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 Ranking Favourite Mothership (and Escort) Titles

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PostSubject: Ranking Favourite Mothership (and Escort) Titles   Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:14 am

I found no previous topic ranking more than just first and I recently realized my tastes have changed around in the middle of the list as time goes. So for those who like ranking and listing, join me, add reasons if you want, rank mothership titles in terms of your personal taste, you can parse out by having seperate by story, by characters, by gameplay if you wish. My list will be overall considering all factors for now.

My top 5 have yet to change:

1. Tales of Legendia: It did exceptionally what I look for in games, characterization, character interaction, plot, and aesthetic/minor details, it's not perfect, but it's charms captivate me the most. I could go on and on but I will mention I love that every character gets a good amount of dialogue, that I can say they all have actual overt relationships with each member of the cast, the supporting cast is charming, and that the little things like the characters taking turns writing the synopsis are perfect.

2. Tales of Hearts (with the R additions but not R itself with its cutting of important lines and removal of content, I really don't care for Gal and felt he added next to nothing other than being close to Kunzite): A powerful package of a game, it follows its themes through and once it gets going it is a thoroughly memorable and unique experience. Shing's late game development and the depth of all characterization and development are exceptional, and interactions are strong between the entire group. This game continues what Legendia did perfectly, even doing the synopsis as a shared journal thing. Everything appears to be tropey but then ever so slightly averts or delves more deeply into the themes or events. Nothing feels truly archetypical except for surface character traits and Kunzite's story. Even Kunzite's story feels like more than the basic stuff you get in every anime story or story in general due to his storyline with Anne in the original. (His R one is just the typical basic Cold hot-blooded robot one though). Everything in R is ever so slightly atypical and it's pacing and storytelling ability are lovely, it feels unparalleled. It never drops the ball once it picks it up. I personally didn't feel strongly about the game until meeting Beryl, then I could not put it down.

3. Tales of Vesperia: While the last part is notoriously critiqued, it is a well-rounded enjoyable package that delivers on its promises. I find it to be a genuinely entertaining experience that hits the characterization right on the head of what I want from games. It is the point of Tales I want to be fleshed out and expanded upon. In terms of content it is my gold standard. It has one of the best paced stories until its final act in which it kind of goes out the window a bit

4. Tales of Graces f: Asbel was surprinsingly fleshed out with his traumatic experience driven characterization. F arc is way too overboard in characterization, but it makes the plot feel complete. The main game has the characters having great depth and well paced development. It has really great visuals and minor details that vibed well with me. It also had just the right amount of content and had pretty great story pacing. It had a good amount of scenes.

5. Tales of Innocence R: A solid game with a solid plot and solid party. R feels polished and really made me appreciate the fine details of the Innocence world. The aesthetic is great and characters are even better. Graphics in both versions aren't gold stars, but the only real weak point imo. My only honest complaints other than that is the cutting down of Ange's important conversation at her intro for Kongwai to say things and the cutting of Ricardo's important speech. Kongwai and QQ were great additions imo that added to the party dynamic.

The rest have changed around:
6. Tales of Phantasia: I can play this game endlessly. I realized I really do have a soft spot for it and it's characters. I love the world, I love it's charm, it's the only Tales game where I've done more than 10 playthroughs (in one version at that!) and more than one 100% at that.

7. Tales of Symphonia: it's just a solid game, with good characters and an okay to great plot, nothing revolutionary imo but when it's good it's great. The cast, main and supporting, is its strongest point, with really great minor details to flesh out the experience and characters. It's nostalgic and it's a game that just makes me feel good playing it. The whole package comes together nicely and it has plenty of fun, unique quirks and running themes. Everytime I play I appreciate something new. Like Sheena/Raine's relationship through the game and how it develops, I only truly appreciated playing it on the PS3. It feels lacking in the interaction department at times, not all characters have overt relationships with all other cast characters like in Hearts or Legendia, but they all do feel close knit.

8. Tales of Zestiria: Pacing could be better, but it made an interesting I just wish was built better. It would be higher on this list if the pacing didn't hit me off so badly and the overworld, while good, wasn't great and got boring, especially with the big backtracking. It felt always just under greatness but still good. It experimented with new elements which was great to try and push the series. Wish party members got more development and interaction. It's slow and barren middle (the trials) and the weapon system in its entirety including skills are what make it below 7th for me. There just felt like there was opportunity for a lot more scenes and interaction but the game fell flat on that in the middle. The beginning of the game contained a lot of interaction and provided scenes at a good and constant pace. However, this just leaves. It was great having Mikleo and Sorey comment on so much in Ladylake as you walk, and the build up in that part of the game had plenty of scenes supplementary to just the bare minimum plot scenes. It sets up great expectations but then just forgets about it. It does do the ending of the game pretty well though, the last night scenes were great and so were the last sidequests. What it did start doing again is some good small details. I ADORE conversations when encountering new enemy types and the little personal blurbs in enemy descriptions. Alisha and her characterization are a major plus for me as well. As well as the Sorey-Mikleo dynamic which sadly fizzles out, even Mikleo's centered dungeon had very little plot.

