The Tales series of games has always been a forerunner in the list of “things I want to pick up when they come out”, and when Tales of Vesperia was first announced, of course it made my list. Until I found out it was a 360 exclusive. Now finally available on systems that I own, I can finally rejoice at having my Tales collection come back together, instead of me being forced to borrow my friends Xbox.
Since Vesperia has been reviewed earlier by Robert, I’m not going to go in-depth into review, rather just point out things I liked/didn’t, and some aspects that stuck with me. First of which is the characters. I personally find that the main qualifier of whether I enjoy a Tales game more or less is all about who the recurring cast is, whether it be bland “justice junkies” like Flynn or Sorey, or the sassy quipping characters like Raven and Edna, what really makes a Tales game pop is the interactions between the characters. I can honestly say that Tales of Vesperia, while not actually having any of my favorite characters, definitely had my favorite cast. Apart from Karol, all the characters were interesting or unique in their own right, and their interactions and skits were really fun to watch.
Even though the newly added Patty doesn’t have a lot of leeway, since she was basically slapped in as an “append”, I loved the way she was introduced. Best pirate ninja move. And you keep the substitution doll, I loved it. Also, the only Tales game I know where you can beat people up using a dog with a dagger. Repeede is best doggo, and the fact that he now has actual costumes and can be the party leader is even better.
The second qualifier for me about Tales quality is the battle system. Is it fun? Annoying? Did they overextend trying something new? Did they turn a 4 player possible game into a soft cap 2 player *cough*Zesteria*cough* ? While the button placement has been swapped up a bit, and the “downtime” between combos is disgustingly long, the skill learning was fun, and I’ll be damned if me and two of my friends didn’t sit down to abuse the hell out of the bonus skills. “Blah Blah Blah meteor storm” comes to mind. Pro tip, on the Xbox version you could crash the game if you had too many meteor storms going at the same time. Rita is now an ascended meme mage amongst my friends. Speaking of battling, screw the dog at Emmead Hill. Y’all know what I’m talking about if you’ve played the game before. Hardest boss in the game, and he’s like, what, the third? So dumb.
So. The story. Well, the second half got better? I mean, the first half of the game is basically “I’m going the complete opposite direction from you, but I’ll join you anyway”, and felt super forced. At least you get a decent sized team for couch multiplayer rather fast.
If you weren’t aware, you now know that the original voice actor for Yuri did not come back to voice the swathe of extra scenes/voices added for the definitive edition. On the plus side, you don’t really notice unless you’re aware and looking for it, barring a few minor exceptions.
Last line of complaint: GLOWING. SKY. ORB.
Please, Namco Bandai, we aren’t three. We can handle big boy puzzles.
As a general whole, while Vesperia definitely won’t hit my number one favorite Tales installment, it’s pretty solid in at number three or four, which is a big thing considering how much less I had to play it when it originally came out. Backed by a swell cast of characters, some solid voice acting, a great opening theme, and a swell soundtrack, not to mention the character customization through the use of skills, Tales of Vesperia is definitely a title to get your friends into the series, and to leave series veterans pleased. It also looks and runs really nicely on the PS4 which I’m happy to own.Score: 8.5 / 10