As Tales of Graces' release in Japan approaches, Namco Bandai has given out a number of interesting tidbits about the game.
Seven playable characters have been revealed, and it is likely that they compose the full roster of playable characters.
Asbel Lhant: The game's main protagonist, Asbel is a young nobleman who is training as a knight, honing his swordsmanship skills.
Sophie: Sophie is an amnesiac girl, who does not remember her real name. Asbel has named her Sophie after a flower that has significance to his life.
Hubert Ozwell: Hubert is Asbel's younger brother. He is a serious young man who is a member of the military.
Cheria Barnes: Cheria is the granddaughter of Asbel's family's butler. She appears to be a magic user, and secretly has feelings for Asbel.
Pascal: This feisty-looking girl uses a long pole in battle.
Malik Ceasars: The oldest member of the group, Malik wields an oversized weapon that may be a gunblade.
Richard: Richard is a young prince and a good friend of Asbel. Like Asbel, he is a swordsman.
Tales of Graces adds new features to the popular Tales series battle system. While previous games allowed players to attack enemies straight on or use a free movement button to run around the battlefield, Graces adds a "step around" command that can be used to easily flank enemies. It also features a critical hit gauge that fills up when a character hits an enemy and empties when the character is hit. By filling the bar completely, a character gains a critical hit and a "CC Point". CC points are use for executing Artes, which are characters' special attacks.
Finally, character titles in Tales of Graces are more than cosmetic frills. Titles are associated with skills, some of which can only be used with specific titles, and others which can be used permanently once mastered.
Tales of Graces is expected to be released before the end of 2009 in Japan. It has not been officially confirmed for a North American release.