clessaileron: (Sakura Shinguji)
[personal profile] clessaileron
I have been wanting to write out my Tales history for some time (well, it's supposed to be the series' 20th anniversary when I started writing this). I will not be holding back on writing this. I'm writing as much as I can in this, even if it show some elements that may not put me in a good light. So, here's my history with the Tales series.

---1999---
January 1999. It was my 13th birthday. When it came to opening presents, I got something that definitely came out of nowhere, since it wasn't on my birthday wish list...a Playstation & accessories. What about games? I didn't mention games yet because...this Playstation I got was modded, so the games I ended up getting for it was a batch of bootlegs. One of the bootlegged games that I ended up seeing in this batch was this game titled, "Tales of Destiny." This ended up being picked since my mom was thinking it looked Zelda-ish or something from the cover.

So after partying with some friends, I ended up deciding to look into this Tales of Destiny game, not knowing what I would get myself into other than it was an RPG. Entering the first battle of the game, I definitely did not expect how I was going to fight these battles out. I was going to fight them in real time with the other party members being controlled by AI. If anything, I pretty much compared it to the idea of "Final Fantasy (with it being an RPG) meeting Street Fighter (with the battles being fought like it was a fighting game)." Later on, I did managed to find out, through little detail from Tales of Destiny & the early days of the internet, that Tales of Destiny is actually related to a game I once saw in the pages of Nintendo Power...Tales of Phantasia (That was also the first time I ever knew the main character's name...Cless. Boy, will that stay drilled into my head, despite Cless & Arche's cameo in Tales of Destiny having his name as, "Cress".).

How much did I get into Tales of Destiny? I was addicted to it. I pretty much wanted to play it through to the end, regardless of if I go on & off with the game due to other games I wanted to play. I did beat it July that year. Though that bootleg is gone now (the why part is something I'm not willing to talk about), it will open something up.

---2001---
I was aware Tales of Destiny didn't do too well in North America so I wasn't going to be hearing about anything related to it for the time being. Though, by this time, I found myself aware of emulators. In the early 2000s, I did hear about Tales of Phantasia on Super Famicom being fan translated, so I decided to give it a look. It was amazing hearing a theme song come out from the game (and a Super Famicom game nonetheless). Though that would end up waiting.

Despite Tales of Destiny not doing well, I ended up hearing from IGN that Namco would give the series another go in North America by bringing Tales of Eternia over (as Tales of Destiny II) with an interview about why Eternia over Phantasia & more. I almost forgot about it since I never was able to get a good release date out of it (then again, it was released in North America early September 2001. Wait! Didn't a certain national tragedy happened around that time? Yeah, considering it would be a time where thinking about something like video games wouldn't be a priority, we see a reason for Tales of Eternia being more doomed). Despite that, I was able to get Tales of Eternia during November 2001. This young RPG series is back into my life. I played Tales of Eternia alot. This was where my obsession with Tales started to grow & find myself shunning Final Fantasy X & the series (though I'm now wanting to give FFX a fair shake but that's for another time).

---2002---
After playing Tales of Eternia, I definitely wanted more, so I actually decided to get to playing Tales of Phantasia on an emulator. Early 2002 was spent with me playing Tales of Phantasia. It became something special to me & ended up as my favorite among the three (and still is, even though there's thing that will be talked about later). This is probably where I started to find whatever Tales thing I could find & aware of other places.

You know how I have a modded PS1? Well, my older sister had her own modded PS1. The weird thing is, mine supposedly wouldn't run original imports because of how it was done to run bootlegs. I don't know when but I noticed this import looking PS1 game on my dad's desk (Puzzle Bobble 2...that's Bust A Move 2 in the western hemisphere). He claimed it didn't work but was my modded PS1 he tried it on. I had this hunch about my sister's PS1. I decided to throw it into my sis's PS1 and her modded system actually ran it. Not only did that mean I actually had a legit import PS1 game, but because of that, I decided to swap my modded PS1 for hers. Now, what's the point of me bringing this up? I would actually want to get the PS1 remake of Tales of Phantasia and since that thing happened, I have a way to run it. So Tales of Phantasia PS1 would be the first Japanese region game I would get since I returned to the USA from Japan.

