Genre: Japanese Role Playing Game
Platform: Playstation Vita
Release Date: December 25th, 2012
The Tales Of series is one of the longest and most prolific japanese rpg series still running today, second only to giants like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. From its humble beginnings back in 1995, the series has spawned over 10 main games and quite a number of spin-offs. Unlike other series, main line entries have been released on many different consoles, before finding home in recent years on Sony’s current consoles. Tales Of Hearts R is the second handheld entry released on PsVita after last year’s Tales Of Innocence R: both games were originally released on Nintendo DS and never made the jump to the west. The struggling PsVita sales are probably sealing the fate of these two remakes as well and only time will tell if we will be able to play them in English. As of now, a new demo version of Tales Of Hearts R is available on the japanese Playstation Store and we’re going to give it a good play to see how the game compares to the original.
Tales Of Hearts R demo begins with a few dialogs detailing the basics of the plot, which is not too different from the DS version: in the world of Tales Of Hearts all living beings are alive thanks to some magical element called Spiria. A disease is getting spread in the world called Spirun Disease, corrupting spiria inside people and making them ultimately die. The only way to cure the disease is to enter the one’s Spir Maze to purify the spiria from the Zerom, some mysterious creatures who eat up the spiria inside humans: only those blessed with the magical Soma weapons can save people from dying. There’s not much plot in the demo for obvious reasons but I can tell you that the story and characters are among the best of the series: considering the Vita remake is adding even more scenes and plot elements, we’re in for something really good.
The dungeon included in the demo is a big cathedral in the imperial capital, around the mid point of the main game: the dungeon is nothing special, but it’s enough to try the battle system. Tales Of Hearts R Linear Motion Battle system resembles closely both Tales Of Innocence R and Tales of Xillia 2 systems: gone is the original CG system which allowed artes to be linked together without having to worry about depleting TP in favor of a system which still allows for a number of actions to be linked together and the TP system to avoid spamming the most effective artes over and over. Can’t say that I’m a fan of this system since it’s kinda limiting, but it works. This battle system has also a heavy focus on aerial combos, being able to launch enemies in the air at any time with the Chase system and even perform an aerial finishing move with another party member. The system is fast, flashy and incredibly satisfying and you’ll be able to get to try all characters revealed so far: the original 6 and two new additions, Chalcedony and Garad. The two additions are really, really well done, featuring unique playstyles and artes. All the old characters will come with new artes and mystic artes as well. Despite being quite different from the original, the battle system is just as good and will probably provide hours and hourse of solid fun. One small gripe is that there are random encounters: it’s been a while since enemies are visible on screen in the series and this going back seems really strange.
The original Tales Of Hearts was a 2D/3D hybrid featuring 2d sprites for characters and monsters and 3D locations. The remake features full 3D graphics and they look great on the PsVita screen: colorful effects, detailed characters and locations without even a hint of slowdown during most hectic battle phases. The music has also been remixed: this is purely subjective but, despite a higher sound quality, I don’t find all the remixes included in the demo good. The boss theme included “Soar, Antiaircraft Weapon!” is really well done, while the random encounter theme is somewhat weaker than the original. The new tracks included are close to Tales Of Xillia style, so you may already know what to expect.
Being a Tales Of total fanatic, I can’t wait to get my hands on the full game: Tales Of Hearts R is different from the original in almost every way but it’s still as fun, thanks to some degree of freedom in battle. Unlike Tales Of Innocence R, Tales Of Hearts R will be strong even in the graphics department: with such a tight package, the game can probably rise to become the best RPG on the console. Not that there’s much competition, but it’ll probably end up being really good judging from the demo. If you have a Vita try the demo, even though it’s only in Japanese, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised.
- Fast paced and fun battle system
- Good plot and characters (Full Game)
- Nice graphics
- Random encounters
- Demo too short
- The location chosen for the demo is kinda empty
- Demo available on in Japanese
Article from Gamersyndrome.com