Bandai Namco”s Tales anthology series has hundreds of hours of gameplay for players to enjoy, and here is how long each of them take to beat.
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Since 1995, the Tales of series had garnered an impressive fanbase as it continues to produce new entries every decade. Originally developed by Namco Tales Studio, the series is now helmed by Bandai Namco overall. After celebrating the series' 25th anniversary last year, Bandai Namco is eager to let fans experience the next entry in this long-running franchise, Tales of Arise. Since its announcement in 2019, players have been highly anticipating the release of Tales of Arise, which is now less than a week away. With a new engine and new gameplay elements, Tales of Arise can bring the franchise to even greater heights, and can solidify the JRPG series in the West.
The Tales series is somewhat akin to the Final Fantasy series through being a prolific anthology series. While most games in the franchise feature completely separate stories, there is the occasional overlap of settings or characters, plus the occasional sequel. Tales of Arise happens to be the 17th main installment in the franchise, but there are plenty of exciting titles among the rest. What follows is a breakdown of how long it takes to beat every mainline game in Bandai Namco's Tales series.
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Tales Games (1995-1999)
The series began in 1995 when Tales of Phantasia released onto the Super Famicom, and few might have predicted that the series would be continuing to this day. In this action RPG, players took on the role of Cress Albane, teaming up with his allies and travelling through time in order to fight against the evil Dhaos and his forces. A couple years later, Tales of Destiny introduced players to a new cast and setting, and a new story involving sentient swords. These titles introduced many core series elements, like its Linear Motion Battle System, which has been an active and interesting way to fight against enemies.
Like most other RPG games, the Tales series often features cooking, fishing, and more side activities that can take up additional time in game as well. Overall, both Tales of Phantasia and Tales of Destiny take a decent amount of time to finish. For both games, most players clocked in over 30 hours for the base game, and 50 or more hours when trying to complete everything the games had to offer.
Tales of Phantasia (1995)
Standard Playtime: 30-36 hours Completionist Playtime: 50+ hours
Tales of Destiny (1997)
Standard Playtime: 30-40 hours Completionist Playtime: 50-100 hours
Tales Games (2000-2009)
After the two entries in the 1990s, the Tales series exploded into action during the first decade of the 2000s. The developers turned out ten mainline entries, two of which are considered some of the best entries to date. 2003's Tales of Symphonia may just be the fifth Tales game, but it is often considered one of the most iconic. Tales of Symphonia even got representation in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, albeit just as a Mii costume based on the game's protagonist, Lloyd Irving. The game's plot revolves around Irving and his childhood friend, Colette, going on an adventure to restore the magical energy that has been draining from their world of Sylvarant.
Overall, the numerous games released from 2000-2009 presented all different kinds of adventures and featured all different casts. There was some confusion with the naming conventions of Tales of Eternia, which was named Tales of Destiny II in North America to avoid trademark issues with Mattel's Master of the Universe, but is still a separate game than Tales of Destiny 2.
Tales of Rebirth takes players to a world where humans and beast people coexist, meanwhile, Tales of Legendia is set on an ocean planet onboard a massive ship that was once a highly-advanced civilization. On the other hand, Tales of the Abyss takes place in a world where only six elements were known for most of its history (Shadow, Earth, Wind, Water, Fire, and Light), but a seventh (Sound) had been recently discovered. There was also a 2006 game called Tales of the Tempest, which was originally part of the mainline series, but allegedly due to low ratings and bad reception, would go on to be considered a spin-off “Escort” title instead.
The other highly-regarded Tales entry came later in the decade in the form of 2008's Tales of Vesperia. Players follow Yuri Lowell, a former soldier adventuring in Terca Lumireis, a world that relies on a special energy source called blastia for various needs. Since both games are some of the more well-liked in the franchise, it won't be surprising to see influences of Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Vesperia in the upcoming Tales of Arise.
As RPGs, the various Tales games often have plenty of content for players to enjoy, as well as different ways to extend playtime in the game. All Tales games in this decade have at least 30 hours of gameplay, with Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Vesperia containing over 100 hours of content for players that want to go for a completionist run. Additionally, the introduction of skits in Tales of Destiny would go on to become a series staple. These skits, which are generally optional conversations between party members, can add on to the time that it takes a player to complete a game.
Tales of Eternia (2000)
Standard Playtime: 30 hours Completionist Playtime: 65 hours
Tales of Destiny 2 (2002)
Standard Playtime: 35 hours Completionist Playtime: 65 hours
Tales of Symphonia (2003)
Standard Playtime: 45-60 hours Completionist Playtime: 100-200+ hours
Tales of Rebirth (2004)
Standard Playtime: 40 hours Completionist Playtime: 58 hours
Tales of Legendia (2005)
Standard Playtime: 36 hours Completionist Playtime: 80 hours
Tales of the Abyss (2005)
Standard Playtime: 50 hours Completionist Playtime: 100+ hours
Tales of Innocence (2007)
Standard Playtime: 30 hours Completionist Playtime: 47 hours
Tales of Vesperia (2008)
Standard Playtime: 45 hours Completionist Playtime: 100+ hours
Tales of Hearts (2008)
Standard Playtime: 40-50 hours Completionist Playtime: 50-60 hours
Tales of Graces (2009)
Standard Playtime: 35-40 hours Completionist Playtime: 95 hours
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After the ten mainline games released in the previous decade, only four games have been released since 2010. Each of these have advanced the series in different ways, such as through more advanced graphics, bringing new combat mechanics to Tales games, introducing new worlds and stories, and more. 2011's Tales of Xillia is set in Rieze Maxia, a world where humans and monsters coexists with spirits. Tales of Xillia also received a sequel a year later.
Tales of Zestiria on the other hand is set in the world of Glenwood, and follows Sorey, a young man who receives special powers by a mystical race of spirits called Seraphim. Unfortunately, reception to Tales of Zestiria wasn't the best, as many players critiqued the game's environments and complicated battle mechanics.
A year later came Tales of Berseria, which is set in the very distant past of Tales of Zestiria's world. Many players liked the protagonist and story of Tales of Berseria, as both presented a darker tale than most other Tales games had. As the most recent franchise, it is no doubt that players will see some influences of Tales of Zestiria and Tales of Berseria pop up in Tales of Arise. While all four games released since 2010 have the approximate 30 to 40 hours runtimes, each new entry continue to add even more content that players can complete on the side.
Tales of Xillia (2011)
Standard Playtime: 36 hours Completionist Playtime: 80+ hours
Tales of Xillia 2 (2012)
Standard Playtime: 35 hours Completionist Playtime: 100+ hours
Tales of Zestiria (2015)
Standard Playtime: 40 hours Completionist Playtime: 150+ hours
Tales of Berseria (2016)
Standard Playtime: 40-45 hours Completionist Playtime: 150+ hours
Looking at these numbers, it would take at least 600 hours to play through every Tales game. Or, in other words, about 25 days worth of playtime. For many players that are eager to dive into Tales of Arise, sifting through every main entry in the Tales series isn't the most viable plan. Thankfully, players can try out the demo for Tales of Arise and learn more about Bandai Namco's biggest Tales entry yet. It is highly likely that players will be able to spend over 100 hours in Tales of Arise if they wish, but only time will tell.
Tales of Arise will release for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S on September 10, 2021.