Topic: Why can't I get into the Tales of series?

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I've honestly been trying many, many times. I don't understand why this series just does nothing for me. I own a bunch of these games on Steam and I keep buying them because they should be up my alley, I like JRPGs, I like big ambitious plots, I like action games, but none of these games stuck.

I have Tales of Symphonia where I dropped the game 40 hours in because of the awful dungeon design, non-interesting character skits which everybody seemed to praise, minimum character customization, linear hand-holding world paths and barebones combat. The story seemed to actually be interesting although with a bunch of anime tropes but I just couldn't get past every other element of the game to get to the better parts.

I have Berseria, Vesperia and Zestiria and all of them fall so short from other JRPGs I would rather be playing on all fronts that I couldn't play these for longer than 4 hours each.

Worst of all, I bought Tales of Arise which seemed to be getting a lot of praise, and I even recall people on this website saying 'it's a shame the Switch doesn't have it because the game is awesome' but...where? I'm approximately 10 hours into the game, just after the second area boss and this seems so generic to the point where I feel like I'm losing my mind not being able to find anything great.

The combat feels okay, but even that I feel is sometimes unfairly balanced to action RPG standards and the HP sponge enemies can sometimes just be a chore to fight. The story so far doesn't seem to have anything that unique about it, and it's not that you need a unique story each time, but if your story isn't unique at least attempt to make it interesting? The most interesting character so far is the first one to get killed off and it's mind boggling how the two lead characters are just the most insufferable anime trope nothings.

When there's games like DQ11, the Xenoblade series, Persona, the older Final Fantasies, hell, I even heard those Koei JRPGs as well as those Trails of Steel games are great, what is the appeal of this series?

I know I may be tearing someone's favourite series apart and I completely understand that, but believe me I'm the one frustrated. I try and learn what I'm missing every time I buy one of these games and I never learn the answer to my question.

Edited on by Varkster



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You don't need to like or even play every internet darling franchise there is, there's too many games like that to make it worth your time.

Play what you like but have an open mind to other things too, having a big game collection isn't a substitute for a personality, you aren't cooler for playing every game, nihilism etc. ;p

Edited on by jump

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@Varkster I think maybe it's just not the right thing for you, at the right time.

Firstly, I find a lot of the appeal of Tales lies in its liberal use of (and often inversion of) anime tropes. If you're not into this style of story-telling, the series probably isn't for you.

A lot of the praise the series has received has been contextual. Tales of was a pioneer in the action JRPG genre, at a time where almost all JRPGs were turn-based. The Tales series persisted through somewhat of a "dark age" for JRPGs (basically the Xbox 360 / PS3 generation). However, we've now had a massive resurgence in the genre (in no short thanks to many of the games you mention: Persona 5, Xenolade, DQ11, etc.), and the series has struggled to modernise to make itself relevent again. Tales of Arise arguably did a good job of this, but personally I find the game to be lacking a lot of the charm that made the earlier games great.

Regarding Tales of Symphonia in particular: almost all of your criticisms are due to its age as a Gamecube game. These aspects were all impressive at the time but are quite barebones by today's standards. However I will argue that ToS isn't particularly linear nor handholding: while the main story beats (and large portions of the game) are indeed linear, I can think of at least 2 large sections of the game where you can do a number of dungeons in any order.

Personally my favourite aspect of the series is the combat: although other action JRPGs exist, and may have deeper combat, I find that Tales of games often offer a nice variety of playable characters with a nice variety of artes, so I never feel bored in battles.

Edited on by Buizel

At least 2'8".


Sounds almost like me & Final Fantasy. Now, I LOVED FFX & FFVII Remake, and I at least finished off the 3D version of FFIV, but I've bounced off every other entry I've tried.

I & II Dawn of Souls, IV Advance, IX, XII, & Type 0 HD are all the FF games that just didn't click with me.

As for Tales, I will admit that I do find them to be generally fun games. I do think Zestiria & Berseria are the weakest of the ones I've played (especially the former), but even those I've at least finished. I loved Abyss 3D, Vesperia, & Arise.

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@Buizel I think when I say Symphonia holds your hand through the story I mean that from memory, there are so many instances when it makes sense to go in a direction to progress the story, but the game won't let you do that until you make a detour and watch a Cutscene. For me this would absolutely kill the pacing especially when the cutscenes wouldn't introduce anything new or interesting that I didn't already know.

So far, Tales of Arise is a lot more awful in this regard. A lot of the conversations that take place in skits and in cutscenes are repeats of what has already been said, common sense or charmless hard to watch anime dialogue.

I think one of the offenders here is just how nonsensical some interactions among characters are. I understand that some may find it cute that the main character compliments a girl and the strong girl gets flustered and shy but to me this makes it hard to take any of the next scenes that follow seriously. One of the main characters is killed and everything seems very gloomy but the next skit is about the character's son explaining how cool his powers are, followed by "grr, still angry by the way!!!"

I know you mentioned anime tropes are an integral part to this series, but Persona has a lot of them too but its nowhere near as unbearable as Arise.

Edited on by Varkster



I will say, I played Phantasia before, and because its the original game and from the SNES era, it might be more your thing. I mean I loved it more than Symphonia, even though the game is considered dated and the GBA version isn't even the most well liked version of it, but it does fit that older era of JRPG nicely I'd say.

