[Review] Tales of the Abyss

テイルズ オブ ジ アビス
Opening

Despite its severe issues with backtracking and overall pacing, Tales of the Abyss is still, I would say, one of the most consistently enjoyable and well-made titles in the franchise that genuinely feels like a complete package with tight combat mechanics, a dramatic, twisty-turny plot, memorable characters and environments with a satisfying degree of visual polish and variety. I mean, sure, the Tales franchise is kind of the McDonalds of JRPGs in a sense, and for the most part Abyss is no different in that regard, but it still manages to be one of the juiciest, most succulent and content-rich burgers on the menu.

Hello and welcome to gareblogs, where we make food analogies at every opportunity we get. Please enjoy your stay.

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[Review] Tales of Legendia

テイルズ オブ レジェンディア
Opening

Its strange cocktail of likable, well-developed characters, tedious gameplay, a unique setting and a number of baffling design decisions make Tales of Legendia probably one of the most divisive and controversial entries in the series, and while the characters mostly worked for me and made the oft-frustrating journey one ultimately worth soldiering through, I’m also pretty damn sure that I’m never, ever, replaying this game. Because holy shit does it have a boner for recycling all its content and throwing it back into your face.

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[Review] Tales of Destiny – Director’s Cut

テイルズオブデスティニー ディレクターズカット
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Trailer (Director’s Cut)

In 2006, Tales of Destiny (the second entry in the series, released a couple years after Phantasia) received a gorgeous-looking remake exclusively for the PS2, and then two years after that, it was further improved upon with a Director’s Cut version: aside from some balancing changes and extra content, this edition also added a new game mode called Leon’s Side, allowing you to re-experience the storyline from the perspective of everyone’s favorite dual-wielding bishounen. But putting that aside, the game itself is probably most notable for having the best 2D battle system in the entire franchise, which, I would say, is no exaggeration at all: when it comes to 2D Tales combat mechanics, it doesn’t quite get any better than ToDR.

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[Review] Jingai Makyou – Fantastica of Nine / Riders of Darkness

塵骸魔京 ファンタスティカ・オブ・ナイン
塵骸魔京 ライダーズ・オブ・ダークネス

Remember how Makimoto wasn’t actually given her own route in the main VN despite the fact you could almost see the words “potential heroine candidate” painted on her forehead? Well, these two light novels fix that, and do so in a… decent enough way. Which is what Jingai has always been, I suppose: decent enough.

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[Review] Subarashiki Hibi – Furenzoku Sonzai

https://vndb.org/v3144
JP title: 素晴らしき日々~不連続存在~
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Wonderful Everyday, or: A Zero Gravity Dance of Happiness and Despair.

Well, I’m still trying to process everything I’ve just experienced. Subarashiki Hibi, or Wonderful Everyday, as it is known in English, is certainly not without its flaws, but I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it ever since I finished it, so that should count for something, at least. It’s ambitious, unique, depressing and uplifting at the same time — and it’s probably one of the more memorable visual novels you’ll read, even if it won’t necessarily blow your mind.

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[Review] Tsundere Idol: My Personal M-Pet

https://vndb.org/v19427
JP title: ツンデレアイドルは僕だけのMペット ~いっぱい躾けてご主人様のLOVE精子で孕みたいの♪~

This had a decent premise, but unfortunately, not even my undying passion for ドM girls could make me enjoy it as much as I would have liked. Ironically enough, the Japanese title probably makes the game sound way more exciting than it actually is.

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