9. Tales of Destiny 2: The atmosphere and aesthetic are what captured me, the plot is cute and bright. At the time it wasn't but currently it's ending is refreshingly light and fulfilling. That's what makes it so high for me, character interaction and development were not bad but not extraordinary.

10. Tales of Rebirth: I don't feel strongly about many of the elements, but I like the little details, I like how important and close I felt with the important NPCs who really felt like they had a huge impact. Claire and Agarte are phenomenal. Annie, Mao, Hilda, and Eugene's personalities and plots make the game for me. The party was Tales close (closer than most feel to me) but didn't feel exceptionally close knit to me. It really wasn't exceptional for me but it wasn't bad. The characterization and development of the cast are what let it place in the top 10.

11. Tales of Destiny R: DC, Solid fun gameplay, easy to sit down and just get into, interesting plot. I really do enjoy it it's just not extraordinary for me in the character or plot department. I don't dislike anything it just doesn't vibe with me in the same way as favourites. Not weak but not strong.

12. Tales of Eternia: I was underwhelmed playing it but it's a good package. A very classic feel, nothing too adventurous just a good game with a close cast. Chat and Max do add to the game and are included in sub events, which is great and a nice touch. The hotel scenes are especially memorable to me and I enjoyed the sidequests and content of this game.

13. Tales of the Abyss: The game has great content and that's what puts it above the X's. The cast itself just don't do it for me. They aren't weak characters, they are objectively well done I think, just not up there. What really makes me enjoy this game is Natalia and her development and personality. Guy and Luke also have great, well done development and relationships with the cast. The plot was great though the matchup of the God Generals to the cast always felt overly coincidental, and I'm usually okay with that. Made for good story regardless.

14. Tales of Xillia 2: Built characters and plot off the original beautifully while adding content and better battles. It's drawn back by a plot that felt weirdly paced and at times trying too hard to be edgey. It had some golden story telling moments though. It if you're into the characters, which I am, the character quests get you right through the heart. That feels very intended though, nearing forced, but still emotional. I really liked how they played with alternate worlds and consequences.

15. Tales of Xillia: I just wish it felt more polished. Removing per character titles, rushed last arc, it just felt bare minimum playing through a second time and somewhat on the first. A lot of the minor details that enhance my experience and really make a package come together just were not there. My top 5, my top 10 REALLY, are there because of the minor details and how they come together. Those things just weren't even there for this game. On my first run I was attached to the characters, but then subsequently they just felt more shallow. The small character details are still great, but my entire enjoyment comes from those, nothing overt. The pacing was also jarring, scenes never felt fulfilling but a lot were well scripted and was the series jump into more fluid and actiony scenes. The scenes felt like the bare minimum to tell the story, no character interaction scenes as you explore, no comedic or supplementary bosses, no real interesting dungeons with scenes to flesh out the game, it was all just jumping from major plot point to major plot point other than maybe the forest dungeon. Unlike everything from 13 up, I don't see myself picking up the Xillia duo ever again other than to finish the X2 EX dungeon or if they get remastered/remade one day. I can say that I really enjoyed the characterization of Milla, Rowen, and Leia and that's one of the major reasons I enjoyed the game.

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PostSubject: Re: Ranking Favourite Mothership (and Escort) Titles   Tue Aug 23, 2016 12:12 am

You seriously want me to rank my favorites? You monster! :V

That said, I do have favorites, but in no particular order:

Tales of Eternia
Tales of Symphonia
Tales of the Abyss
Tales of Vesperia
Tales of Graces f
Tales of Xillia 1&2

Heh, I guess that turned out to be release order.

Anyway, I suppose you could count Eternia as my favorite 2D Tales. It was the first 2D Tales I played where the combat wasn't hideously clunky, and the characters and plot are a huge nostalgia trip for me.

Of those I listed, I'd say Graces f has my favorite combat system. Being able to spam artes like crazy was a huge change to how Tales had played previously, and while Zestiria has a similar system, it also made it needlessly more complicated than Graces f.

