Poor voice acting aside Tales of Eternia is a solidly built action RPG that does well in it's battle system, explora....

User Rating: 8 | Tales of Eternia PSP


Game Title: Tales of Eternia

Platform: PlayStation Portable

Developer: Namco Tales Studio

Publisher: Ubisoft

Genre: Role Playing

Age Rating: CERO: B, PEGI: 12+

Release Date: 3rd March 2005 (Japan), 9th February 2006 (Australia), 10th February 2006 (Europe)


Game Score: 8.1/10



Poor voice acting aside Tales of Eternia is a solidly built action RPG that does well in it's battle system, exploration and minigames.


Japanese Role Playing games have been difficult to get attention within the UK, from Final Fantasy, Shin Megami Tensei, Dragon Quest and also Namco's Tales of Series. This RPG series managed to get 8 main entries as Japan Only releases by 2006 while Americans got Tales of Destiny, Tales of the Abyss, Tales of Legendia that never got released in Europe including the original release of Tales of Eternia. For the first time the game finally makes it into Europe on the PlayStation Portable so that British J-RPG players who have been missing out get a chance to experience one of the earlier entries in the series which was surprisingly solid back in the PSOne days.

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Tales of Eternia follows the story of two characters Reid and Farah who encounter a foreign girl who speaks in a language that they can't understand. They ask the aid of their childhood friend Keele who points out that the foreign girl is named Meredy, she warns the party that her world called Celestia and their world Inferia is going to collide as part of the Grand Fall and they need the power of the Craymel spirits to accomplish their task. Without spoiling the storyline Tales of Eternia has a few plot twists that does get interesting but however at a few points the main characters tend to reveal things at the worst possible time just when things start to settle down. The English dub voice acting is absolutely terrible and it loses insight for much of the storyline, simple dialogue can sound rather weak and can by overheard through the music during the cutscenes while the shouting is very lazy and lacks any energy. The overall translation of the game is quite good with a few rough spots and it's just a shame that there is no option for the original Japanese voice track. As for the main characters themselves Farah remains the most motivative of the party and is a girl full of energy as well as a do-gooder. Reid always gets hungry and he doesn't seem to want to get involved much but has understanding of some situations. Keele and Meredy are hard to get interested because Meredy although adorable with her pet Quickie can kind of point out things after hours into the storyline. Keele as a student at the university tends to get really scientific and it can annoy Reid at times and it can be laugh to watch the two argue a bit.

Much like a few other J-RPGs Tales of Eternia is divided into segments where you explore locations on the world map, solve a puzzle, collect treasure, fight monster encounters and also take on a boss fight. Towns are safe areas where you can interact with NPCs, rest at an inn to recover HP and TP and purchase items and new equipment as well as receiving clues towards your next objective. You can learn to cook recipes by interacting with the NPC called the Wonder Chef who can be disguised as anything of the ordinary. Cooking can heal HP/TP Status effects or give a offensive or defensive boost, you can assign which of your party members to cook the meal and also set up auto cook which can cook the recipe after a battle or when a character gets a status effect or HP/TP levels reach halfway. The game keeps it's segments where you never feel that you are spending too long doing anything. Occasionally you will eventually unlock minigames as you go through the game, many are quite good like the Rifting and Battle Ship Games while other like racing, dancing and the card games will prove ultimately frustrating to beat and relay heavily on luck. The game has plenty of doable sidequests that can be triggered by reaching a certain point in the storyline by talking with NPCs.

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Inside dungeons there is treasure to pick up and a puzzle to solve. Puzzles involve moving objects around, activating switches and using the Sorcerer's Ring and Ice Ring to Light up some torches or take down the fire. Some puzzles later on become very difficult to figure out like figuring out the number combination of switches to press in order to open the right door but they can be figured out after a few seconds of learning the puzzle layout.

Tales of Eternia has an interesting feature where you can camp inside of a dungeon and on the world map which is refreshing for the series to recover 100% HP but not TP. As for travelling you will start out walking throughout various stages of the game but you will gain access to an Aerialboard, and a ship that can have small ships that can both fly and go underwater. This is helpful when revisiting areas in the game especially during sidequests. You can also save anywhere in the game even in dungeons which is very refreshing should you be playing the game on the bus or train rides and need to make a quick save before getting off but during the dungeons you will always end up at a load point whenever you load a previous save.

