By Jenae R / February 25th, 2019
|Title||Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition|
|Developer||BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment|
|Publisher||BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment|
|Release Date||January 11th, 2019|
|Platform||Switch, PS4, Xbox One, Steam|
|Age Rating||T for Teen|
Tales of Vesperia is a game I’ve waited a long time to play in a complete and definitive form. I played a good amount of the game back on the Xbox 360 and was really enjoying it. Unfortunately, at one point, I got stuck and found out that there was extra content missing in that version, which made me less motivated to actually finish it. So, when Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition was announced for the West, I got really excited. This title is what I like to consider the last great traditional Tales Of game. It has a complete overworld, it has a boat and eventual flying, and at least in the initial version on Xbox 360, there weren’t ever any costumes locked behind a pay wall, they could be unlocked through sidequests. Let’s look into what this game is and if I think it holds up today.
Tales of Vesperia plays like you would expect any other Tales game to. You have a large cast of characters to choose from, any of which you’re able to control. And if you want to play with a friend, you can both control a separate character during battles to help each other out and have fun together. You transition into battles when you walk into an enemy on the field, much like how in a turn-based JRPG you’ll go from the surrounding area you’re walking around, to an enclosed battle environment. Except once you’re in battle, it’s in an action RPG style. With that said, every entry in the Tales Of franchise has slightly different battle mechanics each time. The old games are mostly similar to each other, though newer games like Berseria have become much more fluid and artes got turned into your standard attacks. Being a traditional title, Tales of Vesperia plays a lot like the older games. You have one button for your standard attacks and you’ll press up or down to reach enemies if they’re flying, or small and closer to the ground. Then you’ll have another button where you can set artes. Different directions in conjunction with that button will activate a different skill depending on how you set them. But, the battle system is much clunkier than prior traditional Tales games. Movement is relatively stiff and it takes a good portion of the game before you get enough passive skills to make it somewhat fluid. I felt that it was way too easy in the beginning to get completely destroyed by tougher enemies and bosses. As long as you can get through the rough beginning, then it’s easy to get hooked.
Another great thing about Vesperia is that it has a really nice soundtrack. Now it’s not 100% unique, you’ll hear songs that you just know came from a Tales Of game. But unlike Berseria’s mostly bland OST, Vesperia’s is fantastic, and actually keeps you into it as much as the rest of the game. Every song keeps you immersed and you might even stop going for a minute every now and then when you hear a new song you really enjoy. I’ve featured above only one of my favorites from my time playing through this game. There are many more fabulous themes throughout.
The story and tone of a Tales Of game tends to fall into one of two categories. You have some entries with more stereotypical goodie two shoes protagonists who only want to defeat evil and save the world, such as with Tales of Symphonia’s cast. And then there’s Tales of Berseria, which is significantly darker and makes it clear your party of protagonists aren’t upstanding citizens. I feel Tales of Vesperia is in the middle of these. You do have a couple of party members who are pretty far on the morally good side. But then you also have people like the main character, Yuri Lowell, who do what they think is right, but also aren’t always that worried about morals. They merely do what they think needs to be done and sometimes that includes morally questionable actions.
Speaking of the story and Yuri, Vesperia’s story will follow him as he goes on a journey to find the thief who stole the blastia core to his hometown’s fountain. This causes the fountain to break and flood the lower quarter of Zaphias. The lower quarter is where the poorer residents of the capital live. Yuri doesn’t trust the government to care about them and fix things, so he goes off to fix it himself. Along the way, he’ll meet the rest of the protagonists, all with their own unique personalities and stories, much likes Tales entries of the past. Alas, I don’t think Vesperia pulls off its story as well as past games. What I remember from Tales of Symphonia for example, was a much deeper story with stuff explained relatively well. But in Vesperia, at times the amount of time spent on story sequences and how much is explained makes the story feel a little bit shallow. I enjoyed it for the most part, but there were moments where events weren’t explored with more meaningful depth.
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