The only other one I've played is Symphonia, and while I have some real fondness for it, I've never had much desire to explore the series more. By disc 2 the storytelling had become obnoxiously cliched even when I was 14, and its also my go to example of one of my biggest pet peeves, pointlessly inconsistent use of voice acting. "Hey we have voice acting to add to your immersion but suddenly **** you, we can't pay them for any more days to do large chunks of dialogue!" But the cliches are less annoying than the type Xenoblade 2 bring in, and the voice acting thing is way more common than I thought so when I watched a Let's Play of it...its cool. Not amazing but it was a fun time, especially on GCN where JRPGs barely existed (and half of them were card games for some reason). But Tales of still doesn't interest me too much as a series.

that being said feeling obligated to get into a series regardless of multiple failed attempts is not necessary lol. I've long considered giving Fire Emblem a 3rd try (TMS doesn't count), but that's time and money I could spend elsewhere, including games in the same genre I'm more into, so oh well.

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Tbf I'd say Alphen and Shionne become much better characters as the game progresses. The reason Tales of is one of my favorite RPG series is because of the combat. It's like Super smash bros in a way and it alone has carried me through some of the weak parts of the games I've played.



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@Varkster Hmmm I don't remember anything of the sort from Symphonia, but it has been a while since I played it. Can't speak much for Arise as I've not played much of the game - it didn't really grab me in the first few hours.

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They are very time consuming which isn't everyone's cup of tea so maybe that's why. Admittedly if a JRPG has a slow start and it just drags on for too long before it starts to pick up the pace I start to lose interest in it and the chances of me going back to it start to gradually diminish.


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I never played one, I herd there story’s are good, but idk, they just don’t interest me, it’s probably just not for you.

But if maybe if you really wanted to go more in depth, you can ask people why they like it, It’s what I do for some series I couldn’t get into, and sometimes it worked, because I gave it a different outlook.

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This thread interests me since I've never played a Tales game. Not that I think the series is bad by any means; I've mainly been limited by lack of knowledge and/or platform. I did pick up both Tales of Vesperia (Switch) and Tales of the Abyss (3DS), which are objectively two of the better games. Not sure when I'll get to them though.

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I enjoyed symphonia but I think it was more due to timing. When it came out I was starved for jrpgs on gamecube and was younger. Not much more free time but I could stay up longer and still function the next day lol. Don’t force yourself to play games you don’t like to keep up with the internet.

I dropped Resident Evil finally because I accepted that I don’t enjoy the series or genre. I’d say only stick with a game if you feel like it has the components that make an enjoyable game for you. I don’t enjoy Monster Hunter rise for instance, but there are so many individual components that normally draw me to games that I am going to try a little longer to see if it clicks. But sometimes a game/series just isn’t for you.

Edited on by Ryu_Niiyama

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Tales has always been a solid B-tier JRPG series, on a good day and with its best entries. I think the mistake ppl make is being convinced it's an A-tier series, which it is not.

Admittedly, review scores for Arise easily lead one to believe such a thing, and I'm still confused as to how the game scored as high as it did.

Not that Tales games are bad games. I like them and never miss an entry. But I also never finish an entry either. They're fun for a while until something else comes along. I'd recommend Vesteria first and foremost, but even then, don't expect a Xenoblade or Persona or Final Fantasy.

So I don't think it's explicitely an issue of personal taste, as many have likened it to bouncing off MH. Whereas Monster Hunter is legitimately one of the greatest game series of all time and millions of fans hold it as one of their GOATs, nobody really holds the Tales series in that regard. Ppl bounce off MH due to the extremely high skill ceiling and demand placed on new players (and some because they just don't come to understand or appreciate the hook, I think ppl bounce off games like Tales due to misaligned expectations.

As my brother once told me many years ago when I was first jumping in- it's a B-tier series. Go in with that expectation and you may like it.

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Not every game is for everyone.
Personally, I love the Tales series and can't get into any other JRPG's. Except for Xenoblade.


Yeah the games have been overscored lately due to the lack of JRPG on PS4 and PS5. They're still good games for what they try to be (entry level action rpg) but they're not really A-list JRPG.



glaemay wrote:

Yeah the games have been overscored lately due to the lack of JRPG on PS4 and PS5. They're still good games for what they try to be (entry level action rpg) but they're not really A-list JRPG.

Lol, what lack of JRPGs? Outside of the handful of Nintendo exclusive titles like the Xenoblade games, SMTV, & Pokemon, almost every other JRPG gets a PS release.

Heck, just off the top of my head they're getting Valkyrie Elysium, One Piece Odyssey, SMT: Soul Hackers 2, that new Star Ocean, and the FFVII Crisis Core remake in the second half of this year alone.

Don't get me wrong, PS hasn't been my preferred platform to play Japanese games on after their more strict content policy came into place, but let's not pretend that Arise was purposely overrated as part of a pro PS campaign to counteract a nonexistent lack of JRPGs on the ecosystem.

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@RR529 Yeah but on PS1 and PS2 or even PSP you had all these games in like 1 month lol. Also you force yourself to assume these games will be good even before their release to pretend the Playstation has plenty of worthwile games incoming. We didn't see this kind of behavior before on Playstation before and it's showing something has clearly changed on Playstation compared to the previous consoles.



Tales games tend to have quite cliche anime characters. I could not stand the Vesperia protagonist for example, was the classic generic "too cool, mysterious, emo" anime protagonist. The gameplay (and coop) back in the gamecube days when I played TOS was a nice twist to the turn based standard, but it took them a long time to evolve it after that and it hasn't aged very well (I haven't played arise though).

It is generally a hit or miss series imo.


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