Tales of Luminaria - August Episode 2 Review: Seeds of Despair

“The journey I began on that fateful day won’t be over…till I have vengeance.”

Ah yes, depression, my good old friend. How lovely of you to join me. Are you here to wallow in my sorrows about this episode? *sniffle* This episode is so sad. Beautifully written but so tragic. August doesn’t deserve this. It’s unfair!

This is clearly the most depressing episode of Luminaria by far. Michelle’s first episode feels like child’s play compared to this. Michelle’s first episode was depressing, but this one amped it up a lot! It feels like a true Tales game because of how depressing this is.

This entire episode is a flashback of how August became who he is now. Younger August (24), was handsome, neat and had high aspirations for his apple orchids. He was also happily married to his wife Bertina and had a six-year-old daughter Lucina who he clearly adored. Other than being an apple farmer, he used to go to the military academy (also where he met his wife), so he had education and combat experience which he uses to teach students—Lucien being one of them. August’s life was peaceful in a way. I really liked the serene and heartwarming atmosphere the beginning of the chapter presented—and that whole segment is the FIRST CHAPTER.

Starting the second chapter, everything changed when the Empire attacked. August’s story is technically like Cress and Velvet’s, but the only difference is that August was an adult when this tragedy happened. There are elements of both’s story sprinkled in here. Like Cress, August went away from his village and came back to witness the tragedy. Like Velvet, he knows who caused the incident and spent years trying to get revenge. I feel like out of the three revenge stories, August’s seems more well thought out? Cress time travels while Velvet took three years to get her revenge. August took ten years plotting out everything and executing them out bit by bit and he’s still going even after killing Clay; after killing Clay, he’s probably going after the Empire itself and destroying it from the inside.

Bertina and Lucina were solid characters despite this being their only appearance in the game. Bertina used to be a promising soldier, but abandoned everything to marry August and live in Nactigal Village with him and raise apples together. I really love how their relationship was written. It was one full of trust and respect. Despite that, Bertina has her own personality too. She was headstrong, definitely wore the pants in their marriage. She’s competitive, likes to challenge Lucina and even wants her daughter to hook up with Lucien in the future.

Lucina was such a sweet girl. She had a headstrong personality that she definitely inherited from Bertina, but also had a gentleness to her that is definitely August’s. I loved how much personality she had despite being only shown in this episode. She’s cute, playful and had a crush on Lucien. It’s so cruel that she had to die from beasts. Heck, this entire episode was cruel to children. We don’t see any mauling, but Lucien, Lucina and the rest of August’s students were heavily implied to have been heavily injured or straight up died from beasts’ mauling. The scene where we see the empty clothes of the kids was such a chilling scene. Nobody is spared in this game, not even children.

One of the best things this episode does is show a portion of Lucien’s childhood that’s not directly told from his own perspective. Here, we can see that Lucien was born in the Empire and was an Empire citizen until the tragedy. He was a precocious child who liked reading and August’s best student. He also had a small puppy crush on Lucina, which was probably mutual in her part as she had a huge crush on him. 

It’s unknown how he survived, because when you look at Chapter 4, his body can be seen as well as his death, but when August retraces his steps back, Lucien’s body is missing. However, he survived and is now on the Federation’s side—I don’t know if he’s doing this willingly or not. The fact that he is now on the opposing side shows how he and Hugo are foils; it’s presented beautifully. We don’t see how Hugo’s childhood went other than mentions of his own village’s tragedy, but the current Hugo was Federation-born and now on the side of the Empire shows the contrast in paths he and Lucien took. 

Laplace’s role in this episode is to be the one to give August the power he has. Laplace is enigmatic and to be the reason why August has his power makes perfect sense. We don’t know why she has these powers, but that draws in the mystery.

Fortunately, August’s gameplay did not frustrate me as much in this episode than in his previous one. It still sucks, but sucks less in this episode since the enemy fights weren’t as complicated. I still prefer the fireballs over the lightning magic.

The best part of the episode was the voice acting. J. Michael Tatum, you deserve an applause for your spectacular performance as the past August Wallenstein. He perfectly captured the gentleness he has with his family, the flustered moments he gets with Bertina and when Lucien gets too close to Lucina, and the sheer tranquil ire he gradually gets as he retrieves Lucina’s hairpin to him observing the mastermind behind the village tragedy to learning that it could be a government conspiracy. Brilliant. I was a huge fan of his performance as Julius from Xillia 2, and he delivered another excellent performance for Luminaria. Wow. I’m amazed. Bertina and Lucina’s voice actresses also did a splendid job. Lucien’s child self was voiced by Apphia Yu, Micah Solusod (the current Lucien)’s wife. She did a great job delivering Lucien’s precociousness.

Just thinking about this episode makes me fall into a cycle of despair that I cannot escape from. The episode was handled tragically in a beautiful way. The pacing was great too. I’m just depressed that August couldn’t live the life he truly wanted and has to become the depraved soul he is now. You know what? F*** the world of Luminaria, I support August’s path of world domination; it’s the one thing he deserves now.

Tales of Luminaria
Tales of LuminariaTales of Luminaria is an upcoming Tales of Series original title for iOS and Android released November 2021. The game was first announced during Gamescom Opening Night Live. Unlike the recent Tales mobile games, Luminaria has been reported to have its own original world with only original characters and no previous Tales characters, as well as an English dub. Unfortunately, the game has announced termination of service worldwide on July 19, 2022.

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About Grace 71 Articles
Grace is an aspiring novelist currently rewriting her novel for the umpteenth time. When not writing or playing Tales games, she stares at her laptop for hours, ruining her eyes in the process, and watching anime and Let's plays. She is also VERY scatterbrained.
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