Tales of Hearts R Review
Tales of Hearts R Box Art
System: PS Vita
Dev: Bandai Namco
Pub: Bandai Namco
Release: November 11, 2014
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: 544p Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence

It's a good thing that Chase Link combat is fun, because Tales of Hearts R takes the backwards step of making battles fully random, unavoidable, and frequent. You may find yourself stocking up on Holy Bottles, which reduce encounter rate, just so you can get around or solve puzzles without being ambushed a million times. It's strange that Bandai Namco chose to use random battles in this Vita game, considering it managed to render enemies on-screen in the 3DS version of Tales of the Abyss.

Tales of Hearts R Screenshot

A few other aspects of Hearts' design are a big turn-off. There is no English dub for the game, so all the voice acting is in Japanese. This is particularly unfortunate considering the quality of the English script, much of which begs to be heard in its native language. In addition, the environmental design is mostly dull, dull, dull. There are a few nice-looking places such as a magical beanstalk and an artists' enclave in the mountains, but most areas are about as generic as you can get. This has been a consistent issue in the Tales series recently, and one that deserves to be overcome considering the impressive world-building efforts made by the writers.

To make up for these shortcomings, the game avoids some persistent issues with the Tales series. There aren't any ridiculously over-complicated systems that weigh down regular gameplay. Dungeons have puzzles for the first time in ages, which helps make up for the dull visual design. Most importantly, the adventure doesn't overstay its welcome. Many Tales of games last ten to twenty hours longer than they ideally should, but Tales of Hearts R is a smarter, more compact game. It doesn't layer too many twists upon twists, completing its story in a satisfying manner that actually makes sense. For once, the final boss is exactly who it should be, and the romance sub-plots are actually resolved.

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On one hand, Tales of Hearts R is a paint-by-numbers game that does little to stray outside of the usual series boundaries. On the other hand, the strong character dialogue, dungeon puzzles, and Chase Link combat system inject a lot of energy and entertainment into the title. It's not a video gaming masterpiece, but its fun to play. As long as you're tolerant of the lack of English dub and don't mind the anime style and plot, it's an RPG that's very much worth picking up.

By
Becky Cunningham
Contributing Writer
Date: November 13, 2014

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
2.9
Graphics
Character designs are good, but most of the environments are painfully generic.
4.0
Control
Combat is easy to control and fun once the Chase Link system is unlocked.
2.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music sounds ripped from other Tales games and there is no English dub.
3.9
Play Value
It's no masterpiece, but Hearts R is entertaining and doesn't overstay its welcome.
3.5
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Tales of on the go - Brand new Tales of adventure exclusively on the PlayStation Vita.
  • Animated Story - Beautiful animated cut scenes convey the story of Kor and Kohaku throughout their journey.
  • Aerial Battle System - The Aerial Chase Linear Motion Battle System enables players to blow an enemy away with the "Break Attack" and to speedily catch up with it with "Chase Link" that allows players to use "Chase Dash" in real time.
  • Artistic Design - Anime-style character designs by Mutsumi Inomata, who designed characters for many Tales of series titles.

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