As you wonder through the fields and dungeons you will engage in random encounters. Battles take place in real time without any use of turn based menus just like in Tales of Symphonia. Called the Enhanced Linear Motion Battle System up to 4 characters are taken into a battle screen where characters and enemies are in a small side scrolling battle arena in a single axis line. You can use the field and battle menus to give commands, change strategy and formation use items changing equipment and Artes that works the same way as in Tales of Symphonia. Each character has their own set of abilities they can use in battle, Reid can use swords, axes and spear based weaponry to unleash high damage, Farah uses her Fist and Kick moves, Meredy and Keele are spell casters and they can use basic level magic starting off but can learn other spells from the Greater Craymels using a Fringe system after one of them joins you. They can be leveled up and can teach the two spell casters different spells that they can use in battle. You can arrange the Craymels and then Fringe to produce different combinations. Reid and Farah learn new abilities by levelling up their slash, thrust physical attacks for Reid and Punch and Kick attacks for Farah. Thankfully physical attacks can be used differently in correspond with the D-Pad plus the X button by default. It makes levelling up a lot more diverse as well as giving you different way to experiment with different combos. Two other characters Chat and Max can only learn new skills by exploring optional areas alongside optional Craymels and also they are also hidden and teamwork based skills that can be unlocked by fulfilling certain conditions.

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One important note about Tales of Eternia's combat is that the game punishes button mashers because sometimes you will face against large groups of enemies or at times start the battle ambushed or surrounded so it's better to learn to block when enemies use physical attacks and dodge incoming magic spells whenever possible. This is specially important during the boss battles because some of them has a different pattern of attack with it's own weakness to exploit. Unlike Tales of Symphonia where you can start battles by touching an enemy on the map Tales of Eternia being one of the early titles has a random encounter frequency that happens as you walk through the fields and dungeons. Thankfully you do have Holy and Dark bottles which can lower or increase random encounter frequency which is helpful for grinding in order to stand a chance against later bosses or trying to make your way through the dungeons without having to go through too many fights. Should you find some fights in the game too hard you can always flee which can be done by making your controlled character run to the side of the battle arena and holding the direction down until the flee meter reaches full. Be careful through as it takes quite a while for fleeing to happen and if against a massive group of enemies or at one point in the game you will take plenty of hits before you will even get away which is painful. Regardless Tales of Eternia's battle system provides a great level of challenge even on the Normal difficulty setting. Should you be defeated in battle you can reload your data or you can select Retry which only takes you back to the entrance of the current dungeon or the last town you visited which is rather pointless.

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Tales of Eternia was originally released on the original PlayStation console which used 2D character sprites and environments while the overworld map is shown in 3D and the game shows a few animated cutscenes which were quite nice for the time and some would say that it wouldn't be up to standard on the PSP. Well anyone who said that would definitely be wrong because the game has been scaled to fit into the PSP's 16:9 resolution and the game runs at full 60 frames per second instead of 30 frames on the PSOne version on the world map and the battles. The overworld environments are quite good and their textures are quite nice and smooth, many of the battlefields are vibrant and have a great use of the background scaling with a bit of rough pixels sticking out and the magic spell and attack animations are great. Say what you want but Tales of Eternia despite being an old gem that was on an old system Tales of Eternia is a great looking game on the PSP by it's own merit.

The game's soundtrack has some great tracks like the peaceful town music towards it's battle music, the sound effects are decent but as already mentioned the voice acting is really terrible from the main characters including the foreign language that you'll hear from Meredy and one of the bosses that you fight in the game. Thankfully there is an option to disable the voices for both events and battles on the options screen.

There are a few technical glitches like battle voices get delayed and in a few scenes towards the end of the game where the character voices get swapped around for some strange reason. There's also a game breaking glitch where some copies of the game crashes when trying to solve a puzzle after a boss fight against the Lightning Craymel Volt as well as a funny graphic glitch when summoning Efreet. Despite the glitches the game runs very well and it does not ruin the overall gaming experience.

Just like with Tales of Symphonia Tales of Eternia is a well packaged J-RPG that has plenty of content to match. For 60+ hours it's a solidly built action RPG that does well in it's battle system, exploration and minigames plus additional difficulties and unlockable side dungeons. The storyline of the game is ruined by the awful voice acting but it's still not enough to hold the game back for what the overall experience delivers. If you are looking for a solid Action RPG experience on the PSP that doesn't require good voice acting to make the game enjoyable then you have found a Tale to be told in Tales of Eternia.


The Good Points:


1. Solid Battle system that provides a great challenge even on Normal difficulty

2. Plenty of optional content and minigames to unlock

3. Great graphics and animations that look smooth and impressive on the PSP's 16:9 resolution

4. Nice soundtrack

The Bad Points:


1. Terrible Voice Acting and a few minor glitches


Reviewed by: Anthony Hayball (AQWBlaZer91)