I already knew the gist of the story, so I only cared about playing dealing with the menu. At this point, I was self-teaching myself Hiragana & Katakana. This would definitely prove helpful when I get myself involved with more importing and the basic can now get me able to read what "Apple Gumi" was written as in Japanese. This just makes my Tales obsession grow. In fact, it was around the summer of 2002 where I officially took on the name, "Cless Aileron" (And it managed to stick with me all these years to the point that it's my Xbox Live gamertag, PSN ID [though it had to be one word for this one], and my profile name on Steam). Also, since that bootleg of Tales of Destiny I have was gone, I decided being a fan of the series, I would get my sister to acquire a copy on eBay, which she did (I didn't know how to do eBay at this time, so she was having to do it for me). That means a legit Tales of Destiny would be in my possession. I would hear about Tales of Destiny 2 (the real one) on PS2 & get me excited. I ended up building a presence on GameFAQs, acquiring fansubs of the Tales of Eternia anime I ended up hearing about through a sharing program (this was before torrents) but I really got myself into the fandom early 2003.

---2003---
I knew of someone doing what was originally a Tales of Phantasia fan site that eventually became a full-on Tales fan site. I would end up making my presence there know (and this person behind the site would end up being my closest friend from the Tales fandom, though I have been keeping this person's identity confidential on my own free will*). I also made an appearance on another site made by a certain person going by the name ClesStahn via the IRC chatroom. Finally, I was already aware of a place where someone was attempting to translate the PS1 version of Tales of Phantasia. Just a day before my birthday on 2003, I made my presence on what would end up being my regular Tales series hangout for the longest time...Phantasian Productions. It would be where I got to know some fans (ClesStahn & that certain person). Around this time, Namco was teasing a Tales title with the tentative title "Shin Tales of (Kari)" (New Tales of Game). There was a certain video around showing a very rough in progress version of the game and it was meant for Gamecube (and there were people acting like it was a Tales of Phantasia remake). Eventually, that game would be revealed as Tales of Symphonia for the Gamecube. Not only that, it would also be released in North America the following year. This may be hard to believe for anyone reading this that got into Tales because of Tales of Symphonia for the Gamecube but the existing fans were pretty irate because, "Why are you localizing Tales of Symphonia instead of the direct sequel to a game you actually released over here!?" (i.e. Tales of Destiny 2). Yeah, it was a pain in the butt seeing all that. I even ended up having to write something that was best summed up as, "This may be the Tales series' last stand. If you're going to want to see the series continue in North America, you're going to have to support Tales of Symphonia." Later on, ClesStahn would mysteriously vanish from the internet. Don't know why at the time but it'll come up.

I haven't forgotten about really wanting Tales of Destiny 2. I've come to accept either I import it or move on. Guess what I ended up doing? I got my PS2 modded around September that year (I had plans to play Soul Calibur II on Gamecube, so being without a PS2 for some time wasn't a problem). It was no easy task for my dad. Despite a few hiccup along the way (not reading disc, still being a non-modded system), my PS2 was successfully modded after testing it with Tales of Phantasia PS1. Now there was one thing that needed to be done...get Tales of Destiny 2. It was a long wait (I even did a Simpsons Treehouse of Horror reference gag on a Tales chatroom to make fun of it. "No Tales of Destiny 2 makes me something something." "Go crazy!" "Don't mind if I do!"). After I got it (original black label and no CERO rating on it nonetheless), I threw it into my PS2 and after one hiccup of "Not a PS1 or PS2 game" error, I managed to get it started. Just seeing the PS2 logo boot up & then seeing Tales of Destiny 2's opening with the cheesy theme song was something to get me excited. I dealt with whatever story synopsis I could get on the internet and dealt with any language barrier anyway I can (even running head first into it). I was playing it however I can. I remember due to a wildfire crisis in October 2003, school got cancelled up to a week. As long as there was no need to evacuate during that time, I was playing Tales of Destiny 2 (I actually ended up dealing with a volcano dungeon during that wildfire crisis. Go figure.). Despite not being able to get the full story, I was definitely feeling the effect of Tales of Destiny 2. I got back into Pokémon while I was waiting for Tales of Destiny 2 to come in the mail. In fact, when I decided to get Pokémon Ruby, I chose Treecko and ended up naming it after the reoccurring enemy in the game, Barbatos. I can say that I spent my senior year of high school playing Tales of Destiny 2.

