Review: Tales of Graces f

Tales of Graces f for the PS3

I’ll admit, my first time playing a Tales game was Tales of Symphonia for the Gamecube. However, after my first encounter with the battle system, I was hooked. It’s not surprise people are clamoring for new Tales games to be localized and brought over to the United States, as they have one of the most unique battle systems for a jRPG. The mix between fighting and traditional RPG mechanics blends together to create a new experience that should be experienced at least once. Does Tales of Graces f expand and enhance this series to new heights, or does it merely prove to be a copy and paste of its predecessors?

Yeah, you see that character that looks like the main character? Well, he's the main character.

When you first start the game, you begin as a young boy rebelling against his parents and a brother who constantly tells him “You’re going to get in TROUBLE!!1!” If you don’t feel the originality spilling out yet, just wait until they meet a girl who happens to have no memory of her past, the childhood friend who’s “secretly” in love with the main character, the mentor to the main character, and the airhead who somehow has the smarts of a genius. I’ll admit, the story takes as many cliches as it can grasp, and blindly places them into the story hoping it will have some relevance to the plot. I can’t tell you how many times I facepalmed at the sheer stupidity of the characters in the game, yet that same dialogue adds a charm to the game. While I cringed at the dialogues, I couldn’t help but laugh at how silly it was at the same time.

The main theme of the game is friendship, and while it plays on this theme the entire game, the cast makes some stupid decisions because of the underlying theme. I’m sorry, but if one of your friends from 7 years past goes on a rampage and threatens to destroy the entire world, including you, I don’t think your friendship is the only thing at stake here.

Just buildin' some combos.

Of course, the gameplay proves to be the turning point in many Tales games and this one is no different. When I first heard of this game, I had assumed it would play similarly to Tales of Vesperia, Symphonia, or Abyss. What I got was something much more fast-paced, challenging, and fun. The battle system takes out many things I disliked in the other games and improved on the aspects I enjoyed. For one, instead of TP (Which are the Magic Points which enable you to use special moves), you have CC, which allows you to use any move in your arsenal. These points regenerate with defending, evading, or side-stepping at the right time to gain more points. You start off with few Chain Capacity in the beginning, limiting your ability to combo, but as you get more weapons and armor, you amass a larger Chain Capacity which allows you to get larger combos. There is also a special bonus called an Eleth Burst, which gives you unlimited Chain Capacity and the ability to use special moves, called Mystic Artes, which should be familiar to those who have played past Tales games. The Eleth Burst only lasts for a short amount of time, and the enemy can also gain this bonus, which calls for some plan on action as you play though the game.

Outside of battle, there are Titles, which enable characters to learn moves, gain stats, and upgrade existing moves. In addition, the game also has dualizing, which allows the player to combine food to cook, combine weapons and “shards” to strengthen the weapon, and crystals to create new weapons that are unable to be purchased from the shops in the game. Overall, there is so much to learn about dualizing that I still have yet to learn everything there is to know about it, which allows for good re playability.

Oh god, the humor in this game.

Unfortunately, I can’t say that much of the music is memorable. Many town themes seem to fade away without any memory, and even the battle music proves to be a little bland. Of course, this isn’t to say the music is terrible, but the music doesn’t quite present itself to be memorable or of earworm quality. In fact, there’s a particular dungeon theme that is a 3 second loop, with minor changes in the loops. I find this inexcusable, and feel that the game could have had an amazing soundtrack, but fell short to be only okay.

As I played the English version of the game, I listened to the english voice cast for this game. I don’t understand the problem with English game dubs, as personally, I find game dubs much more bearable than anime dubs. Of course, this isn’t always the case, but for the Tales series, the English dub has always been at least decent. Tales of Graces f is no exception, and the only problem with the dub would be the terrible lines they have to say, but that’s not the actors fault. One particular English cast member was David Vincent, whom I felt gave a great performance as Richard, but all the others performed well, and yes, that means I also didn’t mind Laura Bailey (I really don’t understand everyone’s problem with her…). This isn’t to say I wouldn’t have enjoyed an option to listen to the Japanese dub, as it had Kana Hanazawa, but hey, the English dub is great and I’m perfectly content with it.

