Namco-Bandai's long-running Japanese RPG series, Tales of Hearts has now been remade for the PS Vita. The new game, called Tales of Hearts R, follows main protagonist Kor Meteor. Kor discovers a woman named Kohaku Hearts and her brother Hisui near his home town. When Kohaku is infected with a monster called a Xerom, Kor attempts to cure her using an ancient sword designed to fight the monster. In the process, he ends up shattering Kohaku's spiria - the essence of her heart and emotions - and scattering the pieces across the world. Kor, Hisui and Kohaku embark on a quest to restore Kohaku's spiria before it is too late.
One of the major changes to Tales of Hearts R is the battle system. Battles now occur randomly within different arenas throughout the game. Consecutive successful hits can stun an enemy and they can then be thrown up into the air, causing extra battle damage when they are knocked back to the ground.
Players can also juggle between the standard melee type attacks to using incantations known as 'Artes'. Players can use 'Soma' points, which are collected during successful battles, to level-up their chosen character and improve their battle stats, weapons and a whole host of other customisation options.
Having trouble viewing this trailer? CLICK HERE
There are some puzzles which also need to be solved along the way, which helps keep things interesting. The game comes with new and sharper graphics, a nice audio soundtrack and detailed voice acting. Unfortunately though, the game's producers have chosen to forgo the usual English Dub process and have decided to merely to use English subtitles over the original Japanese voices instead, which is a bit of a shame.
Another negative point for this game is the lack of a local multiplayer function, as this is the type of game that lends itself well to co-op play between friends. That said, the detailed plot will keep most RPG fans interested in the single player mode for quite a long time.
One of the major pluses to this game is that it is compatible with the PlayStation TV device, which is due to launch in Europe next week. This will allow users to play the game on a television screen (with a Dualshock Controller), rather than on the PS Vita itself.
In conclusion, Tales of Hearts R is a very good game. The improved battle system, crisp graphics and a detailed, immersive plot help to engage players in the story. It is a shame that there is no English-dubbed voice-acting as reading the subtitles can sometimes be a little distracting, nevertheless, this is a worthwhile addition to the Tales series, and a must-buy for hardcore RPG fans. Overall Mini Gamers rating: 7/10.
Tales of Hearts R will be available to buy from the 14th of November 2014.