Tales of Hearts R
Tales of Hearts R begins with a poem about a princess who slept over 1,000 years and a cursed man out to end the world. You’ve heard stories similar to this before: a villain seeks destruction while the world’s fate rests on an inexperienced boy’s shoulders. Tales of Hearts R is aware and isn’t afraid to poke fun at itself or be campy. While I’m not sure how it will all shake out in the final product, and I’ll even admit the writing does have a tendency to go for the low-hanging fruit, there’s something endearing about it.
I say this up front because the cheese factor of the story may make you roll your eyes. But I don’t want that to deter you from this entry just yet. I had a lot of fun with Tales of Hearts R, which reminded me a lot of the excitement I had playing Ys: Memories of Celceta, also on the Vita.
Tales of Hearts R is about siblings Kohaku and Hisui Hearts. The first big cutscene has them running from a witch and jumping off a cliff to escape. The game then cuts to Kor Meteor, a young boy training and living with his grandpa. Kor and his grandpa like to joke around, but his grandpa is serious about teaching Kor how to use his soma, an ancient weapon. He tells Kor he can use it for healing or destruction and advises him to withstand his emotions.
Soon enough, Kor crosses paths with Kohaku when she washes up on the beach, separated from her brother. Things only get more complicated from there when a witch casts a spell on her. Producer Hideo Baba said she’s lost her heart and emotions and the quest will be about picking up every piece of her heart to fix it. And unsurprisingly, he said, heart and emotion is a huge part of the storyline.
This extends to the battle system as well. Kor can build up five of his soma’s attributes: fight, endurance, sincerity, belief, and mettle. You also unlock bonuses by building up neighboring attributes evenly. If you can’t decide how you want to build these skills, the game will make suggestions for you.
Putting back together a broken heart won’t be easy, especially when the pieces are scattered across the world. I’m interested to see more of the character interactions and how deep customization system via Kor’s soma goes. Hopefully the journey takes some interesting turns and isn’t quite as predictable as the opening moments.