Review by ImperialSchwann

"A truly stunning masterpiece which other JRPGs should follow"

Tales of Vesperia is a terrific JRPG (Japanese Role - Playing Game) released by Namco Bandai. Well known for the first 'tales' game to hit the XBOX 360, Tales of Vesperia has earned the full right to stand with the other major games of Microsoft's newest console. Fun and entertaining to look at, Tales of Vesperia is, without a doubt, the best JRPG in the XBOX 360, let alone the best JRPG ever. Although the demo might have brought negative comments to people willing to actually buy the game, Tales of Vesperia has promised everything a JRPG can offer.

Story 9/10
The story is, by far, the best story from every of the ‘tales' games. You play as Yuri Lowell, a knight exiled from the army, while his faithful pet, Repede, tags along with him. Their job is to find a stolen technology called the blastia, an object that can bring life to machinery while defending cities from monsters. When the blastia from Yuri's hometown was stolen, Yuri and his dog sets off to pursue the thief. Other characters join the journey later in the game, so there should actually be no complaints about the lack of characters in this game. From first glance, I thought that this game would follow a straightforward plot until the end, but it turns out I was wrong. The game skillfully splits the plot up so it becomes more interesting. All the characters contributed to the story really well and, even better, they are all so lively and interesting while some are even funny. Dialogues are nicely written, even if some of them are irrelevant to the main plot. There are also quick unexpected dialogues called skits, and these also add life to the game. You may actually feel like you're watching 2 or 3 anime joined together. Overall, a very well written story for a very well made game.

Graphics 10/10
The graphics of this game cannot get any better. The visual design, without a doubt, is one of the best thing Tales of Vesperia can offer. Although it's cel – shaded and cartoon – like, I quickly realized that the images blended in really well for this type of game. The spells and artes (skills) designs are truly marvelous, flashy, and colorful at the same time. There are a lot of different types of equipments in this game, all having different types of designs while differing from one another. The world map is creatively made, but the battle sets can use a bit more tuning and redesigning. The costume and attachment designs are really nifty and nice, so it's worth investing extra time in the game to acquire all these extras. To wrap it all up, Tales of Vesperia is fun and beautiful at the same time.

Gameplay 10/10
The gameplay is the main core of this game. With fun missions, fascinating battles, and tons of sidequests, there is actually no reason at all to not give Tales of Vesperia a perfect score. Also, unlike many other JRPGs, this game is far from what I can call a ‘button masher'. Other than reflexes, it actually also takes skill to time your artes and spells perfectly. Planning strategies and formations are also vital aspects to achieve victories and the best results in battle. Each character specializes in something, so I was happy that the game has a nice mix of character elements. The game itself is around 40 – 50 hours long, and I'm just talking about the main storyline. There are tons of extras, achievements, and even sidequests. Combine these all with the length of the main storyline, and Tales of Vesperia can easily keep you occupied for around 100+ hours. I'm already around 40 hours in the game and I'm still lacking a lot of things. Many of the extra battles are difficult, so grinding is no exception in this game. This game also splits itself into different difficulties, so players who find the game too challenging or too casual can feel free to adjust the game level. Despite being called ‘a game which can be won easily by button – mashing' by some people, I find the game to be both challenging and fun which relies on both the body and the mind. All in all, the gameplay is a pure masterpiece.

Sound 9/10
The soundtracks really enlighten the game. From fast – paced battle music to funny, hilarious tunes for humorous moments, Tales of Vesperia is packed with background tracks that fill the game with life. The sound effects of the weapons, artes, spells, and battle cries are really good and fitting for this game. Voice acting is truly marvelous despite the fact that some characters are voiced by the same person. I actually thought at first that Yuri was a female until I heard his manly macho voice! The cries of the monsters may be same with one another at certain times, but they all make sense. Probably the main reason why I gave the sound a great score is because of the opening theme. It is so catchy that it actually got stuck in my head until now! If the monster cries are a little bit different from each other, I can say that the sounds of Tales of Vesperia are perfect.

Overall 10/10
Tales of Vesperia, in my opinion, deserves a perfect score. It is fun, it is long – lasting, and of course, it is beautiful. I got sucked in playing the game within the first few minutes I played the game, and I can guarantee that the same thing will happen to the others. If Namco Bandai tries harder to popularize this masterpiece, Tales of Vesperia can easily be said as the most stunning JRPG ever to be created. My conclusion? Tales of Vesperia is a game worth picking up for ‘tales' fans and non – fans alike. You might want to buy this game as renting it will not provide you enough time for the fun to begin

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 09/30/08

Game Release: Tales of Vesperia (US, 08/26/08)

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