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Tales of Destiny 2 - Retroview

Battles Ahead!

By: Solon


Review Breakdown
   Battle System 10
   Interface 8
   Music/Sound 6
   Originality 7
   Plot 7
   Localization 3
   Replay Value 8
   Visuals 9
   Difficulty Average
   Time to Complete

30-50 Hours

 
Overall
9
Criteria

Tales of Destiny 2
 

   The Tales series has now taken a great step forward. Move aside, Namco has returned with Tales of Destiny 2, a sequel far better than any of the previous tales. With a cast of a little too few characters, this game will take you on a truly unforgettable adventure (with a beautiful anime intro!).

   The main thing you'll actually concentrate on in Tales of Destiny 2 is the battle system. It's totally fantastic. The battles are in 2D, sort of like a fighting game, where the characters can run from one side to another beating up enemies with weapons and spells. The game isn't turn-based, as everybody can move freely and attack as much as they want. Although, spells take some time to cast, and the characters are vulnerable during the casting-time. Also, if the spellcasters are hit when they are about to cast a spell, that spell is canceled and you have to cast it all over again. Therefore you might want to place your mages further back on the screen while the fighters run ahead and soften up the enemies.

   The almighty summons found in many RPGs aren't left out of the game either. On your quest you gain a lot of these summons (called Craymels). Each Craymel is attached to one of the mages in a Craymel cage, and brings some spells with him/her. When the Craymel levels up it can learn more spells for the character to use. Also, if you have many Craymels, you can "Fringe" them to create better and more powerful spells. This is sort of a mini-game itself, and there's a lot of fun experimenting with it. Preferably, you only control one of the characters in battle, and pick a strategy (such as Cover Me, Attack Flying Enemy etc, similar to the ones in Star Ocean for those of you who played it) for the others.


Hey, it's Ifrit! Efreet! Whatever!
Hey, it's Ifrit! Efreet! Whatever!  

   Also, if you want to play an RPG with your friends, Tales of Destiny 2 is the game for you. Up to four players can play this game at the same time, each one controlling one character in the party. This may become a little chaotic though (everyone running in different directions etc) but it's still a lot of fun. This might come as a small detail (or old news) for most people, but I found the healing-items really special. There is the basic heal item found in any RPG, but this time it doesn't heal a certain amount of HP. Instead, it heals a certain percent of the characters HP, so this item will always stay in your inventory and prove useful. I even found this very useful in the final boss fight.

   There are tons of skills and weapons in this game, and they just keep coming. I sometimes was a little short of money in the game, because of all the new stuff I had to buy in each town. I don't know about you, but I never want to sell the older equip/items. I like collecting them, and it looks better with a lot of stuff in the inventory...heh. The characters can gain skills by using the older ones and combine them together to come up with new ones etc. Later in the game, your party will surely have enough spells to fill the whole screen, everything will be total overkill. In some battles at the end of the game I even had problem seeing my party due to all the spell-effects.

   The inventory and item system is great and easy to use. There's a lot to choose from, such as adjusting the strategy of those characters you aren't controlling, cooking, formation change, and all the usual equip change/item use etc. It's all very smooth and simple, just the way most people want it. Unfortunately, the soundtrack is not really that good. I like the battle music, and many of the boss-themes were great. But the rest of the tracks are quite dull, especially the happy tunes played in cities and on the world map. Sound effects were great though, especially those coming from the really powerful spells.

   I'd say that Tales of Destiny 2 is an original game. Few have a similar battle system, and the plot has some pretty cool turns towards the end. You play the hunter Reid. He is a stubborn young kid living in a small village with his best friend Fara. The two know nothing about the outside world, until one day when a strange aircraft crash-lands outside their village. Reid and Fara discover the aircraft and get to meet Meredy, the pilot. They can't understand anything she says, and every sound she makes sounds REALLY strange. After a while, they get to know that she is from Celestia (the neighbor planet), and she is there to tell them about something terrible that is going to happen. This is the start of a long adventure covering three discs, mainly focusing on discovering the mystery behind the connecting between Celestia and Eternia.


CG is rare, but beautiful
CG is rare, but beautiful  

   The graphics in ToD2 are great for being on PlayStation. The cities and castles are all smooth and beautiful, while some dungeons can be quite monotonous. What I liked most was the spell effects though; many of them were really stunning. This is not just a detail for most people, as you often get tired of slow battles with dull attacks over and over again. Instead, Namco delivered us total action. And believe me; you WILL use the Dark bottle-item to increase the encounter-rate just to see some more of this action. At least I did. The only thing I can really complain on in this game is the localization. It's really bad. I just said I was surprised over this, as everything else in this game is so good. The voice-actors are terrible! If you ask me, most of the scenes were ruined because of this. What a total lack of empathy. I wonder, was it that bad in the Japanese version as well? I doubt it though; it can't get much worse than this. The overall grammar and spelling wasn't a problem though. At least nothing I started laughing at (*cough*).

I haven't had the time to play through this game more than once, but I'm planning on playing it once again as soon as I can. Its plain fun and I recommend it to anyone who loves nice spell effects and beautiful sword skills combined with a wonderfully told story. There are a lot of sidequests as well. Many of them are actually really long, taking up to 2-3 hours to finish. There are secret Craymels to find, legendary swords to create, some difficult dungeons to find, and a huge secret dungeon with an extra boss to finish off. The game itself isn't that hard either; it can be completed in around 30-35 hours for the average gamer, and a little more if you're a beginner. No leveling up was actually needed at any place in the game. Although, if you want to level up and finish off all of the extra-dungeons and find every item/weapon, you'll probably be stuck with this game for 60-70 hours or more.

What's there to say? Get this game. Once you have it, you'll be stuck with it for days. You'll play until your body forces you to sleep.




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