I just started playing Tales of Graces F. It’s not bad; so far I like it better than any of the other Tales games I’ve played. Oh look, a miraculous girl with amnesia and strange powers :)
The combat system so far is easy but fun, consistent with past Tales games, but more fluid, with no need for grinding to level, and almost no need for grinding to acquire “crafting” materials, of which there are many. Money is actually a limited resource, though some of the crafting recipes craft salable but otherwise useless items, so it’s easy enough to turn time into money if you really want to.
My only technical criticism so far is that some of the “dungeons” are large enough that a map would be handy, and the only map available is a more or less useless world map.
This is the first tales game i’ve actually put some time in to, but i do like jrpgs.
I generally like it, but some things i don’t like:
-some of the maps involve you going through maze like areas that all look the same. These are hell because you keep going in circles and everything looks the same.
-I don’t like the loot system. The game seems based around everything you kill dropping useless crap. You can use the “crafting” system to merge useless crap in to mediocre crap. Then you can merge the mediocre crap in to unknown crap. Then you can… An hour later you have something decent, maybe. Too many clicks and too much of a black box. This could have been much simpler and more effective. Monster drops 3 purple essence. Crafting a gem of protection takes 6 purple essence and 3 green essence. Simple, easy to understand and only takes a single conversion from dropped tokens to actual loot. Yes, the current system is a bit more realistic seeming, but it just doesn’t work out too well gameplay wise.
I do like the feeling of exploring a mapless dungeon so long as there aren’t absolutely critical hidden items that it would kill you to overlook, but merely navigating around a large samey mapless dungeon after your first time through can be very tedious. For example the Barona castle is very self-similar with few distinctive rooms, making it easy to get lost, and I’m sure I missed some stuff in that ruin with the floaty platforms.
Assuming the lack of mapping was a deliberate design decision, to support that decision they either should have more art objects, more level-design-time spent placing the art objects they had, or more distinctive lighting and layout variations; but no doubt that is where they ran into budget issues and they made do with what they had.
One thing to keep in mind (and which shows once you start watching for it) is that this was originally a Wii game and was designed for the hardware limitations that were present. The post-game content in ToGF is new to the PS3 version and would accordingly be more likely to have a good deal of diversity in art assets. The fact that they were developing for the Wii may also have led, by extension, to budget issues when compared with something like Tales of Vesperia.
I stalled out around the 35 hour mark and still have a decent chunk of the main game left to play out. I’m sure I’ll get back to it soon but I’m on something of a PC kick right now that just won’t let me drag myself back to the console yet.