Tales of Hearts R was one of the often requested titles that people wanted to be translated and brought to the Vita. Well, it’s finally here. Was it worth the wait?
Tales of Hearts has been available for some time now in Japanese, however it was never brought over in English. Granted, this had been a common theme in Tales of games. Tales of Hearts R saw the game’s first official English translation. Follow Kor, Kohaku, and gang as they try to rid the world of despir.
Now, some might argue that some characters HAD been translated into English before. This is true – we saw cameos of Hearts characters in Graces f. Now for some reason, they decided to backpedal on names and stick with their “Japanese” name, hence Kohaku and Hisui. One trend of the game is that every major character is named after a type of stone, so the fact we’ve got Kohaku and Hisui instead of Amber and Jadeite is… well, it leaves you wondering.
I know some have found that the translation of the story is a bit “too” out there, sometimes heading into the territory of plain naughty. However, I quite enjoyed it and got quite a few laughs out of it. I thought the story was very good, although it suffers from “Tales of” syndrome (“Tales of” syndrome being if you’ve played one, you can predict what is going to happen in every other one). Since I’ve played a few Tales of games before, not much really came to me as a surprise though the translation still made me enjoy it.
Combat in Hearts R felt like a combination of Graces f and Vesperia to me. You’ve got your TC counter that will limit how many special attacks you can do in a row, but of course you also have your TP that will drain as you use them. You also have your Overlimit gauge that builds up and allows you to do your Mystic Arte when full. In some ways it did feel a bit cramped on Vita – there’s no R2/L2, so they had to split things like Free Run and Overlimit between the analogue stick and the d-pad.
There’s also the Cross Chase/Link system, which if you land a finishing hit when the indicator is up stuns the enemy for a bit and lets you get some big combos in. Should one of your allies portrait’s start flashing, if you tap on them you’ll do a quick attack with them for some extra damage. Finally, there’s the guard counter system that can be somewhat tricky to master. Occasionally enemies will try to counter your attacks and turn red for a second. If you hit the Square button at the right time, you’ll counter them and continue your chain.
Skits in Tales of Hearts R are as funny as they usually are. The sometimes suggestive translations are as present here, if not more so. Sure, it might turn some folks off, but they made me laugh.
Cooking also makes its return, and as you cook more you’ll gain levels. Throughout the world, the Wonder Chef makes his return and is hidden as various objects. Granted, he’s pretty noticeable considering the objects will have a giant chef’s hat on them. Recipes have a level on them to be able to cook them, which of course means the best ones are at the higher levels… And of course they need the rarest ingredients. Because why wouldn’t they? Still, cooking makes a welcome return and still provides useful benefits, even if it is easy to run out of ingredients.
Some points of this version did feel a bit lazy though. This was mainly in the cutscenes where it couldn’t decide if it wanted to be widescreen or just 4:3. Of course, since the game was only voiced in Japanese, the subtitles in the cutscenes were timed to the Japanese voicing. Some lines you would be lucky to read in time with how fast they went by.
While not for everyone in the translation, I found Tales of Hearts R to be quite enjoyable. I’ll eventually be heading for that Platinum, even if it is a typical Tales of Platinum and is extremely grindy to get. The systems provide a decent challenge for newcomers and veterans alike. While I played through on Normal and only had one game over, many battles still had me struggling to make it through them.
The biggest shame about Tales of Hearts R is that the release of it was limited to just Gamestop/EB Games and the PSN Store.
Tales of Hearts R Review Score