These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Breather Boss - The first Yeager boss battle. He doesn't even have a Secret Mission!
Broken Base: Arguably one for the whole franchise. Some people declare it the best game in the series and think the plot and gameplay are near-perfect. Others utterly despise its story for not focusing on Character Development as much as past titles and savagely despise how the vigilante arc is shunted to one side to make room for a global warming plot.
The PS3 version is also a bit of a Base Breaker itself. The reason why isn't so much that it exists, it's that the PS3-exclusive content is so much that some feel that the 360 version was incomplete. Especially since datamining reveals that some PS3-only features are on the 360 version's disc.
Cumore, a captain of the Imperial Knights, is from a noble family and considers peasants to be completely beneath him. When he is placed in charge of the town of Heliord, he tricks peasants into volunteering for brutal labor with the promise of making them nobles. Cumore has no authority to ennoble people and he knows it. The labor these peasants undergo is so brutal that many of them die of exhaustion. Later, Cumore is sent to govern an oasis town to find a monster that lives in the desert. While in this position, he forces the peasants in the town to go into the desert to find the monster, knowing that this will likely kill them. The only remorse Cumore shows for his crimes is that they eventually lead a vigilante to kill him.
Ragou is the corrupt magistrate of Nor Harbor. Nor Harbor has been experiencing storms, making it hard for the people there to make a living off of the port commerce. To make things worse, Ragou harshly taxes his people. If someone cannot afford his taxes, Ragou sends his mercenaries to take their loved ones (including children) as collateral. He keeps these loved ones in a basement full of monsters. When the heroes confront him over this, he explains that he finds people getting eaten by monsters to be entertaining. Ragou offers only one hope to his people: if they kill a vicious monster and bring back its horn as proof, they will never have to pay taxes again. This monster would make short work of most people who try to fight it. The heroes eventually discover that the storms around Nor Harbor are created by a special Blastia in Ragou's mansion. He orchestrated the suffering of his people for his own amusement.
Alexei is the Commandant of the Imperial Knights. However, he betrays his Empire in an attempt to conquer the world. To accomplish this, Alexei orchestrates a genocide of the Entelexeia, the race that protects the world, so he can harvest the powerful apatheia from their corpses. Two of his minions are forced to obey him because he will shut off their artificial hearts at the first sign of defiance. He tortures Estelle, a member of the royal family he was sworn to serve, to force her to use her powers to activate Zaude, an ancient superweapon. Using Estelle for this purpose floods Zaphias, the capital city of the Empire, with deadly aer and vicious monsters.
There's a section in Part 2 that is a pain, due to Raven and Estelle being absent from the party, meaning that for healing, you need to rely on items, Karol, or Guardian Field.
Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: One of Rita's character traits is her tendency to beat up Karol, sometimes for a foolish remark but often without any provocation at all. This is not helped by the fact Karol is a 10 years old child and her animation for doing so entails smacking him on the head. She is never called out for this and the whole thing is played for laughs.
Fanon Discontinuity - Many fans claim this towards The First Strike movie due to its arguably odd approaches to characterization and its many inconsistencies with the game. One of many examples regards Rita being knowledgeable about Aer Krenes, when in the game, she never knew what one was until the visit to Keiv Moc.
Yuri x Judith is much more popular than Yuri x Estelle, probably because they're both Blood Knights with a fair bit of flirting and snark between them. This balance seems to be reversed in Japan, where Yuri x Estelle is the most popular pairing by far and Yuri x Judith is almost nonexistent.
The large amounts of Ho Yay in-game have also led to Ristelle and Yuri x Flynn.
Rita x Raven is also fairly popular, which has just as many fans reaching for the Brain Bleach given that she's underage and he's technically kinda sorta zombified, and if he wasn't, he's still way older than her.
She frequently beats him up, but then maybe that's just supposed to be endearing in a couple.
Fashion-Victim Villain: Cumore is a bit hard to take seriously with the blue lipstick, widow's peak, pink and light purple color scheme, and heart patterns in the front and back of his armor.
