This game's flaws are few and easy to forgive.
Tales of Vesperia is the first in the long-running 'Tales' series to appear on current-generation consoles. It's a Japanese role-playing game(abbreviated as JRPG), and was developed by Namco Tales Studio . The game puts the player in the shoes of ex-knight Yuri Lowell, who sets out to retrieve an aqua blastia core -- a magic device that provides water -- that was stolen from the lower quarter of his home city. Vesperia features cel-shaded anime-style graphics and, like the other games in the series, a variant of the ' Linear Motion Battle System '.
Tales of Gorgeous, Stylized Graphics
The game's stylized, cel-shaded look is charmingly beautiful, and gives off a wonderful anime vibe. Vibrant, varied environments provide an excellent backdrop for the lovingly rendered character models, and every animation is a joy to watch. The graphics look particularly stunning in the game's battles -- in the latter parts of the game, the screen constantly fills with spectacular spells and other eye candy.
Tales of Action-Packed Battles
The combat in Tales of Vesperia takes place in real-time and is a lot more fun than a regular, turn-based battle system. You'll take control over the character of your choice, while the other party members do their own thing. This might not sound great, but it works brilliantly; the allies' AI is outstanding and can be customized in great detail -- you can decide what techniques characters are and aren't allowed to use, how aggressive they should be, what type of enemy they should prioritize, and much more -- and if the situation calls for it, you can give them direct commands from a menu. Whether you're building combos with the sword-wielding Yuri or casting mighty spells using genius magician Rita, the combat is fun, rewarding, and appeals to jaded JRPG-players and genre newcomers alike.
Tales of Co-Op
While it certainly isn't a prerequisite to enjoy the game -- it was designed with solitary players in mind -- the best way to experience Tales of Vesperia is with one or more friends. The game supports co-operative play, allowing up to four people to enjoy the excellent combat system. Outside of battle, only one player has control; this allows the others take a breather and enjoy the game's story and aesthetics.
Tales of Content and Replay ValueIn true JRPG fashion, Tales of Vesperia is packed with content. The main quest alone takes more than 50 hours to complete and there are numerous side-quests, optional boss fights and hidden locations to find. The game also has great replay value thanks to several difficulty settings, and a New Game+ feature that grants the player various bonuses on a second playthrough. The ability to control whichever party member you wish adds even more to the replayability, as different characters can offer very different experiences.
Tales of Good Music
The game's soundtrack was composed by the famed Motoi Sakuraba, and greatly contributes to the atmosphere. While most of the music is standard JRPG fare -- good, but nothing out of the ordinary -- certain tunes really struck a chord with me. At times, I found myself revisiting places just to listen to the music.
Tales of Likeable Characters
Tales of Vesperia's story is one of justice, corruption and social hierarchy, and is quite good. It isn't breaking new ground and has its fair amount of clichés, but the interactions between the game's colorful cast of characters are thoroughly enjoyable. Yuri Lowell, the main character, is particularly interesting as he actually stops to think about his actions , something your average JRPG hero never does. Unlike these stereotypical protagonists , Yuri possesses both heroic and anti-heroic traits, seeing the world in shades of grey.
Tales of Bad Plot Twists
The story takes a turn for the worse towards the end of the game and plot-wise, the last hours of the game feel tacked on. It feels like the designers needed to add more playtime but ran out of ideas, and simply threw in the first plot twist they could come up with. This isn't a huge problem as the story's strength lies in the characters rather than the plot, but less devoted players may lose their motivation to keep on playing.
Tales of Vesperia might not be innovative or groundbreaking, but it's an incredibly polished, well-crafted game that manages to be accessible to inexperienced players while pleasing fans of the genre. The game has its blemishes, but delightful art direction, likeable characters and a fantastic battle system make them easy to forgive. Whether you're a longtime fan of Japanese RPGs or a newcomer who wishes to see what the genre is all about, you'll find something to love in Vesperia -- it's one of this generation's finest.