Tales of Crestoria is Bandai Namco’s most recent foray into making a mobile tales game. Set in an entirely new setting, Crestoria aims to recreate a console Tales of experience on the go. Packed with content, fully voiced main scenario cutscenes, and an interesting story, it seems like a standout addition to an already flooded mobile market. However, being a mobile game, it comes with all of the problems you may expect.
I don’t like to start things on a negative note, but I will be placing most major concerns at the forefront of this playtest, as these issues are important to keep in mind when downloading or playing Tales of Crestoria.
Unfortunately, the game has quite a fair amount of bugs. Thankfully, I haven’t encountered any during my twenty days of consecutive play, but they are something to keep in mind when approaching it. Additionally, some of these bugs have not been fixed, and certain ones like the at random Memoria Stone Tutorial glitch will prevent players from progressing entirely. Other bugs include the inability to complete certain Raid quests or not being able to access your Guild screen without it ending into an indefinite loading screen.
Another thing to note are the gacha rates in Crestoria. They are, unfortunately, pretty abysmal in comparison to games like Dissidia Final Fantasy: Opera Omnia, as SSR characters are not guaranteed per 10x Summon. Coming from more generous gachas may leave a sour taste in your mouth, as you could end up rerolling your starter roll for a few days before you actually begin playing. (Yes, I did that.) It should be noted that the 10x Summon does give you one guaranteed SR character per roll and that SSR characters are not required to clear the most difficult content in the game. Either way, you can always choose to single pull to your heart’s content, as saving up for a 10x summon doesn’t save you any currency if you don’t care about the guaranteed SR.
Areas like the Phantom Tower, Tales of Crestoria’s most difficult location yet, are completely approachable with a team of leveled up SR characters. Emil, from Tales of Symphona: Dawn of a New Age, is by far one of the best units in the game, and he’s only an SR character. His wildlife ability has made Very Hard Raids and the Phantom Tower much easier to clear. It should be noted that Ascending and Awakening characters also help a lot, in regards to clearing said content.
That brings us to another barrier of entry–getting duplicates. Tales of Crestoria has been extremely generous to me, as I have an entire roster of SSR characters, some nearly completely Awakened. But if you’re not able to get duplicates to Awaken characters, the Phantom Tower’s later levels may be out of reach. That doesn’t mean they’re impossible; it just means that you’ll need to be more careful about your approach. When it comes to getting duplicates and Awakening characters, that can make SR characters more powerful than some SSR characters that are currently available. Thankfully, SR story characters are given to the player upon the completion of certain story chapters. Also, converting SR characters you don’t want or who aren’t useful into shards lets you redeem duplicate Memoria Stones of the story characters to level them up sufficiently, if you want to use them.
Leveling up characters in Tales of Crestoria requires a lot of materials, and I cannot stress that enough. There are about five different things to consider when leveling characters up: their general level, their Awakening, their Ascension, their Memoria Stone, and the individual levels of their attacks. Gathering all of the appropriate materials (especially duplicates to Awaken or level up their unique Memoria Stone) can be extremely resource-intensive. While the game is pretty generous when giving out some leveling materials, the Arts Tomes to level up a character’s individual skills can be hard to come by. These are mostly only obtainable by doing Raids. Thankfully, the auto system in Crestoria does what it needs to do for the most part. I’ve auto-ed Very Hard Raids to some success, and even done so with some Very Hard Power Up quests as well.
There is a plethora of content available in Tales of Crestoria, and at times it can feel overwhelming. Players can participate in AI based Arena PvP, Raids ranging from Normal to Very Hard difficulties, the aforementioned Phantom Tower, Limited Quests and Raids, and Story Quests. In fact, there are probably some bits of content I’m failing to mention just because there are so many things to do in Crestoria. I spend at the very minimum up to four hours playing a day, sometimes more. This isn’t just because of the sheer amount of content available in the game, but because it’s extremely fun.
The combat in Tales of Crestoria is turn based, which is something I’m personally already very partial to, and it comes with an interesting hit-based damage multiplier mechanic. The more hits you have by the end of your turn, the higher your damage will be with your final character. Since I have units like Vicious, my hits near the end of my turn are fairly high, which lets me string together powerful combos–especially when I use his Mystic Arts ability Persecution Complex with other character’s Mystic Arts. Using Mystic Arts can also create something of a soft turn reset for your entire party if utilized correctly, and it always feels satisfying to pull off. Combat is also in 3D, which shows off how great the character models look.
However, the shining star of Tales of Crestoria is the story. The main scenario is fully voiced, which creates a similar feeling to console Tales of titles, and comes with a handful of fully animated cutscenes as well. While it is currently on-going, the quality of storytelling is really great in comparison to other mobile games, or even when held up to some console Tales of narratives. While the scenario may be immersion breaking for some, as Crestoria is basically a big alternate universe that has every single Tales of character involved reenacting their own unique personal storyline, just within the confines of the Crestoria lore, everything is put together pretty neatly. Characters like Presea feel familiar with her Tales of Symphonia incarnation, and her story is done in a way that calls back to her origin that makes sense and works fairly well.
The new characters are interesting enough on their own and hold up against fan favorites, and the narrative has me actually taking the time to watch all of the character skits and “cutscenes.” Unfortunately, Tales of Crestoria doesn’t have full realized 3D cutscenes or an open world map. Interactions between characters take place in battle and in 2D scenes similar to the skits in console Tales of games. That doesn’t detract from how good the story is though, so even if it may not be up to par in presentation, it manages to hold up on its own.
There is just so much to do in Tales of Crestoria that I could probably wax on about it for an absolutely unnecessary amount of time. As it stands, with Crestoria as it currently is I’m extremely impressed with the quality of the game. While it is riddled with bugs, which the development team have taken the time to address, that and the rates may discourage some players from picking it up. To those that do decide to dive into the world of Crestoria, they won’t be disappointed if they’re looking for an experience that rivals a console Tales of game in quality and story.
Tales of Crestoria is immediately available for iOS and Android devices.