Note: This review will contain Major Spoilers for Tales of Crestoria, Tales of Zestiria, and Tales of Graces F.
This’ll be more of a “stream of consciousness” type of review, because I’m not sure how I feel about this game. More precisely, I’m unsure if I can say the positives and negatives outweigh each other with this game. It’s a very good game and the point system to continue playing the game is certainly much faster than Dx2: SMT Liberation. I fear that I’m unable to really review this game without comparing it to Dx2: SMT Liberation because of how similar they are as free turn-based mobile games.
The story so far is comparable to some of the best Tales of Series games and blows other mobile game stories like Dx2: SMT Liberation away completely. This is the most significant advantage that Tales of Crestoria has over Dx2: SMT Liberation. Tales of Crestoria essentially takes the general character tropes of previous Tales characters that were complete flops and vastly improves upon them. The integration of other Tales of Series characters given their own unique stories instead of being forced into stories in a contrived manner, such as the first Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology game, offers a much better experience for me because it feels like an actual story that focuses on character development and plot. Instead of the annoying contrived stories where events don’t make sense and are barely given any explanation on how canon Tales characters are sent to a different world, the Tales of Series characters are given new backgrounds somewhat similar to their canon selves which provide a better amount of worldbuilding and emphasizes their personal motivations in their own segments of their respective stories. For me, this is much more satisfying because it provided far more engaging stories. The protagonist, Kanata, feels like Sorey from Tales of Zestiria’s character and personality done right. I’ve been informed that Tales of Zestiria’s Sorey was suppose to reflect a village bumpkin getting in way over his head by the outside world’s politics. This was poorly reflected in Tales of Zestiria because Rose, the surprise female heroine of the game, would bail him out of morally ambiguous situations by making the decisions for him before he could even act. We would get some empty pabulum with Sorey feeling anguish before he’d completely forget about what happened in the very next scene and be all smiles with Rose by the next morning. Kanata is forced into a situation far beyond his worst imagination when he learns that his own father, who dotes on him and does sincerely love him, is not actually a compassionate caretaker of the orphanage that he operates. It is revealed that Kanata’s father is a child slave trafficker and all of the “hard work” that he’s been doing to find “families” for the orphaned children of their village has actually been a ruse to sell male children into slave labor for different assortment of clients and to sell the female orphans into sexual slavery for primarily rich clienteles. The shock is worsened when Kanata asks how his father could do such a despicable act, whereby his father cheerfully explains that he feels the orphans owe him their lives because he used his own resources to provide for them and gave them a purpose instead of looking the other way to let them die in the streets of their village. The argument is a truly horrific and tragic one; Kanata’s father enslaving male children into slave labor and female children into sexual slavery is “owed” because the only other option was for them to die anyway. It’s a disturbing reflection of children feeling gratitude towards their parents or parental figures. Misella, the heroine of the game, is essentially a much better written Cheria from Tales of Graces F. Whereas Cheria randomly decided to devote her entire life to Asbel when they were ten years of age, Misella grew-up an orphan with the only positive in her life being Kanata. She dreaded when she was old enough to be chosen for some rich family from Kanata’s father’s clientele list to be turned into a sex slave for the rest of her life. It makes complete sense for an orphan girl like Misella to latch onto the only positive element in her entire life, whereas it never did for Cheria. In a fit of blind rage and possibly insanity, Kanata murders his father in cold blood specifically to save Misella’s life; Asbel abandoned Cheria for seven years and never even thought of her. Kanata tells Misella to run and takes all the responsibility for his actions; Asbel kept running away until the plot conveniently gave him purpose thanks to being best friends with a prince and an amnesiac space-alien. I could go on raving about Tales of Crestoria’s story thus far, but I’ll stop here. Needless to say, all the “boring” set-up in the beginning of each arc has an amazingly satisfying payoff in each chapter. The story went above and beyond my highest expectations. However, the major and perhaps dealbreaking drawback to all of this is that it isn’t finished yet. It stops at Part 7 of Chapter 5 as I was disappointed to find out. I had assumed the main story was complete already like Dx2: SMT Liberation, but it seems we have to wait for it to be finished. The game provides side story content that fleshes out the worldbuilding of Crestoria itself such as Cress, who acts as Kanata’s Sword instructor, having a side-story where he meets Emil and Marta. Emil’s condition with Ratatosk is given an alternative in-universe explanation, which helps flesh out certain disturbing details for a Crestoria character you meet later in the main story of the game. Overall, this is the most fantastic part of the game, but it stops at Chapter 5 as of this writing.
The gameplay feels like a slightly less interesting version of Dx2: SMT Liberation. This game is turn-based unlike mainline Tales gameplay. You have SR and SSR characters. SR characters come with three movesets and SSR version come with three movesets plus a finisher attack that you can do when their overlimit gauge maxes out. Unlike Dx2: SMT Liberation, where friend characters appear alongside your full party, Tales of Crestoria has the friend character be playable and replaces your fourth slot party member with their character. I disliked the gameplay at first, but then I realized I had done so many things stupidly wrong. I felt ashamed. I hadn’t known about the Training feature until way late into the game’s Chapter 5. I had been giving away all my Gald to my Guild because I hadn’t known what to do with it during that time. It wasn’t until I accidentally happened upon Training Mode in the skills section that I understood that I could use items I accumulated to level up certain characters. The story enemies felt annoyingly harsh in their difficulty spikes and it wasn’t until I realized I could auto-train my characters to skip past multiple levels that I realized why. Before that, I had thought the game was trying to force me into paying to win, but that surprisingly turned out to be my own ignorance on how the gameplay worked. The fault was mine. I definitely prefer learning on the fly to Dx2: SMT Liberation’s irritating tutorial system. I was initially miffed about the summoning Tales of Series character feature. They allow you one free SSR summon in the beginning of the game, but the rest seem to cost a lot. Although, I’ve heard many people usually end-up getting Stahn as an SSR later on. You can summon either a memoria stone (which is a stat item for gameplay purposes) or an SR or SSR character and their specific memoria stone via using the summoning feature. Using 250 gems allows you to summon one of those at a time (not each, just one). Using the 10x option of 2500 gem stones yields 10 summons of any of those. I was miffed that after doing two 10x summons, I kept getting Tales characters or Memoria stones that I had already which didn’t get me any new characters. However, on the more recent Dhaos limited-time event. I was surprised to have obtained Dhaos on my first try with the 10x option. The summoning system in this game definitely feels harsher than Dx2: SMT Liberation since summoning the same Tales characters gets you nothing besides an extra memoria stone. While you can use those to level up the same type of memoria stone, it’s still a letdown in my opinion.
The music is average. I don’t really have much to say on that. I do enjoy the characters, but I’ll wait on judging them until their stories are relatively complete. I do enjoy them though. There are other modes one can do besides story mode; Gald quests, guild-monster quests where you aid your guild members or random people in taking down boss-style monsters with large HP, limited Tales of series quests separate from side-stories, and memoria refining or leveling power quests that have daily time limits. Overall, I am enjoying it, but my main motivation with this game is definitely its story so I’ll probably play on and off for the login bonuses until the story is complete and I can finish it. I don’t know what to rate it as a definite rating, so as a tentative rating as of its current state . . .
4 / 5