Estelle can learn a skill called Eternal Support, which gives any buff cast on her a chance to last until the end of the battle or until Estelle is knocked out. Estelle also has an arte called Force Field, which grants temporary invincibility to an ally. Due to an oversight, Eternal Support can work with Force Field and make Estelle completely invincible for the rest of the encounter. This makes her marathon battles (like the Colosseum runs) trivial. This was removed in the PS3 version.
By using Overlimit carefully, Rita can lock down the entire field by casting Tidal Wave instantaneously over and over again. The trick is to rack up enough hits with each Tidal Wave that Rita earns an additional bar of Overlimit which she can immediately burn to continue the combo.
For the single target version, you have Violent Pain or Crimson Flare. Raven's able to pull this off to an extent too with Tempest. But even Rita's basic Fire Ball is a game breaker if used enough, as it can shoot up to ten fireballs at 5000 uses.
The enhanced form of the Fell Arms weapons. After you defeat Duke's true final form the Fell Arms go from lousy weapons to great weapons. Their strength is based on how many kills you have. Ridiculousness ensues.
Yuri actually has an unbreakable combo attack based on Shining Dragon Fang and Overlimit. Yuri can gain skills which allow him to enter Overlimit for free once he has racked up a large-enough combo; by using Overlimit to spam Shining Dragon Fang consecutively and without pause, it is impossible for a lone enemy to break the combo.
Patty's Critical Moment arte is a dice roll, but one of the possible results is an effect that grants Overlimit to your entire party. It's telling that Patty strategies in optional boss fights boil down to "spam Critical Moment until you get All Overlimit".
Patty's Gamble Cast allows her to use some of the most powerful spells in the gamenote Tidal Wave, Tempest, Stop Flow, Bloody Howling, Revitalize, Force Field etc.. She learns the arte at level 43. The rest of the party learn these spells above level 50. Combined with Brainel Speed Spell (which she can learn at around the same time), she can easily decimate most fights. And that's without the possibility of her using Marvelous Fountain, which damages all foes and heals massive amounts of both HP and TP.
Yuri gets the "Limits Team", Limits Team 2" and "Limits 3" skills that allow nearby allies to go into into Overlimit for free when he activates it. Combined with Limits Plus, which makes him into overlimit obne level higher than the one activated, he can make the team an unstoppable Mystic Arte spam squad.
Good Bad Bugs: The Xbox360 version had a skill called Eternal Support, which gives the stat boosting spells Estelle casts the chance to remain permanently until the the end of the fight (or until you get killed), instead of only lasting for a few minutes. One of her spells, Force Field, gives all characters in the area of effect invulnerability. Due to an oversight, Force Field works just fine with Eternal Support, meaning it's possible to make characters unkillable for the duration of the fight. You could simply set everyone to Auto Fight once you got it to work, and go make a sandwich or something - you'd win eventually. This oversight was fixed in the PS3 remake.
Ho Yay - Zagi wants to carve Yuri's name into his own blood! He spends a lot of his time hunting Yuri down as well. Yuri does not return the feeling in any way.
Yuri and Flynn's relationship has more than a few hints of this, as well.
Duke and Elucifer, anyone?
A female example: Estelle and Rita give off a very strong Romantic Two-Girl Friendship vibe, what with Rita constantly fretting and worrying over Estelle's safety and how protectiveshe becomes of her as the game progresses. And while it seems one-sided from Rita's end, there's scenes such as them sleeping in the same bed at the inn, and in a later scene, Estelle falls asleep at the foot of Rita's bed while watching over her.
Judith also calls Rita out on her attachment to Estelle, during the skit that takes place, after Alexei prevents her from accompanying Estelle back to the capitalnote by ordering her to investigate the Aer Krene at Keiv Moc instead. When Rita claims she'd deliver her report to Alexei in person, Judith replies that it sounded like an excuse to see Estellenote since Rita could simply send the report by messenger.
