The Silver Grinding’s Tales Starter Guide


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Tales of Legendia
Characteristic Genre: RPG Where Bonds Spin Legends
(絆が伝説を紡ぎだすRPG)

Console (Year):

  • PlayStation 2 (2005/2006)

Playable in English via:

  • PlayStation 2

A tiny ship, drifting through a stormy sea and bearing the protagonist Senel Coolidge and his younger sister Shirley Fennes, is beset by monsters and grounded on a mysterious moving island, where Shirley is kidnapped shortly after recovering from her seawater allergy. In Tales of Legendia, players guide Senel over the ancient island-sized ship, the Legacy, in his pursuit to save his sister, whose affinity for water has made a number of groups believe her to be the savior of the Legacy’s prophecy, the Shining One.

This one’s only available on PS2! …which is probably for the best, honestly, because it’s kinda…. Hrm. I had trouble playing through Abyss (the next one on the list) in some small part because they intentionally made Luke kind of a jackass, but Senel is even harder to put up with, given how many times he abandoned any and all help in the short time I had the patience for the game. Apparently the short first half of the game, the main quest segment, is the weakest and most predictable part, and the character quests which constitute the post-first-credits-roll playable portion of the game are better, but it’s kind of a chore to get there in my eyes.


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Tales of the Abyss
Characteristic Genre: Discovering the Meaning of Life RPG
(生まれた意味を知るRPG)

Console (Year):

  • PlayStation 2 (2005/2006)
  • Nintendo 3DS (2011/2012)

Playable in English via:

  • PlayStation 2
  • Nintendo 3DS

Tales of the Abyss, my most recent clear of the series, follows Luke fon Fabre, the son of a duke, who gets blown away from his mansion by a phenomenon known as hyperresonance; said phenomenon was accidentally prompted by a would-be assassin, Tear Grants, who was attempting to kill her brother, Van Grants, a man who spent time teaching Luke how to use a sword to combat his boredom for the seven years he’d spent under house arrest after he was kidnapped and suffered the loss of his memory due to trauma. On his way back home, he gets caught up in an international conflict that threatens to catch fire and become full-on war, and after causing a tragedy in the process of trying to prevent one, Luke suffers an existential identity crisis at the hands of a man who looks suspiciously like him…

I like this game a lot, although Luke is kind of a flippant ass for the first quarter of the story, as an attempt by the dev team to try something new in making the protagonist initially unlikable. It worked, he’s a jackass until he becomes aware of how smarmy he’s being and that’s when his character arc properly starts. By the way, this game has a lot of skits, and they’re inexplicably unvoiced in the English versions of the game! They got so overwhelming in number that even I started skipping them fairly often by the end of the game. When I go back for a second playthrough, it’ll be with an undubbed version, so it doesn’t feel quite so empty.

The 3DS version of Abyss is a perplexing choice of system for the game, but it is probably now the easiest way to play the game unless you can find a used copy of the original version. I’d love to see a proper HD remake on PS3 or PS4, though! Tales of the Abyss also has a 26-episode anime adaptation produced by Sunrise that’s licensed in the US by Funimation.


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Tales of Innocence
Characteristic Genre: Connecting Thoughts RPG
(想いを繋ぐRPG)

Console (Year):

  • Nintendo DS (2007)
  • PlayStation Vita (2012)

Playable in English via:

Set during a prolonged world war, Tales of Innocence tells the story of Luca/Ruca Milda, the introverted son of a merchant, who, one day, in the process of rescuing a fugitive girl named Illia, discovers that he has inherited powers from his past life, a fact that makes him just as much a fugitive as her. The Imperial Capital, Regnum, has put out a warrant to capture all bearers of these special powers; Luca and Illia escape, and team up with bearers of similarly gained powers as they get involved in the power struggles the war entails, and learn more about their past lives to try to shape the world’s future.

This one’s had an english patch for a while now, though that means if you want to play it, it’ll have to be emulated or on a pirate cart for DS. DS emulation’s kind of a hit-or-miss situation, but it’s definitely doable with the right emulator and settings!

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