Namco’s answer to Dissidia
|So it’s been a while since I’ve reviewed anything game-wise. I blame that on Hiiro no Kakera since it was so needlessly long and boring that I gave up the will to otome game. Instead, I turned to this game since beating the crap out of things on games gives me a sense of self satisfaction that dating fictional men doesn’t. …Yep. The things I admit on this website.|
So since Namco has a ton of Tales of series under their name, what better way to make more money than a crossover? Enter Twin Braves. This game takes 2 of the protagonists from every Tales series and crosses them over with each other in battle. Instead of using the encounter system though and having to deal with enemies one at a time, there are now mobs all over the map and you’re free to run or fight as you please as long as the path doesn’t require you to kill enemies to open.
I was wondering how the hell I was going to find 30 consistent pieces of character art and photoshop them together to make this easier, but it turns out that someone has already done something similar for me:
It’s even in chronological game order too.
So, in order of the columns, left to right:
- Tales of Phantasia: Cress Albane (top), Chester Burklight (bottom)
- Tales of Destiny: Stahn Aileron (top), Leon Magnus (bottom)
- Tales of Eternia: Reid Hershel (top), Farah Oersted (bottom)
- Tales of Destiny 2: Kyle Dunamis (top), Reala (…you get it by now)
- Tales of Symphonia: Lloyd Irving, Zelos Wilder
- Tales of Rebirth: Veigue Lungberg, Tytree Crowe
- Tales of Legendia: Senel Coolidge, Chloe Valens
- Tales of the Abyss: Luke fon Fabre, Guy Cecil
- Tales of the Tempest: Caius Qualls, Rubia Natwick
- Tales of Innocence: Ruka Milda, Spada Belforma
- Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of a New World (or Knight of Ratatosk in Jap): Emil Castagnier, Marta Lualdi
- Tales of Vesparia: Yuri Lowell, Flynn Scifo
- Tales of Hearts: Shing Meteoryte, Amber (Kohak) Hearts
- Tales of Graces: Asbel Lhant, Cheria Barnes
- Tales of Xilla: Jude Mathis, Milla Maxwell
…That took up way more space then it should have, but yeah, those are your playable characters.
Story mode was pretty simple. Basically, you chose a character and the storyline would have something to do with the game plot that the character came from. Your partner is AI controlled and basically you run around on a map killing mobs to open doors until you get to the boss, which was either one of the teams from a different game or one of three villains (Elraine from Tales of Destiny 2, Schwartz from Tales of Legendia or Duke from Tales of Vesparia) depending on where you are in the storyline (you can also unlock them as playable characters as well). Over the storyline, you did this 5 times and need characters unlock as you finish a character in story mode. Also, once you finished a serious storyline for a series, a comedy route would open up where you could play as the partner. As for content, all of the stories seemed to either revolve around the World Tree from Symphonia/Phantasia or the Eternal Sword (the most stereotypical RPG sword name EVER) from the same games. …Needless to say, when your objective in 15 different stories is almost the exact same thing, things get boring fast.
The comedy routes were okay (some of the puns went way over my head), but I found that quite a few relied on the same gimmick the entire way through. Team A would say something that made Team B mad in a misunderstanding and a battle would ensue. Repeat for about 4 more times. …As far as I could tell, neither the serious or the comedy stories had any continuity with one another.
Story mode overall was… weird. Since they took out 80% of the protagonist’s love interests (if they even existed), the playable character selection and partners was pretty much all male characters (22 guys to 8 girls, that’s like an 2.75:1 ratio). To make matters even weirder, they tried to develop the characters in the span of maybe 20 minutes of dialogue altogether so the character development was mostly forced by the partner.
I’ll take an example I know more about and explain part of Luke and Guy’s storyline. It followed the original game, Tales of the Abyss, with Luke being a whiney bitch until the end, but since Tear/Asche/everyone else is out of the picture, Luke’s whole reason for cutting his hair and becoming a better person is allll because Guy says that he’ll never leave or betray Luke and that they can bear their sins together. In short, bromance. This game had copious amounts of bromance. Everywhere. It was undeniable. You can’t imagine my surprise that Kyle was actually Stahn’s son since I was convinced that Stahn was gay for Leon. There were good things about the shortness though since in Emil’s story, we got to skip past 99% of his whiney indecisiveness (not to mention Richter wasn’t there, so we got to skip the bromance subplot. (I mean, I love Richter and all, but his cockblocking was infuriating in the game)) and his problems with Marta were solved by her saying “Sorry, I’ll stop forcing my ideals on you.” If only it were that fast in the actual game.
Do you like beating mobs mercilessly? Do you like pairing two otherwise completely unrelated characters together in unlikely situations in order to feed your unquenchable shipping fetish? …Do you like making gald really quickly? Then the Tournament Mode is for you! Basically you fight three rounds to get to the top. Each round consists of a platform of regenerating mobs and plus the team you’re up against and you just have to hack and slash your way though. It’s a hell of a lot shorter than story mode and the rewards are pretty good. I just had fun beating the crap out of things.
…I didn’t go that deep into this one. Mostly it was just mini games with a set character with a set skill set where the objective would be something like “kill 100 enemies in a set amount of time!” and then you do your best to keep beating your highest score. Score attack. Not my thing.
You can replay the maps you’ve already completed, but you can pick your teams. Score attack. Not my thing.
Well this was a given, but it was really cool how the characters in this game had the same kind of fighting moves as they did in their own title. The swords slashes, the blocking, the techniques and etc, they were all the same. Of course, this was probably just the same model data copy-pasted from their old game, but it was a great nostalgia trip either way. The graphics were hugely improved from the old games like Symphonia as well, but that’s also a given. Story wise, I thought the interaction between characters from different series was great. From what I know from the few series I have played, they kept things fun without changing the character’s personalities. The interaction flowed really well.
As for other things, if you see from the screencaps, there was a lot of English in there and all of the Japanese I encountered was super easy for me to understand. Though even if you didn’t understand it, you could probably just figure out the controls on your own. They were super straightforward.
While it was fun to run around killing things, I have to say that the combat system… sucked. Arial combat was a complete mess since you couldn’t change directions midair after you jumped. Sure, it sounds like a small thing, but it got really old really fast on the levels with floating mobs. You had to try to position yourself correctly AND THEN jump/attack all while 20 of the floating things were firing at you. The repetitiveness with the gameplay also sucked. The objective was always the same.
Another con is that I am extremely doubtful that this will ever get an English release. Why am I doubtful? Well first of all, half of these games don’t even have an official English release and are extremely unlikely to get one unless someone feels like bringing back the PS2. Secondly, let’s look at the voice cast by the most recent English dub that’s happened for the character:
Characters voiced by Johnny Yong Bosch:
- Cress Albane
- Guy Cecil
- Emil Castagnier
Characters voiced by Laura Bailey:
- Marta Lualdi
- Cheria Barnes
Characters voiced by Sam Rigel:
- Reid Hershal
- Flynn Scifo
…Yeah. I imagine this would be hard to dub and keep consistent with the rest of the series (though if Bosch kept all of his roles, I’m sure he’d be making good money from this… Though I’m not entirely sure how voice actors are paid). Sure, they could just hire new voice actors, but I still remember how awkward Lloyd and Zelos’ voice transitions were between games 1 and 2. Sure the voices in game 2 were closer to the original Japanese voices, but Shiloh Strong made Zelos just that much sexier in the original -cough-.
Overall, the game was entertaining. It’s not something I recommend trying to finish 100% in a week since it’s extremely repetitive, but it’s decent in small doses.