---2004---
An official Tales of Symphonia site & forum would open in May 2004. I would come in there but drift out of there a couple of years later.

I actually preordered Tales of Symphonia during my final months of high school. By the time I got out of high school, July would be free for me to play Tales of Symphonia. I ended up enjoying it, though this game's success left me unprepared. It took some time to adjust to since I wasn't so used to seeing the fandom having more people than I used to. I eventually dealt with it but then again, they'll be problems I have to deal with outside of that. I would also watch fansubs of the Tales of Phantasia OVA being made late that year. Oh yeah, I would also see ClesStahn pop out of nowhere & explain why he disappeared and his site came back.

---2005---
Tales of Legendia is announced 2005 & it was something unexpected with it. Despite that, it was already announced for localization the following year. Tales of the Abyss also announced for the series' 10th anniversary. I would also import Tales of Rebirth that year while I continue getting used to the current fandom. Also a surprise, the 2003 GBA version of Tales of Phantasia would be localized in 2006. Oh right, Stahn & Rutee from Tales of Destiny would be appearing in a Namco/Capcom crossover game (Namco X Capcom). Just hearing those two in a crossover game just got me excited to import the game since I knew it wasn't getting localized for its obscure characters (and this would also lead to a different kind of disappointment). This was also a year where I help that close friend update the site he/she was doing since he/she was slacking. This would be the first year I see San Diego Comic Con and find that, unlike me thinking it was about just comic book, there's more there & is a comic book & pop culture convention. I probably would humor the idea of dressing as a Tales character.

---2006---
February 2006. I got Tales of Legendia (and I never was able to get the artbook). If I had problems getting used to the current Tales fandom, then I would have worse problems dealing with the reception backlash for Tales of Legendia. I see people being displeased with it and, at the time, I didn't understand why. This would actually start my whole thing where I feel like I couldn't critically analyze worth a damn.

Though Tales of Phantasia GBA came out the following month, I knew the GBA version wasn't particularly good but I bit the bullet anyway. this localization made things worse. I mean worse problems than arguing over Cless's name. I did play through it since it's my favorite but this port was a letdown for me nonetheless.

Then, Tales of the Abyss got released with the fanbase going crazy over it, unlike with Tales of Legendia. Due to the backlash I felt for not seeing Tales of Legendia a certain way, I didn't feel in the mood to immediately start playing (like it would be sitting there while I go play a Mortal Kombat game. It wasn't Armageddon, despite it being release the same time as the North America version of Tales of the Abyss). I would be able to play a bit of it before I call it a night. I ended up not playing it for a few days since I still couldn't handle things going on between Tales of Legendia & Tales of the Abyss. Tales of the Abyss ends up being hailed as great storytelling, great character development, world building, and all that stuff. It was hard for me to deal with all the anti-hype of Tales of Legendia & the hype of Tales of the Abyss that I felt evasive of playing Tales of the Abyss. I was able to play through it though but I had a hard time admitting in the open that I didn't find to to be as great as people make it out to be until I just went out & post that I didn't find it great. I probably exaggerated how I didn't find Abyss so great. Still, I have felt like I'm not seeing how great these characters from Abyss are with great character development compared to the bland, one dimensional characters of Tales of Phantasia.

Also, my close friend & I both got lazy and stop updating the Tales fansite he/she did.

---2007---
2007 was something I wouldn't say was all that eventful for Tales for me. Yeah, I did pick up Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology in August that year. Okay, being the third year I have gone to San Diego Comic Con, I spotted Tales cosplay for once. A couple of Sheena, a couple of Anise Tatlin & maybe an Ion (though I was still feeling the burn of the hype backlash, so I just pass by & say nothing). I ended up hearing a Tales of Symphonia spin off game for Wii and at the end of the year, there was the announcement of a Tales game going onto an unspecified HD console for 2008. That Christmas, I did get an Xbox 360. While, yeah, I got it to play Eternal Sonata (and regretted playing that game) & Dead Rising, I wasn't caught off guard for the following year.