Endgame Quotes. Nothing better than a cheesy saying.

Tales of Graces powered its way to the Wii back in 2009, which was then ported as Tales of Graces f for the PS3 in 2010. As a result, the game doesn’t have the greatest graphics for the PS3, in fact, the graphics are rather sub par. However, this takes nothing away from the experience, and the graphics work great for this game. Not once was I concerned with how the graphics looked, as the game isn’t meant to look ultra-realistic, and the graphics don’t detract from the great gameplay experience.

The anime cutscenes are also top-notch, which can be expected from Productions I.G. These cutscenes are spread out fair and far between, which means you won’t be bombarded with them all at the beginning or at the end. However, I felt there could have been one or two in the last arc of the game, but there were none, which led to disappointment. But that being said, there are plenty of top-notch anime cutscenes for the player to enjoy, if they so choose.

-Final Curtain-
So, what do I think of Tales of Graces f? I feel the game has earned every bit of praise it receives, and proves to be a great addition to the series. I only hope that the success of Graces will bring more Tales games over to the US, and give us players hours of enjoyment to come. Although Graces had some problems, including dialogue, music, and to an extent, the story, Tales of Graces f proves itself as a worthy game to add to any jRPG fans collection.

Y U No Post?

'Nuff Said.

Sorry Sorry, I’ve been worked up playing Tales of Graces f, and haven’t had much interest in doing anything else. So all I’ve been doing is playing that, working, and sleeping. I would write more, but I don’t have too much to say at this point, and as such, I’ll be ending the post here. Expect more to come after I finish the game!


P.S. – That Code Geass DLC better come to the states!

Japanese Festivals

Saber - I think I am ready for some more Fate / Zero. Next season please!
Heyos Everyones!

Today I decided to visit Glendale Community College on an off day, as they were holding a Japanese festival. They held one last year as well, but this year definitely had more advertising, and as a result, more people. Compared to last year, it was really the same thing, but still a fantastic visit, as I was unable to attend Matsuri down in Phoenix, back in February. It’s always a pleasure to learn about traditions and customs of Japan, such as setting up a Tea Ceremony and Taiko Drums (Something that has always fascinated me). Not to mention there was free food, so it was definitely a worthwhile trip and I’m pleased I wasn’t required to be at work until later in the evening.

I finally decided to start working on my anime backlog, starting with Mouretsu Pirates. I’ve currently been getting ready to watch Nisemonogatari and Inu x Boku SS, along with Another and Ano Natsu. Luckily, I have time to work on both my anime backlog and my gaming backlog, even if Tales of Graces f comes out next week.

I’m honestly shocked at how much anime is finally coming to the states in Blu-ray format and/or full season box-sets. It seems like every time I visit Amazon, I see another series that is ready to be released. I noticed Ookami-san is being released the beginning of April, and for only $39 you can get the complete blu-ray. Considering most series (Although I will admit, Sentai Filmworks is the only one releasing for this price) are running for close to $60+, I believe this is a steal for a decent series. I found it enjoyable, but I know many would disagree. Now when Steins;Gate comes out on Blu-ray…

As for now, it’s time to sit back and listen to some music, so I will post again soon. Although I don’t have anything planned out at the moment, I will definitely get some interesting content for the site and the blog. Right now, I’m really just focused on cleaning up my backlog. ‘Til next time,


March, and something gets done!

I find this show enjoyable, but it lacks a few moments of awesomeness.
Heyos Everyones!

I’ve decided to clean up the blog with a new layout and color scheme, which I believe increases the overall visibility of the site. The only thing I’m really looking to change is the link color, and anything I’ve missed while applying the change. All minor things that can be fixed over the next few days. In addition, the new site should be ready in the coming days, but I may hold off on changing the way the site runs until the actual website has content, not just the blog.

