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Once upon a time, there lived a boy in a peaceful village in...
RPG fantasy world #53 the continent of Areura. His name was Caius, and he lived a simple yet happy life - he had a loving father, good neighboors and his not-girlfriend, Rubia. Everything seemed peaceful... until the arrival of an injured soldier triggered many unpleasant events: after a group of monsters attacked the village, his father was revealed to be a feared Lycanth, he was revealed to be an adopted Lycanth and his village was visited by a couple of ruthless Knight Templars (Rommy and Lukius) who destroyed everything and killed everyone to find the Lycanths who were there. Tough Monday.
Caius and Rubia run away, looking for answers - who are Lycanths, exactly? Why do Lycanths and Humans hate each other? What triggered the war that happened between the two races? And why is the church so incredibly mean? They also run into other comrades along the way, including a prince from a distant kingdom (Tilkis), another Lycanth survivor (Forest) and a member of the previously mentioned evil church who is
apparently willing to help them stop the madness (Arria).
Developed by Dimps (yes, not by Namco Tales Studio) and released in 2006 for the Nintendo DS, Tales of the Tempest is the ultimate black sheep of the Tales franchise - at first released to be part of the main series, the game's poor reception and overall divergences from the other games convinced Namco to declare it a separate entity from them. Tempest triggered the segregation of the Tales (series) in Mothership Titles (main games) and Escort Titles (crossovers, sequels, spin-offs...and Tempest).
Why the black-sheepiness? Well, because the game has many shortcomings. First, it takes roughly ten hours to complete it - the shortest Tales title ever. Second, the battle system seems like an attempt to transfer Tales of Rebirth's Three-Line Linear Motion system to the portable console that went horribly wrong, due to unbalanced mechanics and numbers, poor controls, terrible A.I. and slim monster variety. Third, navigation was poorly planned, and instead of having a world-map Tempest has enormous fields to explore, with absolutely nothing to find in them, other than monsters and more monsters. And fourth, you had to pay to watch the skits.
Not everything is dark, though. The game's graphics are reasonably attractive, if not too blocky; the game's plot, albeit short, is servicable, and the soundtrack was composed by Motoi Sakuraba. Unfortunately, those good points are overshadowed by many flaws, that in fact make many suspect the game of being a beta. Indeed, the game's opening sequence strongly suggests that - it looks like they wanted to create an all-animated opening (as with the other titles), but couldn't due to time/money/some constraints. Who knows.
It should be noted that, despite isolating the game from its most important brothers, Namco Bandai does have some love for the game, even if just a little - Caius and Rubia appear as playable characters in Tales of the World Radiant Mythology 2 (as well as Radiant Mythology 3), both are summonable in Tales of Hearts (where Rubia even casts Raise Dead), Caius is Tempest's representative in Tales of VS., and he and Rubia are its representatives in Tales of the Heroes: Twin Brave. Also, Caius and Lukius are downloadable costumes in the Playstation3 version of Tales of Vesperia (for Repede and Flynn, respectively).
Unreleased in the West, altough most people don't seem to mind.
Tropes presented by Tales of the Tempest:
- Artificial Stupidity: Big time. Party members tend to advance a little, attack a monster twice, then run to the other side of the field for absolutely no reason other than to screw you up. They'll also most likely not heal you.
- Beta Couple: Tilkis and Arria.
- Bonus Dungeon: one that contains 30 maze-like floors which all look the same, enemies who take a ton of damage before dying, high encounter rate (running from battles is recommended, if you don't want to go insane) and recycled bosses. Like the rest of the game, it's not hard, just terribly boring.
- Cool Mask: Lukius. Oh yeah.
- Disappeared Dad: Caius's father is captured in game's introduction. His foster father, actually, his real dad is missing. Rubia has one of these as well.
- Doomed Hometown: Well, not completely, but pretty busted, yeah.
- Easily Forgiven: Arria turns out to have been spying for Albert for half of the game. Apart from Rubia, everyone lets it slide almost immediately.
- Face Heel Turn: Rubia. She comes back like a minute later.
- Five-Man Band:
- Kid Hero: Caius.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Lukius is revealed to be Caius' twin brother, only with cool clothes. And the pope is their dad.
- Missing Mom: Rubia's mother also dies in the introduction.
- Nice Hat: Arria.
- Obvious Beta: While playable; the game seems almost like it was a tech demo game to get used to the DS hardware on part of the developers.
- Official Couple: Caius and Rubia.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: Lycanths, actually a race of beast people.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Tilkis is a Prince who left his country on foot with one bodyguard to find out why was his country being attacked by so many monsters.