandai photo
Namco Bandai

Tales of Phantasia goes free-to-play on iOS devices

Another classic role-playing game retrofitted with microtransactions
Jan 23
// Kyle MacGregor
Namco Bandai is doing its best Square Enix impression today, as the publisher has released a free-to-play version of beloved role-playing game Tales of Phantasia on iOS devices in North America. The classic title fi...
Tales of Zestiria photo
Tales of Zestiria

Namco unveils first look at Tales of Zestiria footage

Dec 22
// Kyle MacGregor
Namco Bandai has unveiled the debut trailer for Tales of Zestiria, and it has dragons. The role-playing game is currently in development for the PlayStation 3 and will ostensibly release in 2015 in commemoration of the serie...
Tales of Zestiria photo
Worldwide announcement!
Namco Bandai has announced that Tales of Zestiria, the latest Tales series game, will be coming to North and South America for the PS3. This is a worldwide announcement -- a first for the series. How nice! All we know so far ...

JRPGs photo

Namco Bandai begins teasing next Tales project

Prepare to foam at the mouth
Nov 27
// Kyle MacGregor
The next Tales game could be unveiled any minute now. Or maybe in a month or so. Who knows?! Anyway, a teaser site for the next entry in Namco Bandai's acclaimed role-playing game franchise has manifest on the Inter...
Namco Bandai photo
Namco Bandai

Namco doesn't have the staff to localize every Tales game

Dev team focusing on flagship releases like Tales of Xillia over portable entries
Oct 27
// Kyle MacGregor
Namco Bandai simply doesn't have the staff to bring every Tales game to Western markets. The publisher prioritizes "flagship titles" like Tales of Xillia when determining what to localize, series producer Hideo Baba told Sili...
Tales of Symphonia photo
Tales of Symphonia

Tales of Symphonia Chronicles heads west in February 2014

Collectors Edition coming to North America, Europe, Australasia
Oct 22
// Kyle MacGregor
Tales of Symphonia Chronicles has set a course to land in North America on February 25, 2014. The PlayStation 3-exclusive HD collection will arrive just a few days later in Europe and Australasia, launching on February 2...
FF, DQ, Tales collab photo
FF, DQ, Tales collab

Dream on: Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Tales crossover

Still your quivering loins
Oct 17
// Steven Hansen
What happens when Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, and Tales producers Yosuke Saito, Shinji Hashimoto, and Hideo Baba share space in Japanese monthly V Jump? JRPG nerds fangasm off into the sunset. A snippet of possible collabora...

Tales of Bibliotheca movie about as exciting as a library

Story collection app first trailer
Oct 16
// Dale North
I like the Tales series of RPGs, and I think that Namco Bandai's iOS story collection app (so far, Japan-only), Tales of Bibliotheca, is a nice idea. But this new trailer looks like such a drag at first -- fair warning. You ...
New Tales of Symphonia photo
New Tales of Symphonia

Tales of Symphonia getting a new Collector's Edition

In North America, even!
Oct 16
// Patrick Hancock
I've only played one Tales game, and it was Tales of Symphonia for the GameCube. It seemed to have just what I wanted, engaging combat and likeable characters in an appropriately insane JRPG plot. Though really, I d...
Tales of Xillia 2 photo
Tales of Xillia 2

Namco reveals tanzalizing new Tales of Xillia 2 trailer

So intense it hurts!
Oct 14
// Kyle MacGregor
A farm fresh Tales of Xillia 2 trailer emerged from the woodwork today. And it's nothing if not intense. The new video intertwines anime cinematics with in-game footage to set the stage for what looks to be yet another ...
Tales of Hearts iOS photo
Tales of Hearts iOS

Namco hates you: Tales of Hearts R is on iOS in Japan

Don't go breakin' my heart
Oct 10
// Steven Hansen
I don't want to break your Tales of Hearts, Tales fans, but I guess it builds character. Tales of Hearts was a DS game that never got localized. It's supposed to be quite good. Namco polished the game, added a new character, ...
Namco Bandai photo
Namco Bandai

Tales of Phantasia hits 150,000 downloads in five days

Free-to-play mobile re-release of classic RPG seems to be doing okay
Sep 30
// Kyle MacGregor
Tales of Phantasia has garnered a pretty sizable following since its debut on the Japanese App Store last week. In its first five days on the market, the classic role-playing game managed to generate upwards of 150,000 downlo...

