Tales of Rebirth
Tales of Rebirth is the sixth mother ship entry into the tales series, originally exclusive to the PS2, but was then later ported to the PSP. The theme of Rebirth is racism (adopting the name 'You Will Be Reborn RPG' to represent this), similar to Tales of Symphonia. However unlike Symphonia it is noted for its more serious tone on the issue. The games art style was minorly changed to fit along side this, using less vibrant colours and simpler, more mature looking characters. The games theme song was performed by Every Little Thing with their song Good Night, and the main game music was composed Motoi Sakuraba. Tales of Rebirth is one of the many Tales games to remain Japan exclusive.
Tales of Rebirth is set in a world where two predominant races exist, Huma and Gajuma. While these races are known for disputes here and there, they've managed to maintain a state of peace. And its thanks to that the Kagerian kingdom was formed, acting as the government of the world.
The game starts off showing us 'The Day of Ladras Fall', a disaster caused by King Ladras (the ruler of the Karegian kingdom at that time) that struck the world and caused everybody's "Force" (special power) to awaken and go wild, including our main character's force, Veigue Lungberg, in which he seals his childhood friend Claire Bennett in an icy coffin. One year later Claire is still stuck in the ice, and Veigue has been reduced wreck that constantly guards Claire. One day two figures appear before Veigue, one a young boy calling himself Mao and the other a large Gajuma man calling himself Eugene Gallardo. They claim that they are on a journey to find powerful force users and want Veigue to come with them to save the world. Despite Veigues hostile behaviour towards them, he eventually hears them out when they help him free Claire from the ice using Mao's Force of Fire. Veigue then invites them round his house to talk on matters where the eventually ask Veigue again if he will join them. Veigue turns them down however, claiming that he needs to stay home and protect Claire. It is not long after this Marco, Veigue's uncle bursts into the house saying there a huge commotion going on outside the village hall. When Veigue gets there, finds that all the female Huma girls are being rounded up by members of "The Royal Shield" the karegian kingdoms military. It is then that Claire arrives at the scene, and they decide that she is the most beautiful girl and take her. Veigue tries to stop them, but is apprehended by Eugene, telling him if he tried to fight them now, he would be killed. It is then when Veigue regains consciousness from Eugenes interception, he decides that he will accompany Eugene and Mao on there journey, in hopes that along the way he may find Claire. And so the tale begins...
Tales of Rebirth plays very similar your typical J-RPG, in that you travel across a world map, visiting towns and dungeons, and level up your characters along the way while following a set path to progress along with the story. Also making an appearance are the skits, a staple of the series, in which you can press the select button and watch the characters interact with each other in the form of various conversations a certain points in the game.
As with other more modern alliterations of the Tales series, Rebirth makes use of an enhanced version of the Linear Motion Battle System (LMBS for short), in the form of the "Three-line Linear Motion Battle System". As the name suggests, it takes the tired LMBS battle system and adds two more lines.
However that is not the only thing exclusive to Rebirth's battle system. First off we have the new "Force Gauge". This basically a diamond shape split up into four segments and sits alongside the characters status information, replacing the Technical Points (TP for short) used in other Tales games. In Rebirth you can pull off special attacks via assigning them to one of the four segments of the Force Cube (assigning an attack to the uppermost segment acts as your 'up' special attack, lowest acts as your down special attack etc...). Each time you use a special attack assigned to that segment of the cube, it empties it, and gradually refills as the battle goes on. It is possible for the player to still use the attack assigned to the segment even if it hasn't refilled, but it won't be as powerful and they won't receive a health bonus (the player and allies receives a health bonus after pulling off a combo, how much depending on the height of the "Rush Gauge", which will be explained later) and they won't be able use the ougi assigned to that slot (ougis are basically extensions, you can assign ougis to the four parts of the "Force Cube", but can only pull them off straight after using a normal special, have at least one full segment of the Force Cube and have your characters "Rush Gauge" in high state).
Perhaps one of the most important parts of Rebirths battle system is the "Rush Gauge", which sits along the left side of the of the "Force Gauge" and represents your characters emotion. You can heighten or lower the "Rush Gauge" in battle via holding the guard button and up or down on the right analog stick respectively. This can also be done via various actions performed in battle. The height of the gauge determines various things. The higher the gauge the more powerful you are, and you can also pull off ougis in this state. However you don't get as high a health bonus and you defense is lowered the higher it gets. The lower the gauge the higher the health bonus you get, as well as stronger defense. But on the down side you can't pull off ougis, and your attack power is decreased.
Other touches to the battle system include Enhance Points (EP) received after battles (which allows the player to upgrade their characters equipment) and grade. Although grade is nothing new, it has been changed so that the player cannot lose grade, instead only receiving or not receiving it at all.
Although receiving positive reviews in Japan (Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu gave it 8/8/8/8, 32/40) and having favorable sales (shifting 600,000 copies, receiving a gold award for selling over 500,000 at the Playstation Awards 2005) the game hasn't received much love by the fans of the series, both in Japan and outside it, generally being overshadowed by other names in the series. As too why is a bit of a mystery, but it has been speculated that the games more serious nature hurt its reputation, as the Tales series is better known for its more light hearted, colorful games.
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