Collection Haul Special – Tales of Completion

Howdy!!

We’re back to the collection haul posts now, but this one is very special. For those who don’t know, my favorite video game series is the Tales of series. I became a fan ever since my first time playing Tales of Symphonia on the GameCube back in 2004 and have since made it my mission to collect and play every single Tales game out there. My original plan was to get one version of every Tales game, be it a port or a remake in place of the original (for example, I counted Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon X as my point for the original.) However, with all this game collecting I’ve been doing lately, I figured I might as well just get all of them. And so, I did just that, plus some that I didn’t really need for the completion of the collection, but they are nice additions nonetheless. Let’s get right to it!

These are the last regular ones I needed. Starting us off is Tales of Innocence R for the PS Vita. I remember this game getting a lot of buzz when it was first announced, quite possibly more than the original on the DS did. Though, I imagine that was due to how popular the original is. This version is primarily a graphic and mechanic overhaul, though a new animated opening video with a new song was added, as well as two new playable characters. Unlike Tales of Hearts R, this game was never released outside of Japan. I was originally going to wait for the possibilities of an English version, but I doubt any sort of localization is coming. Granted, if one does come, I’ll be sure to get it. Otherwise, I’ve got this copy to play. And yes, I did go out of my way to get the “PlayStation Vita the Best” version. Why? I don’t really know. The only benefit to seeking out a “the Best” version of a Japanese game is the lowered price as well as the chances of getting the game in brand new condition. I bought the game off of Amazon, which for me was a nice throwback to how I imported games before I knew about Play-Asia.

Speaking of which, the game right next to it is Tales of Rebirth for the PSP, which I bought from Play-Asia, where most of my importing of Japanese video games has taken place, adding a teensy bit of extra significance to me. I also own the original PS2 version, which is the one I played through. Story-wise, it felt very different from the standard Tales game. The tone was darker and even the music sounded like it was being played at a lower octave. Despite this, the game looks wonderful and maintains a good color palette like most other Tales games. The gameplay is just as fun too and the “3-Line” system works well in making the game feel modern, to a degree. From what I understand, this PSP version doesn’t add much new content, though there is an arena now. That seems pretty cool, if I do say so myself. Like Innocence R, I did deliberately go for the “the Best” version of the game, though this time it was primarily due to the price and me not wanting to hunt down a standard version. This is definitely one game that I would recommend, and there’s even a multi-language fan translation in the works!

Third in the top row is Tales of Graces for the Wii, which I got off of eBay, like I have not only been doing lately for most of my game collecting lately but also I did for a few Tales imports when I was starting off collecting Tales games. Tales of Graces is probably my third favorite in the whole series, right under Eternia and Abyss. As such, I wanted to get the original Wii version, especially since the version we got in English was the updated PS3 version. That being said, the Wii version obviously is lacking the new content from the PS3 version, namely the extra story. It should also be noted that the Wii version had to be recalled due to the original release of it having a bunch of bugs and glitches. At the moment, I have no easy way to play imported Wii games, so I can’t check my copy to see if it’s one that needed to be recalled. Although doubtful, I suppose there’s no way for me to know either way. Not that it matters to me, mind you. I bought it for the collection, since it’s my third fave. Technically speaking, it wasn’t part of my main list, though I went ahead and got it so I could complete this collection. It’ll be interesting to hear the Japanese voice-over and see how the game looked completely in standard definition, for sure. What I loved about this game was the story and how the friendship trope that the Tales series is known for was used in this particular game. I did a video about this game on my YouTube channel, that was part of a series of reviews of every Tales game, though since it’s Tales I give it special treatment. The video is old but my opinions on the game haven’t changed, so if you want to know every detail about what I think, then there you go.

Starting the bottom row is Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon for the Game Boy Color. This is the first spin-off to the Tales series and the first of the Narikiri Dungeon trio. The game was also remade for the PSP as Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon X, which I also have and bought several years ago. Generally, I prefer the remake on the PSP over the original, because the original was made as a turn-based RPG that, while other people may enjoy, is not only not my cup of tea but also very un-Tales like. I wanted to get the original originally because I felt like it would be cool to have, and like Tales of Graces on the Wii, it wasn’t technically part of the main list but got bumped up. Oh, and I bought it on eBay. Sorry, I forgot how important that detail was.

