The Tales series of games from Bandai Namco (referred to by most as the “Tales of” series) started in 1995 with the release of Tales of Phantasia. In the 25 years since, the Tales of series has easily proved itself equal to the giants of the JRPG genre like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest —especially in their home country of Japan.
Most Tales of games stand apart from the others in the series in regards to their world and story, but share common themes, gameplay mechanics and presentation elements that make the Tales of series feel cohesive.
While most mainline entries (referred to as “mothership games” by Bandai Namco) are localised for worldwide audiences, series spin-offs (or “escort games” according to Bandai Namco) are rarely released outside of Asia.
This is the Gaming Verdict list of Tales of games in order. Because the games are mostly not connected to one another, it’s basically ordered by the year of release, unless a sequel pops up, which it sometimes does. We’re going to avoid spoilers when describing these games, as well as suggest the ones we recommend for jumping into the series when we think it’s appropriate. Without further fanfare, here’s our rundown of all the games in the Tales of series.
Tales of Mothership Series Games In Order
Tales of Phantasia
Tales of Phantasia was the first entry in the Tales of series and released for the Super Famicom all the way back in 1995. It was written and coded by Yoshiharu Gotanda, with Telenet Japan’s Wolf Team working with him to adapt his unreleased novel Tale Phantasia. Tales of Phantasia is the story of Cress Albane and his adventuring party, who must travel through time to defeat a demon sorcerer called Dhaos.
Tales of Phantasia had several re-releases, finally arriving in the west when it came to the Game Boy Advance in 2003. The game was received well by critics, despite there having been several all-time greats released in the RPG genre over the intervening 8 years.
Tales of Symphonia
Lloyd Irving and friends go on an adventure in Tales of Symphonia to save the world of Sylvarant by replenishing the world’s mana at a series of temples. On their journey they meet people from the parallel realm of Tethe’alla and, after finding out that the two realms steal each other’s mana, decide to travel there in an attempt to find a way for both worlds to coexist peacefully. Tales of Symphonia has several links to Tales of Phantasia and likely takes place in the same world, except much later.
Tales of Symphonia was the first fully 3D entry in the series. It was written by Takumi Miyajima, but allowed for the player to alter non-critical story events through decision making based around it’s party affection system. The game was exclusively released on the GameCube in 2003 thanks to support from Nintendo, though ports to the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC did come later. It was also the first entry in the Tales series to be released in Europe, leading to it enjoying a lot of popularity among EU JRPG fans.
Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World
In Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, Emil Castagnier witnesses a man that is supposedly Lloyd Irving leading a “Blood Purge” on his city Palmacosta —killing Emil’s parents in the process. Six months later, Emil is living as a bit of an outcast and ends up on a quest to help a girl called Marta protect the mythical Centurion Cores with the Knights of Ratatosk, a group that serves the Lord of Monsters of the same name.
Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World was written by Masaki Hiramatsu. It first launched as a Nintendo Wii exclusive in 2008, but was ported to the PS3 as part of the Tales of Symphonia Chronicles collection in 2013. 1UP.com called lead protagonist Emil Castagnier one of the most annoying RPG protagonists of all time —quite an accolade.
Tales of Destiny
Tales of Destiny released for the PlayStation in 1997 in Japan, 1998 in North America … and never came out anywhere else, even when a Director’s Cut came to the PlayStation 2 in 2006. It was once again developed by Wolf Team, but this time it was written by Kazuya Ishizuka.
Tales of Destiny is about Stahn Aileron, who discovers a talking sword called Dymlos and uses it to save the world from a group of evil villains that would use ancient war relics to decimate his world. It is the best selling entry in the Tales of series, even to this day.
Tales of Destiny 2
Tales of Destiny 2 was released for PlayStation 2 in 2003, but it never left Asia. Set 18 years after the original Tales of Destiny, Stahn’s son Kyle Dunamis and his party must defeat the cruel warrior Barbatos that killed his father and then stop religious leader Elraine’s ridiculous scheme to force peace upon mankind by distorting the natural progression of history.
This title was the last in the Tales of series to be developed by Telenet Japan’s Wolf Team, as the staff went on to join Bandai Namco proper and become Namco Tales Studio Ltd.
