I just realized that, out of all the reviews I have written, I have never written a review for my favorite game: Tales of Destiny. A lot of people wonder to themselves why I would consider Tales of Destiny my favorite game. It's certainly not popular, the graphics aren't extraordinary compared to a lot of games realized around it's time, and the music isn't exactly the most breath-taking composition you'll hear. So why would I consider it my favorite game? Well that's what your here to find out, isn't it? Read on.
The game begins onboard a dragonship. A real dragon used as a ship, not a dragon-shaped ship, if you are wondering. Two crewmembers are performing their daily exam of the cargo hold. Much to their surprise, deep within the cargo hold they find a young blond-haired boy, sleeping! They try to rouse the boy from his sleep, but he is too tired (lazy, actually) to move. They pick him up and, without much fuss from their prisoner, bring him to their Captain. Their Captain believes he is a spy looking for a Precious Item on their ship. He isn't, of course, but no one believes him at that time. The Captain, in turn, deals out a brutal punishment until, after so much torment, they realize he does not know anything about their Item. Since he is a stow-away, they force him to swab the deck to pay off his passage.
Much to his grief, the ship gets attacked by a large number of monsters while he is swabbing the deck. The officer in charge of watching over him is killed and the boy, Stahn, flees within the Draconis, since he has no weapon to fight against the monsters. He continues deeper into the ship, avoiding monsters along the way, and finds his way into a cargo hold. He continues deeper into the cargo hold, looking for a sword.
Indeed, finds one. He takes the sword into his hand and mutters to himself that it's a 'piece of junk'. The sword, in turn, replies that he is stronger then he looks. Stahn is, of course, astounded that the sword was able to talk to him. The sword, named Dymlos, tries to explain to Stahn that it is a Swordian from a war in the ancient past. Stahn, being a simple country boy, does not understand a word that Dymlos is saying.
After a discussion in which Dymlos tells Stahn that he is now the master of the Swordian and he has granted Stahn the use of fire magic, Stahn charges out of the cargo hold with Dymlos. Sword in hand, Stahn is now able to make his way back to the deck of the Draconis. Finding an escape pod, Stahn flees the ship with his new companion in hand, and thus the story begins.
Tales of Destiny has a prequel, Tales of Phantasia. Tales of Phantasia was originally released in Japan on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and then later re-released on the PlayStation Game Console. America never saw a release of this game, unfortunately. In any case, if you have played Tales of Phantasia, then the graphics of Tales of Destiny will be very familiar to you. The only thing Tales of Destiny improved upon was the world map, and even then the Tales of Phantasia PlayStation re-release featured the exact same kind of world map.
Tales of Destiny - with the exception of the voice-acting and the Anime opening and ending sequences - has graphics that very well could fit on the Super Nintendo. The graphics aren't "bad"; they're just "old-school". And this, in my opinion, is a very good thing, as I am a fan of old-school graphics and gameplay.
The musical score of Tales of Destiny isn't going to win any awards, but it's certainly not bad either. The music fits the game perfectly, and that's truly what counts. The music is uplifting when it's supposed to be, and it's dark and creepy at the perfect times.
I suppose I should mention the voice acting. The voice acting of Tales of Destiny is in Japanese. They never bothered to translate the voices into English. However, the voices are only used in battle, and they are still very interesting to listen to, if nothing else. I, in fact, like and prefer the Japanese voice actors, and believe that the game wouldn't be as perfect as it is if it had had English voice acting. But that, of course, is just my humble opinion.
The game plays very well. Your normal walking speed is very fast, making it so that you don't have to run if you don't want to. When you do run, you run fast enough that you can get where you want to go quickly and easily. Though most encounters are random, some monsters you have to 'bump into' before you engage in combat. I never was a big fan of random encounters, as they tended to make it so that you got into more fights then were needed.
Speaking of the combat system, Tales of Destiny has one of my favorite, if not my favorite, battle systems. In fact, one of the greatest things about Tales of Destiny is the Battle System; it feels like you're playing an Action/RPG. The battles are laid out on a 2D plane with 2D characters. You control Stahn as he moves across the screen. You can have him jump upwards and strike air, thrust forwards, or simply slash.
Also, Stahn gains many Special abilities during the course of the game. You can set these by going into the menu. SQUARE is used for Special Attacks. You can set up to four abilities at once.
The battles are most certainly fun, but I would like to note that, despite a few occasions and exceptions, the other characters in your party will not deal out the most damage (or much damage, in some occasions) to the enemies. That will be Stahn's job. But despite that, the battle system controls well and "Control" deserves its score.
The characters are most certainly memorable. After awhile you find that you are able to realize the characters' feelings and emotions while you are playing through and can even recognize how the character is feeling - and what type of reply they'll give - when they're talking to another one of their comrades. Stahn is a naive country boy (as Rutee puts it) and is always in some sort of state of confusion. Chelsea is young, sweet, and innocent. Rutee is exactly the opposite - dangerous and outgoing. And the way Leon holds in his feelings and pushes away others is certainly memorable.
Tales of Destiny most certainly does not have the greatest story ever - that's Xenogears, and its soundtrack isn't perfection, though it's very nice. The graphics, though they may not be original, considering the prequel had the same type of graphics, are beautiful and truly "old-school". The game is just simply enjoyable and memorable, and I think that's what really matters. More RPGs should go back to the roots like Tales of Destiny does.
If you own Tales of Destiny, you should recognize some of the things I'm saying, and if you've never had the honor of playing this game, I recommend digging through your local Video Game Stores' bargain bins or the pre-owned trays. This is one game that you don't want to miss out on before it's to late. Take my word for it.