Review : Tales of Hearts R

Tales of Hearts R | Cero B | Namco Bandai Games | PSVITA

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Tales of Hearts R is the “re-imagination” of Tales 11th mothership titles, ported to PSVITA. The original is for Nintendo DS. By re-imagination, there are some parts changed and enhanced including CG, anime cutscenes, cut in images, and of course battle system.

A short introduction, in ToH-R world (which name I don’t think has ever been mentioned in the ENTIRE game), there are monsters named Zerom that could eat people’s hearts or in the game called as Spiria. Therefore, special weapons called Soma, were built to destroy Zerom. Zerom usually invades people’s hearts and it’s called as “desvil sickness” Soma users could Spir-link (going into people’s hearts) and go to their Spir-Maze. Usually deep inside their spir-maze, soma users will find the true heart of the owner and destroy the zerom from inside.

Story

SPOILER ALERT YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED

ToH-R sets our protagonist, Shing Meteoryte (CV. Kakihara Tetsuya) to help a girl he met, Kohak Hearts (CV. Inoue Marina) and her brother Hisui Hearts (CV. Matsukaze Masaya) to retrieve Kohak’s spirune that has been shattered across the world. He tried to fix it after they were attacked by Incaross, a female mage who has been chasing the Hearts siblings, but it ended up getting messed up because he met the so called emerald haired Nemuri Hime (ねむり姫, literally sleeping princess) from the story book he usually read, Richea Spodune (CV. Shimizu Kaori), inside Kohak’s spir-maze. Shing decided to do a journey along with Hisui to retrieve Kohak’s spiria although Hisui rejected him at first. So both of them go across the world trying to get back Kohak’s heart while she acts like a dead log for because she has no heart. On top of that, she became really annoying according to which part of spiria they retrieve lol. Midway they met, Galando Grinus (CV. Ishikawa Hideo), who is a soma user himself, Ines Lorentz (CV. Itou Shizuka), a merchant who sell stuffs across the world, including Hisui’s soma, Beryl Benito (CV. Chiba Saeko), an pro painter wannabe, Kunzite (CV. Gouda Hizumi), a mechanical knight made in Quartzia, a guardian of Richea who has an artificial spirune, and lastly Calcedny Arkham (CV. Kamiya Hiroshi), the Church’s guardian and also the royal princess’ knight.

Tales of Hearts R background story is actually like this : 1000 years ago, there lived the people of Quart (結晶人, literally crystal people), an ancient race, in Quartzia, which resided in the white moon. They enjoy putting wars between human. In the end they themselves went on a war which made a certain Quart, Creed Graphite, uses the weapon Gardenia, the black moon, the queen of Zerom, which put all the Quartz race turned into stone. Wanted putting it to stop, Richea’s elder sister, Flora, sealed herself to stop Gardenia. Creed who doesn’t want to lose his lover Flora, fell asleep in Quartzia along with Richea (as enemies) while their souls went into different people, Shing and Kohak respectively. Well actually it’s thanks to Incarros who became Creed’s slave and put his soul into Shing when he was still unborn. Her mom died because Incarros attacked and she sealed her baby so Creed won’t be revived.

Unfortunately for us, Incarros provoked Shing by his hatred and eventually led to Creed’s revival or there will be no story! By the end of Kohak’s spirune revival, it is revealed that Kohak and Richea shattered her spirune by themselves because of Creed’s existence inside Shing when Richea met him the first time. Hisui didn’t accept the fact that Richea has been using his sister’s body like that but eventually everyone agreed to help Richea to fight against Creed and his evil armies to revive the Gardenia once again to unseal Flora!

As usual there are other plots like how the army and church are not in good terms. Calcedny’s background came from there. Most of the unrelated story I didn’t mention are related to the characters. It’s not perfect but I quite enjoy the story of ToHR.

SPOILER ENDS HERE

Characters

We have various of characters as usual and well, not to mention a traitor in every Tales games. It’s classic, really XD I won’t reveal it here. Every characters have their own background although Galando’s bg story is quite shady and I have no idea who the heck he is til now except he’s a soma user who has been traveling for a looonngggg time to destroy zerom and heal desvil disease. Other than that, I really like them specially Calcedny background story with Marine Paraiba (the royal princess) because otp. We have some funny moments and idk why the first time Kohak just has a major crush on Shing and vice versa because he accepted her story with Richea inside her heart unlike her onii-chan. We have some humors like how the group troll the couples like Shing and Kohak, and many more (I won’t spoil it anymore XD) Other background characters such as Calcedny’s companions, and many more. We also have an unrelated psycho chara who seems obsessed with Kunzite. All of the things I’ve mentioned are Tales classics I guess.

As usual Tales have cameo battles with other characters from different Tales. In ToH-R, we can meet Hubert and Pascal from Tales of Graces/f in an adorable Toro and Kuro costumes!

System

During your journey you will travel via foot on world map and go from one city to another. Ships are also available in the islands when it’s necessary to cross them. There are harbor availables. When you clear a certain event, you can fly around the world map!

