Tales of Vesperia Review
Developer/Co-Developer: Namco Bandai
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Console: Xbox 360
Release Date: August 26, 2008
Players: Single Player, 4 Player Local
Hello once again followers and readers! Tonight I’m bringing to you my first RPG review. The game in question is from the “Tales of” series and personally, one of my top three favorite RPGs of all time. Tales of Vesperia is the first “Tales of” game that I have actually beaten. Sure, I’ve played Tales of Symphonia for the GameCube way back when, but never beat it. One thing I should mention before heading off to talk about Vesperia is that if you plan on picking this up or already have it, you should look at the prequel anime movie that was released a while ago. It’s called Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike and it focuses on the back story for Yuri and Flynn.
In the world of Terca Lumireis, there is a primary power source known as Aer. Aer is used to power Blastia, which was passed down from an ancient civilization. This Blastia can be used to help people for everyday needs or can be used for fighting and causing wars. In the Empire city known as Zaphias, Yuri Lowell and his friend Flynn Scifo join the knights in order to do some good in the world. However, Yuri quits due to the corruption of the Empire. Now, he lives in the lower quarter to protect those in need. When the lower quarter’s Blastia is stolen, Yuri and his trusty canine companion Repede, head out to find the culprit. Thus begins the story of Tales of Vesperia.
Like any regular RPG, Vesperia plays out like any other. You buy your team weapons and armor along with various other items. The controlled character walks through towns and dungeons, going from point A to B. Along the way, you run into enemies that must be fought to gain experience, gald (the game’s currency) and items. Here is where the game strays from the norm, a feature I very much enjoy. All the enemies can be seen onscreen, so there’s no need to get worried about random encounters. So you can choose when you want to fight and if you want to fight. I highly recommend that you fight from the beginning of the game. If not, you’ll find words “Game Over” on your screen a lot. The battle system hasn’t changed from any of the Tales of series. The fights happens in real time, meaning that you don’t have to wait a turn to attack or use an item. You control one character of your choosing and the AI controls the rest. So yes, you can move around to your heart’s content, which is most helpful when you get caught in a jam. What’s so cool about being able to freely move around is that you can connect attacks and spells with your teammates and link up special moves from combos. Special moves consist of your Base Artes, Arcane Artes, Burst Artes and your most powerful Arte in the game, the Mystic Artes. With all these Artes at your disposal, there are so many ways to link up a combo together. Depending on the direction your combos are hitting, be it straight up, downward or direct hits, you can perform what is called Fatal Strikes. These allow you to take out enemies in one clean hit. For example, if you keep hitting a monster with moves that focus on downward motions, you’ll be able to perform a downward Fatal Strike. Then you have the Overlimit bar, which builds when you deal out damage or take hits. Once the gauge is full, you can activate Overlimit. Doing so allows you to string together combos and Artes seamlessly. The Overlimit is handy for when the going gets tough and you need a way out. There’s just so much to be said but not enough room to have it said about the way the battles play out. The best way would be to experience it for yourself or watch a video.
Just like the rest of the Tales of games, the graphics look gorgeous and designed nicely. Especially if you’re a fan of the anime look, this game will please you. To me it felt like I was interacting with an anime. Everything about Vesperia was so fluid and crisp. As for the audio, there isn’t really anything too spectacular about it. There’s no real memorable music until you get towards the end portion of the game. The voice acting is actually pretty good though, I honestly thought it was going to be terrible or OK.
Until today, I’ve only beaten Tales of Vesperia once and barely did any of the side missions and quests that were available. I just beat it on my second playthrough as I was writing this review and there were so many things that I encountered that I didn’t my first time through. Needless to say, the replay value is high and I plan on going through it again to find most of all the secrets. Honestly the only negative aspects of this game are that the plot is cliché and that the AI for your teammates can be pretty stupid at times. Most of the times, it’s when you need them to pull through for you.
The “Tales of” series is a favorite of many. Have you played them? If so, what one is your favorite? If not, Why haven’t you tried them?