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Jan. 5, 2006
Tales of Eternia - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price

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The game world is gorgeous.
Namco aren't generally known for their RPG's but their Tales series has earned much critical praise the world over. Now they are bringing the series to the PSP with a port of Tales of Eternia, a title which was first released on PSOne in America in September 2001, but under the name Tales of Destiny II. It was one of the best RPG's of it's time and given the limited numbers it sold in (and we can't even recall seeing it in Australia) it is a welcome addition to the PSP's library. Coming so late into the PSOne's life the game was still one of the better looking, and playing, RPG's on that system. So what's it all about then? Well, the story goes something like this...

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That's some nice graphics.
Reid Hershel, Farrah Oersted, and a mysterious girl named Meredy must embark on a journey to learn the truth on the fate of their world... The story begins when Reid and Farrah attend to the crash of a spaceship near their hometown, Rashea. As they investigate the place of the incident, a weird blue animal leads them to a young girl injured by the crash who speaks an unknown language.

Further on, Reid and Farrah learn that the mysterious girl, named Meredy, came here to prevent a deadly collision between her planet, Celestia, and Reid and Farrah’s world, Inferia. With the help of some friends picked up along the way, Reid, Farrah, and Meredy set out on a quest to collect a set of spiritual beings, their only hope to save both of their planets from a terrible disaster.

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Chatting on the bridge.
The game plays like your traditional RPG in that you control one character in a party of four around a large world comprised of various cities, regions and continents. Each of your characters can be boosed and customized with hundreds of different items, enchanted weapons and powerful spells. The game is also littered with challenging mini games perfectly implemented to the story that will make the characters earn unique features.

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It may be old, but still looks great.
What is a highligh however is the combat system which Namco has dubbed the Linear Motion battle System. This unique battle system actually looks like a side-scrolling action title as you attack and defend in realtime using a combination of directional and button presses. It's rather unique and is one aspect of the series which has been most applauded over the years. Being an older title in the series this game does not use the multiple planes as seen in the more recent PS2/Gamecube titles.

According to reports Namco have got to grips with the PSP's hardware very well with only a few moments of loading between different areas and battles - something which will come as a relief to PSP owners who have been plagued with long and/or very frequent load times. Probably assisting the low load times is the use of 2D graphics for the main sections of game with the only 3D being the world map. The sound is also fairly simplistic with neither the graphics or sound having been improved much, if at all, from the PSOne title (although it's obviously now in widescreen).

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Yep, plenty of RPG styled stats.
Any PSP owner and RPG fan should be pretty excited by the release of Namco's Tales of Eternia. The PSP has a solid library but still lacks some true RPG titles to keep gamers hooked for lengthy periods of time and while this game is a couple of years now it has proven itself as a solid title. PAL territories won't be missing out either with Ubisoft confirming in 2005 that the game would be released here. While the game was due for release in late 2005 it was delayed at the last minute due to a bug which required fixing but there isn't too much longer to wait with a February 2006 release now scheduled.