In ToHR, we don’t need to buy weapons. YES! Save your money only to buy accessories and armors because we don’t need to waste money for dem weapons! ToHR has the system Soma Build, consists of 5 colors and each time the character levels up, he or she will receive SP to increase their Soma. Each color has their own levels, and it gave stats bonus, weapons, skill points, and of course, artes. Basically increasing stats using Soma Build. If anyone who read this played Tales of Xillia, it’s similar to Lillial Orb. Sometimes when you increase 2 of your soma levels, they will shine and you will get other skills or artes.

Like any other Tales games, we have cooking, costumes, attachment, and of course skits. There are some skits that can be obtained after eating a dish, or when they stayed at inn. There are some unvoiced skits, specially when they are showing directions aka we need to go to this city next.

Almost forgot about this but one of the most important in ToH is Spir Link! Like I’ve said before Spir-Link is basically going inside someone’s heart (Spir Maze). You basically go to the Maze, and go to the last point which you will find the real person’s heart (usually portrayed as themselves). At first it was easy but as you go through the story further, the Maze will become longer, not to mention teleport stuffs xD I heard it used to have a time limit for this, but I guess they removed it for ToH-R.

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Talking with a person inside their’s Spir Maze, which is Marin Paraiba’s Spir Maze

Battle System

I don’t know the exact battle system from the first ToH but I’m pretty sure they changed it for this series. They introduced us the so called ARC-LMBS aka Aerial Chase Linear Motion Battle System. First is TC or Technical Counter. This counts how many artes you can use. Every time you use an arte, 1 TC will be used. You can increase TC by choosing your Soma (weapons) and with skill Exceed. TP is also used for artes like other Tales games. Every arte costs TP and the greater the arte, the bigger the TP costs.

First is guard counter, they introduced this in ToI-R and have the same thing installed for ToH-R. Basically when you’re attacking/comboing your enemies, they will turn red and have a certain sound effect that will counter you back. To avoid this you can do a guard counter, which is guarding at the exact same time they’re attacking so you will counter their attack instead and can continue comboing.

The main reason why they called it ARC-LMBS is because of the system “Cross Chase”. When you attack and combo your enemies, a certain blue circle thing will appear and if we use Chase Attack, a gauge will appear on the character, and the enemy will become stunned so you can keep comboing against them, going from land to aerial combos and so on. When the time’s up, the gauge will disappear and you will be out from Chase Mode. During Chase Mode, you can do Chase Link and Chase Finish. Chase Link is basically doing an attack with another party member. When you are in Chase Mode, if another character’s picture blink, you can press their status picture and you will do a Chase Link attack with them. Of course the attack only happens for a moment but when chances appear (aka the picture blinks again), you can always do the attack again. Chase Finish is another thing you can do during Chase Mode. If you want to end your enemy with a more powerful attack, you can do a Chase Finish. But as the name said, you will be out from Chase Mode when you do this so make sure you are careful when doing this! Another great timing to do Chase Finish is when your Chase gauge almost run out 😀

Last but not least is Spir Drive. You can use Spiral Drive to go Overlimit. There are 4 types of Overlimit, respectively from 1 to 4. Every OL has their own benefits, with the number increase, the greater the benefits. Some of them are no TC and TP costs, invicible, and upgrade your status. You can do Mystic Arte (Hi Ougi) when you’re in OL lvl 3 or more, and dual Hi-Ougi in OL lvl 4.

Graphics & Music

I have pros and cons about this actually. Sure they upgrade the graphics suitable for VITA. But at the same time I felt the upgrades are half-assed? They took some anime cutscenes and even the opening straight from the DS and you can see the small resolution in your VITA, which is annoying. Of course they added some new anime cutscenes but it felt really weird watching the first ones from the DS and they have those black areas because they aren’t in the VITA resolutions. Also on one of the cutscenes, we can differs directly which part is changed (because they added new characters) from the DS cutscenes and I’m like loooool you guys srsly. Instead of fixing this, they added a CG anime picture instead. I dunno if this is actually necessary when they can add and fix the anime cutscenes. I mean Innocence R got a new opening, why can’t they do the same with Hearts R? The battle graphics and all are the saving graces for this game but the cutscenes? They felt completely half assed and the new cutscenes are just for a few secs to introduce the character :/ The anime CGs are cute yes I agree, they add more visions of how the event happens but yeaaaaa….. Other than that, the Hi-Ougi cutscenes are crisp and it looks awesome.

Music is good. I heard that they were arranged from the DS versions? Not all of them are great, some of them are mediocre but overall it’s between good and okay.

Conclusion

I have to say despite the minus points for the animated cutscenes, I’m quite happy with my purchase with this game. I also love the battle system because it’s interesting and not as broken as some Tales games xD The remake is good, and additional character like Calcedny and Galando are mostly welcomed. Specially Cal’s because he’s a nice character to use for battle 😀 The dual hi-ougi is also awesome although there are only specific characters to use them but it’s another interesting point for this game. Soma Build is also a cool system. Sure it’s a pain to grind lvls to increase your soma points but it’s not as hard to grind points for Lilial Orb imo. Story is okay although Creed is a bit meh? He’s a cool villain but his motive is just idk? I recommend the game for any Tales fans out there, and of course we know by now an english localization is on the move! Get your asses money and buy this game! although I’m still unsure with the name Kor lmao

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