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Tales of Phantasia for DoCoMo phones: TGS 2009 Hands-on

By Janelle | September 26, 2009 at 7:25 am

Ugh. After playing the Seiken Densetsu 2 cell phone demo that executed cell phone porting so well, I had very high hopes for the Tales of Phantasia cell phone port, but my hopes were shattered very, very quickly.

This demo disappointed from the outset because it was only one single battle. Not a single glimpse of how the field map or overworld played, how cutscenes ran, or any other aspect except a for the battle. If this battle against a powerful werewolf creature had been fun and showed how stellarly the game would port, I wouldn’t have minded so much that it was only a battle. Unfortunately, it wasn’t and it didn’t.

The graphics and sound were really grainy. I don’t pick about graphics too much unless they affect my enjoyment of the game by reducing functionality or being absolutely downright ugly, and this game’s graphics were both. Tales of Phantasia‘s graphics were really pixellated, and didn’t have good anti-aliasing. The colors didn’t blend together well, and the sprite text that popped up at the end to announce my victory was almost unreadable. By the time I recognized it for what it was, the text was already vanishing.

In the battle I controlled Cless, with a backup party of Mint, Arche and Chester. The two girls were casting spells almost constantly because of AI, but the menu to control their spells manually was awkward. The variety of subtle options that the original game had (slashes, running slashes, stabs, four different techs) seemed absent, as no matter what I pressed, all Cless would do was stab and stab and stab. I eventually got him to pull off some techs, but the result was underwhelming. When I tried to figure out ways to fight the battle with a bit more finesse, I got destroyed, so all I did was mash the center button, stabbing and stabbing to just end the battle already.

I lost patience with this demo really quickly. The battle system felt clunky and awkward, and the game was a chore to look at because it was pixellated and ugly, and I didn’t get a chance to see anything else but the battle system. I really expected better of this demo, but Bandai-Namco did not transfer this game to cell phone well at all.

Topics: Namco Bandai, Previews, Tales of Phantasia, Tokyo Game Show 2009