Review by Buck_Swaggler
After Vesperia I want to play ALL the Tales games
Tales of Vesperia follows the story of a tough young man as he founds a guild, and just so happens to save the world along the way. He meets several friends and discovers hidden truths to the world during his journey, which lead him to a struggle for the life of the planet itself.
Let me first say that I played this game 2-player, the entire way through. That may, and probably, greatly affects the way I feel about it. Also, let me state that the last Tales game I played through was Tales of Destiny on PSone. I played with a friend in his game for a few hours on Symphonia, but that's it. So, Vesperia was very new and very fresh to me. And to say the least, it makes me want to play ALL the new Tales games. Also, I played the game a few months ago, so I won't be going into too extreme of detail.
Graphics - 9.5
This game has some of the best cel-shaded graphics ever. Personally, I would say the ONLY other game to do an anime style better is Naruto Storm. The entire game looks wonderful. The charcters are well designed and in battle they are animated beautifully. The backgrounds are lush and colorful as if right from a story book or pastel painting. The spell effects are some of the best ever done. And the anime cutscenes are of an anime movie quality. The game maintains an unparalleled gorgeousness throughout its entirety. Although, while it is nice to look at there are some minor things I don't like. During the early parts the in-game cutscenes are typically composed of awkward postures and movements viewed from bad angles. Fortunately, as the game progresses these scenes improve drastically.
Sound - 9
The sound effects and music are great. Everything seems to fit perfectly. Some of the music is sleep-inducing but it still seems to be the right music to use. The voice acting seems out of place for some at first. But, overall it is really well done. Not only that, but there is so much of it. This game has tons of needless scenes that serve no purpose but to enhance the story. Sometimes they come out after certain events and it gives a great sense of interactivity. On top of that everyone has tons of cool things they'll say during and after battle.
Gameplay - 10
To be honest, in my opinion, this game has the best fighting system of all role playing games to date. This is a grand statement, and I thought long and hard about it. But, its true. Its so fun, throughout the entire game. There is never a moment where you feel too good, or done. At level 99 my friend and I were still getting better and still didn't want to quit. You're always gaining new abilities and figuring out new strategies so this game feels fresh the entire way through... and then some. This is one of the only RPG battle systems that actually requires skill. The attacks are input with controller commands and its up to you to string together combos real time. This process is very fun, and rewarding. The game gives you bonus Exp for being a beast. Some characters have less appeal at first because they lack the long combos. But, once you get used to them, all of them are great. None of them suck. Rarely do I think that. Even the little kid with the hammer is cool. From combos into special attacks, into more special attacks, to chaining finishing moves, with a friend this game is endless fun. There are even over limits which are like Street Fighter Alpha Zism supers and let you sling out combos and specials or spells in any order without any delay. Seriously, I want to go play it right now.
Story - 9
To me the story started off... SLOW. But, just like everything else about the game it keeps getting better as it progresses. By the end of the game I was actually very impressed with the story and all the esoteric ideas it covered. Vesperia is a very deep game, and the story was very well thought out. There are some surprise twists along with some very funny moments. Other than a couple voices, there was not a character I disliked. And I'm not sure how long the game was supposed to be, but my friend and I put 100 hours into it, easy, before we beat it. We didn't even do any long periods of leveling at any point. There's just a so much to do and see, and its good enough that I want to see it all.
+0.5 - Multiplayer RPGs are hard to find. Especially ones that still kick ass single player
+0.1 - Success at Anime style cel-shading. Its hard to make it look that good.
+0.2 - Bonus for awesome spell effects. Square could learn from Namco.
+0.2 - Personality. This game has lots of it.
-0.2 - Slow starter. That can deter people from going further.
-0.2 - Raven's voice, nuff said.
-0.2 - Offers very little character development. Doesn't hurt too much here, though.
Final Recommendation - 9.8 - Definite play. Probably more than once.
I own this game but I don't even own and Xbox 360. My friend and I played it on his 360 and when he left, it did too. I kept the game because I plan on getting a 360 and playing it again. My favorite game is Final Fantasy Tactics, and I can say, if you are looking for in depth character development here, look elsewhere. This game offers little in that respect, but it does offer everything else. As a result it cannot have the replay value of FFT or Diablo 2 but nonetheless it is a phenomenal game. If you're an RPG fan, play it.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Tales of Vesperia (US, 08/26/08)
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