A subliminal joke in Nam Cobanda Island, in a quick play. One's a hero, one's the damsel to save, guess who plays who? Estelle's the hero and Rita's the damsel Estelle has to save. Then there's the impromptu twist when Rita fries the play's antagonist...
Yuri adds fuel to the fire in a skit triggered by using Rita's Levitation skill for the first time by calling them Ristelle when Rita is flying and Estelle is holding on to her legs.invoked
Made even more evident in the PS3 version, including a scene where they care for a lost infant together.
One sidequest shows the group at the time (Yuri, Karol, Rita, Estelle, and Repede, the last of which is nowhere to be seen at the time) resting in an inn. On three beds. Guess who are sleeping in the same bed together.
Inferred Holocaust - Zig-zagged with Aspio. When Tarqaron is raised from the mountains, the city is destroyed in the resulting earthquake during the process. Although we see that many of the scholars evacuated to other nearby towns, considering that it happened on what must have been really short notice, there were undoubtedly casualties.
Internet Backdraft - Mainly over Yuri's alleged hypocrisy, Estelle's usefulness, and the vast number of PS3 extras and whether or not the 360 version was stripped down. Expect lots of Fan Dumb on all sides.
They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Another common complaint is that the story is just too different to previous games in the series, being more in-line with games like Final Fantasy. Because the game doesn't flesh out its villains anywhere near as much as past installments, most of them come across as purely in it For the Evulz. The whole "Order Versus Chaos" sideplot, which was advertised as the game's central story element, is eventually dropped for a Green Aesop borrowed wholesale from Final Fantasy VII.
The Load: Karol's only real contribution to the plot is unlocking a few doors, providing some basic background on the guilds and occasionally telling the others off for acting alone. For most of the game he can be counted on to run away at crucial moments, such as boss battles, and even after his development he doesn't bring anything to the table besides his (mediocre) fighting skills. Being a slow, low-tier fighter doesn't help either.
Memetic Mutation: Ristelle has more or less become the official name for the RitaxEstelle pairing.
Due to the aforementioned gamebreaking Tidal Wave and the process in which it is used, we also have: "Blah blah blah. TIDAL WAVE!" *repeat ad nauseum*
Whether or not it's intentional from the programmer's POV, Tipping Forties repeatedly points out how Repede ends up being a cutscene-only version of The Faceless because he has no real plot importance and is thus either absent in most cutscenes or barely visible behind most characters or objects to a degree that their LP thread was renamed to reflect to this ("The Repede Obfuscation Station").
Ragou abducting people's children when they fail to pay his cripplingly high taxes and feeding said children and many others as the game implies to monsters.
Cumore fooling the people of Heliord into working in slave labor camps, sending people from Mantaic on suicide missions hunting for Phaeroh, and sending one of his own knights on said suicide mission after he failed to get kidnapped people on the wagon fast enough.
Alexei torturing Estelle.
Many people found it hard to forgive the Hunting Blades when they assaulted Nordopolica and (albeit somewhat indirectly) turned Belius into a Tragic Monster the party was forced to kill.
Possibly Raven, when he kidnaps Estelle for Alexei and then fights the party so the villain can make his escape, unless you believe that he sufficiently redeemed himself afterwards.
Nightmare Fuel - The literal shower of human blood falling onto Hisuka and her subsequent appropriate reaction in The First Strike.
Like Collete, however, she's something of a Deconstruction. She has the power to use magic and heal others without a blastia, but using her power consumes aer at a massive rate causing aer krenes to produce a massive amount of aer in response, and using her power to heal Entelexeia drives them insane, which she finds out the hard way.
Karol is hated by many in the fanbase for being slow, useless, and the token kid character of the game.
Not to mention his big character development is supposedly gaining the courage to risk his life for his friends, which seems like small potatoes when Yuri and Estelle were risking their lives to help total strangers right from the beginning of the game. It's also easy to question whether it isn't irresponsible of him to try and tag along with the Hunting Blades on monster hunts or the party on their dangerous travels when he's too cowardly not to leave them in a lurch at the first sign of trouble.
