I have been playing Tales of Destiny for nearly 18 years, of course I don’t mean a one long playthrough. I’ve beaten this game quite number of times on various consoles actually, I’ve played it for the first time on PS1 back in 1998 and it was my gate to the JRPG. When my father give away our PS1, I managed to play it on PSP using eboot and now on my laptop using emulator.
In the past, a comet crashed into the world, throwing dust clouds into the sky and shrouding the world in cold and darkness. At about the same time, the inhabitants, the Aethers, discovered a new form of energy from the meteorite’s core, which they named Lens. Combining this with further research, the people were able to create cities in the sky and live in them. Unfortunately, only a select few were chosen, leaving the rest of the people to remain on the bleak surface of the planet. These people became known as the Erthers.
Over time, the sky’s inhabitants became known as the Aetherians and their Aeropolis cities. They created a horrific weapon called the Belcrant that shot down any who dared oppose them. This caused full-scale war to erupt between the two civilizations, now known as the Aeth’er Wars. However, regardless of their will and persistence, the Aetherians continued to have the power to dominate every engagement through the use of their superweapon.
In their disgust of their civilization’s elitist behavior, a group of Aetherian scientists went to the surface. There, with aid from the people, they were able to create special swords, called Swordians, that were sentient. Unlike other weapons, these swords chose their masters and were able to call upon the elements of nature to do their will. Using these weapons, the people of the surface finally had an edge against the Aetherians.
Thanks in part to the Swordians and their masters, scores of Aeropolis were sunk to the depths of the ocean. In the end, the Erthers claimed victory over the Aetherians. Thousands of years later, this story has been mostly forgotten. In the meantime, the purposeless Swordians fell into a deep stasis sleep, only to awaken when grave threats rose once again.
I have to confess, when I was young I didn’t know how to pronounce any of these nouns and identities in the main story. Not shockingly, I still can’t I actually skip few lines when the story is being said by the characters. Don’t judge me.
The story of the game begins when country-boy-turned-adventurer Stahn Aileron, who seeks fame and adventure, sneaks aboard the flying ship Draconis as a stowaway. He is found out by the crew and forced to work as a deckhand, but when a large hostile force attacks the ship, the crew is overwhelmed and Stahn breaks free during the ensuing chaos. Looking for a usable weapon to fend off the attackers, he gains access to a storeroom and discovers a “junk” sword. However, the sword starts talking to him, calling itself Dymlos and claiming to be a sentient Swordian from the Aeth’er Wars. Armed with Dymlos, Stahn fights his way to an escape pod, which he uses to escape the rapidly descending ship before it crashes into the ground.
Dymlos becomes the key to the fame, fortune, and adventure Stahn seeks as the young man meets other Swordians, quickly becoming embroiled in a battle for a relic of the Aeth’er Wars: a huge, extremely powerful Lens called the Eye of Atamoni.
So we got the main character who falls into the same stereotype of JRPG heroes:
- Unique hair
- Brave and always ready to fight
- Has a backstory that include the parents
- Wants to save the world
- Sometimes naive/stupid
- Is special .. somehow
Other characters from the game also categorize in the same JRPG stereotype:
- The silent guy who always mock the main hero
- The annoying girl who believes no such evil exists
- The guy with the dark past
- The guy who seem to know everything
- The person related to a plot twist
- The person who has an appearance that doesn’t fit the personality
- The couple who constantly fight and end up in love
I could go on with this list to be honest but moving on. For all the times I replayed this game over and over, I never got bored from it and didn’t want to skip a single scene or dialogue -except the game history parts obviously- which they take few comedic turns at times.
I still continue to replay this game as an annual ritual because it reminds me of how JRPG had a stronger impact on gaming back then compared to nowadays games, the newer one Tales of Zestiria didn’t appeal to me as much as this one did. Have you played this game before ? What do you think about it ?