It’s no secret that some of the best RPGs in the world have come out of Japan. Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest are two of the biggest names in video games, but there’s a third IP that doesn’t always get as much of the limelight. The Tales (or Tales of) series is another massive name in the JRPG world that Western audiences often overlook. They’ve released dozens of games over the last twenty-six years, so we decided to list the best Tales games ranked.

The Tales games have a similar format to Final Fantasy. Most of them are independent, with unique characters and stories. These separate worlds are connected by their gameplay, themes, and high-fantasy settings – giving them a sense of cohesion despite their non-linear story design.

Bandai Namco Studios have announced that a new Tales game on the horizon. Tales of Arise will be coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC in 2021. This release has sparked renewed interest in the series, which is why we thought now was the perfect time for a list of all Tales of games ranked.

All Tales Games Ranked From Worst to Best

We need to give a quick disclaimer before we start. There are several mobile-exclusive and smaller spin-off titles that we won’t include on our list. We’ll add a few non-mainline games, but we want to keep it as close as possible to the core series and gameplay style Tales is known for.

With that out of the way, let’s get into our list of the best Tales of games ranked!

18. Tales of the Tempest

Tales of the Tempest
  • Platform(s): Nintendo DS
  • Developer: Namco, Dimps
  • Release Date: October 26, 2006

Starting off our list of Tales games ranked is Tales of the Tempest. This Nintendo DS game was the ninth major title in the Tales series and the first to be released in a handheld format. It’s set after a civil war between the people of Areulla and a race of beast-people called the Leymon, who had once dominated their continent.

It was never given a Western release and was taken out of the official series by the developers due to its incredibly poor reception. Namco now refers to it as an “escort title.”

17. Tales of Innocence R

Tales of Innocence R
  • Platform(s): Nintendo DS, PS Vita
  • Developer: Alfa System, 7th Chord
  • Release Date: December 6, 2007

Tales of Innocence replaced Tempest as the ninth installment in the series. It was originally made for the DS but was later remastered for the Vita with the “R” designation.

Both versions of the game follow a merchant’s son named Luca, who rescues a young woman and discovers that his past life has granted him magic powers. This leads them to band together with other, similarly powered people to influence the wars consuming the world.

Innocence was a big step forward from the previous handheld game, but ultimately did not become a memorable addition to the series either.

16. Tales of Rebirth

Tales of Rebirth
  • Platform(s): PS2, PSP
  • Developer: Namco, Bandai Namco
  • Release Date: 2004

Tales of Rebirth is the sixth mainline entry in the series. It was initially released for the PS2, but was later re-released on the PSP, although it was never distributed outside Japan. 

It follows Veigue as he sets out to rescue his friend Claire after she’s kidnapped by the Kingdom of Karegia, only to get mixed up in escalating racial conflicts between the Huma and the Gajuma.

15. Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology

Tales of the World Radiant Mythology
  • Platform(s): PSP
  • Developer: Alfa System
  • Release Date: October 12, 2006

Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology is the only true spin-off title on our list of Tales games ranked. It wasn’t nearly as popular as most mainline entries, but it did merit worldwide distribution and even got two direct sequels in Japan (although we won’t be including them on our list).

The game allows players to make their own character as they set out to save the world from a “devourer” who wants to consume all of the world’s mana. It features several crossover appearances from past characters.

14. Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World

Tales of Symphonia Dawn of the New World
  • Platform(s): PS3, Wii
  • Developer: Namco
  • Release Date: June 26, 2008

Next up is Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World. The Tales series doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to direct sequels, and Dawn of the New World has the unfortunate fate of following one of their most popular installments in the series.

It features two new characters, Emil and Marta. You follow them as war breaks out between the Church of Martel and the Vanguard. The Characters from the original Symphonia do make an appearance, but it never reaches its predecessor’s heights in terms of gameplay or story.

13. Tales of Legendia

Tales of Legendia
  • Platform(s): PS2
  • Developer: Namco
  • Release Date: August 25, 2005

Tales of Legendia isn’t a bad game. It has fun gameplay and some modestly interesting story-beats. Unfortunately, it came out the same year as Tales of the Abyss, which is one of the best games in the series, making it impossible not to compare the two.

Senel’s story is set in a world of water, aboard a massive ship. He must save his sister from a cult that believes her to be the savior of prophecy. There are some great things about this game, but not enough to rank it higher than this.

12. Tales of Destiny II, AKA Tales of Eternia

Tales of Destiny II
  • Platform(s): PlayStation, PS2, PSP
  • Developer: Wolfteam, Alfa System
  • Release Date: September 11, 2001

Tales of Destiny II was originally released in Japan as Tales of Eternia, but was rebranded for its Western release so consumers would recognize it as part of the Tales series. The naming conventions get a little confusing — there was another Tales of Destiny II released in Japan as a direct sequel to Tales of Destiny, but that game never made it to Western audiences.

The game follows Reid Hershel and company as they go on a quest across dimensions to discover the origins of a mysterious girl who speaks a language no one recognizes.

11. Tales of Hearts R

Tales of Hearts R
  • Platform(s): Nintendo DS, PS Vita, iOS
  • Developer: Bandai Namco
  • Release Date: December 18, 2008

This next game was originally called Tales of Hearts for its exclusive Nintendo DS release in Japan, then rebranded as Tales of Hearts R for its 3D PSP remake. It’s the eleventh mainline entry in the series.

Hearts follows Kor and his party as they must gather the pieces of a girl named Kohaku’s shattered heart.

Is it a coincidence that this story came out just as the Kingdom Hearts series was making massive waves in the JRPG sphere? Who can say?

