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.
Base Breaker: The battle system gained quite some hate on one end. Claims were made that it essentially boiled down to only dodge-and-mash tactics, and that players would be doing it over and over again to win. Not only that, but because bosses were able to break free of combos more than Tales of Vesperia, aerial game was off-limits, and that there were artes that left you open for enemy attacks (no thanks to the aforementioned combo breaks), it would be the same tactic with the same useful artes only used on almost every boss. Over and over again to win. This only seems to be a problem during solo runs, but it also happens with normal runs when given the chance.
In short the fact it plays much differently than what most westerners are used to (Vesperia, Abyss, Symphonia), even compared to Xillia (which played closer to the 3 games than Graces)
On the other hand, there's also a significant segment of the playerbase that loved the freedom and customization of movesets that the diverse weakness mechanics allowed. Without the need to nursemaid TP, the CC mechanic made controlling the flow of battle much more dynamic, since there was no punishment for using artes with varying effects. Dodging and guarding were made easier and more reactive, which increased mobility, making each battle very high paced. Furthermore, the system allowed for a very unique playstyle for each character.
Another minor point which still generates plenty of heated discussion is whether Aston, Asbel and Hubert's father, was a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who really wanted the best for his sons and whose actions were poorly thought-out, but still justifiable, or whether he was just a plain Jerk Ass who was painfully oblivious to the way his actions nearly singlehandedly destroyed his family and sparked off the exact conflict between his sons that he was attempting to avoid.
Big Lipped Alligator Moment: Frederic's Mystic Arte "Butler Bomber" makes no sense. Why? Because the dead Aston Lhant appears out of nowhere and joins in to kick your butt.
Several of the sidequests in "Liniages and Legacies", such as "Birth of a Turtlez", which the characters in-universe remark makes no sense and poses more questions than answers, and gives you no reward whatsoever, and "Victoria the Diplomat" which pulls random Swimsuit Fanservice on you out of nowhere. The "Fiery Joe" line of sidequests in the main story is a massive BLAM too.
Canadians love Tales of Graces F: The game made it to the top 5 best selling games list on EBgames Canada before release, and it's also one of the games up for sale in the store's July sale.
Character Tiers: While there's thankfully no hideous imbalance, a lot of players prefer a party of Asbel, Sophie, Hubert, and Cheria for the fact that that particular team is very diverse. (Plus, Sophie and Cheria are the healers, with Hubert also having a handy healing spell) It's not that the other characters you don't really see much of (Pascal, Malik, and Richard especially in f where he becomes the seventh party member.) are bad, just that the higher difficulties are Nintendo Hard and once you find something that works, you WANT to stick with it. Whenit comes to solo though, Cheria, Sophie, and Hubert outclass everyone, simply because they are the most flexible characters.
The other issue, at least in the main game, is that the above four characters have the most Nova Artes, which is a dominant strength against a lot of enemies weak to them in the late game.
Complacent Gaming Syndrome: It is easy to set your characters' artes to Auto and play on Normal Mode, but you can only really utilize the battle system to the best of its potential by taking manual control and playing on harder difficulty settings.
Foe Yay: Sophie and Lambda. She is completely obsessed with him and screams his name a lot. She is sort of programmed this way, since her sole purpose of creation is to defeat Lambda.
Fridge Brilliance: A minor one with two post-battle skits. One has Asbel, Cheria, and Pascal complaining about Strahta's heat, and another has Asbel, Cheria, and Hubert complaining about Fendel's cold. Why not involve the same characters? Because Hubert was raised in Strahta and is used to the heat, while Pascal lives in Fendel and is used to the cold (Asbel and Cheria, being from a temperate region, have cause to complain about both extreme climates).
Fridge Horror: Sophie has to watch Asbel's lineage for all eternity, meaning she will continuously watch people die as she remains the same. Sure, she came to terms with it, but who's not to say she will hold up for so long?
A particular set-up for Hubert allows him to one-shot the strongest enemy in the game, netting enough experience for as many as thirty level-ups. Said enemy respawns. This was toned down in the PS3 release. You can still pull off the One-Hit Kill combo, but Rockgagong no longer gives you any experience points. (You get a Trophy, but that's it.)
In the original version of the game, probably as the result of a technical oversight, Hadoumeppuu, was capable of murdering everything on the screen while being cheaper and stronger than his final arte and, just like said final arte (Kyokkorenge), it destroyed Nova barriers. One fan-translator referred to (jokingly) it as "Cheapass Infinite Fiery Rape Range Attack" for a very good reason. It was toned down in the re-release.
While she has a high learning curve at the start, Pascal becomes an absolute beast once the intricacies of her fighting style are gotten used to. She's got many things going for her; ranged combat, incredible spells, an attack for any situation, the fact she learns her mystic artes first, and the fact those mystic artes are just as powerful as all the others is just scratching the surface. What really makes Pascal broken are her stats. Perhaps to make up for the learning curve, Pascal has THE best states in the game; her attack power, which, once again, is ranged is only slightly behind Sophie and Hubert in terms of strength, her magic is the strongest, no questions asked, and she has, bar none, the best defense in the game. What this means is that Pascal's only real downfall is magic attack, which, since you'll be using her at a range anyway, is moot, because you can easily see the attacks coming and dodge accordingly. She might have a little trouble with getting swarmed...until about two-thirds through the game, where she gets an arte that hits everything around her, breaks nova, and heals her and her allies. And that's not even getting into her summon magic!