I recently watched the latest episodes of Persona 4, and I must say I really like the way it has all come together. As one who has played the games, I know what’s going to happen, but the anime is surprisingly true to the story and although the animation can be quite lazy at times, an enjoyment to watch. I have plans to watch Kill Me Baby! and Nisemonogatari, but I’ve only watched the first episode and haven’t really started watching those yet. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s that I haven’t set aside time to watch anime. I’m close to being caught up with Amagami SS+ and…

As I look at my backlog, I just now realize I haven’t been keeping up with Guilty Crown, Highschool DxD, Milky Holmes II(Which I will admit, is quite cringeworthy at times), and Mouretsu Pirates. Which means I must set aside some time tonight to catch up, because I also have a million games on my backlog, and I don’t know how I’m going to catch up with so many distractions on the internet. Seriously, I spend 99% of my time surfing tvtropes, youtube, or a forum such as Sonic Retro and Cheap Ass Gamer.

Speaking of games, I just ordered a game from Japan that I’ve been meaning to buy for awhile now. But with Tales of Graces f coming out March 13(Which I have pre-ordered and can’t wait to put on my backlog of a million games), I figure now is a better time than ever to buy it.

Regardless, I plan on updating more now (Especially now that I have a nice keyboard to type on), and with a new computer, I intend to finish the projects I left behind a little over a year ago. So, on that note, have a great night!

(Funny, as I close out this post, Galo Sengen decides to come on. When this song comes on, I don’t know what to think, it’s like…”What?”)


Another February has almost ended!

Saya no Uta - Surprisingly Interesting
Heyos Everyones!

It’s been a busy February, and hard to believe that it’s almost over. Luckily, it’s a leap year so I get one extra day to work or do nothing, as which seems to be the case 90% of the time. I haven’t even really caught up on which anime I’m going to be watching this season, even though it’s over halfway over. Gah. Anyways, I’m still trying to finish Final Fantasy XIII, as I’ve already purchased XIII-2 and still have it sealed and ready to play. Tales of Graces-f comes out this March, and I want to finish FFXIII before I start another RPG. Hope that works out, but I’m not going to be too optimistic.

In terms of the website, I’m attempting to revive the site with a new layout and design. This will carry over to the blog, to seamlessly blend the two together once I actually have a site up again. I do have something I plan to put up soon, and although it has nothing to do with games, it does have something to do with music and anime. It’s nothing big, but maybe with something up I will have more motivation to do something with the site.

Again, I haven’t really been watching too much anime. I’ve built a new computer and have been using that, and I don’t want to stress it out as it gets really loud under load. By that, I mean the Power Supply, which gets unreasonably loud and gives me reason not to go with OCZ again. I’m replacing it with a Corsair PSU, and that should be the end of my troubles. Anyways, I will be working on the site the next few days, and in turn, should have something to show for it at the end of the week.


The Year of Success

A surprisingly fun PSP game.
Out of the servants in Fate / Extra, I really like Caster.

Heyos everyone!

Ace here. Forgive me for my absence and lack of updates this past year, as 2011 was most definitely not the best year for me. However, being a new year, I plan to take that negativity and turn it inside out, making 2012 a fantastic year and one of the best years to come! Although I have stopped updating my old projects, such as the MapleStory soundtrack, I plan to replace them with new projects that will be better than anything I have ever worked on. Time will not be wasted this year, and I know that good things are to come. I do plan on finishing what “Let’s Plays” I have left, and perhaps even starting a new one (Although I won’t start uploading until every part is finished, to ensure there are no delays in uploads), and I also plan to put my programming experience to the test and work on projects that may or may not involve anime and manga.

In terms of anime, I haven’t lost track of my current series. I’ve recently finished Ika Musume II, Working`!!, Fate/Zero, Haganai, Ben-tou, and  Idolm@ster. I am currently watching C3, Persona, and Guilty Crown. I intend to watch Kill Me Baby, High School DxD, Nisemonogatari, Milky Holmes II, and Amagami SS II. I’m amazed I still have time to watch these series, but it doesn’t seem like I will lose interest anytime soon. I’m actually re-watching Shakugan no Shana as well, as I want to watch the final season, but I want to recall all the events of the first two seasons before I begin watching the last season. All in all, it’s been a decent year for anime, and I have no intention of slowing down.

