Review by chrtopaul
"An Incredible Experiance"
I'm just gonna say this right now and get it out of the way: Tales of Vesperia is easily the BEST 360 RPG. Now that that's out of the way, on to the actual review:
If you're one of those types who see JRPGs as only being capable of cliched/boring plots, this game will prove you dead wrong. Unlike other JRPGs, you're not thrust right into the "save the world" plot, but rather you simply start small and go from there. What starts as a simple quest to find a stolen Blastia Core (which are, essentially, what allows Vesperia's society to thrive) quickly becomes much more as the heroes begin dealing with corrupt nobles, ambitious political figureheads, and a secret about the world's history that could have disatrous effects on humanity. The pacing is really well done, as well, as the story slowly evolves from a simple "find the stolen item" plot to something much bigger. Also, the characters have some of the best development I've seen. From the friendly but to-the-poiny Yuri, to the innocent Estelle, to the smart and snarky Rita, to the driven (and, erm..."endowed") Judith, the cast really grows on you. As for the villains...well, to avoid spoilers, the game makes it pretty clear which villains you're supposed to symphasize with, and which ones you're supposed to hate (and trust me, several villains are downright MONSTROUS in what they do).
Tales of Vesperia utilizes a real-time battle system, but there's more to it then simple button mashing. As your characters grow, they get access to various attack skills called Artes, which range from the mundane Base Artes to the incredibally powerful Mystic Artes. Also, the many weapons, sub-weapons and armor you'll find give special "Weapon Artes", which, when fully unlocked, give the characters tons of new features, such as improved stats, the ability to use items on multiple characters, and more.
Like most Tales games, Vesperia has a cooking and Skit system. Cooking is exactly that. As the game progresses, you'll learn various new recipes. These recipes are either learned from events, or by having a certain character cook a certain food. Each food item will restore your health, and occasionally give you a combat bonus. As for the skits, they're basically anime-style shorts that both provide humor and deal with the party's interactions with one another.
One last thing must be addressed, and that's the sidequests. There's a LOT of things to do in Vesperia, such as finding and fighting special "Gigante" beasts, competing in an arena, and even a Casino (kinda).
All in all, Vesperia is one of the greatest RPGs out there. Even if you normally aren't very fond of JRPGs, you owe it to yourself to pick up this masterpiece.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 04/13/09
Game Release: Tales of Vesperia (US, 08/26/08)
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