Next up is Tales of the World: Summoner’s Lineage for the Game Boy Advance, also bought on eBay. This one is the Tales series’ first foray into the turn-based strategy genre. I haven’t played much of it, but story-wise it’s another spin-off to Tales of Phantasia. My friend, and fellow host on my podcast, Ryo has this joke where it’s his favorite. Haven’t heard that joke in a while though. I’ll bring it up the next time I talk to him.

Finally, we have Tales of Phantasia for the PlayStation. It’s a remake of the original version on Super Famicom and also serves as the base for the two enhanced ports on PSP that came after. The general consensus among fans is that this version is the best one to play, though I’d argue Tales of Phantasia: Full Voice Edition on the PSP is superior, primarily because of the battle sprite upgrades and the fact that all major characters besides the playable ones are fully voice acted (hence the title.) This is the strangest Japanese PS1 game I’ve ever seen, it’s more like a plastic clam-shell rather than the standard CD jewel case. Because of that, I was nervous buying it, but I saw several listings with different pictures of the same case style, so I can only assume that the game was sold like this. Like Innocence R and Rebirth, this is the “the Best” version and like most of the games listed so far, I bought it on eBay… I promise this isn’t a new trend for future haul posts. Anywho, I enjoyed Phantasia when I played the Game Boy Advance version back when they came out in English. Among most fans, the GBA version is not that popular, but I liked it. That being said, I’m happy to have this version in my collection.

This is one of the surprises for this haul. For those who don’t know, this is a boxed copy of the failed Tales of Eternia Online, which ran in the mid-2000’s. Most western fans were unable to play it, due to IP blocking, but those who got in didn’t play for very long, as far as I can tell.  Even then, there was a monthly fee after the free trial, which I think lasted a week or two, I don’t remember. I was only lucky enough to make it to the title screen back when a download was available, so I never played it myself. From what others have reported, the game was one of those point-and-click style games that used the function keys for attacks once a battle starts. I was pumped for it back when it was announced. I wanted to play it really badly. Even after the game and website closed down, I still had the installer. Unfortunately, I lost it as I moved computers over time. I wasn’t planning on getting it at all, but I found it for sale on a Japanese Yahoo Auction listing. My friend and fellow Abyssal Chronicles writer DimensionSlip helped me out as a proxy buyer and sent it over once it shipped. This was my first time doing the whole “getting a buddy to buy you stuff in Japan” thing and it was a safe and painless experience. The box was in good condition as well, with the discs still wrapped in their cases. A special DVD and card set was also included. I haven’t tried installing the game from the disc, though I imagine I would need an older computer, one that at least runs Windows XP. I’d love to see a private server for the came come around, though I think it would need to be heavily reworked in order to be worth while. Slip sells various Tales merchandise on her Tumblr page, so be sure to check it out if you want to grab anything. Thanks again, Slip!

Now this bad boy is the highlight. What you see there is the Tales of Eternia Premium Box, which is basically the Japanese collector’s edition. Before there were the different special editions by Famitsu and whatnot, Namco would produce special editions of the Tales games, though seemingly on rare occasions. In fact, I believe the last one they did on their own was the Link edition for Tales of Hearts R. There was also a special edition for Tales of Destiny: Director’s Cut on the PS2, which I have (zing!) Other than those two, it’s been special editions made by Famitsu or other publications. I don’t know if this was the first special edition ever produced in the series, but it’s definitely one of the earliest. Included in the box is the game (obviously), a cool Quickie clock, a figurine set, a design book, and a cool lanyard. I filmed an unboxing video for it, so if you want a better look inside, then you should give it a watch. The only negative thing I can even come up with is that the amount of goodies included in the box is small, overall. That being said, since this is one of the first special editions they ever made for the Tales series, it’s understandable why they wouldn’t include a thousand little knick-knacks. Despite this, I’m glad to finally have it in my collection.

