Review by PlumpDaddy2008

"Vesperia-A step forward"

Tales of Vesperia is yet another addition to the best selling series that has captivated gamers in both Japan and North America for the past 10 years. The Tales of series began many, many years ago in japan with groundbreaking game play and graphics. Now, in Tales of Vesperia, We experience the same thing, on a bigger scale. Yet again gamers will be wowed by the anime style graphics and intriguing, fast paced game play. Okay, enough of that. Onwards with what you really want to hear.

The graphics in Tales of Vesperia is what people call anime graphics. While not exactly realistic, they are some of the best video game graphics available. The game is simply gorgeous. Every nook and cranny of the world is filled with life and color. Around every corner is something new and eye catching that will have you thinking how do they do that?. As you play the game and enjoy the graphics you have come to expect from the tales of series, you will also encounter what we call CGI cut scenes. These are the best scenes in the game to most as they display the true beauty of the characters and the world around you. These scenes usually take place when something major happens in the story and can really make a person want to view them again. Thankfully, this is possible at later points. Overall, even though graphics don't really make the game, they certainly had a contributing factor in the success of this one.

The game play throughout the Tales series has generally been the same with different tweaks here and there to make it new and refreshing. Tales of Vesperia is no different. You control 1 character on the field until you see an enemy. When this happens you can either choose to try to avoid it or fight it to gain experience or gald(do note that there are some enemies you can not avoid). When you run into an enemy a battle begins. This is where Tales of Vesperia really shines. Once in the battle you will have 4 characters in your party depending on who you set it up as. Basically, like most tales games, you can run around and whack an enemy with your weapon or use beefed up skills and magic(known as Artes) to do even more damage at the cost of your TP(technical points. There are a few differences to Vesperia as well, which is what makes it stick out as having better game play than most. There is a new skills system in Vesperia. You get new skills by leveling up and, more importantly, from your weapons. Each character has tons of skills he and she can learn and it is up to you to decide which ones to equip. Each character has a certain amount of SP(skill points) that allows you to equip skills. This number increases with each level your character gains. In order to permanently learn a skill from a weapon you must obtain LP. LP is obtained at the end of a battle and can be boosted with certain skills and accesories. Artes come in different elements(light,dark,fire,wind,water,earth,and thunder.)Each enemy has elemental weaknesses and resistances so it is up to you to figure out which works best. A new addition to this game in the series is synthesis. Synthesis allows you to created items and weapons from materials that you can collect from monsters and search points. The thing about synthesis that will really grab you is just how simple it is. In the synthesis menu you will have a list of items that can be created. If you are able to create it then it will be highlighted and will have a list of ingredients that will show what is needed and what you have. It is a great addition to the game that allows a greater variety of items and weapons. Long story short, Vesperia has the traditional game play with new things mixed in to give the players something new to tinker with and to give a more enjoyable playing experience.

Many people say that the story in Tales of Vesperia is not as good as in some others. Mainly, Tales of the Abyss. I played Tales of the Abyss as well and I personally think they both have a great story in different ways. However, I am not here to compare one game to another. Tales of Vesperia starts out with Yuri, a teenager living in Zaphia, trying to recover a stolen blastia. This journey takes him out of his city and out on an adventure he could never have imagined. Though the story is rather slow paced compared to other games in the series that does not make it bad. It moves at its own pace and that gives it time to close up loose ends and make it feel like the game is fully complete. Eventually Yuri will encounter other characters that will join you on your heroic quest. Eventually things take a turn for the worse(like they always do) and your journey can really begin. As events in Tales of Vesperia come together, you come to understand evil plots, corruption, and even uncover a few traitors. That is as far as I will go so as to really give something away. Essentially, though the game moves slower it has just as much to uncover and observe as any of the others in the series. It all depends on your preference.

One thing that people always wonder about a Tales game, along with its graphics, is the sound. Honestly, while the music and sound in Tales of Vesperia is very good, it is nothing mind shattering. The game begins with a Japanese pop song that you will probably come to love the more you watch it. Although the sound is not off the charts, it is decent. There are a few moments that have great sound effects and music that really match the situation. One of the bigger problems is the boss music and regular battle music kind of fell short of what some of us where expecting. That aside, the music for 2 particular boss battles really caught me and I had to look it up on the internet to listen to it again. One of these was, obviously, the final boss music. The other one I will not mention as it gives away too much in the story. Music in the towns and fields was enjoyable, but was nothing we have not heard before, in other words, forgettable. Like most things, it comes down to what you like and what appeals to your taste, I am just giving one of many points of view.

Vesperia's biggest buying factor is the extras and replay value. Something that people have come to expect from all games in the Tales series is what there is to do besides the main story. The main story takes roughly 50 hours or more depending on how good you are and the amount of exploring you do. That said, there is TONS of other things to be done. There are extra titles and costume titles that change your characters looks. There are also additional recipes and mini game after mini game to play. Many of these things will only become available after a certain point so don't expect to turn it on and jump right into these things. Earning titles can be a long process but well worth the effort to get them all and change the looks of your characters. Recipes can be fun and also extremely helpful as they tend to replenish you at the end of battles. Aside from storyline areas there are other places to see and visit such as Namco Isle.(thats right). You will likely spend a lot of time enjoying yourself here as it has many, many extras to do. One of these extras is a scene viewer that I mentioned above in the graphics section. It also gives you the ability to watch any of the skits you have unlocked. In addition, you can test your luck gambling in an attempt to earn more money. Good luck(since I didn't do so well). Last but not least is the fell arms. Those of you that are veterans to the tales series, or have just played even 1 or 2 of them, will know about the weapons that are generally unlockable near the end of the game. In Vesperia, these are known as the Fell Arms. These bad boys have rare skills for each character and are rather difficult to get. They are hidden in chests across the world that you must sniff out and find. Once you have them all you might notice they are not all that great. That is where replaying the game comes in. After getting them all and seeing all the scenes a new boss will be unlocked(again I will not say anymore because of spoilers). Beat this boss to have all the weapons drop to 1 attack and 1 magic attack. When you start a new game choose the grade shop option of keeping your weapons to have these carry over with you. The weapons will be activated and will gain 1 attack and 1 magic attack for each monster that particular character kills. Combine those weapons with any of the extra difficulties(easy,normal,hard,unknown,) and you will likely have some very epic battles on your hands.

My overall opinion is to buy this game. But wait,only if you have read this review and find that this game appeals to you. RPG fans will likely come running for this game but if you have never played an RPG because you don't like them then this game might not be for you. However, it is a great game so if you have never tried an RPG but want to I recommend you do so with this one. This is one game that will most likely get you into the entire genre!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 10/31/08

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

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