Review by Shogain

"Tales of Vesperia is worth every last penny."

Ever wondered how fun a Tales game is? Well, look no further. Tales of Vesperia is a great start for people who want to be acquainted with the popular tales series. Tales Of Vesperia is a real time rpg, which I love. Instead of turn based rpg games, you get to control your party and attack your enemies.

To be honest with you guys, the story in the game was one of the weaker points, but it wasn't bad at all. The characters were great, the setting was unique and the dialouge was good. It was just that the villains you fight have almost no character development, and once you defeat them, you pretty much forget about them. The story is about Yuri Lowell, a carefree protagonist who lives in the lower quarter of Zaphias, the heart of the Empire. Reckless as ever, he gets thrown in jail, and busts out, meeting the second main character, a princess. Estellise. After that, they escape and go on a journey to find a knight named Flynn, who's Yuri's best friend. Although the story starts slow, it gets slowly better and better as your party grows and how they react to the events around them. The story is divided into three parts, pretty much like arcs. But anyway, I give the story a 7.5. I expected better from a tales game, but it isn't bad.

The gameplay in this game, like all other tales game, is the most enjoyable part of the game. Firstly, and foremost, you move your character around like any other RPG game, and you have a good camera view. When you exit a town, you go on the overworld, where you go to different towns or dungeons to advance the story and soforth. As you progress through the story, you'll gain access to a boat, and the ability to fly. There aren't any random battles in the game. Instead, the enemies pop on the screen wandering around the overworld or dungeon, waiting to be killed. When you touch them, you go into battle and that's where the fun starts. Using the B button to attack, you can initiate combos with the A button, which chains your 3 hit combo to a azure blast. You can also guard by using the X button, and going to the item menu with the Y button. As you get farther into the game, you can equip skills, which can give you abilities in battle, or enhancements such as more hp and useful stuff. Skills are gained by equipping your weapons, and mastering them after fighting enemies for a certain amount of time. Once you've learned them, you can equip them on the skills menu. There are bunch of stuff in the game you learn, such as altered artes, arcane artes, and burst artes. Then there's mystic artes. Although I won't explain em, all I can say is that once you've unlocked them, the gameplay gets much better as you do more combos and different variations of combos. Another mechanic in the gameplay overlimit, which have four different lvls. At first, you have only lvl 1, but as you synthesize items to gain orbs, you can lvl your overlimit up to lvl 4, which makes you more powerful. While in overlimit, there are no limits to your usage of artes or attacks. You can keep attacking and use your artes continuously in a row till your overlimit is gone. This is where mystic artes come into play. After using and arcane arte or burste arte, you hold the B button to initiate your mystic arte, which is a flashy attack from your character. But there's a catch, you need a "special" skill in order to use them for each of the respective characters. Ahem, anyway, now that I've explained most of the game mechanics, let's talk about synthesizing. Synthesizing is fairly easy to use, which where you gather materials from monsters to create weapons, armor, helmets, and even special items to put on your character. You also cook in this game by getting the right amount of ingredients. Cooking is used mainly to boost your characters up, or healing them. I almost forgot about fatal strikes. Fatal strikes are instant kill moves on normal enemies. To trigger them, you have to use certain amount of artes on your enemies, till you have a blue, red, or green target reticle come up. Once that happens, you press the Right trigger to initate a fatal strike. I really like how they put a lot of new stuff in this tales games. It makes it more fast paced, more intense, and more fun. Overall, I give the gameplay a solid 8.

The cel-shaded graphics and the gorgeous display around you are one of the best graphics I've seen. It's not realistic like Gears of war, but it focuses on a more anime-ish style graphic. Think, Eternal Sonata, but cel shading and different environments. Anyway, the graphics is great, and the cel shading suits Tales of Vesperia perfectly. I just wish the next tales game for the Xbox 360 has cel shading too. I give the graphics a 9 out of 10.

The music and sound are also on of the best parts about the game. As you enter the towns and dungeons throughout the game, you'll hear music that perfectly suits the town/dungeon. Though it doesn't compare to Tales of Legendia's music, it's certainly a good one. The battle musics are also nice, but I expected at least one epic one. I thought the battle music was kinda generic, but nevertheless, it was satisfying.

Final Word -
In conclusion, Tales of Vesperia should be in everyone's JRPG collection. Tales of Vesperia is worth every last penny of that 60$ your paying, so hurry up and go buy it.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 11/03/08

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

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