In terms of video games, I’ve been playing Final Fantasy XIII, and tried to play Eternal Sonata. Eternal Sonata was just too slow and boring for my tastes. Every time I played it, I felt a stronger urge to play Tales of Vesperia. I guess Eternal Sonata just isn’t the game for me. FFXIII isn’t as bad as everyone says, and I actually enjoy my time playing it. Is it the best game in the series? No, but it’s still enjoyable. I want to voice my opinion on more games, but now isn’t the time for that, and perhaps I’ll have some time later to voice my opinion on these games.

Thus, I hope everyone had a good New Year’s, and remember, don’t let life get you down. Keep on fighting and remember what you’re fighting for. Enjoy the moment, and look forward to what awaits you. For me, school begins tomorrow, and although circumstances have resulted in me taking less classes that I’d like, it really is for the better at this time, as I need to catch up on what’s important, my focus. Stay cool everyone, and expect to see more from me this year.


Wait, Halloween?

Don't worry Okabe, this is all the choice of Steins;Gate.

Dear god, it’s already the end of October. My last post here was…July? Well, to be fair, it’s been a hell of a year, and I don’t mean that in a positive way. Of course, this year had it’s good points and pleasant surprises, with AX2011 and Sonic Generations being some of the few good occurences this year. However, it doesn’t appear as school, work, and life in general seems to be going well for me. Of course, life never goes as planned, and it’s always a strength to push yourself up no matter how low you may go. (I only hope to remember this when times really get tough.)

As far as everything else goes, this season of anime is pretty tight. Last season, save for Steins;Gate (Which really doesn’t count as last season because it was two-cour), didn’t really end. Kami-sama no Memochou, Dantalian, Mayo Chiki, all of them really didn’t properly end, and I wouldn’t mind seeing a second season of any of them. They were all fascinating series and I definitely enjoyed my time with them, but the fall season of anime dominates whatever aired during the summer. Shana III, Fate/Zero, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Bakuman II, Working’!!; the list goes on and on. This season I don’t have nearly enough time as I did last season, mainly because school really is kicking my ass and I don’t know if I can pull out of it like I’ve done the semesters before. Regardless, I can at least try and watch the anime in my spare time. If I ever get enough spare time (and don’t suffer from illness) I can actually work on reviewing anime and games, as well as continue working on my own projects. I think I have two fun classes this semester, but everything else is dull and boring.

In terms of games, I’ve recently finished Persona 4(An anime I forgot to mention above) because the anime was airing soon. I love the Persona series, and really need to try the rest of the Shin Megami Tensei series out. Sonic Generations is coming out soon as well, and I actually went to 100% Sonic Adventure 2 again (Man, I love that game), but my SA2 cd finally died and I haven’t the time to buy and wait for a new one. Of course, Generations will be out before we know it, and I can’t wait. Also, I heard someone got a private server of Suvival Project running. I may have to take a look at that, seeing as I loved Survival Project when I was younger, and the only reason I played Maple Story was because SP closed down.

Anyways, I’m about to head to JPN201, so I’ll make another post soon enough. Sorry about my absence, but medical emergencies and laziness will always prevent me from posting. So I need to overcome those obstacles and become the best there ever was!


Yoyo, It’s Ace!

Let's cross Chaos;Head and Steins;Gate! It'll be Makise;Kurisu;Seira;tan!

Bwahaha! It’s been awhile my friends, how’ve you all been. As for me, it’s been a pretty crappy few weeks, but nothing is more enjoyable than getting a little more money for your efforts. Anyways, I haven’t been quite up to date with…well, anything, so I may as well start now. School begins in another 3 weeks, and I believe it’ll be easier for me to start catching up with everything then. However, I believe I say that every time something decides to change, so I may be wrong in that regard and end up spending even less time with this site and/or my anime and manga. Regardless, I will be able to spend my nights working on stuff again, as opposed to waking up so damn early in the morning.

I’ve begun working on some quick “projects” for the site, as I have a little more of my main Dowase Games project done. Not to mention, I’m not the only one working on it for a change, so there’s an even bigger chance of it being completed that before. I hope to unveil my workings by the end of the year, but I may get lucky and show them off a little earlier.