And that’s a wrap! It feels surreal knowing that I have all the Tales games. Though, technically speaking, there is the CGI version of Tales of Hearts on the DS, though the only thing that is different is the cover art and the anime scenes are replaced with CGI ones. Otherwise, it’s the same game as the anime version. I’m planning to get it anyway, though. Same with the PS4 version of Tales of Zestiria. I plan to get the Collector’s Edition so I can get the “Dawn of the Shepard” OVA dubbed (more on that in a future haul post.) If I wanted to be even more persnickety, there is a rare Chinese dubbed version of Tales of Destiny 2 that I think would be fun to have, as well as that special edition of Tales of Legendia that was only released in South Korea. Those are pipe dreams, however, as I’ll likely never find copies of them. Even still, I’m very proud to have (almost, technically) every Tales game.

The next several posts for the foreseeable future will in fact be more hauls. I know I said I didn’t want to do too many back-to-back, but they are piling up and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t post about them. Maybe there will be a non-haul post somewhere in between, but until then you can count on semi-regular haul posts.

Thanks for reading! See ya next time!!

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Collection Haul #4 – Mainly Mangoes (And a comic…)

Welcome back! It’s been a while, and I have built up quite the backlog of stuff to share. To be honest, I’ve built up enough for eight more haul posts. I’ve started branching into action figures as well, which we will get to in the future. This one is primarily comics, and by comics I mean manga. Which is Japanese for comic… So, still comics? Yes, comics. Comics. Let’s move on before I get caught in a loop.

This here is the remaining volumes of Berserk that I needed to get before having them all, besides the recently released volume 38. And yes, I’ve read them all now. It is still a great read and Berserk is quickly becoming one of my favorite manga series. Without going into too much detail in the interest of avoid spoilers, there is a touching flashback chapter involving Guts. I wasn’t as interested in what was going on with the other characters, particularly with Griffith’s army and the Kushan people, but it was useful to establish what is likely going to be the next stage in this current conflict. I don’t know how others feel about the current pace of the story, but I get the impression that we are reaching the climax. I’ll have to get volume 38 and read it so I can see if my feelings change.

Besides Berserk, I’ve tried to keep up with a few other manga. Firstly, at the top you’ll see a Daredevil comic that my buddy Troy got me for my birthday last March, titled “The Man Without Fear.” I haven’t had the chance to read it yet, but it looks like an origin retelling, which will be useful for me since I’m not too familiar with Daredevil, although I had this kickass figure of him as a a kid which, besides the fact that he’s almost completely red, made me all the more interested in his character. Plus, the fact that it’s written by Frank Miller acts like a seal of quality, as he is one of the biggest comic writers out there. Thanks again, Troy!

Directly under it is volumes four and five of Citrus, the latest in “yuri” (basically girl-on-girl in manga/anime form) storytelling. It seems to be the new hotness in the genre and I enjoy it. Yuzu’s relationship with Mei is fun to watch unfold, with Mei being pretty hard to read. I both like and dislike this about her character. On one hand, it makes her more realistic and appear as if she doesn’t know what she wants romantically but on the other hand, it’s annoying as hell, haha! There is an anime adaptation in the works, so it will be interesting to see how Mei is portrayed. I will continue to read as the story progresses.

Next up is volume 10 of UQ Holder, the sequel to Negima. While Negima was a magical school life harem series with shonen elements, UQ Holder is straight up shonen (with the magic and stuff) so I kind of like it more than Negima. There is still plenty of gags and harem shipping though, so it doesn’t feel like a completely different story, which is good as a sequel. I’ve also read volume 11, but I will get to it at a later time. As far as volume 10 is concerned, it’s still a bit before the big tournament, I believe right after Tota finishes his training with Dana. Visually, the manga is very easy on the eyes and is a smooth read, at least for me. In terms of my reading speed, it’s in the middle, with Dragon Ball being my fastest and Berserk being my slowest. I’ve been told the story gets crazy later on, which I started seeing a little of in volume 11. I look forward to seeing what comes next.

