PlayStationing were recently given a quick look at the first 40 or so minutes of Tales of Hearts R on the PlayStation Vita, so we thought we’d do a quick preview on the game. This game is a remake of the 2008 Nintendo DS game, Tales of Hearts, with full voice acting for the main scenario, new playable characters, 3D graphics and over ten new anime cutscenes created by Production I.G.
The game is being localized for the US and Europe for the first time, however only the subtitles are being translated, the audio will remain in Japanese. Honestly though, the Japanese voice-over is pretty great, the intonation in the voices is very good and the voice acting in general is probably better than the English one would be any way. Although, the translated text is a little odd in places, and names appear to have been changed for some unknown reason. You’ll notice this yourself if you’ve had any exposure to the Japanese language, but on the whole it’s a good decision to maintain the Japanese voice-over as many gamers will prefer this.
In terms of gameplay, Tales of Hearts R is a vast improvement over Tales of Hearts. The environments are fully 3D, albeit a little flat in parts, and the battles are your standard action RPG affair. Enemies don’t roam around in the environment though, instead you will go into a random encounter, load into the battle, and then you have free reign to fight how you want to. There wasn’t much gameplay shown in the first 40 minutes, in fact most of it was story-based cutscenes, but from what was shown, it looks like it could be quite a fun battle system.
You play as Kor Meteor, a “Somatic” and grandson of Sydan. A Somatic in basic terms is someone who uses a “Soma”, which is some sort of magical device that is based on each individual’s heart/personality. There’s loads of terms here to deal with, so I won’t bore you with the details. The reason the game is called Tales of Hearts R is twofold; firstly, there are a few main characters that have Heart as their surname, and secondly, there is a lot of emphasis on Spiria, in which Kor can actually enter a person’s heart to try and drive out evil beings.
Whilst the voice acting is good, the graphics, apart form the character models, are quite flat. There are no bumps or grooves in the ground or environments, and the textures looks dull and stretched. The character models on the other hand are quite good, although there are aliasing issues throughout, but it’s not too bad. The animation of characters during story scenes is quite wooden as well, and whilst the voice-over is very well done, the movement of the characters is really off-putting and robotic. That’s perhaps the reason why there are some anime cutscenes mixed into the game, but these are too few and far between, and a lot of the are still in their original 4:3 resolution.
It’s a shame that there wasn’t much combat gameplay shown, but the upgrades system and the battles on the whole look like they could be very fun. Hopefully the further you get into the game, the more it opens up, and allows you to explore. We can’t wait to try out the full version of the game in November! It looks like it might be time to dust of your Vita.