Someone else managed to get a PS1 fan translation of Tales of Phantasia out. I did look at it but I didn't feel like actually playing it, regardless of it being there.

---2008---
Early 2008, Tales of Vesperia gets revealed for...Xbox 360 and was getting localized (Being on 360 and being localized, I was like, "It better! It's on the so-called American system!"). I was not caught off guard since I had full intent of getting the system before Tales of Vesperia was announced. I was once again feeling hyped for a Tales game with more renewed interest. My dad got a new HDTV, so I would not be squinting like I was playing Dead Rising. I was so hyped up for Tales of Vesperia that I even found a way to download the demo off of Japan's Xbox Live Marketplace. I actually played that demo too many times to count. I even preordered it at a Gamestop that was actually walking distant from where I live. That year's San Diego Comic Con, I actually did something different...I cosplayed as Leon Magnus. While there was Tales of Vesperia demo stations at Bandai Namco's booth that year, I did not get a photo of myself as Leon playing Tales of Vesperia (I leave the excuse as, "I played the demo too much to bother playing it there"). However, during the Thursday show, I actually got to hang with a bunch of Tales of the Abyss cosplayers (at this point, I was slowly getting over my burn of the Tales of the Abyss hype backlash, so I was fine with it this time). Some people were able to identify who I was supposed to be (one girl actually acted like a fangirl over "Leon"), I did get plenty of mistaken identity as Marth from Fire Emblem (to be honest, I should see that coming because of their similar dress code & their Japanese voice being done by the same person). It was my most eventful Comic Con I say.

I find out after the convention that there was a special edition of Tales of Vesperia being released. Since I wouldn't be able to get it at the store, I actually had to do a method of canceling the preorder, put that money on a gift card plus some extra, then buy it on Gamestop's website. Luckily, I managed to get it in all its steel case glory (though the spine label's on backwards but I don't care!). I played it & I ended up making a new favorite among Tales of Phantasia. I was also, as I put it, selling out via the Tales Brigade promotional site. I also got Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World & I once again ended up seeing anti-hype. I ended up encountering another moment where I feel like an idiot because I'm not being critical enough (and that I only think Tales of Symphonia was good but not something I would put on a high pedestal). I also watched the Tales of the Abyss anime and this helped give me a change of heart for the installment (despite me thinking it's just okay, though it would still be a part of my, "I can't critically analyze properly!" alongside Tales of Legendia & Dawn of the New World). Also, Phantasian Productions would continue with their PS1 fan translation of Tales of Phantasia, despite one being out. I even got invited to be on board for beta testing the translation.

---2009---
The previous year, after screwing up with college in 2005-2006, I gave it another go for college & I did find some people with some appreciation for Tales alongside fighting games. But I ended up screwing up in my studies again and lost all that I gain that time. Then there was a reaction over the PS3 port of Tales of Vesperia. I was expecting it but I didn't expect the whole, "Everything & the kitchen sink" port. Yes, I admit it. I was disappointed hearing this. Over time, I was actually able to move on. It didn't exactly stop me from going for the whole 1000 achievement points. I mean, I still when as far as acquiring a disc that gain me access to Tales of Vesperia Xbox Live gamerpics. I also did get a Tokunaga plushie with all the various changable heads plus a Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World T-Shirt (I was glad to have since I always wanted a Tales T-Shirt). Though I would probably end up having my fandom issues. At least there's Tales of Graces on Wii & I previously homebrewed my Wii for Tatsunoko Vs Capcom. I did get a PS3 that Christmas (despite not releasing my wish list but it seems like seeing me play Uncharted on a family friend's PS3 was enough for my family to say, "Get him a PS3 for Christmas!"). I did import Tales of VS, since I did want some sort of Tales fighting game (it was okay).