Favorite story would be a tough one and is exactly why I cannot rank them. Symphonia has just as much nostalgia for me as Eternia but removing the nostalgia goggles and putting them aside, Vesperia, Graces and the Xillia dualogy also have great stories, and I loved the characters. I don't want to give Abyss too little credit either.

If you noticed a distinct lack of non-localized titles. That is because I've only played the games that are available in English, including fan translations, though I did actually play Tempest before the translation existed.

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PostSubject: Re: Ranking Favourite Mothership (and Escort) Titles   Tue Aug 23, 2016 12:26 am

No worries on the non-ranking, I just go on gut, but if broken down into different methods of assessment they'd be ranked differently based on that!

Honestly, if I were to go on anything but gut and overall feelings, I wouldn't be able to rank. Plot-wise and battle system-wise most games bring something uniquely enjoyable that can't be compared to the others one for one, so I can see where you're coming from. While one may explore a theme I really like, another may explore an overdone theme in a unique or way I feel is done well. Just so, Phantasia's battle systems have their unique charms, and I can appreciate both Vesperia's and Graces'. Not to mention the unique Rebirth and Destiny DC.

I found it interesting making the list how stuff moved around, Phantasia and Rebirth shot up, while the Xillia's sank. I really have always appreciated Phantasia far more than I gave it credit for, I'm not sure if its because it was my first Tales (played it on the GBA) or because it just hits me the right way.

I really agree about Zesitiria's system, here's hoping for Berseria (plot wise I've been hearing nothing but praise, battle system has been mixed, I can live with that, I live with Legendia LOL)

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PostSubject: Re: Ranking Favourite Mothership (and Escort) Titles   Tue Aug 23, 2016 5:01 am

Haven't finished Berseria, but it's shaping up to be one of my favorites so far. I'm more of a gameplay kind of guy so I guess for me, I'd go for:

1. Tales of Xillia 2
I love the revamped battle system first and foremost, such tight control of battle flow. I know when to go in and out of combat because I can control the enemy's tech outs. The back and front steps are also so responsive. Regarding storyline, the scene direction is excellent that I have a rollercoaster of emotion throughout the story. Familial love is such a tearjerker, and final transformation sequence with theme song power up is shounen as hell.

I don't really do shipping, but I sure am heartbroken seeing the sinking of S. S. AltMilla. Oh how wonderful it would be, Elle growing up under the care of AltMilla and Ludger... shit *goes looking for fanart*

2. Tales of Destiny DC
The best 2D Tales, no contest Very Happy. Well, YMMV, but it's surely the most fun I had even without understanding much of Japanese. The story is pretty basic, generic '90s fantasy anime, but I have a soft spot for '90s generic fantasy anime. I kinda spoilt myself a lot before playing it, but it's still fun watching the actual scene develop. It has a rather large cast because the Swordians are their won characters, but somehow they still managed to retain their individualities and personalities, so that's good writing I guess.

Also, Tomokazu Seki, man.

3. Tales of Zestiria
Wow, Zesty so high up in the list, what the hell is this guy smoking? Well, believe it or not, there are a lot of things that Zesty did very well. Localized voice acting for one, is among the best I've ever experienced recently. I guess some people don't like the liberty they took in Americanizing the dialogues, but I really adore it because the conversation just flows very well. The character interactions and party dynamic are on par with (if not more excellent than) Vesperia; they just complement each other very well that when Alisha returns for a bit, the conversation is noticably a lot more dull.

ShivKH wrote:
I ADORE conversations when encountering new enemy types and the little personal blurbs in enemy descriptions.

Truer words have never been said. It's remarkably the very best feature of Zestiria for me.

The gameplay has issues, but as I played it with New Game+ and have Eterniti and Mystiq in my skill, the battle just became a whole lot more fun because of how free I can act in battle. The arte rock-paper-scissors thing is actually a creative way to encourage tactical maneuver instead of bruteforcing all battles, (especially for higher difficulties) but it's just dumb to give bosses superarmor after every combo break. Really, I love this game for what it aims (but fails) to be.

4. Tales of Berseria
Yeah, like I said, haven't finished yet but it's a whole lot of awesome. The cast can be edgy during story (except Magilou), but oh boy what a jolly fun bunch they are in skits. The cast kinda have a Vesperia feel to them; with Eizen and Rokurou mirroring Yuri and Raven; Laphicet being the one with most character development on par with Karol; Eleanor is somewhat like Estelle in her well mannered upbringing yet have their hidden quirks; then we have Rita and Judith which if you swap their bodies around you get Velvet and Magilou lol. They have a tight knit familial bond with Laphicet at the centre mostly.