Tales of Eternia
Tales of Eternia was released on the PlayStation in 2000 in Japan, with a localised release for North America just under a year later in 2001. In Eternia, adventurers Reid, Farah and Keele explore the connected worlds of Inferia and Celestia and try to prevent the Grand Fall, an event which will cause the natural destruction of both realms.
Confusingly, this game is called Tales of Destiny II in North America, but it is generally unrelated to the real Tales of Destiny. This entry in the Tales of series also came to Europe, but only when the game was re-released on the PSP in 2006.
Tales of Rebirth
Tales of Rebirth is set in the Kingdom of Karegia, a world where humans and monsters try to live peacefully together. It tells the story of Veigue Lungberg, a human that has to de-escalate racial conflicts around the kingdom as he goes on his quest to rescue his friend Claire Bennett.
Written by Hiramatsu Masaki, the game was lauded for its focus on the idea of coexistence regardless of race or ethnicity. However, Tales of Rebirth has never left Japan, despite first releasing there in 2004 on the Playstation 2, and then re-releasing there in 2008 on the PSP. This is likely because the game was made by Team Destiny, a small group of Namco Tales Studio developers that focused on making new 2D entries in the Tales of series.
Tales of Legendia
Tales of Legendia was released in 2005 for the PlayStation 2. Written by Go Tanaka and Kouki Matsumoto, the game’s story takes place in a distant future where remnants of humanity live on a gigantic ship called The Legacy that sails aimlessly around the now flooded planet.
Senel Coolidge is the protagonist of Tales of Legendia, and the game follows him as he tries to rescue his sister from people that believe she is the subject of an ancient prophecy. On his adventure he must deal with escalating tensions between two races, the Orerines and Ferines. Despite being the first in the Tales of series native to PS2, Tales of Legendia was met with mixed reviews because it was poorly paced, without really bringing anything new to the table that made any of the tedium worthwhile.
Tales of the Abyss
Tales of the Abyss tells the story of Luke fon Fabre, a pampered young royal that has his life turned upside down by soldiers that believe he is the subject of a prophecy called The Score. As he travels across the world of Auldrant trying to rid it of deadly misama, Luke fights against the Order of Lorelei that threatens his world, making friends and allies along the way.
First released in 2005 for the PlayStation 2, Tales of the Abyss saw a re-release on Nintendo 3DS in 2011. The combat system in Tales of the Abyss was praised by critics for both releases, but many Tales game fans thought that the story was still slow and generally unoriginal, continuing the disappointment from Tales of Legendia.
Tales of Innocence
Written by Mami Kajio, Keisuke Shigematsu and Keishi Maeda, Tales of Innocence tells the story of Luca, who meets an escaped fugitive named Illia. The encounter awakens memories of a past life where Luca had supernatural powers. As the pair (and their friends they make along the way) travel across the two worlds of Devaloka and Naraka, they try to put an end to a war caused by a plan to merge the worlds together.
Tales of Innocence was released for the Nintendo DS in 2007 and was remade for the PlayStation Vita in 2012 as Tales of Innocence R. Innocence R added two new party members and improved the quality of the graphics and sound.
Tales of Vesperia
In Tales of Vesperia, the people of a world called Terca Lumireis use blastia energy crystals to power anything they could possibly need. When ex-soldier Yuri Lowell meets the noble Estelle, he finds himself drawn to her mission to save the planet from self-destruction caused by the use of blastia. Over the course of the adventure, he creates a guild called Brave Vesperia with friends and allies that will assist her.
Tales of Vesperia was written by Takashi Hasegawa, Koki Matsumoto and Takaaki Okuda. The game was released on Xbox 360 and PS3 in 2009 and there was a Tales of Vesperia remastered 10th anniversary release on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Windows PC in 2019. Main hero Yuri Lowell was well received by audiences, with his heroic sense of justice that did not always match up with the letter of the law proving to be a pleasant change of pace for the Tales of franchise.
Tales of Hearts
Tales of Hearts tells the story of Kor Meteor, who is on a quest to restore the Spiria (soul, heart and emotions) of a young girl called Kohaku Hearts after it is shattered in a battle with a monster and disperses throughout the land. Yet again it takes place across two worlds, Organica and Minera.
