Tears to Tiara is one of those excellent RPGs created by Leaf/Aquaplus but, unexpectedly, there is just a few info about this game series in the NET. Therefore, to fix that I decided to play through the first 2 games and use the opportunity to prepare for the new game coming next month.
The original Tears to Tiara was an adult PC game released on 2005. It had a cute design by Furudera Naru and a serious plot (well…most of times, anyway). The game used 2D graphics, it had a good resolution for the time, but the animation was not quite as good. A first for aquaplus was the battle system, since it was very similar to a RTS, but not quite the same. On 2008, the title received a complete makeover in the remake “Tears to Tiara: Kakan no Daichi” for the PS3. It featured a completely new character design for everything. The new visuals are widely accepted by the Japanese public as the superior ones. The reason for it being that the new ones make the characters look more like adults, what is more fitting for the serious setting.The graphics were also entirely remade with 3D polygons. While it certainly gets far from being amoung the best 3D models in the console, it is well made and a vast improvement over the original. Even the battle system is remade to look more like a tactics RPG, finally deserving the title of Utawarerumono’s spiritual successor (even though this was forgotten since the announcement that Utawarerumono will receive a sequel as well). The new battle is very reminiscent of Summon Night’s battle system, which is totally understandable, since Flight Plan helped them with the PS2 port of Utawarerumono.
The PS3 port also included more events and a new character named Lidia. It also removed the H-scenes (what usually happens with most Galge ports to consoles), even though it is still heavily implied that Arawn has sex relations with some of the heroines in certain events.
The plot in every version is pretty much the same. Even the voice cast is mostly composed by the returning cast of the PC version. There is even a bug that makes the voices from the PC version to play sometimes, showing it is possible that the new engine was built inside the old one.
The game was later ported to the PSP near the end of 2010. The post uses the graphics from the PS3 as basis to create pre-rendered 2D graphics (similar to Donkey Kong Country games). They are acceptable but, as expected, lose much in aesthetics compared to the original. Although the PSP version preserves all the voices and CGs, which is impressive considering the capacity of a UMD.Most of the new scenes are optional events with Arawn having love-comedy situations with the heroines or gag events with the remaining cast. Those work to give a more “LoveSim” feel to the game. However, they are bad for the pace of the game main events.
Talking about events, this game story is GREAT! It revolves around an ancient Demon Lord named Arawn who is revived by some random dark sorcerer, but suddenly decided to help the tribe of the girl Rhiannon, who was offered as a sacrifice to him. Consequently, the girl falls for him and make him her husband (he had no word about this). This also makes him the tribe’s leader, what irritates Rhiannon’s older brother and the strongest warrior in the tribe: Arthur. But it’s alright, since Arawn is not much interested in being the leader, so he decides to secretly train Arthur so he could become a great king. Together, they abandon their village and travel to another country to fight against the Holy Empire, who is near from conquering the entire world.
It should be already obvious, but the plot is (loosely) based on King Arthur mythos (and some other mythology as well), with Arawn in the role of Merlin. But the plot goes further than this, detailing the creation of the universe and even the birth of humanity and its culture. Everything from the main plot is well written and extremely interesting.
The problem with the story is not only in the “pace-breaking” side-chapters, but it’s also with the heroines! Their personalities and backstories are paper-thin and their participation in the main events are also not that great. It’s very different from the male characters, who all got interesting backgrounds and developments.
Futher in the game, it gets clear that the real main character is, in fact, Arthur, but the way he is treated makes you doubt that even when it is spelled for you. Even during the iconic scene where he goes to pull a legendary sword from a rock, all the girls start to say things like: “finally he is going to do something that is not pathetic or stupid”. Bitches, just recently he fought alongside dragons, discovered ancient secrets, made an alliance with a rival tribe, defeated a war-general, saved all your lives AND was crowned King. You girls are assholes and just ruined the atmosphere! This kind of thing happens A LOT! Just getting in the way of epicness.
There are many sections in the story that consist only of useless battles. Like the first chapters where Arawn and his friends spend every day hunting boars or after the exciting chapter 8, where there is an unnecessary tournament and more boar hunting (seriously…).
The game was also converted to a Manga and Anime (those being inspired by the PS3 remake). For those who prefer story over gameplay, I would recommend the Anime version over any of the game’s version, since the plot has a better pacing by cutting all the boar hunting and most of the love-love comedy. Different from the game is also the fact that Arawn do not become engaged with all the playable girls. Futhermore, Arthur is also taken more seriously (finally!). The action scenes are also very decent! Especially considering that most RPG-based animes just have characters throwing fire balls while shouting names. Sincerely, this anime makes the original games feel like those rushed manga-to-anime adaptations, where they have to insert fillers to not catch up with the original material.Tears to Tiara is a good game but can become a bit tiresome for some people. Still, it’s worth to play for those who appreciate a good tactics RPG.