The Tales series has always thumbed its nose at RPG traditions. Wildly popular in Japan, Tales hasn’t pierced the West in the same way that franchises like Final Fantasy have, though many of its titles remain in the pantheon of the best JRPGs. We’re counting down the 14 mainline titles released in North America — plus two released in Japan — in this guide to the best Tales games.
For those unfamiliar with the series, Tales games feature real-time combat in the style of a fighting game that’s set in the framework of an RPG. The traditions of a good JRPG are still present, though, including dense character progression, a grand narrative, and a cast of interesting characters. With the two combined, the Tales games provide a break from the monotonous gameplay that often comes from JRPGs.
So, get your mystic arte ready for this ranking of the top Tales games.
Similar to Xillia, Tales of Graces f isn’t a landmark game in the series, but still includes enough to be among the best. The story isn’t as thrilling, with you following a swordsman who befriends an amnesiac, but it’s still charming and lighthearted. This is a character story focused on friendship, and although the scale isn’t as grand as some other Tales games, it’s still a journey worth taking.
Tales of Xillia 2 directly follows the events of the first game, though you take control of a different protagonist. Ludger Krenik, the silent character you play as, can travel between parallel dimensions to keep the world he calls home in balance. Xillia 2 also offers an extended look at the cast of characters in the first game.
The expanded take on the story is a little too expanded, though. The game sags a lot in the midsection, with a lot of backtracking and fetch quests. Still, Xillia 2 features the same combat system as the first game, with an interesting overall plotline.
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