---2010---
So, we're not seeing Tales games get anymore localization? Somehow, I have found myself not caring. Maybe I felt very William Shatner-like over the whole thing, especially over one certain RPG site doing an April Fools joke over Tales of Graces. At one point, I changed my avatar to the Joker from Batman: Arkham Asylum with the caption, "Why So Serious, Tales Fandom?" (Only reason I used the Arkham Asylum one was probably because it was easy and maybe because I happened to be playing said Batman game on PS3). I still felt something for the series but ended up feeling isolated from the fandom. I did watch a fansub of Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike. Maybe there was an omen here. I was actually excited to watch a feature length movie for Tales of Vesperia, even a prequel story. I must have felt the Star Wars Episode I effect on me (this wasn't the only Star Wars analogy I would make talking about Tales of Vesperia). After watching it, I felt like, "It was entertaining." The more it sink in, I realize, "Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike was a disappointment." Except I didn't hear it that way from others.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. It was the game that Bandai Namco was wanting to make as their big new franchise. Ninja Theory, promoting the game, would make the same cocky mistake in regards over an infamous reboot of a certain franchise as they do here. Yeah, it found itself with way too much competition for the holiday season and failed in the market (Still got it on PS3 for Christmas that year). What got to me was the scapegoating of this game from the Tales fanbase the same way Secret of Evermore was made a scapegoat for no localization of Seiken Densetsu 3. But you know, if they didn't make such a fuss over it, I probably wouldn't care enough to demo Enslaved at SDCC and liking it. While I've seen Youtubers like Metal Jesus bring it up as a hidden gem he played on Xbox 360 & Screwattack.com's Top 10 last gen hidden gem listing it in the middle of their list these day, every time I recalled the game Enslaved, I constantly recall the game as the Tales fandom's scapegoat for no localized Tales games. When I think about it, I did put on the Leon Magnus costume again for 2010's San Diego Comic Con & I did play the Enslaved demo there in costume. I feel like I should have got a photo of myself playing Enslaved in costume. At this point, I pretty much felt like a fandom traitor with my views...and supporting that game (Did I mention I would end up getting a Steam version of the game when it shows up there some years after this?). Outside of that Enslaved thing, yeah, I did get Yuri Lowenthal to sign my Tales of the Abyss PS2.

Oh yeah, Tales of Graces f on PS3 (again, "everything & the kitchen sink" port, cue the drama) & Tales of Xillia for Tales 15th anniversary. I did get the Tales of Graces f demo off Japan's PSN and would stay on my hard drive until 2012. Surprised I didn't go after Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon X, though I did get the original Game Boy Color game, complete in box.

---2011---
The following year did get me feeling isolated & pretty much feeling like a fandom traitor. Though yes, Tales localization is happening again & Tales of Graces f localization in 2012. Still feeling the fandom bitterness despite all that. Bandai Namco ends up having a guy referring to himself as FilthieRich as a PR guy (I already knew he was pulled in more for his Tekken background). Everyone figured out his teasing image for Tales of Graces f localization but he delayed it to obscure it, even with a Tales of Vesperia logo. Everyone jumped on the idea it's ToV PS3, despite the answer practically given away already. Well, it was still hard to care, especially since I wasn't all that hyped from the Tales of Xillia JPN trailers. Well, my head will be buried too much with a certain old game series that had Fujishima involvement with instead but it's not a Namco IP, it was a Sega IP (Okay, it was Sakura Wars. It's going to play a part later here!).

On the other hand, I did go into replaying Tales of Legendia. This playthrough was where I realize that the game wasn't actually all that great and was merely okay overall but was pretty annoying. Only problem? People aren't seeing it as a piece of crap anymore like they do Dawn of the New World. I'm still questioning my ability to critically analyze since now I just see the problems with Tales of Legendia when I'm supposed to see this great story or whatever. I also did play through Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon on GBC. It was something I felt regret not doing since it was within my time in 2003 & before.

---2012---
Tales of Graces f is released in the west. Am I still able to care? Yes. Though with Graces, I did feel like it was just phoning it in. Despite that, I'll hang in there.

Remember how I said Namco X Capcom gave me disappointment? There's now a Bandai Namco/ Capcom/Sega crossover announced. If Yuri & Estelle from Tales of Vesperia were all there is for me, I'd probably be, "Oh no! I fell into this trap last time! I am not getting myself involved with Project X Zone! Not this time!" Of course, knowing that I'll never feel like I'll get some sort of closure for Sakura Wars, I see characters from the series being in the game & the only thing in my head is the theme song followed by a mental screaming of the F word. Great! Sakura Shinguji & Estellise together! Now I'm not going to know better. Okay, I'm against the 3DS's region locking in general, but I feel like the region locking would keep me from being tempted to import, since I have no intent of owning a JPN region 3DS.