The gameplay is definitely the most different yet very familiar to the Tales game we love. It takes quite some time getting used to, but once you learn how to manage Soul Gauge and what arte does best at what tier, then every battle is going to be an exhilarating and frantic task. Funny thing is, the normal battle in this game is harder than the boss fight...well except Wandering Enemy because f*** those guys. I do hate that the map is barren hallways like Xillia though, and there are distinct lack of collectible discoveries. Minigames returning and plentiful of ingame costume makes up for it however.

5. Tales of Vesperia
Ain't no list complete without Vesperia. Vesperia can be summed up as a complete experience. Large amount of contents, good assortment of fun skits to flesh out characters, engaging storyline (dunno, i thought the 3rd arc was good) with likable protagonist, a lot of subsystems, and overall, Vesperia is the cumulation of all things that are synonymous with the Tales brand.

The graphical style is also the best in the series for me. While I do like how the newer games made a lot beautiful landscapes, Vesperia's graphical representation is simply perfect for the series' theme. Character interactions are among the best in the series and Yuri really shines as the main character especially because we've had far too many idiotic, country bumpkin MC before. He's a Gary Stu maybe, but who cares, SAO and plenty of Xianxia novels are popular because of it. We want cool main character who don't take shit from anyone else, even god if it must be.




So yeah, just 5 because I'm a lazy sack of shit. For reference, I do also like Rebirth, Destiny 2, Radiant Mythology, and Eternia, with my least favorite being Symphonia, Hearts R and Graces f. But even if they're the least favorite, I still love those game far better than a lot of other games out there. Why do you think I'm in this forum?


...why is my writing becoming longer for the game as I go down the list? It should have been the other way around.

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PostSubject: Re: Ranking Favourite Mothership (and Escort) Titles   Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:42 am

I watched more of the Zesty anime and it reminded me of my good experiences early game and the characterization/development of Alisha and Mikleo, so it jumped up two spots, that feels more comfortable. Also added in my less negative aspects of Xillia's that I appreciated.

Also to rank escorts:

1. Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon X: This game was amazingly done. It was light in combat but still very fun. The plot was surprisingly good and really fleshed out the Phantasia cast, especially with the numerous late game sidequests. This has such a special place in my heart, in no small part to it being a worthy sequel to Phantasia which also has a special place in my heart. It was everything I could ask for, it gives so much freedom and has so many options. Its easy to jump into, and my only wish is honestly that I could play it in full English.

2. Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 3 (and 2): These were SO GOOD. They really had care put into them, and unlike our current crossovers on mobile, we got multi-faceted versions of the characters and tons of interaction, plus fun Tales combat. Crossovers right now have the exact same superficial presentation of characters only interacting with a generic MC, introducing themselves and their fandom quirks, and that's pretty much all you get. Its boring and repetitive, but its all we have right now. The RM series was paramount in what I could ever want in a Tales escort, and I really hope we get one on console one day....Its so doubtful though. I would even go for a Tales of Fandom without any battling. This piece had almost nothing to do with RM but it is so great really.

3. Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World: It had good gameplay, mostly, and was enjoyable at the time. I enjoy it less as time goes on, but the monster system is pretty fun. It had pretty okay writing, and I like the ways it when it works, and how it does tie the mythos into Phantasia slightly better.

4. Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 1: It was great at the time, but the functionality was lacking and it now pales into comparison by its succesors, which is good. It was great that it started a great era in Tales escorts though.

5. Tales of the World: Narikiri Dungeon 3 (and 2): These were really fun, I enjoyed the light style and gameplay, and the little bit of interaction that happened. I especially enjoyed the free form parties possible and the inclusion of playable villains.

6. Tales of the Tempest: It was okay. The game is mostly world map. Its functions suck. Arria and Lukius are amazing characters, Tilkis is pretty great too.

7. Tales of Link: This is fun and light, I do enjoy that its not excessively annoying when it comes to the RNG. Its okay for some great artwork and idle enjoyment with familiar characters. It also produced a more talkative Tales community I think.

I never played any of the other mobile titles (Tactics, Wahrheit, Commons, Breaker, Tactics Union, and Asteria), Tales of Vs., Tales of the Heroes: Twin Brave, Tales of Reve Unitia, Tales of Phantasia: Summoner's Lineage, or Dice Adventure. I can't say as much for them.

I do have impressions of Vs. from videos and can say I liked the general idea and the cameo items available for use. Its roster was terribly biased though. I played the demo for Twin Brave and I really enjoyed the gameplay.

I intend to one day actually play Summoner's Lineageeven though its pretty much not that canon since NDX I think. The gameplay is overly hard I hear though.

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