Review by jueru2003
First Tales of game I've played and I'll play more if they are all like this one.
Tales of Vesperia is another title in the Tales of series (which originates from Japan and several titles have not and will not be translated into english), while I haven't played any other games in the series, mostly due to me being unable to find copies in stores near me (generally if I find them they are secondhand and really expensive, seems many RPG's just don't get Australian or even PAL releases).
For all you Aussies out there this is an excellent RPG game that actually got an Australian release and you don't need to import it or modchip your console!
While I have yet to actually complete the game, what I have seen of the storyline is excellent. You start out as Yuir Lowell a 21 yr old exKnight in the lower quarter of the capital with his faithful dog Repede. Your first 'quest' to retrieve a stolen blastia and well not to spoil anything but Yuri manages to get himself into some trouble before meeting the next companion and leaving the capital.
Some of the skits don't add to the storyline but others do a very good job of fleshing it out further, adding details that the dialogue didn't and also give a better overview of the world the game is set in and the personalities, thoughts and feelings of the main characters. I like this part of the game as it allows me to better connect with and understand the characters and their motivations.
The characters work well together and are not cardboard cutouts masquerading as characters. They are interesting and every one has a different personality. The skits do a very good job of fleshing out the characters and their personalities, thoughts and feelings more.
Parts of the story are amusing and others are more serious which is a good thing as I don't particularly like games which have storylines that are too comedic or too serious, I believe the dialogue and skits strike a good balance between serious (generally dialogue) and comedic (generally skits) with a somewhat greater emphasis on serious.
The graphics are beautiful, even on my old TV. I imagine they would be even better on a large HD TV. No complaints from me about the graphics, the anime style used for the characters is beautiful and melds perfectly with the backgrounds. The artes (skills/spells) all have excellent, individual animations and the weapons graphics change depending on what weapon you have equipped.
The ability to change your characters appearance with attachments or titles is another nice touch that allows you to personalize your characters (I have Estelle wearing glasses). It's well worth spending the extra time on obtaining the costume changes.
The towns are all beautifully detailed and the world map is detailed without being confusingly so. Although the battle backgrounds could have a little more variance.
Character control during better could have been better. For some reason in battle when I try to run my character walks, I have to stop and move again to get him to run.
You can only control one character and the others follow the battle tactic you have set and you can turn artes on/off and can tell a character to use an item/arte in battle but it is not expedient to do so the whole battle, save this for when you need a character to heal themselves/use a specific spell. It can be annoying when all the other party members get wiped out because they stand in front of an enemy. A gambit type control system like in Final Fantasy XII would have been better but the system used still works pretty well.
Fighting isn't turn based and it is easy to get the hang of fighting or using artes during battle, although it you are used to a PS2 controller like me you may find yourself accidentally using artes instead of just attacking...
Being able to synthesize items is excellent as you can upgrade weapons which may be better or cheaper than simply buying the best weapon for sale.
Cooking is a nice touch and the various benefits as healing HP/TP, boosting physical/magical attack or defense is useful, saves you healing items for use in battle and can be cheaper. Being able to camp with certain items is very good as it saves you having to walk to the nearest inn, possibly with low HP and KOed characters.
Fatal strike is awesome to use as not only does it 1hit kill monsters and deal major dam,age to bosses you get bonus EXP, LP or improved drop rates. If you can master this them battles can get a lot easier.
The voice overs are done really well and the voices suit the characters marvelously, the music is also very good but can be a little tedious if you spend a large amount of time in the same area, but no way near as much as other games.
Every skit is voiced, although not all dialogue is. It would be better if more dialogue was voiced, I believe this was done in the PS3 release.
The music for towns/dungeons are very well done and suit their respective areas very well. Battle/boss music wasn't quite as good and the battle music can become a bit dull after a while but not overly so.
I haven't finished this game and I don't think I'm too far in yet I've played for around 8 hrs. Judging by this and other reviews it would probably take around 50-60 hours to finish depending on how many sidequests you did and how much time you spent exploring areas and just generally faffing around admiring the scenery like I tend to do. Considering how much I enjoy the game and the +new game, in which you can use points earned in your finished save to buy bonuses from the Grade shop for the new game, I would say it has good replay value. Plus you probably wouldn't be able to gain every achievement or fill out every book in one play through.
Overall a brilliant game well worth the $70-$100 dollars it generally sells for in Australia (My second hand, on sale copy was $70, another store was selling a second hand one for $90). If you like action RPG's or games like Breath of Fire, Zelda or Final Fantasy, you will probably enjoy this game.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Tales of Vesperia (AU, 07/02/09)
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