Guide Dang It: A good portion of the Skits and Sub Events can be easily missed without a guide.
Heartwarming In Hindsight: One of Pascal's win quotes is "That one was for the lady next door!", which seems like another one of her meaningless Non Sequiturs at first. Then you visit her home and find out the lady who lives next door to her is her sister.
Ho Yay: Richard's crush on Asbel, Asbel's admiration for Malik, Pascal's fascination with Sophie. Lambda!Richard is also yandere for Asbel.
Richard: He's such a kind man. It's the trait I love most in him. I must take... Good care of him...
Internet Backdraft / I Knew It: There was some annoyance when Tales of Graces F was announced, mostly because they essentially purchased a beta version. In all honesty, people didn't know what to think, since normally, it's the "Beta version" that gets released overseas. Many people were simply happy just that they got the game period.
Richard himself is a walking meme. He also has by far the most Fan Nicknames; such as Flag Prince, Princess or Tiger Festival; which is actually used in-game.
Because of the game's opening song being owned by Avex Entertainment, videos of the opening theme tended to have the audio muted by YouTube. This has led to a fad where the opening is posted, but dubbed over with the openings from otherTalesgames.
Never Live It Down: Cheria gets captured once, she actively tries to escape on her own and the whole sequence hardly lasts longer than 10 minutes. Yet for a lot of Cheria haters, this is enough to demote her to a Damsel Scrappy or a Faux Action Girl.
One-Scene Wonder: Emeraude's stint as a villain lasts for barely one cutscene and one boss battle, but that cutscene consists of some of the finest scenery-chewing in the game, and the boss battle is so tough that it's one of the most memorable parts of the game.
Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Sophie was the most despised character before the game was released, because a lot of people disliked her design, dislike the loli characters in the Tales Series, or wanted Cheria to be the heroine. After the game was released, she became one of the most popular characters in the game.
The Scrappy: Child Asbel, he's rude, doesn't listen to what others tell him, keeps getting into trouble, treats his father with disdain and willingly ignores all warnings others give him. Makes you want to throttle the brat and he's the main character! A major part of his Character Development after the Time Skip is learning just how wrong his actions were back then.
The anti side argue that the pairing comes out of nowhere right at the end, and the game spends a lot more time telling you they can work as a couple than showing it. This side also tends to praise the Future arc for giving the pairing more focus and development.
The pro side argue that the pairing was developed just fine in the original story if you read between the lines, but accuse the Future Arc of pandering to the Anti Side by beating you over the head with the pairing, as both characters switch dramatically from shy underplay to outright declarations of affection.
A variant. The actual English cast has been fairly well received. It's just that the arte name translations have been met with much criticism for being lackluster compared to previous titles and for having some pretty poor grammatical structure (spaces are notably absent in a lot of Asbel's moves).
The game is also bound to suffer a bit of regional wording confusion. Hubert's first Mystic Arte was translated as "Broadside Waltz", which to many Americans would bring to mind the idea of a ship cannon bombardment; which is a pretty Badass comparison. In England, however, "Broadside" is a popular beer.
Tear Jerker: Pascal, who is relentlessly cheerful and upbeat for virtually the entire game, winds up being the subject of one when she reunites with her sister in the Fendel lab. After Pascal explains that Fourier's work is dangerous and could potentially annihilate the entire country, a frustrated Fourier completely loses it and tears a strip off her little sister. Pascal, who clearly adores and idolizes Fourier, is devastated by the rebuke, rendered speechless for one of the only times in the game and later reduced to tears when the rest of the party tries to console her.
And Emeraude. The only way to really fight her is make a full team of ranged attackers, because she has an aura active at almost all times that damages and staggers everyone in melee range every second or so. The only time this is not active is when she is attacking, during which she has Iron Stance active, which means that she can pull No Sell on ALL of your attacks. That, and she has ludicrously powerful attacks that often hit half the battlefield. Killer Field is particularly bad, as it hits the ENTIRE field for massive damage AND pulls your characters towards the center, where they are easy pickings for Emeraude's other area attacks. What makes this attack worse is it can be simply guarded, but your AI partners are too stupid to do so.
The optional Duel Boss against Malik on Fodra is downright insane. He has a completely absurd amount of health for a solo enemy, exhibits Perfect-Play A.I. and just about all of his spells can One-Hit Kill you. When he said he would treat this like a real battle, he wasn't kidding. To make things worse, you get very harshly scolded for failing.
That One Level: World's Eye is filled with difficult enemies, is an absolute nightmare to navigate and ends ends with two back-to-back boss fights, one of them listed above under That One Boss.