New subtitled Tales of Symphonia Chronicles trailer

Hug it out
Sep 30
// Dale North
Here's a nice, long trailer for Tales of Symphonia Chronicles, the upcoming PS3 game, set to launch next year in both North America and Europe. It's in Japanese with subtitles, and contains a lot of hugging, yelling, and swo...
Tales of Xillia 2 photo
Tales of Xillia 2

Tales of Xillia 2 trailer flashes English voicework

'Everything rides upon this one choice'
Sep 19
// Kyle MacGregor
If it seems like Tales of Xillia just came out, well, it kind of did. The outstanding JRPG only launched a few short weeks ago, but that isn't stopping Namco Bandai from promoting the impending sequel. The publisher has star...

Review: Tales of Xillia

Sep 05 // Kyle MacGregor
Tales of Xillia (PlayStation 3)Developer: Namco Tales StudioPublisher: Namco BandaiReleased: August 6, 2013 (NA), August 9, 2013 (EU)MSRP: $59.99 Tales of Xillia tells a classic story following a motley band of heroes on a journey to save the world from disaster. The narrative centers around a powerful weapon that threatens both the environment and a tenuous peace between two nations on the verge of war. Naturally, it's your mission to destroy the device before things get too out of hand. The adventure begins with a chance encounter in an underground research facility. There, a divine guardian known as Milla Maxwell crosses paths with a young medical student by the name of Jude Mathis, both of whom are investigating matters of personal importance. Of course, things go awry. The unlikely pair stumbles upon more than they bargained for and their lives are irrevocably altered because of it. Setting out to stave off the looming calamity, players will be poised with a choice of which character to follow. While the duo's destinies are intertwined, their paths will diverge and reconvene at certain points throughout the story. Each arc features unique scenes and scenarios, which provide a nice incentive for players to revisit the thirty-plus-hour campaign a second time around. [embed]259798:50327:0[/embed] Beneath the title's timeworn premise and a fair number of anime and JRPG tropes is a winding plot that takes some unexpected turns. The narrative is garnered with thought-provoking themes and allusions to contemporary societal issues. However, as compelling as some of the underlying thread work can be, it's the charming characterization that really stitches the experience together. The central protagonists are joined by a supporting cast that steadily take up arms with our heroes along the way. It's a group with disparate backgrounds ranging from the puckish mercenary to a young girl with hidden powers, and a vexatious talking doll. It's this ensemble that makes Tales of Xilla such a joy to experience. Strewn between story sequences are vignettes that provide a great deal of insight into the title's colorful personalities. Having spent her life in isolation, Milla is blissfully ignorant when it comes to human society and particularly sensible attire. In his own ways, Jude is similarly oblivious. His coming-of-age story is laden with playful jabs at sheltered adolescents. These little asides are such a nice addition in fleshing out the characters and bring a levity to an otherwise dark tale. Along the way players will visit a myriad of different locales. Sadly, there just isn't much to explore. Apart from some stunning architecture and scenery in the distance, towns and dungeons leave a lot to be desired. In contrast with the vibrant characters and a brilliant soundtrack that plays beautifully to each situation, the environments themselves oftentimes feel lifeless, repetitive, and dull. It's clear that a lot of time and effort was allocated toward the title's combat system, which alongside the narrative is a real highlight of the experience. Equal parts action and strategy, combat takes place at a rapid pace and requires both a plan and split-second timing to execute it.  Battles typically have their genesis in the overworld, where dungeons are populated with dozens of roaming monsters. The manner in which an enemy is approached will likely have as much of an impact on an encounter than another other aspect of the contest. Sneaking up on enemies is advantageous for two reasons. Surprise attacks leave foes with only a fraction of the health that they would possess in a head-on clash and cause them to begin the fight momentarily stunned. Conversely, players will be at a disadvantage at the outset of battle should an enemy ever get the jump on them. Once initial contact is made, the game transitions into an isolated arena where the player can field up to four members of the party at any one time. Individuals can be swapped out with other conscious party members at the player's discretion. In fact, the player can take an authoritative role in battle, dictating when and what type of spells and physical attacks characters should be using and against which enemies. To that end, there is a vast array of ways in which the player can customize how each party member will act in combat while they aren't being micromanaged. Personally, I enjoyed giving my team various support roles and leaving them alone for the most part. Most of my attention was dedicated to controlling a single character on the front lines, only issuing commands when the tide of battle critically depended on them. Characters can be tweaked even further with various active and passive abilities that really change one's approach to battle. These play an especially important role in combat thanks to the new linking system. Pairs of party members can be tethered during combat to more readily assist one another and blend their unique skillsets into devastating special attacks. It's a subtle addition, one that makes for some incredibly engaging fights. Even something as mundane as leveling up has an interesting spin on it. Typical progress bars are replaced by webbed diagrams called Lilium Orbs. Leveling up earns points that can be allocated toward activating various statistical nodes, adding yet another hue of mutability. In terms of difficulty, standard battles generally feel appropriately challenging. Some of the lengthier dungeons can be treacherous, but there's fast travel along with plenty of waypoints and a quick-save feature should you ever get in a tight spot. The importance of items is paramount and it pays to be fully stocked when leaving a town for your next destination.  As one might expect, bosses offer a much stiffer challenge than conventional enemies. I found one of the encounters toward the end of Milla's campaign to be particularly unforgiving. After being brought to a seething rage after falling victim to what's essentially an instant kill for the umteenth time, I swallowed my pride took advantage of the difficulty slider in order to progress.  Tales of Xillia never strays terribly far from the formula set forth by its predecessors. Firmly rooted in the past, it instead introduces a selection of new elements and subtle enhancements that make it feel refreshing while still very familiar. The story and characters are delightful, and an engaging battle system rounds out a mesmeric package. Simply put, Tales of Xillia is one of the finest role-playing games in recent memory. 
Tales of Xillia review photo
A modern classic
Some things never really change. Sharks, for example, have existed for millions of years. These creatures have witnessed the birth and extinction of countless species. They endure as time ceaselessly marches forward. A consta...

