The best Tales games, ranked from best to worst

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The Tales series has always turned its nose up at RPG traditions. Wildly popular in Japan, Tales hasn’t hit the West in the same way as franchises like Final Fantasy, though many of its titles remain in the pantheon of best JRPGs. We’re counting down 14 mainline titles released in North America—plus two released in Japan—in this guide to the best Tales games.

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For those unfamiliar with the series, Tales Games features real-time combat in the style of a fighting game set in the framework of an RPG. The traditions of a good JRPG still exist, however, including dense character progression, a grand narrative, and a cast of interesting characters. With the two combined, Tales games provide a break from the monotonous gameplay that often comes with JRPGs.

So, prepare your mystic cast for this ranking of the top Tales games.

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tales of vesperia

A man in black is using a brutal fang attack.

The most iconic topic of Tails Games is a hotly debated topic, but most players settle on it. vesperia, and we have to agree. The story is second to none, the combat system is deep once fully unlocked, and many of the more tedious elements of other Tales games are streamlined.

Released exclusively for the Xbox 360 in 2008, tales of vesperia The RPG was the first introduction of many players to the series, especially in the West. You don’t need to dust off your 360 to play it, though. Namco Bandai Released NS fixed edition For Switch, PC, PS4 and Xbox One in 2019, so you can experience the video game on modern systems.

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Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition Also available on Xbox Game Pass.

tales of the abyss

The cast of Tales of the Abyss smiling.

Originally released for the PS2 in 2006, before being ported to the 3DS in 2012, tales of the abyss It is the eighth mainline entry in the series. It’s almost a complete Tales game with excellent writing, unique characters, and plenty of content. However, as is the case with a lot of Tales games, sometimes the combat can feel like nothing more than button mashing.

big addition to tales of the abyss There was a “free run”, which allowed players to roam the battlefield in any way they wanted. The feature has appeared in almost all Tails games since its release. abyss, marking it as a landmark title in the series. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find. tales of the abyss The Steam port was never received, so you’re limited to the 3DS and PS2 versions.

tales of rise

Ready to fight Uday's party tales.

We had one of the longest waits between entries before finally meeting tales of risehandjob But the wait was worth it. It’s the highest budget Tales game ever made, and it’s easy to see the game in motion, especially when played on current-gen hardware. Unlike the previous release, which comes next on the list, tales of rise Cleverly goes back to being a stand-alone entry that doesn’t require any previous knowledge of the series, making it even more appealing to newcomers.

Gameplay has never been as smooth as it is rise tales, Nor has it looked so stylish. All the hallmarks of the Tales series are here, but supercharged. The skits have been changed a bit, but remain an attraction for fans, plus the amount of customization you have on just about everything makes it easy for newcomers to get into JRPGs. The story tackles some darker themes, including class conflict and slavery, and does a good job of handling them as you explore.

Tales of Berseria

A witch is casting a fireball spell.

Tales of Berseria The second is the latest in the series, releasing only a short year later. tales of zesteria in 2016. The two games actually take place in the same universe, though. zesteria is set nearly 1,000 years after the events of be cheerful. the inciting incident be cheerful Must be experienced without spoiling, so if you are interested in playing the game, we suggest stopping here. It includes some of the fastest and most engaging character development we’ve seen in the series.

You play as Velvet, a young woman whose only aspiration is to take care of her ailing younger brother, Lafisette. Once the daemons show up in their village, Velvet’s brother-in-law Artorius sacrifices Lafiset for a ritual called “Advent”. Seeing this, Velvet runs into Artorius, only to be overcome by the Demons. One holds his arm, turning Velvet himself into a demon. Deeper and slower than other Tales games, be cheerful To support the story is shocking and moving, with the series’ signature combat system.

Tales of Symphonia

A man in orange is using a massive amount of magical magic.

Most Tales fans agree that vesperia The Best. said that, Tales of Symphonia Definitely the most prestigious. Released exclusively in the West as the GameCube, Tales of Symphonia quickly became the most popular title in the series and still holds the record for highest sales.

symphonia Still an early Tales game, so you can’t freely move around the battlefields and the graphics are a bit out of date. Thankfully, the cel-shaded art style has aged well, and the original GameCube release maintained a solid 60 frames per second. You can also pick up a Steam port, which only costs a few dollars during most sales.

tales of zilia

A man in a brown coat is talking to a white woman.

tales of zilia is not as defined for the series symphonia Or vesperia, but it contains all the elements of a good Tales game. The combat is fast-paced, the characters are quirky and cute, and the plot is quite unique. That said, it’s a bit buggy, as you can play as two different heroes through the campaign.