Tales of Hearts released for the Nintendo DS in 2008. It was written by Naoki Yamamoto, who came back to work with Keishi Maeda on the 2014 remake for PlayStation Vita, Tales of Hearts R, which is the only version of the game that was released outside of Japan. The Tales of Hearts cast was well liked by audiences because they ‘seemed like real people’ but many still considered the story to be a bit of a slow burn.
Tales of Graces
Tales of Graces follows the story of Asbel Lhant, who witnessed the death of a girl that sacrificed herself to save him as a child. He is drawn into the adventure when he meets the same girl many years later, only to discover she has amnesia. Asbel and his adventuring party go on a quest to help her recover her memory and defeat the evil Lambda.
Released for the Wii in Japan in 2009, an enhanced version of the Tales of game came out for Playstation 3 in 2010 as Tales of Graces f – which was eventually released internationally in 2012. Tales of Graces was written by Daisuke Kiga and had a story that most people called clichéd, monotonous and unengaging.
Tales of Xillia
Tales of Xillia relates the story of Jude Mathis and Milla Maxwell, who are fugitives that destroyed a government weapon of mass destruction. It’s set in the world of Rieze Maxia, where spirits and humans usually live together in relative peace. Jude and Milla go on adventure and work with their friends to put a stop to the use of spyrix energy, a power source secretly made from spirits.
Tales of Xillia released on PlayStation 3 in 2011. It was written by Daisuke Kiga, Naoki Yamamoto, Itsumi Hori and Takashi Hasegawa. The generally diverse main characters are well liked and the plot was well received. A lot of criticism was aimed at Xillia’s map designs, which were described as ‘confusing’ and ‘lifeless’ compared to other games in the Tales of series.
Tales of Xillia 2
A year after Tales of Xillia, new hero Ludger Will Kresnik is hired by the Spirius Corporation due to his family’s ability to destroy parallel dimensions. Over the course of his adventure he meets the cast of Tales of Xillia and helps them to save the world by taking part in a trial from millennia ago.
Tales of Xillia 2 released on the PlayStation 3 in 2012. It was written by Naoki Yamamoto and Daisuke Kiga. It sold about half the number of copies the original did, but was regarded as a well designed entry in the Tales of series compared to its predecessor.
Tales of Berseria
Although Tales of Berseria was released in 2016 and does not share a title with Tales of Zestiria, it is in fact a prequel to the 2015 Tales of RPG game. Set in the country of the Holy Midgand Empire, 1000 years before the events of Tales of Zestiria, Velvet Crowe and her adventuring party must stop the evil Artorius from using Innominat the Empyrean to erase all emotion from humankind.
Tales of Berseria was written by Naoki Yamamoto who also worked on Tales of Zestiria. The game was released for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and Windows PC. The game was a success and has a story that fans of the Tales of series liked, but Tales of Beseria endured some criticism for not taking advantage of the power of the PlayStation 4 or innovating much with it’s RPG gameplay.
Tales of Zestiria
Tales of Zestiria is about Sorey, a man given powers by a benevolent spirit race known as the Seraphim. Exploring the land of Glenwood with his friends, he encounters the fearsome Heldalf, the Lord of Calamity and must stop him from destroying the world.
Written by Naoki Yamamoto and Takashi Hasegawa, Tales of Zestiria released on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 in 2015. Bandai Namco was criticised for putting marketing emphasis on a Zestiria character called Alisha, despite her not being in the game for very much of its overall runtime. Further criticism was put on the game design, with lack of direction leading to a lot of aimless wandering around the world throughout the adventure.
Tales of Arise
Tales of Arise takes place across two planets. One is a primitive and medieval world called Dahna, while the other is an advanced techno-magical society called Rena. Rena enslaves Dahna and regularly takes its resources . Alphen, an amnesiac man from Dahna, starts to travel with Shionne, who is from Rena. As they make their journey, the pair decide to change the status quo and fight for freedom and fairness for everyone.
Tales of Arise is the latest in the Tales of series and will release on the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Windows PC on September 9, 2021.
Tales of Escort Series Games In Order
Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon
Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon was the first sequel in the Tales of game series, which was unheard of at the time. It was released on the Game Boy Color in 2000, five years after the original Tales of Phantasia. The story follows a pair of twins, Mel and Dio, as they travel through time and fight against their own dark doppelgangers, Meltia and Dios. Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon has a unique job system based around putting on different costumes that provide different skills.
Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon X (pronounced Narikiri Dungeon cross) is a remake of the game for the PSP. It includes a full remake of the original Tales of Phantasia, called Tales of Phantasia X. Sadly it only came out in Japan, all the way back in 2010.
Tales of the World: Summoner’s Lineage
Tales of the World: Summoner’s Lineage is the second sequel to Tales of Phantasia. It takes place 411 years after the future from the original Tales game. It follows Fulein Lester (the descendent of Cress Lester) as he recruits the Heroes of Time to defeat magical beasts that are attacking the nation.
Tales of the World: Summoner’s Lineage is a turn-based strategy RPG that was released on the Game Boy Advance in 2003. Like most ‘Escort’ Games in the Tales of series, it never left Japan.
Tales of the World: Narikiri Dungeon 2
Tales of the World: Narikiri Dungeon 2 continues the costume-based gameplay of Narikiri Dungeon, but not the story. It follows apprentice blacksmith Frio Sven and his friend Kyaro Orange as they fight against the evil Thanatos, a mysterious being that wants to cleanse the world of humans.
Tales of the World: Narikiri Dungeon 2 released in 2002 for the Game Boy Advance. It’s another in the Tales of series that never left Japan.
Tales of the World: Narikiri Dungeon 3
Narikiri Dungeon 3 is another standalone Tales of the World game, but continues the costume-based gameplay of what at this point is a subseries. This time around the game is a turn-based strategy RPG similar to Final Fantasy Tactics or Fire Emblem, and brings together characters from Tales of the World, Tales of Phantasia, Tales of Destiny 1 and 2, Tales of Eternia and Tales of Symphonia to protect the timelines of the series from enemy thieves that would seek to ruin them by altering history.
Tales of the World: Narikiri Dungeon 3 was released on the Game Boy Advance in 2005 and never left Japan. Currently, it is the last entry in the Narikiri Dungeon Tales of sub-series.
Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology
Radiant Mythology is somewhat unique for the Tales series in that it allows the player to create their own protagonist. It is distinctly non-canon, as the game has several guest characters appear from Tales of Phantasia, Tales of Destiny, Tales of Eternia, Tales of Symphonia, Tales of Legendia, Tales of Rebirth and Tales of the Abyss —all without explanation.
Gameplay wise, Radiant Mythology plays like an MMORPG, except it’s not multiplayer or online enabled. It is the only Tales of the World series entry that actually left Japan, releasing on the PSP in 2006 in Asia, and coming to the rest of the world in 2007.
Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 2
Radiant Mythology 2 expands upon the gameplay of the first Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology with more quests, extra character classes and a total of 50 guest characters from previous entries in the Tales of series. It was released on the PlayStation Portable in 2009, exclusively in Japan.
Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 3
Radiant Mythology 3 is the final entry in the Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology series. It has even more quests, character classes and now has 80 guest characters from older Tales of games. Bandai Namco released the game for the PlayStation Portable in 2011, but, guess what, it never left Japan.
Tales of the World: Dice Adventure
Tales of the World: Dice Adventure was a browser based free-to-play board game based on the Tales of series. While it had a cute SD Chibi art style (like Theatrhythm Final Fantasy) it borrowed several elements from the roleplaying Tales entries and allowed players to build a party and even do battles against monsters.
This Tales of the World entry was only released in Japanese, but could be played by any person with a free Bandai Namco ID. Sadly It no longer exists, as Bandai Namco took the game offline on June 28, 2013.
Tales of the World: Tactics Union
Tales of the World: Tactics Union is a free-to-play tactical strategy game for iOS and Android. It plays similarly to Final Fantasy Tactics or Fire Emblem, with players taking command of several units and combat taking place in turns across a grid. Like other Tales of the World games, characters from many Tales of games make an appearance without much explanation.
This Tales of the World entry also tells a new story about adventurers called Terun and Nahato from the land of Revaila. In October 2014 the game was ported to Nintendo 3DS, under the title Tales of the World: Reve Unitia. Sadly, no version of the game was ever released outside of Japan.
