Review by LightningFFXIII

"Tales of The Abyss 1.5!"

Tales of Vesperia is the type of game that starts out strong but in the end it falls flat. It Other then pretty graphics, Vesperia does nothing significant to add to the Tales series. Its one of those been there done that type of things. Yes. If you have played Symphonia or Abyss you will most likely like Vesperia as well.

Graphics: 5/10

The game looks beautiful. It has wonderful cell shaded graphics and appealing bright colors. As I continued in the game there were some things that begin to bother me. Let's begin with the towns. The towns in Vesperia basically have no detail what so ever. They usually just consist of shop, an Inn, and a type of meeting place so the story can advance. Dungeon designs are lack luster as well. They often have puzzles that are not very complex, however it may be hard to see something like a little ladder to the side.

The biggest thing that lowered the graphics rating was enemy designs. You constantly fight the same enemies over and over again. They just have different models. You have birds that jump in the air and kick you and you also have dinosaurs that jump in the air and kick you. It makes me frustrated that you get all these great skill and arte upgrades just to fight the same tadpoles in a later dungeon that you have already fought at the beginning of the game. By the way, I am aware that many rpgs use pallete swaps for enemies and Vesperia deserves a little credit for at least changing the look for the enemies. Still, It is just ridiculous how the enemies have the same moves, especially in an action rpg.

Sound: 8/10

First of all, The opening of Tales Vesperia is fantastic. I cannot tell you how many times I watched it. Great song and great animation.

Town music is better than previous installments. The dungeon music defiantly better as well (especially when you compare it to Symphonia). I found the normal battle themes to be fantastic. They are really catchy and you may find yourself humming to the tunes when you turn the game off.

One of the things I love the most about Vesperia is the voiced skits. This is pretty much the first time that an English released Tales game has voiced skits (Legendia does not count, the skits were mostly due to gameplay effects such as performing a huge combo or using too many items in battle). The voices in the skits really make viewing them much more viewable then before. When I go back and play Tales of the Abyss, I often find myself skipping the skits because they are so dull without the voices.

The voice acting in this game is passable. It would have been great if was not so erratic at times. Throughout the game there are many lines that come out awkwardly. These partly do to the poor writing however.

Story: 5/10
Unfortunately, Vesperia continues the Tales of series mediocre story reputation The story is not as cliche as Symphonia's but it has its fair share. Like the traveling princess, ghost ship, dangerous forest. But what rpg doesn't have cliches these days?

Vesperia's story is not bad it is just ruined by lack of direction. It has very a slow beginning and when it gets to the part you finally know what you are fighting for it just falls apart. The animation that goes along with scenes throughout the story is very stiff. The character only have a few motions they can do. It leads to scenes that were supposed to be emotional…not emotional. That is more of a graphical problem but it is still a slight improvement over Symphonia's animation.

The cast in this game is excellent. The main character, Yuri Lowell, is older then your typical Tales hero. He is definitely the best main character in the Tales series. I do not want to spoil anything but I will say that he is a bit more “darker” then previous Tales heroes. The other characters play their roles very well and there is overall great character development.

Gameplay: 7/10

This is what people play Tales games for. Vesperia is certainly an improvement but only slightly. It is very similar to Tales of The Abyss. He can now do a strike while free running and that creates some interesting possibilities.

The new synthesizing system is rather interesting. You collect items from defeated monsters to obtain weapons, equipment, healing items, and attachments which change a character's appearance. You obtain skills from weapons now. Each weapon as skills you can learn from them and after using it for awhile you will the gain that skill. When it comes right down to it, it is just the same thing as Abyss's A.D skills. You can learn altered artes however.

Boss fights are a bit more interesting now. You can earn secret achievements by doing something special during the fights. Usually though that something special is just hitting obvious objects on the side of the arena or something like that. They are never fancy or over complicated.

The new overlimit system is pretty neat. You can now attack continuously and perform powerful burst artes while in overlimit. Some would say it is broken but it is certainly fun to do.

Overall the new additions do not add much. You are basically playing Tales of the Abyss 1.5. Its still fun, but it is getting very stale.

Overall Rating: 25/40 = 6

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 10/07/08

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

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