Author’s Note: This review was originally published on May 7th, 2005. I remember writing this when I should have been studying for a final exam.
Tales of Destiny II in the states is called Tales of Eternia in Japan. Therefore, I shall call this game Tales of Eternia from here on out. ToE is part of my favorite game series of all time. The surprise release here in the states really made my day. It’s not as great as Tales of Destiny, but it’s still awesome.
Rid Herschel has just returned from a hunting trip when he sees his best friend Farah staring at the sky. After catching up on stuff, Farah mentions how the sky looks much more messed up than usual. Suddenly, a giant space ship crashes in the nearby forest. Rid and Farah find a young girl with dark skin, purple hair, and an orb on her forehead. The girl speaks in a new language that no one knows of. Who is this girl? Why is she on the world of Inferia? What is she trying to do? Rid and Farah will voyage with her to the edge of the world and beyond to find out the answer to these questions.
The story takes many unexpected twists and introduces you to some of the greatest characters ever in an RPG. All of them are unique, colorful, and have a great story to tell. Namco’s Tales series has always had some awesome characters, and ToE is no exception. Rid is very non-traditional as far as heroes go. He is laid back, loves sleeping and eating, and is just a hunter…not some night. I really like how he is rather reluctant to save the world. Farah is just the opposite and is all about doing the right thing. The rest of the cast is awesome and the entire setting of ToE is very imaginative.
Game Play: 10/10
Tales of Eternia offers a lot of stuff for you to do on and off the battle field. When you’re going through towns and advancing the story, you’ll find plenty of NPC’s to talk with. You can also find lenses by searching items. Get enough lenses and you’ll get a prize. Also, searching certain objects will reveal the Wonder Chef. You can cook foods in this game that restore HP, MP, and do other types of helpful things. Also, practically each town has a mini-game for you to attempt. There is a magical version of dodgeball, sushi eating contests, and even a sailing expedition around the world! There is so much to do in ToE when you’re not advancing the story line. However, when you are advancing the story you will have to traverse through dungeons. Where there are dungeons, there are battles.
Don’t worry though, the battles are a blast. Taking things up a notch from Tales of Destiny, Tales of Eternia now features a more active battle system with the ability to form high numbered combos. The default character you control is Rid. He can do slashes, thrusts, and upper slashes. The basic attack he has is a three hit combo. Rid, of course, learns sword skills as he levels up his thrust and slash levels. You can create combos using the skills after the standard three hit combo. The other party members are controlled by the AI. Don’t worry, they usually are helpful. Farah uses martial arts in battle, and also has some healing techniques. Meredy and Keele cast magic, primarily. Combine your attacks together and you can form some high leveled combos. The higher the combo, the more experience points you get at the end of a battle. Magic is learned through the use of Greater Craymels (summon spirits). After earning the trust of a spirit, you use an item called a Craymel Cage to fuse their elemental properties to Meredy or Keele. So, Volt, the lightning Craymel, will teach a thunder spell to whomever it is fused to. You can combine Craymels to create many types of spells. If there is a spell or technique you don’t like your team to use, you can just turn it off from the main menu. The battles are fast, intense, and tons of fun.
Ah, anime graphics in a highly detailed 3D world. Gotta love ’em! And love ’em I do. These are some of the most beautiful graphics ever. Now the characters can move in 8 directions as opposed to 4, which is a nice step up from Tales of Destiny. The character sprites still express a lot of their emotions through anime thought bubbles, but they also have some body language in which they show excitement or anger. The characters truly shine in battle, however. They move with flawless motion and they can use some of the coolest looking techniques ever. The monsters have also been uniquely designed. I think that the backgrounds are the best thing, however. I mean, just stop for a second and look at all the details and colors. The game’s towns and dungeons and everything really pop out and bring ToE to life.
Music and Sound: 4/10
This is where the game doesn’t do so red hot. The music, other than the battle theme and opening theme, is hardly anything fun and upbeat like in ToD or Tales of Phantasia. The tracks also tend to repeat themselves more often than I’d like.
The sound is even worse. This is some of the poorest voice acting ever. Why they didn’t keep the original Japanese voices is beyond me. I mean really, none of the characters have the emotion necessary for this type of game, maybe with the exception of Meredy and Max. Still, two characters out of tons with good voice actors is really un-cool. The other sounds, like a punch or zap, sound fine.
Replay Value: 6/10
There is actually a lot of stuff to do after the game is complete. You unlock new modes of difficulty and can get new secrets like items and special skills. Plus, you’ll probably miss some lenses, Wonder Chef locations, or other things along those lines so you’ll definitely want to play again.
Buy or Rent: Buy
Hunt this game down and buy buy buy. N’Sync references aside, this game is very rare to come across nowadays. If you find it and even have the slightest incline to see what it’s all about, pick it up. It is seriously a great game.
It was a wild ride playing Tales of Eternia. Near the end of the Playstation run, this game was setting the standards for fun. Hunt this game down and pick it up.