I wanted to provide a quick update for those of you interested in hearing my thoughts on Tales of Graces f and its localization.
I don’t want to judge the whole game before I’ve experienced the whole game, but I’m far enough in that I can provide some initial feedback. First of all, there is no player’s guide for ToGf, so I still don’t know what has become of Luca,
Xing, and Hisui. I’m very curious, so if anyone has obtained Magic Carta No. 57, 63, or 65, please snap some pictures and send them my way. UPDATE: Kajitani-Eizan tells me that the Hearts characters are Shing, Amber, and Jadeite. Maybe the localization team members are Absolute Zero readers? Oh, one interesting side note is that they are sticking with Claus for ToP’s eccentric summoner.
So, should you buy Tales of Graces f? If you have a PS3 and you’re a Tales fan, the answer is most certainly yes. If you don’t have a PS3 but you enjoy Japanese games, the answer is still yes. The PS3 has a great library of games, so while I wouldn’t suggest you buy one JUST for Graces, I would think you can find enough other titles to make it worth the purchase. If none of the above describe you, uh, hi. Welcome to my blog. …What are you doing here?
So you’ve bought the game. Let’s talk more specifically about Graces. Tales of Graces is not my favorite title in the Tales series. It’s probably smack dab in the middle. The battle system is great and it makes the game fun to play. The story leaves a lot to be desired. The main main characters – Asbel, Hubert, Cheria, and Sophie – are quite one-dimensional to me (yes, even for Tales characters). I was hoping that the localization might help to improve some of their characterization, but thus far, it has not. Thankfully, Pascal and Malik are there to bring a little depth (and awesome) to the party. Overall, I’d say the characters in Graces break even. The story is a big cliche cheesefest (and not the good kind like Tales of Hearts). There’s really no fixing it, but it doesn’t get in the way and it’s no worse than the scenarios presented by other games in the series.
Finally, my initial reaction to the localization is mixed. The technical stuff like town names, character names, item names, and general terminology is pretty well done. I’m not sure about Artes as they require a little closer scrutiny. Thus far, they’ve picked natural terminology that gives some depth to the Graces world. My opinion of the dialogue is less positive. In general, the game feels a little rough around the edges for an 8-4 project. I’ve come to expect high quality from them based on their past work, but Graces feels like it might have been a little rushed. It’s just not up to their usual standard. It’s still good, it’s just not as good. One particular issue I have is with the voice acting, something that I can hardly blame a translator for. I can read the text itself and see exactly how the translator meant the line to be spoken based on my experience with the Japanese game. Unfortunately, it seems like nobody sat down with the voice actors to explain some of these subtleties. At best, this results in a few awkward lines here and there, but at worst, it sometimes feels like two characters are having completely different conversations. I think the fault here probably lies with the director. Someone needed to have a clear vision of what each scene should sound like, and that doesn’t appear to have happened.
That’s what I think so far in a nutshell. Knowing what I do now, I would not hesitate to purchase this game again. I hope that all Tales fans will join me in supporting the localization of the Tales series by buying Graces. It’s probably not going to be the best experience you’ve ever had with a Tales game, but it’s a fun game and I don’t think you’ll feel it was a waste of your time or money. If I have more thoughts on the localization as I play, I’ll be sure to share them.