While searching for his professor, medical student Jude Mathis stumbles upon a military research facility with a weapon of mass destruction called the Lance of Krasnik. Mathis, after being found at the facility, is rescued by Mila Maxwell. After destroying the weapon, you choose to play as either Mila or Jude as they run from the officers behind Lance of Krasnik.

tales of grace f

An RPG party is winning a battle.

similar to ziliahandjob tales of grace f Not a historical game in the series, but still contains enough to be one of the best. The story isn’t as exciting as when you’re following a swordsman who befriends an amnesiac, but it’s still engaging and lighthearted. It’s a character story that focuses on friendship, and although the scale isn’t as grand as some of the other Tales games, it’s still worth a visit.

tales of fate

Tales Of Fate Box Art.

tales of fate It was the first title in the series to get a North American release. Although the hybrid combat and characters were enough to attract some new fans, tales of fate The original was released the same year for PlayStation Castlevania: Symphony of the Nighthandjob final fantasy strategy, and, oh yes, Final Fantasy VII.

To say tales of fate Was overshadowed would be an understatement. Even then, tales of fate Tales is one of the better titles in the series. It also received a full remake on PS2, although it was only released in Japan.

tales of zesteria

Hero holding his sword.

tales of zesteria released a year ago be cheerful, and despite being one of the more recent titles, it is a return to form for the Tales series. As cliche as it is, you play as Sore, a village boy who discovers he is the only person who can save the world from darkness. There are some interesting story beats, but overall the plot is a bit stale. That said, it integrates perfectly with the gameplay.

As powerful as he is, Sori can see members of a spirit race known as the Seraphim. These god-like creatures are a main plot element, but also a core gameplay element. You can summon Seraphim during battle to perform long-range arts, and Sori can even team up with Seraphim to unlock entirely new move sets.

Tales of Zilia 2

A team firing and slashing enemies.

Tales of Zilia 2 Follows directly the events of the first game, though you take control of a different protagonist. Luger Kranik, the silent character you play, can travel between parallel dimensions to keep the world in balance. zilia 2 Also offers a detailed look at the cast of characters in the first game.

However, the tale of the story is a little too elaborate. The game lags far behind in the middle part, with lots of backtracking and fetch quests. Even then, zilia 2 Features a combat system similar to the first game, with an interesting overall storyline.

tales of fantasy

Cover art for Tales of Fantasia.

tales of fantasy is the first game in the series, originally released in 1995 as an exclusive to the Super Famicom Japan. Upon its issuance, Fantasia It was praised for its unique take on combat, breaking the tradition of turn-based combat in favor of a fast and fluid real-time combat system.

Western fans can still play Fantasia, which was released in North America on the Gameboy Advance in 2006 and ported to iOS in 2014. He said, Fantasia Feels disappointing compared to recent titles in the series. The characters are still interesting, but the plot feels stale and the combat system is underdeveloped.

Heart Tales R

Main character charging to use fireball magic.

similar to Dragon Quest XI, which received a Japan-only port on the 3DS, which was completely redesigned for the platform, heart tales It was released in 2008 as Japan exclusively for the Nintendo DS. It eventually made its way to West shores in 2014 as a 3D remake for the PlayStation Vita.

whereas Fantasia Seems like a precursor to the whole series, heart r Seems like one of the more modern entries. With full 3D environments and free runs in combat, it plays like a recent entry with deep progression systems to boot. That said, the story quickly loses its way.

Tales of Destiny II / Tales of Eternia

A silver-haired man attacks a bear with a tusk.

As is the case with every long-running JRPG series, the Tales franchise suffered from some confusing naming conventions in its early days. Tales of Eternia was issued as Tales of Fate II in North America, though Eternia and original Luck Do not share any plot elements. Adding to the illusion, a proper sequel, tales of fate 2, was released exclusively in Japan for the PS2.

suppressed identity Tales of Eternia With a largely forgettable cast and story, the final product shows through. This is a good game in which all…

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