Tales of Xillia did get announced for a localization the following year (while away at Las Vegas for EVO and wouldn't hear about it until I came back). I'll still get into it despite Graces. Oh, and there's a Tales of Xillia 2. All I say with that is..."What?"

For Comic Con that year, I did buy the Blu-Ray for Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike and, yeah, I still felt it was a disappointment.

---December 2012 to Early 2013---
I definitely feel I should give it a special time section here.

I have heard all the comments about Phantasian Productions & some things in regards to Tales of Phantasia. Phantasian Productions is a joke, incompetent, they should just drop Tales of Phantasia PS1 because Absolute Zero did one already, get on with Tales of Destiny remake. Then there's Tales of Phantasia, an outdated game with bland character, lacking character development, outdated gameplay, and it's not even all that great. Not to mention, there's other Tales games more worth your time than this outdated game (even ToP X isn't enough to cover those problem, even with no spell freezing & other gameplay tweaks). I feel like I'm just blinded by nostalgia when it comes to Tales of Phantasia.

So, the fan translation equivalent of Duke Nukem Forever or the Gun 'n Roses album, "Chinese Democracy" ended up coming out in early 2013. It's ten years since I appeared in Phantasian Productions' forums. So why did I wait for this fan translation of the PS1 Tales of Phantasia? No one else is going to give a crap they managed to release it. In fact, people cared more when Duke Nukem Forever finally came out in 2011, despite the consensus finding that it turned out to be awful!

Maybe it's because Phantasian Productions was the earliest place I found a community where I found some Tales fans. I did get pretty close to the regulars there, even with moments of me having bad moods. Some ended up being my closest friends (especially considering the one I'm thinking of bothered to track me down on Facebook rather than me track him/her down on Facebook). Despite all the development hell it went through that even Duke Nukem would laugh over it, there was some dedication to giving the game a good translation.

Now, because of those feelings about being blinded by nostalgia, I was already walking into playing this game with a cynical mindset, despite it being the fan translation of Tales of Phantasia PS1 I waited all these years for. The thing is, I wasn't feeling any problem with the spell freezing, its old gameplay, whatever. I definitely felt a lot of effort went into it, despite whatever imperfection there was in it. I still hold this installment as my favorite. Even when I was sucked into Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed or finding Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale better than what a lot of the critics are saying, I still was able to put some time to take out my old modded PS1, burned an ISO of Tales of Phantasia PS1 patched with the Phantasian Productions, & play it on an old tube TV. It does feel like the end of an era.

A lot of times, I tend to think with the Phantasian Productions fan translation release, I think only an old fart like me would care about this release. Maybe it's for the better no one cared about this release. I'm probably just showing how out of touch I am with the fandom. Especially since I still feel like I'm blinded by nostalgia when it comes to this game.

(Yeah, there's people that goes on about how Gen 1 Pokémon is the best and go justifying its outdated mechanics. There's Final Fantasy where the old installments before X are the only ones that matters, especially 6 & 9, and don't ever say they haven't aged well. Yet, I should never be saying Tales of Phantasia is my favorite over it's superior sibling Symphonia or even other installment like Xillia. Now you know much my anti-nostalgia runs deep because I feel I'm delusional over my so-called favorite installment...and that I can't critically analyze worth anything)

---Rest of 2013---
So, Tales of Xillia comes out for the year & Tales of Xillia 2 confirmed for localization next year. Tales of Symphonia is ten years old, getting an HD remastering packed with Dawn of the New World for PS3. Oh right, Harada convinced the higher ups to localize Project X Zone. Now I'm going to have to be a tool against my better judgment.

In regards to Project X Zone, it's actually better than I thought it would be. I can still admit it's not a particularly good game but the fact I'm willing to refer to it as a guilty pleasure pretty much say, "It's better than Namco X Capcom."

If anything, if what I talked about in regards to Tales of Phantasia, there might be something I've been wanting to do since 2009...cosplay as Cless Alvein! This was the year I finally got to do the costume I really wanted to do. It was a pain in the butt to put on (I can't put it on by myself). Hence, I only wore it on Saturday's show & I do realize it's going to need some tune ups before it's brought out again. At least I got photos of myself as Cless Alvein. I also decided to go ahead & buy the 3DS version of Tales of the Abyss.

