Tales of Hearts R
Developed By Bandai Namco Studios/7th Chord
Published By Bandai Namco Games
” Kor Meteor doesn’t try. Kor Meteor DOES ”
The story follows Kor Meteor, a young man trying to follow in his grandfathers footsteps as a Somatic, a warrior who can cure people of a disease known as despir, after finally surpassing his grandfather in skill, Kor finds a young girl washed up on the shores of his village, after waking her, she tells Kor that her name is Kohaku Hearts and that she is trying to find a Soma (The weapon of a Somatic) Kor tells her that there is one nearby at his mothers grave, on the way to the grave site, Kor and Kohaku come across Hisui who is Kohaku’s brother, initially skeptical about Kor, Hisui accompanies them to the grave site, after finding the Soma, the group encounter the witch Incarose, who was pursuing Kohaku and Hisui, after Kors grandfather shows up to protect them, Incarose defeats him easily and implants a mysterious creature inside of Kohaku’s spiria core (Basically her soul), after escaping from Incarose, Kor realizes that Kohaku has a severe case of Despir, being a novice as a Somatic, Kor attempts to cure her, however he accidentally manages to shatter her Spiria core, this makes Kohaku lose all her emotions that made up her personality, Kor and Hisui find out that if they can find the pieces of Kohaku’s Spiria core then they can restore her to the person she was before, so Kor, Hisui and Kohaku set out to find Kohaku’s missing Spiria pieces to help her return to her former self once again.
So the game has a pretty basic plot like most Tales games but in this games case the simpler the better, I find that the games simple goal makes it a enjoyable experience. Of course like all Tales games Hearts R has a decent variety of cast members, Kor is your standard hero character who will pretty much risk his life for someone he met 10 minutes ago, Gall who is the veteran Somatic of the group, being the wisest and always giving sound advice, or Beryl who is pretty much there for comic relief. One thing I have to say is that I feel they did a bit of a poor job with Kohaku in general, at first she is a very likeable and interesting character, however after losing her emotions, all of this is taken away, this wouldn’t be that much of a problem but when retrieving her emotion shards you seem to get all the bad ones first, Fear, Sorrow, Shyness etc, which just make her a bit of an annoyance in the first parts of the game, overall though I can’t really say anything bad in general about the story.
The Tales Of series is well known for it’s fast paced and exciting combat, when entering a battle, you can either move around the fighting area freely or stick to straight line while locked on to an enemy, you can use basic attacks by pressing the X button which can be chained multiple times for a combo, you can also use Artes with O which consist of spells and physical skills or both depending on the character you’re using, you can equip many different Artes to your character to deal with many situations and you can actually combo them really well. A new feature this game has is the Chase link system you can eventually knock the enemy around the fight area, teleporting to him and continuing to deal continuous damage, I am still in shock by how cool this is, when put together, these combos can look incredible, this feature alone makes this games combat my favorite in the series, beating Graces F which is quite some feat. As with pretty much any RPG, you can level up using points that you can put into certain attributes which increase your stats and unlock new moves and abilities, this leveling system is okay, however I prefer Tales of Xillia’s sphere grid style level system but that’s just my personal preference, in general I do like Heart’s leveling system, it’s very simple and enjoyable. You can also buy items and Armor but unfortunately you cant buy Weapons as you get them from leveling up, this basically kept leaving me with loads of money and nothing to spend it on. Finally I’ll move on to one of my favorite things about this game besides the combat, which is the exploration, gone are the connecting areas from Graces F and Xillia and returning is the World Map very similar to Symphonia, I LOVE this feature as I feel most JRPG’s are too linear in today’s world and this game proves that the old ways are still much better.
Personally I feel this is the game only real flaw, the soundtrack is pretty poor and a lot of the music is pretty annoying in general, thankfully the battle themes are pretty good particularly Chalcedony’s battle theme and the normal battle theme. Voice Acting wise the game disappointed me before I even started playing as I knew the game would be Japanese Dub with English Subtitles, personally I wasn’t too bothered by it at first but as the game went on characters like Beryl and Kohaku who either are incredibly high pitched or talk too slow, I found myself skipping some dialogue thinking they had finished speaking, whether or not the reason for not having an English dub was because of the Vita’s memory space or other reasons, I really hope this does not continue in other Tales games.
In general the Tales games have never been the best when it comes to music or Voice acting, however if I were to pick the worst of the bunch I’d say this one takes home the gold.
Considering the original Tales of Hearts was on DS and in 2D, Hearts R is a full remake and a great one at that, everything is pretty much like the PS3 Tales games, overall the graphics are just great, environments are varied and pretty, characters look good and the Anime styled pictures and cutscenes all look fantastic.
So overall no complaints in the graphics section and I would even argue that this game looks better than Graces F and keep in mind that this is a remake which makes it all that more impressive.
The Lasting Appeal
Tales of Hearts is decently long for Tales game, spanning around 30-40 hours depending on whether you do the side quests 20-25 if you rush through and 60-80 if you want to do everything, the game has a lot of side quests and content to keep you busy and as always there are trophies to collect.
Overall Tales of Hearts R is a brilliant addition to the Tales franchise, having not played the original due to it only being released in Japan, it was worth the wait, the combat is fantastic and the story is simple and enjoyable, along with there being a good amount of content included in the game, if you have a PS Vita pick up this game as soon as possible and if you are a fan of the Tales series consider buying a Vita, games like Tales of Hearts R and Persona 4 Golden are testament to how the Vita can do well, And I thank Namco for releasing this gem.
My Score – 9.8/10
- Enjoyable Story
- Mind Blowing Combat
- Great Content
- Very Pretty Graphics
- WORLD MAP HAS RETURNED!!!
- Japanese Only Dub
- Unmemorable Soundtrack
Tales of Hearts R is available now for the Playstation Vita. Thanks go to Namco Bandai for supplying the assets used in this review and be sure to stay tuned to both UGNN & My YouTube Channel; Tenacious Tea Gaming. Be sure to let me know what you thought of this review in the comments section below and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Review By Jonnie Dixon