Tales of the Tempest
Tales of the Tempest tells the story of Caius Qualls, a Leymon (shape-shifter werewolf) who’s parents are abducted by the church. With the help of his outcast friends, he sets out to rescue his family and overthrow the religious ministry’s pious tyranny.
Developed by external studio Dimps (of Sonic Advance fame), Tales of the Tempest was the first entry in the Tales of series released for the Nintendo DS. The game was poorly received due to its low quality overall.
Tales of Mobile
Tales of Mobile was a series of games released for the NTT DoCoMo FOMA 900i cellphone service from Japan. The games included in the range were Tales of Tactics, Tales of Breaker, Tales of Commons and Tales of Wahrheit. After the first few role playing games with unique stories and characters, they branched out into more traditional mobile game fare with Craymel Check, Craymel Lab, Groovy Arche, Klondike, Mieu no Daibouken, Reversi, Scramble Land, Tales of Quiz, Tales of Wonder Casino and Whis Battle.
Like many enties in the Tales series, none of the Tales of Mobile games were made available outside of Japan.
Tales of VS.
Tales of Versus is a crossover fighting game for the PSP that was released in 2009. Unlike the Tales of the World sub-series, Tales of Versus uses alternate versions of the characters from prior Tales games that now share the world of Dailantia, which is divided up into four kingdoms that fight each other for scarce natural resources. Namco Bandai deemed it necessary to keep Tales of Versus exclusive to Japan.
Tales of the Heroes: Twin Brave
Tales of the Heroes: Twin Brave is a third person action adventure hack-and-slash combat game in the style of Koei Tecmo’s Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors franchises. Like the Tales of the World games, it allows players to play as past heroes and villains from Tales of series games with no real reasoning behind it other than pure fanservice. It came out in Japan on February 23, 2012 for the PSP, and never came to other regions. Quelle surprise.
Tales of Kizna
Tales of Kizna was a collectible card game RPG that came out on iOS and Android cell phones in November 2011. Cards were used to create adventuring parties that would battle monsters. The game had ‘gacha’ loot box elements where versions of characters in special costumes could be obtained. Players could also face off against each other. Tales of Kizna was only ever released in Japan, and was delisted in September 2014.
Tales of Card Evolve
Tales of Card Evolve was a collectible card game made for Japanese social media website GREE that featured several characters from across the Tales of game series. The game retold stories from the mainline Tales of series and allowed for players to work cooperatively to complete missions or play against each other. It was removed from the GREE service in September 2014 and is now no longer available.
Tales of Link
Tales of Link released on Japanese mobile devices in 2014, and then came to the rest of the world in 2016. It told the story of a character named by the player. The character would go on an adventure with a girl named Sara and a magical sprite named Lippy to seal the seeds of ruin and recover his memories. It was delisted in March 2018.
Tales of Asteria
Tales of Asteria is an episodic iOS and Android RPG game that started releasing content in 2014. The game is a crossover, where the player can choose from different Tales of series characters depending on the chapter. It is exclusive to Japan, but continues to see content updates even in 2021.
Tales of the Rays
Tales of the Rays is a crossover game with a new story written by Tales of Symphonia writer Takumi Miyajima. As a crossover, Tales of the Rays used characters from across Mothership, Escort and Mobile games in the Tales of series, and also introduced two new hero characters, Ix Nieves and Mileena Weiss. The game was released on iOS and Android in February 2017, but was removed from all global app stores in May 2018.
Tales of Crestoria
Tales of Crestoria was released on iOS and Android in 2020. It told a new story with a ‘crime’ theme and was advertised by teasing that all three of it’s new party member characters had hidden dark secrets. It’s main hero is a new character, Kanata Hjuger, who is proclaimed guilty of a crime after protecting his friend. Tales of Crestoria is notable for being the first franchise entry in the Tales of series that was released simultaneously around the world.
Tales of Luminaria
Tales of Luminaria is an upcoming mobile game for Android and iOS. It tells a new story but features the classic Tales of series gameplay style. It is set in a new world and features an all new protagonist, but we don’t know much else about it.
Which is your favorite game in the Tales of series? Are there even any that are better than Tales of Symphonia? Let us know in the comments below. If you like games with anime art, why not check out our page that puts Danganronpa in order?