Tales series photo
Tales series

Get nostalgic with this Tales series video retrospective

A brief look at one of the best JRPG franchises ever
Aug 11
// Wesley Ruscher
While I haven't spent nearly as much time with Tales of Xillia as I've wanted (I'll blame the phenomenal Dragon's Crown and my newfound obsession with Saltybet) I'm still nonetheless impressed with the latest installmen...

Here is Namco Bandai's UK release schedule

I did a typing
Aug 08
// Dale North
I learned to type very young. At the school I went to in Tokyo they started you early, so I was typing at full speed at age 6. No joke. Uphill both ways in the snow and all of that. And now you damned kids have snapchats and ...
Tales of Xillia photo
Tales of Xillia

Twist in the wind with latest Tales of Xillia trailer

So near and yet so far
Aug 04
// Kyle MacGregor
The time has come. At long last, Tales of Xillia is set to hit shelves this week. The arduous wait is almost finally over. Just a few more days are all that separates us from the highly anticipated role-playing game. In the meantime, Namco Bandai has cast forth yet another trailer to tantalize the masses as the hours slowly wind down to zero.
RPGs photo

Tales of Xillia 2 announced for Western release

Jul 06
// Kyle MacGregor
Tales of Xillia 2 is heading West, series producer Hideo Baba revealed today at the Japan Expo in Paris, France. According to reports out of the convention, Namco Bandai plans to bring the role-playing game to North America a...
Tales of Xillia photo
Tales of Xillia

Tales of Xillia trailer sets stage for an epic journey

Hold on tight!
Jun 08
// Kyle MacGregor
Namco Bandai have released a new trailer for Tales of Xillia and (surprise!) it looks absolutely stunning. Showcasing a realm on the verge of open conflict and a pair of young heroes joining forces to restore order to a...

Tales of Symphonia Chronicles announced for NA and EU

YES! Yay!
Jun 01
// Dale North
Have you played Tales of Symphonia? If you haven't, know it's a face-punchingly fantastic game, with amazing music to match. If you missed it, or even if you played it and loved it, you'll be glad to know that at today's Tal...

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