I got Tales of Xillia (the Collector's Edition, even). While I still don't look at it so highly, it's actually not so bad but nothing amazing. There was at least the plans for localization of Tales of Xillia 2 also.

--2014--
I bought the collector's edition for Tales of Symphonia Chronicles. I'm not going to beat around the bush here. The HD remastering for Tales of Symphonia was not done well. While it's still playable, it really does not feel like the remastering was given any tender loving care. Sure, the remastering was based around the PS2 version, but they couldn't give it a 60 frame per second buff when the Gamecube version was able to do it for most of the game? Even if you aren't someone that cares about 60FPS, there was still some slacking on the translation of the PS2 content, typos, and other things. I still can't help but think it's so half-hearted.

I also feel like this was where I've gotten more bitter over Tales of Vesperia but I'm leaving that for another entry.

As for Tales of Xillia 2, I actually liked it more than I thought I would. It's not going to be making my favorites list but it's not so bad. Then again, maybe it's getting harder for me to be impress, especially when it comes to critiquing Tales.

There was the localization of Tales of Hearts R for the Vita. I actually bought the game, despite not owning the system. Well, there's also the case that I have invested in getting digital version of the Tales games of this gen.

Of course, there's Tales of Zestiria for the series' 20th anniversary the following year.

--2015--
Tales of Zestiria crap storm post release. That's all I need to say.

On another note, I was able to get my own Vita during February, so I can finally play Tales of Hearts R. Doesn't seem like I would finish it this year. I would also find an interesting thing that was spotted in the Steam database...Tales of Zestiria. Considering how I've been more into PC gaming as of late, I actually was hoping it was true and did feel there was validation of it coming to Steam (After all, this was how I found out Dead Rising 3 was coming to Steam, then confirmed later). Well, there was also some leaking of a PS4 port of Tales of Zestiria going around too.

Tales of Berseria does get announced for PS3 & PS4 during June and wouldn't get anything else for next 6 months. Yeah, I have no comment. However, all those leaks about other versions of Tales of Zestiria? Yes, the west not only got the game on PS3, but on PS4 & Steam. I knew I was going to end up getting the Steam version, especially after putting in a more powerful video card (which would end up getting me to meet the recommended requirements. Oh yeah, Tales of Symphonia would end getting a Steam version too.

For San Diego Comic Con 2015, there was two things to mention. I actually told a Bandai Namco rep that I did feel worried that something will go wrong with the Steam version (which I'll get to). I even remark that, "If they screw this up, they're not going to hear the end of it." (I admit, it does make me sound like an a-hole, but I said it more in the idea everyone else was going to get angry rather than me being apart of it" truth. For that reason, I stand by what I what I said, even if I unintentionally sound like an a-hole). I did see a Ludger and a Tales of Xillia 2 Milla Maxwell cosplayer. I didn't get a photo since the Milla cosplayer wanted to get out of costume, so I didn't want to be rude. I did buy some Tales of Zestiria character strap charm & a Tales charm that would end up being Leon.

The weirdest part? Knowing that I bought a Lloyd Irving bead art necklace thing as well as a Rita & Estelle fan made strap...at EVO this year. Yes, the fighting game tournament. Heck, you actually see me wearing the Lloyd Irving bead art in this Tatsunoko Vs Capcom side tourney stream recording because, "Why not."

During late September, I got the urge to start streaming. I decided I would end up doing Tales of Phantasia PS1 (with the Phantasian Productions translation). I would hit a block in my streaming block during November.

Now for Tales of Zestiria, I did go through with buying it on Steam and the first time I would end up getting a Tales game digitally, if at least first (oh, and I got the Steam version of Tales of Symphonia for free alongside the campaign for next year). As a PC port, it's good and better than what other would do (especially since Batman: Arkham Knight's PC port would be one major train wreck of a port). Sure, it wasn't the 60 FPS I was hoping for but they got everything else down properly. Okay, so the Alisha DLC having items transfer back to the main game wasn't working, but they did fix it. That's only two things I can fault as far as a port goes, so it's definitely a better job. (Hoping Tales of Symphonia is a good port too).

