The lights are on
These days I'm pleasantly surprised by the steady Tales
releases in North America. For a period during the PS2 and PS3 era, I
questioned how Bandai Namco felt about the series' potential in the U.S.
market. We saw poor localization decisions, like bringing over Tales of
Legendia as opposed to localizing Tales of Destiny 2 (the direct to sequel to
the PS1 title that debuted the series in North America, not Tales of
Eternia). And while Japan was getting
entries on a regular basis, Western fans have dealt with larger release gaps
and even missing games altogether.
Now it feels like the series is gaining more consistency in
the U.S. market – the majority of the entries are reaching our hands. We haven't missed a mainline entry since
2008's Tales of Hearts, and that's being rectified with the Vita remake already
confirmed for North America.
Bandai Namco may be righting some of its Tales wrongs, but here are some
entries that never graced our shores. Who knows? Maybe Bandai Namco can find a
way to bring some of these over with remakes or HD collections.
Note: This list does not include mobile or online
Tales of Destiny 2
Japan release: November 28, 2002
This one may cause some confusion. Bandai Namco localized a game they called
Tales of Destiny 2, but the game's actual name is Tales of Eternia. Eternia has
no ties or direct connections to Tales of Destiny's plot, so it was a bizarre
move. Supposedly it was done for brand recognition in the U.S, because it was
only the second Tales game released in the North America. Unfortunately, giving
it that name complicated matters. An actual sequel to Tales of Destiny debuted
a few years later in Japan, aptly titled Tales of Destiny 2. Bandai Namco never
brought it over, thus leaving English-speaking fans without the complete arc.
Tales of Destiny 2 continued the plot 18 years into the
future, centering on Kyle Dunamis, the son of Stahn and Rutee, characters from
the first game. Tales of Destiny 2 not only hit PS2, but also had a PlayStation
Portable version about five years later. And yet, North American audiences
still haven't experienced the fourth entry in the Tales series. What would be nice? A collection featuring
Tales of Destiny and Tales of Destiny 2 so fans can see the story play out in
Tales of Rebirth
Japan release: December 16, 2004
Tales of Rebirth is another PS2 entry we missed. It stars
Veigue Lungberg, a young lad who never stepped outside of his village until a
military attack threatens the life of his family, forcing him to look for
answers by exploring the world. The linear motion battle system that the
franchise uses is still intact here, but in Rebirth, character placement
becomes more important as three different planes are available for party member
placement. You can shift around your strategy by placing all party members on
one line for an ultimate battle force, or split them up to target multiple
enemies. This sixth entry in the franchise received good critical reception and
sold well in Japan, even if it was a little under Bandai Namco's extremely
hopeful expectations. Like Tales of Destiny 2, the game was ported to the
PlayStation Portable a few years later.
Tales of Innocence
December 6, 2007
Tales of Innocence is the ninth mainline entry and first
released on DS. Much like Tales of Hearts, a remake later made its way to the
PlayStation Vita, which gives it a glimmer of hope of coming here, despite
being the older of the two. I'm betting if Tales of Hearts sells well, Bandai
Namco might seize the opportunity. Tales
of Innocence involves people suddenly getting interesting powers and others
fearing them for it. If someone with a special power is spotted, they must be
captured per the law. Obviously, this causes a lot of panic and division
between those with and without powers. Things take an interesting turn when the
main character, Ruca, who is as ordinary as can be – merely a quiet son of a
merchant – discovers he, too, possesses a special power.
Up next: Spin-offs that aren't strictly RPGs...
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