Grab your sword, boots, and hair gel; it’s time to dive into our list of the best Tales games of all time!
If there’s one series of RPG titles that captured the minds of the Retro Dodo team as we were growing up, it was the Tales series.
There are so many games in the canon spanning consoles, handhelds, mobiles and more, all with unique plot lines and exciting features that make this series so darn thrilling.
With successful Anime series and unprecedented sales success the world over, I would be incredibly surprised if you haven’t heard of at least one of the games in the list below.
Especially Number 3; that one was a classic!
So, without further ado, let’s crack on and check out which titles in this extensive collection made our list of the best Tales games of 2023!
Tales of Xillia 2 kickstarts this list of the best Tales games of all time, and as you might well have guessed, is the sequel to the first Tales of Xillia game.
It’s skills like that that have helped me to to become a journalist… that’s all it takes.
If you’ve played a Tales game before, then you’ll know the gameplay is all about exploration in the field and battle.
Players move freely through the world map while discovering hidden secrets and conversing with NPCs. When a character meets an enemy, play switches Pokemon-style to battle area based on the current location.
One of the things I love the most about this game is the sketch-style sequences whenever characters converse. They really drive the story forward and help to create that immersive experience fans of Tales games know and love.
Players control one party member while the others are controlled by AI following pre-determined actions. They can even team together to pull of epic moves.
Win the real-time battles to pick up technical points required to refill magic gauges. It’s flashy action from start to finish with some real nail-biting moments to boot!
Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 3 is the first portable title in our top 10 list. And if you know anything about the PSP, you already know it’s going to look super sweet on that widescreen LCD display.
The Tales of the World: Mythology Series as a whole revolves around different characters from previous games.
It’s a little like one of those parties where you think you recognise everyone but can’t quite remember who they are., except in an RPG game.
Reconnect with 80 characters from the best Tales games as you traverse through Luminasia.
Your mission as part of Ad Libitum is to discover the cause of Red Smoke that is altering the makeup of living things.
I mean their forms, not their lipstick…
This is a sweet little handheld title with deep story arc that will leave you shouting ‘WHAAAT’ long after you’ve turned the game off.
We’re taking a trip back to the ’90s for Tales of Phantasia, the next title in our best Tales games list.
The SNES PS1 had so many great RPGs, most of them Final Fantasy titles. Still, Tales of Phantasia more than holds its own against the front runner of the genre.
Dropping on the SNES in 1995 and the PS1 three years later, the adventure that sees Cless chatting with a talking tree played a big part in most 90s kids lives.
I think I chatted to the tree in my garden once a day for about 6 months in the hope the same thing might happen to me.
Luckily the tree never spoke back, and my village didn’t burn down like Cless’ did. What follows is a dark tale of magic pendents, epic battles, and a journey for answers to some of the most isolated parts of the world.
I’m a huge fan of JRPGs, and Phantasia stands out from the crows because of its quirky battle mode
Pull off action based battles on different moving screens. The screen moves between the party and the enemy when attacking, scrolling back and forth to keep each in greater focus and detail rather than depicting them as small characters on once screen.
It’s unusual and slightly pointless, but I love it all the same.
Tales of the Abyss is a PS2 staple title. Players take a dude who’s been trapped inside his mansion with no idea of his past on an adventure.
The stories in these games are always super bizarre and original, though I suppose that’s why they’ve sold around 24 million units as a collective series thus far.
Enter a fire-breathing mouse and the chance to save the world, all while figuring out who you are and why you were involved in an attempted kidnap.
Give other party members AI control or pass them instructions one by one mid battle.
I’ve got to admit that the second option ends up getting a little fiddly at times. If you’ve spent your life just jumping in and out of more mainstream RPG titles, then this could feel more like office admin than gameplay.
Still, once you get used to it, it starts to become easier to understand and use. And while the battle system can be dubious at times, the explorative gameplay is, as my dad would say, magnifico!
Let’s head back to the PSP for our nest entry in the best Tales games collection, Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 2.
We’re heading back to Luminasia again for the 2nd title in the Radiant Mythology series. If you’ve been buying these games and playing them as I write about them, then you’ll already know the 50 characters in this game that you met in RM3 above.
Make your own character and dive into a story featuring famous faces from Tales of Phantasia through to Tales of Vesperia!
Players can change location on the battle field mid battle, getting a better angle for attack.
There’s also a job system in this game that allows players to complete challenges when they reach a certain level. If you’ve played the first RM game from 2006, then you’ll be glad you don’t have to unlock jobs by beating big foes anymore either.