As for the game itself, I liked & it wasn't as bad as people made it out to be. Of course, I would still be doubting myself over it. It's still something I need to work on if anything.

I've been slacking in the streaming department but I at least got to continue my Tales of Phantasia PS1 playthrough on December 14th and does leak into December 15th in someway, the day that Tales of Phantasia was released on the Super Famicom in Japan 20 years from that day. Early in December, I also did get the one bit I wanted for my Tales collection...the Super Famicom version of Tales of Phantasia, just after I bought a SNES mini off of eBay & took those pesky pegs out so I was able to put the cart in it.

Oh right, they did announce Project X Zone 2 with the returning Tales of Vesperia characters & Sakura Wars characters. Oh, and it was already intended for localization. Yeah, I wasn't sure if I'll get it.

---2016---

I have been dealing with my so-called inferiority complex, especially with the backlash towards Tales of Zestiria (among other things). Also, even when I feel have to make some criticism over something, other people's "loudness" doesn't really help me either. Like the next example.

So, I have said that the PS3 version of Tales of Symphonia was a half-hearted, right? Well, the Steam version of Tales of Symphonia launched in early February...and it was broken! You were only given 6 save slots, there was still Playstation button icons when the version was supposed to display Xbox 360 button icons (where I ended up having to make a joke about where L2 & R2 was on an Xbox 360 controller), resolution was 720p regardless of what was set, & a useless DRM protection on it (and I mean, useless, as in it actually doesn't do its job, even when other controversial DRMs at least attempt to do their jobs better). 30 FPS lock was the least of its problem. Seems like I was upset over it that...I was willing to stream some of it. Wait, they actually fixed the "Stole item" box thing? Well, there was something good out of it.

Okay, these problems did get fixed. I no longer had to ask where L2 & R2 was on an Xbox 360 controller (proper icons for shortcuts), I now have 100 save slots to work with, & that useless DRM that really is useless is no more. I still have to use a "fix" mod for it, though. I have beaten that version and I now feel, to steal a bit from a Youtuber I follow, I give this version of Tales of Symphonia a "Guinnocent" verdict. On one hand, they did fix the game to be a more passable port. On the other hand (and I feel I do need to say this next bit in all caps), THEY SHOULDN'T HAVE RELEASED A BROKEN PORT IN THE FIRST PLACE!

Of course, I did find out why it was a bad port. Other Ocean ported Tales of Symphonia to PC. It's noteworthy because they ported Ultra Street Fighter IV to PS4 the previous year and that was also a disastrous launch. Note that year's EVO was supposed to use the PS4 version for the tournament but it was so broken that they decided to go back to using the Xbox 360 version, regardless of whenever or not the PS4 version was fixed before the event. Please don't do another disastrous PC port, Bandai Namco! Hopefully, you know better and just get Q-Loc to handle your PC ports. Better be the case since you show you do want to continue releasing Tales games on Steam since Tales of Berseria is coming to Steam.

Oh, and I did cave & buy Project X Zone 2.

I also got myself into playing the English Tales of Link mobile app release.

---Afterwords---
I've been around the Tales series' block. A lot of how I feel may come down to that.

When seeing the fandom in general, it somehow manage to expose how much of an insecure punk I am, especially feeling like I can't point out plot holes, bad writing, character development. In other words, I feel like I need to have taken a class on good writing if I even want to bother with the Tales series. If that's not enough, I can't even determine what's good game design or oblivious to outdated stuff. Yeah, some nerd I am!

Even with that, I still have some better times in the fandom. Back when the series was very young, hanging in there after Tales of Symphonia became a success, to the 2008 interest revival. I don't find myself leaving the fandom, even if said fandom gets to be a pain in the butt for me. Just as long as I have somewhere I can feel like I got away from the madness. Who knows where this is heading for me.

(Continue bringing Tales games to Steam, please? Oh, and not broken like how Tales of Symphonia Steam version was?)
---

*P.S. In regards to this person's identity, I'm just keeping this as a "Me to know, you to find out." scenario. Maybe you'll figure it out if you look in the back of the Tales of Legendia's North America manual since that's as much of a clue I'll leave out there.
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clessaileron

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