Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Tales of Destiny 2

Genre: Role Playing Game
Platform: Playstation
2002 NAMCO, Screenshots by RPGFan

Tales of Destiny Games
Tales of Destiny Strategy Guides/Art
Original Soundtrack
Toys and Accessories
Everything Tales of Destiny
Amazon.Com Product Description:
This latest Tales centers on the realm of Eternia, a place where the surfaces of two worlds meet. Inferia is home to our heroes, and Celestia is the world of the skies above. Inferia is rich in academia, art, history, and culture. Celestia is inhabited by the uncivilized (by Inferian standards). A girl shrouded in mystery, finds her way to Inferia and crash-lands her spaceship in a nearby forest. Nothing is known of her except that she has come with a message of impending doom. Here, the adventure begins. Tales of Destiny II is a real-time action RPG that takes place within two massive worlds. Its engaging storyline presents a huge cast of characters, each with distinct personalities and abilities.

Intriguing sub worlds and countless mini-games lie within this quest to provide over 60 hours of gameplay. Hundreds of arcane items, powerful spells, and enchanted weapons are at a player's disposal.

Not on par with the TOD1 but enjoyable as well >>> by firesenshi

Because I loved the first Tales of Destiny, I picked up this game as soon as it was released. I even saw the OAV Tales of Eternia on anime before proceeding on to my game! Talk about addiction.

Tales of Destiny 2 has an alternate storyline from the first Tales of Destiny. Gone are the Swordians so learning magic and spells in this game is done through Craymel Artes. Craymels are spirits who have special powers who you put in a Craymel case. Each Craymel has their own set of spells and even add support abilities to your characters. You must have each Craymel learn a certain spell. You can also combine certain Craymels in your case to learn newer spells and you can summon the Craymels themselves. What I like about this system is the discovery not only in finding new magic that your Craymels have learned but the fact that these Craymels are essential to your story. As in the Swordians of the first Tales of Destiny, you actually get to interact with them.

Part of the battle system that's carried over from the first TOD is the skills of each character. As each character progresses in level and in using one skill, your character learns a new one. You can then assign the skills you think would be best in your commands.

Given that there seems to be many things that your character must master -- both Craymel Artes and skills, you will be surprised to know that the learning curve here is not as hard. Combining Craymels in their cages actually encourages you to experiment. And there's much fun in that! There are discrepancies in that, of course. Exchanging Craymels brings their levels down so you have to master them again. It's similar to Final Fantasy VIII's GF affinity wherein attaching a Craymel to a character, where the character uses the spells of that Craymel increases its mastery (i.e. more mastery makes summoning faster.) Still, the act of doing this is just part of the challenge in experimenting. Acquiring skills also requires experimentation. If a skill is very useful to you and you keep on using it for X number of times, you will learn either a new skill or an improved version of that skill. This makes the gameplay fun and progressive. It's not the same thing over and over again.

The same goes with the bosses. There is no one formula in beating each boss. As your Craymels have distinct elemental powers, so do the bosses. Therefore, knowing their weakness requires a different strategy each time. Real time gameplay only adds to the challenge and excitement.

You actually get to wholly one character. The default is Reid. But you can open the menu and change that. You can set certain characters to AI and others to manual. With that, you can have actual control of all 4 characters in REAL TIME. But why would you do that, eh? It's hard enough controlling one. So as carried over from the first TOD, you can set strategies for each battle (i.e. Defense before attack, or heal each time, etc.) You can also rank each character's specialty and skill. For example, you can set your magic user (Meredy or Keel) to concentrating more on magic and defense and not attacking at all. Battling in real time has never been this easy. It's really as simple as being a commander of your team where you do your own thing and they respond to your commands.

There are many mini games in here too. There's the Cooking Contest that distinctly reminds you of Iron Chef. Namco is very good at making fun mini games as they did in TOD1. (Most of all, they don't make you dizzy unlike in Final Fantasy IX.) What surprises me though is that there are actually more mini-games in TOD1. They just improved on the graphics and execution of the games but I missed say, the farming games in TOD1. If you played TOD1 and scaled the 36 floor impossible Tower of Druaga (and if you're like me who did it twice), you will ultimately be surprised that their version of that Tower here is only a mere 6 floors. The challenges are not as hard and won't implore guesswork as it did in TOD1. In fact, the challenges in each part are so easy; you thought you'd need that manual as you did in TOD1. There are still the quiz games too. So get brushed up on your basic Namco trivia!

The graphics have definitely improved from the first TOD. The little walking sprites on TOD1 have more detail in their chibi characters. And of course, as in the first TOD, the anime opening and ending scenes are very very good! The ship details and design, even the environments you move in are also done in very good CG.

Another thing that has drastically improved is the world map. What's good about both TODs is that you explore a big world map where you discover new things in every town (like a fun mini-game or a new skill). The map on TOD2 is not as small as TOD1. It's easier to navigate the map. No minute dots you can't see on the map. No more getting lost.

Despite all that, why is this still not on par with TOD1? For one, the challenges have been easier. There is more challenge in the first TOD. The first TOD actually makes you think -- giving you anagrams you have to decrypt, mazes you have to get out of, questions you have to remember, etc. In this TOD, sometimes all you have to is match colors. There are still big puzzles though and I'm sure you'll think them challenging enough. But I tell you, playing TOD1; those are a piece of cake. There are also more fun mini-games in TOD1 and lots of discoveries. In TOD1, you have to do certain activities in order to get additional characters. (Or not get them. Remember Mary in TOD1? If you did things differently, you may or may not get her in the later part.)

The storyline in TOD2 is also not as compelling as TOD1. Mary's story in TOD1 made me cry. The storyline in TOD2 is actually quite good. You get to explore vast universes. Plus there's that subject of 'discrimination' or 'race' discussed in here. But they're still not as compelling as the Swordian's quest in TOD1. And playing TOD1, you can't help but compare characters. The characters in TOD1 are very memorable -- from the dense hero Stahn, to the bubbly thief Ruthee, etc. The diversity in their characters stood out more than those of TOD2. Meredy in TOD2 is actually a cute cute character and her manner of speech is endearing but she's her lines are as nowhere memorable as those delivered by Stahn and Ruthee. The comedic values in their lines are actually on par with Jessica and Kyle on Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete. Even better, in fact. Ruthee on TOD1 is the best healer out of all the RPGames I played. She's balanced in both attack and magic. Plus, she's sexy too.

I guess nothing does compare with your first. :blush: But Namco doing TOD the second time around is no less sweeter. I spent 60 hours playing this simply because I can't get enough so I had to play all mini-games as possible and even trying to beat Sekundes, TOD2's version of FF's Weapons. One thing I wished they improved? The dubbing. TOD1 features all Japanese voices including an all-star cast of Ryoga (Ranma 1/2)'s seiyuu as well as Inoue Kikuko (Belldandy) for Philia. The Japanese voices are better. I know. I saw the OAV.

DIFFICULTY: Moderate to Difficult
COMPLETION TIME: Approximately 60 hours
RATINGS: Gameplay 9; Battle 8; Story 7; Visuals 9; Characters 8; Sounds 8; Replay Value 8

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