I’ve always been interested in the Tales series, but I haven’t really gotten into a Tales game hardcore since Abyss. Most of the good portable titles never get localized, and since the PS3 never got Tales of Vesperia in the US (oh what a shame), I haven’t really had the opportunity.
Hearing of the Tales of Graces F localization, I was curious but not sold just from hearing it was coming stateside. After reading up on it, I still wasn’t quite convinced. Not until I downloaded the ToGf demo for my Japanese PSN account and experienced the greatness for myself.
The demo starts off in the middle of a random cutscene, which I’m guessing is deep into the adventure. Really deep in fact, because once you gain control of the full party in a magical forest, everyone’s level is around 65. You get to explore a small labyrinth in the trees, facing off against forest critters along the way. The battle system is fast and fluid, almost no loading or lag was experienced. From what I’ve heard the Graces battle system is a lot different than other Tales games. I’ve only experienced a handful myself, but this claim definitely seems to be true. While it’s very basic, it still requires you to think about your actions. Button mashing will kill most enemies, but some of the stronger ones you need to block and evade attacks and dish out some high damage with Artes to take them down.
Since you have control of the full party, I replayed this tiny forest area about a dozen times. Switched my party leader and four man team outside of battle to see how each character plays. While the general style is the same, each character has different ranged attacks that made playing as them all quite fun. Along the way you discover a bunch of treasure chests that contain various things, such as powerful new weapons and even food. The new weapons I got seemed to be random, but you can equip them and instantly see a difference. I imagine this was done just to show what you’ll experience in the full game.
After finding your way through the short maze, a boss battle triggers against a large dragon. It was fairly simple but definitely had more time to practice fighting since the dragon had a lot of HP. After you take him down the demo abruptly ends, leaving you desperately wanting more. I guess that’s how demos are designed (for the most part), to showcase the game’s features then quickly take it away so you want more. Also want to mention the music was lovely, nothing too dramatic in the demo but after hearing some of it I know that I’ll love the whole OST. It really complemented the game as I was playing.
Overall the demo was a good taste of the game. Screenshots, videos, and reviews don’t seem to do this game justice. You need to play it for yourself to truly get the feel. I’ve had it preordered for a bit but wasn’t anticipating it too much; but now I simply cannot wait to play more of Tales of Graces f!