Time after time, I reassure myself that graphics don't matter in an RPG, that the games storyline, gameplay and musical score are what impresses everyone the most. Except, if that is true, what caused Tales of Destiny to fail in such a growing market.
Addictiveness, challenge, and innovation are the three main keys to success in the world, and Tales of Destiny succeeded in all but one. The most innovative feature of Tales of Destiny lies not with the game's storyline, or even the characters, but with the game's unique battle system.
Featuring the ever-popular 2D free roaming battles, I actually got a taste of two genres in one. The action/RPG is perhaps the greatest idea ever created, and the thought of merging them together is really spectacular. Later in life, the battle system would be improved once more, a la Star Ocean: The Second Story, and its success only proves that Namco truly had the right idea.
While I did mention earlier that the game's characters weren't the real eye catcher, they were truly impressive in their own way. Beginning the game with the young dreamer Stahn Aileron, the story opens with him stashed away aboard the flying dragon ship, which is attacked by evil monsters who are in search of a mythical weapon.
Desperate to try and defend the ship, Stahn stumbles across the sword and becomes the holder of the ancient Dymlos. Originally created during the AETH'ER wars, humans were infused into the swords to help win the war. Once the war ended the swords all 'went to sleep', but as time passed the swords returned to life again.
I've never actually called any storyline inspiring, and I don't intend to now, but Tales of Destiny is one intelligent, well done game that is only held back by its hideous graphics.
The game's soundtrack really shines though, and while its not impressive through and through, key moments are done beautifully.
The last true gripe that I have about the game is its control. The lack of analog support truly hurts it, and would have increased the pleasure tremendously. Except I shouldn't complain about that, because dual shock analog support wasn't even around when this game was released, and to be angry at a technology that didn't exist at the time is stupid.
Tales of Destiny is one great game, full of great qualities and drawbacks, which balance out perfectly. With the great battle system and the above-par musical score, Namco has anther masterpiece on their hands. Except for the games graphics, I urge everyone any interest in the old school RPG to look into this gem.