10. Tales of Phantasia

Tales of Phantasia
  • Platform(s): Super Famicom, PlayStation, Game Boy Advance, PSP, iOS
  • Developer: Wolf Team
  • Release Date: December 15, 1995

Coming in at number ten on our list of the best Tales games ranked is the first game in the seriesTales of Phantasia was originally released in Japan for the Super Famicom, but came to the West eleven years later as a Game Boy Advance port. It features Cress Albane and his companions as they travel through time to fight Dhaos, the demon king.

It’s considered a true classic by fans of the series, even though it was somewhat dated when it made its way to Western audiences.

9. Tales of Xillia 2

Tales of Xillia 2
  • Platform(s): PS3
  • Developer: Bandai Namco
  • Release Date: November 1, 2012

Tales of Xillia 2 is the fourteenth addition to the mainline series and a direct sequel to the first Tales of Xillia. It follows the silent protagonist Ludgar Kresnik as he must destroy other dimensions created by the events of the first Xillia in order to stabilize his own.

Xillia 2 sets itself apart with its likable characters and unique plot but is weighed down a bit by its fetch quest-heavy debt system.

8. Tales of Zesteria

Tales of Zesteria
  • Platform(s): PS3, PS4, PC
  • Developer: Bandai Namco
  • Release Date: January 22, 2015

The fifteenth main entry in the series is called Tales of Zesteria. It’s protagonist, Sorey, was blessed with magical abilities in order to stabilize the land and fight the dark creatures known as Hellion.

It was designed from the ground up to feel more like a classic Tales game — returning to the series’ core themes while utilizing more modern gameplay systems. It has kind of a slow start, but it builds into an impressive JRPG.

7. Tales of Destiny

Tales of Destiny
  • Platform(s): PlayStation, PS2
  • Developer: Wolf Team, Namco
  • Release Date: December 23, 1997

Tales of Destiny is the second game in the series, but it was the first to come to the West. It was released on PlayStation and then remastered for the PS2. The story follows a young man named Stahn who comes to wield a sentient sword named Dymlos. Together, these two must fight alongside Stahn’s friends against forces seeking to dig up an ancient and evil weapon.

The linear battle system was ahead of its time, and the game performed well, but it was overshadowed by another popular JRPG that came out earlier that year (Final Fantasy VII).

6. Tales of Graces F

Tales of Graces F
  • Platform(s): Wii, PS3
  • Developer: Namco
  • Release Date: December 10, 2009

Tales of Graces was released for the Wii in Japan back in 2009 but was rebranded as Tales of Graces F in a PS3 port released first in Japan, then in North America and Europe in 2012.

The game follows Asbel Lhant, who gets drawn into national intrigue after discovering that his childhood friend Sophie, whom he saw die seven years prior, is actually alive and well. It’s a charming story focused on friendship.

5. Tales of Xillia

Tales of Xillia
  • Platform(s): PS3
  • Developer: Namco
  • Release Date: September 8, 2011

The top five is the point where we start getting into the landmark games in the series.

Tales of Xillia is the thirteenth main installment. Players can choose one of two protagonists to play — Jude Mathis or Mila Maxwell. The game changes considerably depending on which character you choose to play.

It’s a strong addition to the series and a favorite of many Tales fans.

4. Tales of Berseria

Tales of Berseria
  • Platform(s): PS3, PS4, PC
  • Developer: Bandai Namco
  • Release Date: August 18, 2016

Now onto the sixteenth and newest mainline game in the series. Tales of Berseria serves as a prequel to Tales of Zestiria (set a thousand years earlier!). You play Velvet as she travels with a group of pirates on her quest for revenge.

Adventuring across the islands that dot the Holy Midgand empire is a blast, but don’t take this game lightly. It has a much darker and more emotional tone than its predecessors.

We liked it so much we put on our best anime games and best JRPGs for the PS4 lists!

3. Tales of the Abyss

Tales of the Abyss
  • Platform(s): PS2, Nintendo 3DS
  • Developer: Namco
  • Release Date: December 15, 2005

Tales of the Abyss has some big shoes to fill following its predecessor’s popularity, Tales of Symphonia, but the game performed admirably. The eighth title in the series follows Luke fon Fabre, a swordsman and pampered noble targeted by the Order of Lorelei. Together with his friends, Luke must journey to find out why he’s earned their ire.

Abyss made some impressive leaps in gameplay and has some of the best characters in the series.

2. Tales of Symphonia

Tales of Symphonia
  • Platform(s): GameCube, PS2, PS3, PC
  • Developer: Namco
  • Release Date: August 29, 2003

Coming in our number two spot is Tales of Symphonia. It’s not a stretch to say that this is the game that put the series on the map for most of its Western audience. The protagonist is Lloyd Irving, a young man who must guard his friend Colette as she goes on a journey to save the world.

It lacks the versatility and freedom of movement found in the newer titles, but the gameplay is still a blast, and the art direction is timeless. It’s also a good one for new players looking for the best Tales game to play first.

1. Tales of Vesperia

Tales of Vesperia
  • Platform(s): PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Namco
  • Release Date: August 7, 2008

Our top pick on our list of Tales games ranked is Tales of Vesperia! It’s the tenth mainline game and is frequently hailed as the best in the series. You play Yuri Lowell, leader of the Brave Vesperia Guild. You and your companions travel the world of Terca Lumireis, seeking to protect the world from those who would abuse the world’s supply of blastia — its most important energy resource.

With streamlined combat, a great story, and one of the best casts in the series — Tales of Vesperia is hands down our pick for the best Tales of game!

Time to Explore a Realm of Magic!

Thanks for reading our Tales of games ranked list! We hope you enjoyed it and that you’re as excited as we are for Tales of Arise.

Happy gaming!

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