That One Puzzle / That One Sidequest: The infamous colored eleth lines puzzle in the Sandshroud Ruins Bonus Dungeon. You have to control the flow of several colored eleth streams (red, blue and yellow) so they all converge on a door and pass through every colored floor panel. Some of the floor panels are purple, green or orange, meaning you need ensure the colors mix at the right points too. There are over 20 junction points and all of them have to be set up correctly. But the worst thing is that if any three colors mix at one intersection, the entire puzzle resets and you have to start from the beginning! Even following a guide it's possible to hit a reset if you don't do the steps in exactly the right order, which most guides don't bother to say. And some floor panels summon monsters when triggered, so you'll be coinstsntly interrupted by battles while you're trying to solve the puzzle.
Magic Carta on the higher difficulties is a horrible minigame, thanks to the generous amount of computer cheating.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Once Cheria developed superpowers and got more than a little pissed that she had to wait seven years for her Love Interest to return before gradually becoming part of a quest to save the world after he did, she had loads of room to develop as a character.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Richard being possessed by Lambda and becoming all Ax-Crazy. While the game is all "Richard can't be killed because he's our friend!", the game could have explored how they can't kill Richard because if they kill him, Windor's royal family will cease to exist and the party and Asbel will be guilty of regicide and will likely be killed for his actions and Lhant will pay the consequences. Sadly, this didn't happen.
Trapped by Mountain Lions: The kidnapping subplot. It happens very suddenly when the plot is focused on something else, is very short and the only thing it really contributes to the plot is showing that the Oswell family is kind of corrupt, and even that isn't very relevant in the long run except for one totally optional scene.
Fiery Joe in the "Strange Folk" series of sidequests is clearly physically and emotionally abused by his older silbings. Not only is this moslty Played for Laughs, but everyone tells him he should forgive them and be a big happy family. Granted, that sidequest is so weird it's almost surreal, but still.
The Woobie: Most of the cast has elements of this, really.
Asbel gets completley broken at the end of the child arc, and just when things start getting better, his brother banishes him from his own home and his best friend turns evil.
Hubert throughout pretty much the entirity of the child arc, especially when Asbel implies he'd rather have Richard as a brother than him. He gets better in the present after he takes a level in badass though.
Cheria was constantly ill as a child, and the guy she liked left home and didn't even keep in contact for seven years.
Malik doesn't really seem the type at first, until you get to Fendel and learn his backstory. He used to be a member of a resistance group in Fendel, and was in love with another member, who happened to be the Chancellor's daughter. She was tragically killed in an operation gone wrong, and Malik constantly regrets not being more honest about his feelings. And things only get worse, he ends up having to fight fellow resistance member and friend Kurt, who bears no ill-will towards him at all, simply because the government was about to do something monumentally stupid. Kurt dies in a Heroic Sacrifice shortly after. In short, he's a Heartbroken Badass in every sense of the word. Even his trollishShipper on Deck tendancies towards Asbel and Cheria take on a tragic light once a few skits in Liniages and Legacies imply why he's like that: he probably sees a lot of his own former romance in them, and he's desparate not to let it end as badly as his did.
Pascal is probably the only one who doesn't really qualify, being upbeat all the time. Though she did have some distance issues with her sister at first, but that gets thankfully resolved early on.
Richard qualifies as a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds completley lost his faith in humanity after so many assassination attempts, most by his own family. This leads him to willingly let Lambda posess him, because he's all too willing to help Lambda with his goal of wiping out humanity. He's that broken. Thankfully, unlike many RPG villains like him, he isn't doomed to Redemption Equals Death, he's actually saved from his posession and makes an effort to atone for his actions.
On that note, Lamba, the Big Bad himself is another Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, and possibly the most sympathetic OmnicidalEldritch Abomination ever. He was an Artificial Human who was starting to show emotions, and whos creator loved like a son. Unfortunately Emeraude has to come and ruin all that by subjecting him to horrible torture and claiming he shouldn't be treated like a human. His creator/father ended up killer right in front of him, and he was left on the lower world completley alone. He posesses his human hosts simply because that's the only way he can stay alive. And then Emeraude sends Protos Heis to hunt him down and kill him. Eventually he basically snapped and decided to Kill All Humans just so he wouldn't be hurt again. It's probably for this reason that Asbel gives him the oppertunity to make a Heel-Face Turn rather than destroying him. And awesomely, this actually works.
But of course Sophie is easily one of the biggest in the game. Her amnesia and seemingly dying and coming back to life ealry on without knowing why is one thing, but then she gets conflicted since protecting one of her friends (Asbel) involves fighting another friend (Richard). And it only gets worse once she realises her true nature, and her mission to destroy Lambda at any cost, even by self-destructing. Not only is the party extremely distraught at the idea of her destroying herself, but the one she's programmed to kill is currently posessing one of her closest friends. And as if that's not enough, Liniages and Legacies explores the Who Wants to Live Forever? trope for all its worth, with Sophie coming to terms with the prospect of having to watch all her friends die as she reamains ageless.