A while ago, we reviewed the Definitive Edition of Tales of Vesperia on PC and were pleasantly surprised with the port. Although not that different from the earlier PS3 version, it has many PC specific enhancements including 4K-60FPS support with proper anti-aliasing and texture filtering options in addition to detailed shadows. In this post, we’ll explore the main game itself and point out the things we liked about it as well as the ones we didn’t.

Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition

The Good

The Story

JRPGs often have pretty complicated and hard to grasp plotlines. This can both work as a positive or a negative, but I’d say in case of Tales of Vesperia, it works in the game’s favor. There are multiple unexpected “twists” in the story, way more than your average JRPG/anime, so it keeps the momentum going, although there are certain points where it’s hard to take the game seriously as it gets too childish. Thankfully, these sequences are few and far between, compared to what most JRPGs throw at you.

The Theme

If you look at the Tales franchise as a whole, the core themes generally stick to “Saving the world” or “Defeating the great evil”, however, the last entry Berseria took on a much darker and mature tone which I thoroughly enjoyed. Vesperia, although not as gloomy as the former manages to strike just the right balance. The game is usually quite cheery but it can also prove to be pretty dreary at times.

Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition

Tales of Vesperia incorporates subjects like corruption, justice and blurs the line between evil and noble, making it hard to say who’s truly in the right. This is something fairly common in Western RPGs but not something you tend to see in their Japanese counterparts.

Combat

Although all the other games in the franchise utilize well-implemented combat mechanics, I especially liked Vesperia’s. The main combos may be limited to just four, the game adds in base artes, arcane artes, burst artes and mystic artes in addition to quick executions plus some altered artes as well passive skills to keep the player engaged. The combat has way more depth than any other Tales game I’ve played and even JRPGs in general where combat tends to get repetitive and grindy fairly often.

Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition

Soundtrack

Japanese RPGs usually have excellent soundtracks and Vesperia is no exception. The game features some phenomenal music including battle-tracks, ambient tunes as well as a memorable theme song.

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The Bad

Weak Antagonist

Tales of Berseria had a top-notch antagonist in the form of Artorious. It was hard to not like him, but at the same time his means were pretty extreme. Most of the other Tales games fall flat when it comes to the bad guys. Vesperia suffers from the same problem and the game’s main antagonist isn’t apparent at first and instead of adding a layer of mystery, this sort of weakens the plot. You face several bosses through the course of the game and all of them fail to match the likes of Velvet’s brother-in-law.

Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition

Overly Long Campaign

Generally Eastern games average from 12-18 hours, but Tales of Vesperia drags on for almost 40 long hours. Though, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, there are many times where it feels needless and you’ll spend a lot of time backtracking and locating your objective.

Navigation

This probably won’t bother everyone, but it sure did bug me a lot. The game has a freaking huge map filled with enemy encounters at every step, and on top of that lacks an objective marker. Running all around the world to get to that one objective with a thousand encounters in between gets real boring, real fast.

Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition

The Cliched

Mediocre Characters

This is something that is widespread in most JRPGs as a whole and Tales of Vesperia also has the same affliction. Estelle is your stereotypical supporting character with the ideal (ENFJ) personality- help the weak, fight the wicked and be polite to both friend and foe. Yuri, the lead, although not as bad, isn’t an interesting person either. He’s the cliched silent, but kind protagonist who doesn’t know how to express his feelings. Rita is the twitchy one who yells at everyone and is impossible to please.

Enemy Encounters

It may be a bit unfair to complain about this as it’s one of the core features of JRPGs, but I’m going to take a stab at it regardless. I’ve always hated the repetitive and grindy gameplay of old-school JRPGs. Vesperia has a crap-ton of enemies covering every inch of the map, but the worst part is that even after you eliminate all the monsters in a particular area, they respawn the moment you revisit the place both after progressing ahead as well as in case of backtracking. The game doesn’t have enemy level scaling either, so facing the same foes again and again especially while solving those annoying puzzles really got on my nerves.

Tales of Vesperia does ditch many of the JRPG cliches, but there are still a bunch of them that need to be discarded in favor of more immersive mechanics which most Western RPGs like Pillars of Eternity and Divinity Original Sin have embraced quite well.

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1 Comment

  1. Yep.. This game was great about 10 years ago and its definitely showing its age.. Hate the grind in this game, felt like you are forced to grind over average enemy level in area just to beat bosses. Halting progress alot.. The character is also weaker than previous fan fav tales game like Abyss or the recent Berseria.

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