This is where the “mainly” part of this post’s title comes in. As you can see, I’ve continued to make small progress in my game collection. Like I said before, I’ve taken enough pictures for future posts, and here I will also say that I’ve made enough progress to complete a couple areas, meaning I have all the games for a specific system that I want, though some a still up in the air. Anywho, the first game in this batch is Wario World for the GameCube. I rented ths game once from Blockbuster and had fun with it. My experience with the Wario games is limited, having only played this one and the GBA one (Wario World 4, I believe.) It plays like a 3D version of the typical Wario World games, so this one is a good game to pick up if you enjoy them.

Next to it is Guilty Gear 2: Overture for the Xbox 360. It’s an action game set in the Guilty Gear universe. I’ve only played it twice. The first time, I wasn’t too into it, but I gave it another chance and liked it more. It was mainly the camera that turned me off, but I got used to it. The gameplay is what you would expect, something more like Dynasty Warriors or God of War, but scaled down a bit. The game was recently released on Steam, so if you’re interested, that may be the better place to go, but I’m pleased with my copy on 360.

Third is Samurai Warriors 2: Empires for the PS2. This was the first Warriors game I ever played, so I wanted to add it to my collection, having only rented the game from Hollywood Video, the one that was right across the “better” Blockbuster (where I lived, there were four nearby, plus an extra two if I wanted to venture further.) The character customization is very dated by today’s standards, but the gameplay holds up well and doesn’t feel clunky at all, surprisingly. It was nice to go back and play it after all these years.

Starting the second row is Spider-Man for the PS1. This is currently my favorite Spider-Man game, mainly due to nostalgia. It was always very fun to play and I felt like I learned more about the characters, having only caught the animated series from the 90’s on the rare occasion that I would watch Fox Kids. Though, it must have aired on another channel too, because I remember watching it a fair amount of the time… Or maybe I watched Fox Kids more than I remember? I dunno, but regardless this game was fun. The N64 had this game as well as a red cart, which I hope to get, as I played both the N64 and PS1 versions. Fun times.

Next to it, in the bottom middle, is Soul Calibur for the Dreamcast, giving me a complete Soul Calibur series collection, besides the arcade version of my favorite, Soulcalibur III. Anywho, if you follow this series as well, you’ll know that the arcade version of Soul Calibur was released on Xbox Live several years ago in HD. The main difference with the Dreamcast version, besides the fact that it’s a physical game and not a download, is that there is an extra mode in which you pick a character and do missions and stuff. It’s a nice way to give the game more of a life spin, since you won’t just be playing the arcade mode or doing multiplayer. Unfortunately, not all the characters are unlocked, but it’s still nice to play every now and then. And of course I made sure to unlock Hwang as soon as I could!

Right next to it is Custom Robo Arena for the DS. I am a HUGE fan of the GameCube game, it being one of my top three GameCube games. With that in mind, I’ve been itching for another Custom Robo game, this one being my only option, due to the rest of the series being exclusive to Japan. I’ve only played a little bit of the game and it works well even on the DS. My only complaint so far is that the script is a bit cheesy, which is something I don’t recall from the GameCube game (not saying it was always super serious, but I remember it being less cheesy than this one.) Regardless, I think I’ll enjoy it.

Finally, we have Yoshi’s Story for the N64. Growing up, this game was always a rental. I never finished it, nor was I very good at it as a kid, but it was a fun game to play. I remember not wanting to play as any Yoshi besides the red one, since red is my favorite color. I’ll probably still do everything in my power to keep me from playing as any other color Yoshi besides the red one, and with my skills as a gamer having gone up with my age, I’d like to think I can do it. We’ll see.

And that’s it! As you can see, I’ve started dipping into other collections I’ve been wanting to expand, and I have plenty more to show, as stated earlier. Next post will more than likely be video game related. We’ll see how things go. I have a few ideas for future posts that I hope to get to as we continue, it’ll just be a matter of which ones I want to do first.

Thanks for reading! See you next time!!