How popular are Role Playing Games? Apparently they are popular enough to get the company famous for the Ridge Racer and series to step away from their bread and butter and see if they can't cash in on some of the popularity. Those of you that are familiar with Namco may be a bit surprised to find that the graphics are not the standard Namco fare but instead the focus was turned to the storyline. After all, the story is a big part of what makes a RPG a success or failure.
RPG fans just love to hear all of the different options they will have in a game. Fear not, Tales of Destiny should feel as comfortable as an old pair of shoes. You will have the usual characters that build up experience throughout the game and collect objects. Along the way you will run into various people, some of whom are out to help you while others look to kill you. There is plenty of magic, battles and weapons to keep most RPG fans happy.
Up until recently I thought I did not like RPG's. Every time a new game was released, I would dread getting started. The funny thing was that after I started playing the game, you could not pry me away from the screen. It finally hit me that I might actually enjoy, or even worse, like RPG's. So when Namco released this game, I was actually excited to start playing.
One of the biggest things that make RPG's popular is the vast and detailed story lines. People like to feel like they are actually part of the world, not just an outside observer. The storyline in this game had you playing as a 19-year-old man named Stahn Aileron. Stahn was orphaned at an early age and grew up with his grandfather. Eventually, Stahn decided he wanted to go out and see the world and hoped to become a master swordsman in the process. Hundreds of years before Stahn was ever born, the world was at war. To make a long story short, one of the residuals from the war was a number of special swords that were actually alive. After the war ended, the swords became dormant until now, when Stahn finds the first one. This is where your adventure begins.
So that is the story of the game. When the game starts, you basically sit back and read about 30 minutes of dialog setting up the scenario. You start as a stowaway on a pirate ship and you just got discovered. You are brought before the captain who orders you to mop the deck. While mopping, the ship gets attacked by monsters. This is where you are finally allowed to control the character. I thought it was a bit too long of an intro and I was really wishing that I could just start playing but I could not skip past the beginning. This was one of my complaints with the game.
Once you finally get to start playing the game, you will find that the game is typical RPG fare. You control your character as you explore and talk to people. Throughout your adventure you will meet a bunch of people, some of whom have information that is useful but most of them just tell you useless things. You will come to towns where people are abundant and like every other RPG you can go to the inn to sleep, the armory to buy weapons, etc. Like I said, this game will feel very comfortable to anybody who has ever spent any time with an RPG.
The game is really broken up into three different types of screens. You have your normal screen which is used for when you are walking around towns and buildings. The second type of screen is your battle screen (more on battles in a minute). This is where you will do battle when you are attacked by enemies. The third type of screen is called the Global Sphere Map or GSM for short. This is where you can view the world and travel great distances. When traveling between towns, you will go to the GSM. Once again, this is very typical for an RPG. I know I keep saying this but if you have ever played an RPG, you should feel right at home.
Let's talk about those battles now. This game had real time battles versus turn based battle which was a plus in my eyes but I still did not really like the battle system. First off, I thought that I was ambushed by enemies way too often. There were so many times that I just wanted to get from point A to point B but I was unable to get there quickly because I kept getting jumped. The worst part about it was that the enemies were invisible until I was actually in the battle screen so I could not avoid them. The other thing that I did not like about the battles was that it felt like everything was in slow motion. It was so slow feeling that it was almost like turn based combat. I really prefer real time combat but I think they should have really sped things up because most of the time I ended up taking turns attacking anyway.
The best way to describe the graphics in this game is "old school." Everything felt and looked like an old 16-bit RPG. It was obvious that graphics were not the first priority when they made this game. Now don't get me wrong. The graphics were not terrible or anything but they were not the best graphics I have ever seen either. All of the people were really small and it was hard to tell who was who in some cases. But remember, this is an RPG so these types of graphics are pretty much standard.
All in all, I would have to say that this was a pretty average RPG. I never found myself deeply involved in the story but on the other hand I did play a ton of hours. I think the seasoned RPG fan will get about the same out of it as I did whereas someone new to the genre may not be overly impressed. If you can't live without owning every RPG ever made then you should enjoy this game the most. It has that nostalgic look and feel to it. I think that if the battles were done better I would have enjoyed the game more. As it sits now, it is still an average title.
Download Tales of Destiny
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