Sodia also tends to get a lot of hate, mostly due to stabbing Yuri at the end of part 2. To be fair, she instantly regrets it. In her case, it doesn't help that many view her as a Clingy Jealous Fangirl or that she's Easily Forgiven.
Patty is a frequent target as well, for being a loli pirate, crushing on Yuri, adding "-nanoja" to the end of every sentence, not being in the 360 version and squeezing her way into a plot that was already workable. Most of these complaints toned down when the PS3 version was released and she was integrated fairly decently.
Tear Jerker: Everything involving Alexei controlling Estelle's power, up to and including the second fight against her, fought with just Yuri and a heartbreaking simplistic rendition of Ring A Bell playing in the background. It almost makes you feel like he's actually going to kill her, but thankfully the result is heartwarming instead.
A major one in The First Strike when Yuri has to kill Lambert, a member of his squad and Repede's father due to a case of Demonic Possession. It really hits home when Repede later greets Yuri back at the gates, smells Lambert on Yuri's sword, and runs further out to look for him.
Yuri: "I'm sorry, Repede, I killed your dad."
Show, Don't Tell: Tarquaron is a some kind of Doomsday Device, but no one says what it does and the player will never see it in action. Everyone just says its capable of wiping out humanity.
Gattuso the wolf in Ehmead Hill was an extremely tough boss in the demo that turned off many people from the game. Developers claimed that the difficulty was turned up for the demo. Then the game came out...and the boss was tuned down, but not nearly enough, considering that the demo party was around level 20 at that point while the player will be around 15 even if you fight every battle. To compare, the next major boss is noticeably weaker even though your party will be 2-3 levels higher by that point.
Made even more aggravating by Karol's proclamation after the battle. "What the heck? It barely put up a fight!"
Also, the True Final Boss form of Duke, who has ridiculously high stats, incredibly powerful attacks that inflict status effects, and a second Mystic Arte, which damages you and heals him at the same time. Did we also mention that it's the third in aseries? Even if you have the opportunity to cook in between the second and third forms, it doesn't make that much of a difference.
Following Gattuso is Captain Schwann, no thanks to you missing both of your healers.
Also the waiter minigame it's quite ridiculous when they order about 50 dishes and cancel another 100 when you're doing it as raven.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot - Debatably. The subplot about Yuri murdering people, even though they're people who deserve it seems to fade about two thirds of the way into the game without ever being concretely resolved.
And whatever happened to Dedecchi, the guy who stole the aque blastia?
The PS3 version has a small subevent where the party finds him, Rita Stone Blasts him, and he is arrested.
The Untwist: Absolutely no one is surprised that Estelle's a princess, save Karol. Yuri even says outright, during the first visit to the Quoi Woods—long before the reveal in question—that she's a "sheltered little princess".
Viewer Gender Confusion - Yuri, due to the boxart, and people not recognizing that his name isn't the feminine Japanese version of Yuri, but rather the masculine, Russian, version. Then they see his exposed ("surprisingly flat") chest...
Lee from Still Gaming: "I was so dumb (Concerning the Tales of series in general) that, by looking at the cover... I thought Yuri was a chick. After all, Yuri means... Uh... never mind."
Lampshaded in the first few minutes of the game - a male NPC at the inn offers to buy Yuri a drink before realizing Yuri is a guy. The same NPC later complains about Yuri's "womanly" hair in a hilarious manner.
A few have mistaken Witcher (aka "Apple Head") as a girl.
Duke has gotten this reaction a few times as well.
What an Idiot - Judith's actions immediately following Belius' death. Not so much what she did, since she had a very good reason to do so, but how she responded to the party's reactions. However, the party understands and forgives her when they find her again.
The Woobie: After seeing what Estelle goes through, you feel that way about her.