Costumes (衣装 Ishou?) are a recurring feature in the Tales series that can either be part of gameplay or simply aesthetic. In the Narikiri Dungeon series of games, costumes play a crucial role in battle and leveling for Dio and Mell, while most games feature costumes as an in-game reward for a subquest, typically late in the game, or as some form of downloadable content, often purchasable using real-life money or via pre-ordering. Legacy Costumes are costumes with direct references to other characters in the series. Other costumes sometimes reference characters from games outside of the Tales series.
Tales of Symphonia
Tales of Symphonia was the first game in the series to formally introduce costumes, known as Costume Changes (コスチューム変化 Kosuchuumu Henka?). Its immediate predecessor, Tales of Eternia, featured costume changes for the four main protagonists when they venture to Mt. Celsius, but Symphonia integrated costumes as optional aesthetic features via subquests. Each character is given several options, ranging from beach to formal attire, as well as costumes unique to each character, usually involving a subquest related to him or her.
The costumes are applied through titles, typically sacrificing some bonuses that titles provide as a result. In the Grade Shop, titles can be carried over, meaning costumes as well. In the PlayStation 2 release of the game, each character was given a new costume. In the PlayStation 3 and Steam releases of the game, Legacy costumes were made available via having a save file of certain other games in the series, or by completing the game at least once.
Tales of Legendia
Tales of Legendia features a two sets of costumes for the protagonists: "Formal" and "Mascot", purchasable only via the Grade Shop. Buying either one will unlock all of those types of costumes for each playable character. These costumes only appear in battle and cannot be toggled. Purchasing them in the Grade Shop makes them permanent throughout the next playthrough.
Tales of the Abyss
Tales of the Abyss reprises the costume system from Symphonia, albeit doing away with the stat changes associated with titles. These costumes are all obtained through subquests and provide the character with a unique effect, as per the role of titles in this game.
Tales of Innocence R
Tales of Vesperia
In Tales of Vesperia, costumes appear through titles, which serve no other purpose in the Xbox 360 version of the game. In the PlayStation 3 release, however, provides several new costume titles available as Downloadable Content (ダウンロードコンテンツ Daunroodokontentsu?, "Download Contents") (DLC). This represents the start of a new sales and marketing model used by the series' creators, in which individual costumes or costume sets are offered for sale on the PlayStation Store while not being provided with the standard game, even if the data exists on the disc.
Some of these DLC costumes grant new altered artes that are initially available only while the costume is equipped, until the artes have achieved mastery and are learned by the character as part of his or her movelist. After this point, the costume can be removed and the arte can still be used, but the altered function that replaces an existing arte will not activate unless the costume remains equipped. It should be noted that the costumes in this game are separate from attachments, a new feature replicated in subsequent games.
Tales of Hearts R
Tales of Graces
In Tales of Graces, costume changes remain as a function tied to titles in the original Nintendo Wii release, but the PlayStation 3 port establishes a new function that allows costumes and titles to be used independently of each other. This allows the equipped effects of certain titles to be retained even while wearing a costume, though the costumes themselves are still tied to a title and will not be available until the title is unlocked.
DLC becomes the means of obtaining several of these costume titles in both versions of the game, but the PlayStation 3 port also includes music for battles and victory screens with some of these titles as part of the DLC package. This music is taken from the games that are associated with the costumes, and it overrides all existing music while the costume is equipped, regardless of the battle.
Tales of Xillia and Tales of Xillia 2
Tales of Zestiria
Tales of Berseria