Tales of Graces F is pretty, but if you don't like JRPGs, it's unlikely to change your mind.
Namco-Bandai has churned out a lot of Tales games over the last fifteen years. Some have been excellent, others lackluster, but you can always depend on a Tales of something game reaching your console every other year so.
Visually, Tales of Graces F is stunning. The anime-style characters are rendered more smoothly here on the PS3 than on the Wii. The PS3 version is also supposed to have additional material that takes place six months after the end of the Wii original - thus the "F" for future ...
The demo kicks off with a full party of characters. We've just escaped from some sort of grave danger, and our shuttle is totally out of commission - looks like we'll be walking from here.
As you trot out into the forest, you'll see the odd roaming creature, and like so many JRPGs before it, you touch it, you fight it. Once in battle mode, you select between "Artes" attacks that are unique to each character and "Burst" attacks that players customize. The D-pad can switch between fighters mid-battle. It appears you can chain attacks here as in some previous games, though we didn't actually succeed in this during the demo session.
The most frustrating part of the battle system initially was movement. Save sidestepping around an enemy in a 360-degree arc, you couldn't move freely about the battle screen. It's supposed be an ability you can unlock later in the game. Another annoyance for us, personally, was the headache inducing, over-the-top, flashy battle visuals.
The trailer seems tinged with sadness; the two lead characters were wistfully looking at a gravestone etched with several names. The lead male character vows to become stronger, the lead female character has no memory - well, it's an RPG straight from Japan, so ... yeah.
Tales of Graces wasn't made to challenge or invigorate the JRPG genre. It's strictly for those who enjoy a JRPG with the right elements of strong story, good visuals, and flashy battles. Judging from the demo, Graces can probably deliver.
TGS 2010 reporting is done jointly by Fintan Monaghan and Lisa Gay.