Tales of Phantasia

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a game by Namco Ltd.
Genre: Adventure/RPG
Platform: GBA
Editor Rating: 9/10, based on 1 review
User Rating: 8.7/10 - 3 votes
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See also: RPGs
Tales of Phantasia
Tales of Phantasia
Tales of Phantasia
Tales of Phantasia

There have been a plethora of JRPGs since the inception of video games and many longstanding series have functioned as milestones for the genre—one such milestone game is Tales of Phantasia, originally released in 1995 for the SNES. Inspired by games like Dragon Quest or the Final Fantasy series, Tales of Phantasia pushed the SNES to its technical limits with remarkable visuals, compelling gameplay, combat, branching skills, a colorful cast of characters, and an engaging story. Indeed, the game has achieved timeless status as even playing it now not only implores you to think about the inspiration this game has had on the modern JRPG and Western RPG—but also, it’s still just a lot of fun to play.

Attention to Detail

There has always been a push for realism in graphics with the release of each console generation. One step to the next, games are released to show how far we’ve come from Pong back in the day.

There is an inherent drawback to that style however—it ages, very fast. What once looked ‘photo-real’ to us in 2010 looks like a pixelated mess now. That being said, when games excel in stylization, they have the ability to be timeless because they never tried to be anything more. Games like BioShock or Okami can hold up today because they didn’t seek realism—but style. One of the best things about Tales of Phantasia comes in its obvious style and respect for immersion—even with technical limitations. The game pops with color, character reactions, combat slices or explosions, reflections in water and a ripple when you walk through puddles. That amazing attention to detail, no matter the graphical fidelity, help to immerse the player in the fantastic world.

Cover the Basics, Then Innovate

The other thing that makes Tales of Phantasia work is in what it tries to do first—before where it tries to improve. The game shows a respect for the genre by exploring the world with rich characters and extremely engaging combat. However, beyond that it has skills that evolve as you progress, characters that become more refined and a world that becomes more alive. With all the assets working in tandem, the game concludes having felt like a true, original, experience. Additionally, playing it shows how far we’ve come with the development of RPGs but also just how many features haven’t changed at all—and for good reason. The exciting part about playing this game now is in the surprise of it—having played games like Dragon Age more recently it’s exciting to see a party system where relationships develop, styles evolve and different movesets are chosen to be the most effective team in combat.

Unearth the Relic

The best part about playing Tales of Phantasia is just that—playing it. It doesn’t show it’s age like you might expect.

When going in to old games you always have, in the back of your mind, the limitations of our past technology and how that has since evolved and been refined. However, Tales of Phantasia still works well in all the ways it should—and, in so doing, alleviates the modern reservations and just allows you to enjoy a fun story with exciting combat.


There’s repetition, sure—there’s a learning curve too—but once you get past those things that all, even modern games have, you won’t think about anything but where Cless and his friend’s adventures might take them next.


  • Beautiful, rich world
  • Distinct characters
  • Exciting combat
  • Tons of skills and upgrades


  • Repetition in battles
  • Main plot can drag at times

Download Tales of Phantasia


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Snapshots and Media

GBA Screenshots