Graphically, this game isn’t groundbreaking. The cutscenes are more like slideshows rather than the trademark Skits in some of the other best Tales games. Still, the gameplay is sure to put a smile on your face.
Are we ready for another deep back story with lots of intricate parts? Good, because Tales of Legendia is up next!
You and your sister Shirley come across the biggest ship ever seen. It’s a forgotten relic of a lost world and immersed in a mysterious culture that Shirley can’t help but feel connected to.
Cue your sister being abducted, and you having to figure out what the heck is going on all by yourself.
Unlike Tales of the Abyss, the battles have more of a fixed 2D feel to them. They’re real time like many of the other titles, however, and there’s an element of the best Fire Emblem games to the strategic assigning of moves when it comes to the other characters in your party.
Cook up recipes ala our best cooking games on Nintendo Switch, and work with other teammates to pull off special moves.
This game has a strong Final Fantasy IX feel to it, which can only ever be a good thing in my book. The cartoony style allows for sharp and detailed character profiles, and the battle-mode levels don’t look half bad too!
The first Tales of Xillia title on the PS3 will always be a winner in my book.
Let’s set the scene.
Both spirits and humankind live peacefully together in the Rieze Maxia. Spirits grant wishes, wishes can be used as spirit power, and some countries have become incredibly powerful and dominant over others because of it.
Players can choose between two characters; Jude or Milla. Your choice will have a direct effect on the game as a whole, providing differing storylines, events, and interactions depending on who you pick.
Two protagonists for the price of one! Now that’s value for money.
The world of Xillia is vast ad filled with surprises. The good news is that a run through with just one character takes around forty hours and only shows part of that world. It’s really one of those games that you still find something new in every time you play.
Heck, I’m on my 4th time of playing it now and I’m still picking up new things I missed the first time around!
Tales of Symphonia takes the bronze medal in this list of the best Tales games!
I still remember opening this game up on Christmas Day as a kid and putting it in the GameCube for the first time.
Of all the best Tales games I’ve played over the years, this one has the most Quest 64 feel about it. It resonated well with the gaming world too, proving to be the best selling Tales game of all time with 2.4million sales globally.
Ah, I remember my first adventure with Lloyd Irving. It’s not the most fear inducing name for a protagonist. But then again, Keith Courage sounds like a library owner, and he did pretty well at fighting evil guys.
Set out on a journey to save Sylvarant. Beware though; every action you make has a direct effect on a parallel universe.
Fly, walk, run, and generally cover every inch of Sylvarant in one of the best GameCube RPGs of all time. It’s fast paced and full-to-the-brim of secrets to sink your teeth into.
Just don’t end up biting your GameCube, alright?
The last two titles in our list are PS4 games, with Tales of Berseria taking the runner up spot.
It’s not always the case that the newer games are the best, but thanks to the PS4s power and graphical capabilities, it certainly is here!
This time, the Tales series takes a step toward self discovery and the argument of reason vs emotion.
Play as Velvet, a girl who finds herself angered and traumatised by her past. So, it seems about right that she should decide to become a pirate, right?
I guess it’s only right that the world you play in is called Desolation too!
Cross the sees and visit different islands, coming into contact with both spirits and humans.
The feel of this game is much different from Tales of Xillia, with humans using spirits as slaves rather than working alongside them. Humans are also turning into monsters all over the shop, too.
Cue mad exorcists, complicated political struggles, and Velvet battling daemons as she travels throughout the Holy Midgland Empire.
We’ve made it here together, and we can announce that Tales of Arise is the best Tales game of all time!
Of all the tales games, this one has the best graphics, the best storyline, the best characters, the best weapons, the best levels, the best wooden bridges, the best trees…
Can you tell I’m a huge fan?
I think in many ways this game feels like a modern version of Ōkami crossed with Final Fantasy. I spend more time just standing and looking at the crisp visuals and layered textures in these levels than anything else!
The best games are the ones with worlds that you feel you could actually visit in real life. It’s how I feel about BotW, though I wouldn’t want a Moblin chasing me.
Play through Dahna as you cook food, defeat enemies, climb scenery, free people, and watch how your surroundings change as time passes.
I guarantee you’ll be mesmerised by the animations in Arise too. And if not, the chained aerial attacks and special moves will leave you feeling pretty breathless.
Seriously, I’d be exhausted pulling those off!
Yes, Tales of Arise tops our list of the best Tales games, and I think it’s going to be a long time before it gets knocked off the top spot!
Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 31 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.