I’ve been playing more Visual Novels since my return from Anime Expo 2011, and Fate/Stay Night was completed about 3 days ago. I’m currently watching the anime, which as usual, fails to be as awesome as the actual novel, but still is decent and worth watching. I’ve not even begun the new anime season, but to plan on starting very soon. Steins;Gate is one of the only things I’m actually really trying to keep up with, and that’s because it’s an amazing show and everyone here should stop reading and go watch it now. Seriously. Go.

Now that everyone is out of the way, I believe it is time to wrap things up. In short, nothing was accomplished, but nothing really needed to be. See you all laters, and enjoy your last days of July!

Some updates and almost showtime!

Oi, Kotomi-chaaaan~

Heyos Everyones!!

First off, I’ve quickly updated the MapleStory with the “new” Cygnus songs, along with the 8th anniversary title screen track. However, the new tracks are only available right now through the full download, with you can grab from megaupload or fileserve. I know a lot of people have been asking for a mediafire, but I have never been able to upload a file to their servers, and the complete rar file is too big to be uploaded without a paid account. So it’s now out of the question. Sorry. (If the maplestory music page hasn’t changed, give it time. The uploads should be done by 7:00PM PST.)

Anyways, it’s the middle of the month, and I believe this is the quickest I’ve made another post so quickly on the blog. Really though, it’s only because my job has been really slow, and I’ve only been working about 20 hours a week, which gives me time to slack off and do nothing. Of course, I still have some anime series and games to complete, but my laziness has really taken over my life. I do have one project I want to complete before school starts, and it involves K-On!, so I assume I’ll be able to complete it with the inspiration of my favorite character. Speaking of anime, AX2011 is only 15 days aways, and I can’t wait for it to arrive. I’ve been waiting all year for that weekend, and I don’t know how I’m going to feel after it’s over. Of course, much has changed from my last trip out there, and I feel I’ll know more about what’s going on. Still, it’s going to be fun, and anyone who loves anime should definitely come by and join in on the fun!

I’ve been playing Blazblue: Continuum Shift for the PS3, and I suck hard at the game. I absolutely love Tsubaki, if only for her seiyuu….and in recent searches, I just learned that one of my absolute favorite seiyuu, Tomoko Kawakami, has passed away. She provided the voice for Kamio Misuzu, and Kurata Sayuri from AIR and Kanon, respectively. She had a wonderful voice, and she will definitely be missed. RIP.

Anyways, that’s really all I have to say for the moment. I’ll most likely be updating daily from June 30 to July 5, for Anime Expo. Have a great day, and enjoy the rest of the week.

Yo, This is a post.

Aw Yeah, Hatsune Miku performing at AX2011.
Aw Yeah, Hatsune Miku performing at AX2011.

Heyos Everyones!!

Man, where did the month(s) go??  Although I haven’t done much, a lot has happened in these two months, and it just keeps going on! Although I’m out of school, I’m attempting to pick up more hours at my job, as AX2011 is coming up!! I’ll be there, and I’ve already got my tickets for the Hatsune Miku concert, which is going to be amazing!! I absolutely cannot wait, and it’s really the only thing coming up that I really am anticipating.

On another note, the anime this season has been amazing! I’m currently watching C, Ano Hana, Denpa Onna, Hoshizora, Dog Days, Hanasaku Iroha, Hidan no Aria, Steins;Gate, The World God Only Knows II, and Tiger and Bunny. This season I’m watching so much, as I’ve never watched so many series in one season. But the anime is so great, I can’t help it.

I also recently traded in my old Xbox 360 and walked out with a PS3 for 29.36! I already have 4 games which I ended up not paying anything for, and now I have a blu-ray player to watch my favorite anime with. I’ve been playing 3D dot game heroes, and plan on importing Tales of Vesperia and some VN’s for the PS3, as it’s region-free and an amazing console, so I can’t wait to play it more. I also have a PSP, and Project Diva is one of my most played games 0n the console. Unfortunately, even though I’m not taking the time to post here, I still have a ton of games and anime on my backlog, and I really need to organize and step my game up so I’m not so behind when I go to the expo.

Well, that’s all for this time. I can’t say when I’ll be updating again, but I believe I’ll be reporting more when I’m actually at the expo, as I’ll have a lot to talk about then. Especially the Miku concert.