|GODDAMN SOPHIE IS HNNGGGG|
I've been meaning to do this post for a while now, but I never really got around to it. Things like topics that I would find more interesting for you guys to read, or me just forgetting about it. So now that I remembered, I want to tell you guys about my experience playing my first Japanese game untranslated.
You see the whole reason that I modded my wii was to play this game. The tales series is probably one of my favorite JRPG series right now and when I heard that the new game was going to be on the wii, it convinced me to mod it. Well that was part of the reason to mod it. The other parts for me modding my wii was that the game looked so awesome, I had a horrible feeling that Namco would never localize it, and I had no money to import it at the time. So began my journey through playing this game.
I used the menu patch that I got from the official tales forum and began playing. At that time I had no knowledge of katakana, hiragana, or kanji. Just the knowledge I had from watching tons and tons of anime. I was able to get through how to battle and the title system just fine. It really helped that I played tales before so I knew the common items and their effects just by looking at the picture like life bottle, apple gel, etc. The only time that I used the spoiler-free walkthrough was when I needed help on where to go next, or if I got stuck in some stupid puzzle, but besides that, I used no help whatsoever and it was very satisfying! Thanks to my years of watching anime, I was able to comprehend (most) of the story, and from what I got out of it, It was average at best. But the game really shines not from it's story, but from it's characters as all of the tales series does. Asbel is suzaku 2.0 + I WANT TO PROTECT EVERYTHING. Hubert is Asbel's tsundere brother towards the party, Cheria is your average female herione + nagging mom, Sophie is HNNGGGGG (I'm sorry, dat Kana Hanazawa was too much for me) Malik was the fucking awesome mentor role who can joke around once in a while, and Pascal was the lovable joker with the equally as awesome Kana Ueda for her VA.
I managed to complete the game with no major problems and clocked around 85 hours for my first playthrough. For my next playthrough, I plan on mastering all of the titles, defeat rock gagan the hard way, do all the sidequests and conquer the extra dungeon.
Tales of Graces is a really enjoyable game and is a good edition to the tales series. I would happily visit again once I finish learning hiragana and the japanese core 2000 series. Till then, I will patiently wait till Graces F comes out for the PS3. If you have the time, pick it up.