Tales of Hearts R (Video Game Review)

Tales of Hearts R releases today in North America for the PlayStation Vita from Bandai Namco Games. In the new release, players are introduced to Kor Meteor who owns the Soma weapon which was originally inherited from his grandfather. The story of Tales of Hearts R focuses on Kor meeting a young woman named Kohaku Hearts and her brother Hisui. After a witch casts a spell on Kohaku Hearts that affects her Spiria then Kor tries to connect to it in order to lift the spell through Spiria Link but instead shatters it completely. Now that Kohaku Hearts Spiria and emotions are damaged which means that Kor must find a way to fix it with only his trusted Soma at hand.

Tales of Hearts R manages to offer fans of the series a completely new story and adventure set within the Tales universe combined with that of beautiful animations, powerful characters and a new battle system. The Aerial Chase Linear Motion Battle System now allows gamers to use the new Break Attack, Chase Link and Chase Dash. And of course, players will enjoy the artistic designs that the series is known for thanks to the amazing talents of Mutsumi Inomata.

Tales of Hearts R is a touching and emotional story that not only embodies everything a role-playing game should, but most importantly, makes sure it touches the heart of the player with a well-written narrative. Our main protagonist in Tales of Hearts R is Kor, a young man who grew up by a small village near the sea, and ultimately came to possess the powerful Soma. The Soma is a very unusual tool that allows the possessor to manifest their own Spiria and in turn master it. By mastering his Spiria, Kor will be more adapt to protect not only himself but everyone around him.

Kor is completely obsessed with Kohaku Hearts, not only because she is the only female he has ever met outside Seaville, but by an unexplainable bond that seems to draw him into her very presence. The character of Kor is naive because he has never been outside the world of Seaville, but as his curiosity grows, so does his character and Spiria. Kohaku Hearts escaped the clutches of the witch Incarose and led by the voice of her Spiria has since searched for a Soma alongside her overprotective brother Hisui. Kohaku slowly starts to regain her bubbly and outgoing personality the longer she is around Kor and starts to have feelings for him over their many adventures. However, Hisui still blames Kor for shattering Kohaku's Spirit Core and develops a strong resistance in his sister's developing emotions for Kor.

Tales of Hearts R features a very intriguing set of characters which includes Ines Lorenzen, Chalcedony Akerman, Gall Gruner, Beryl Benito, Kunzite, Lithia Spodumene, and so forth. As players venture across the beautiful world of Tales of Hearts R they will not only meet a diverse amount of characters but enemies. The once sheltered Kor soon realizes that the world is full of danger and he must face it head on in order to fix Kohaku's Spirit Core. Tales of Hearts R starts out as an epic adventure to battle monsters and save the girl but slowly becomes a romantic tale of love and friendship.

The battle system for Tales of Hearts R is incredible with the controls being fluid and responsive. When players come across hostile opponents then the Battle Screen will appear which will prompt combat. Status portraits are available for all of your characters which allows you to keep an eye on their HP, TP, and TC (Technical Counter) during battles and use items as needed. During battle, players can view their hit total and damage to the enemy in the upper-right hand corner of the screen. Attacking enemies in the game will raise your Spiria Gauge with the ability to unlock new Spiria Drive levels as you progress. During battle, players can switch between the different type of control modes (Manual, Semi-Auto, and Auto) with the ability to manually target enemies for damage while seamlessly switching between them. Tales of Hearts R allows a wide variety of character movements that includes free run, backstepping, jumping, guarding, dodging and even air attacks. While gamers start out with basic attacks like Slashing, you will eventually gain new abilities throughout your adventures that includes Break Attacks, Mystic artes and so forth that do even more damage.

Tales of Hearts R features an epic adventure that will have players exploring a wide array of areas with the ability to eventually use the Reinheit flying vehicle to make traveling that much easier. The Reinheit will allow gamers to explore areas that may have not been accessible by foot in order to gain new treasures and places to add to your map. The world of Tales of Hearts R will take players to the open waters all the way to isolated islands. Another fun aspect of Tales of Hearts R besides exploration is cooking! In order to cook certain dishes, players will need to gain recipes by visiting bookstores, talking with NPCs or purchasing them from the Wonder Chef. Of course, the better the recipe then the more HP/TP you will gain through consumption of the food item. It is important to always hit up the shops located in the various towns to look for rare consumables, items, weapons and armor. As you explore and progress, you will be able to use the Sorcerer's Ring to activate switches, destroy obstacles and more. Never underestimate the power of treasure in Tales of Hearts R which is indicated with chests or yellow rings. Sometimes you will get Namcoins instead of treasure which can be traded for useful prizes. Everything available in the game is to help you succeed in the perilous journey ahead alongside forming strong bonds with your team through Somatic Bonds.

In the end, Tales of Hearts R is a wonderfully delightful game that contains exquisite visuals, audio and gameplay. Tales of Hearts R features an intriguing cast and storyline that is sure to please diehard fans of the series. The only real problem with the game is the fact that Bandai Namco didn't use English voiceovers and didn't do a great job of providing players with directions for quests in the game's open world with the ability to get lost easily. All-in-all, Tales of Hearts R does an excellent job of telling a touching love story and offering players an adventure of a lifetime.

Tales of Hearts R is now available for PlayStation Vita for $39.99. Tales of Hearts R is rated T for Teen by the ESRB. To learn more, visit the official Tales of Hearts R website.

Game Features:
  • Single Player
  • Play On The Go
  • Animated Story
  • Aerial Battle System
  • Artistic Design
  • Trophy Support
Game Information:
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
Developer: Bandai Namco Studios
Platforms: PS Vita (reviewed)
Release Date: November 11, 2014

Score: 9 out of 10

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