Bandai Namco Games released the latest game in the “Tales” series with the arrival of Tales of Berseria. The game sees a new heroine Velvet Crowe take the lead in what can only be described as a revenge filled journey against daemons and those who hunt them. Having been turned into a demon after a somewhat subdued opening hour or so, the game expands across the open lands to more traditional action role playing gaming. The question is, can Tales of Besteria live up to the high standards set from other Tales games?
To begin one has to make a note of Velvet as a lead character. Although first impressions might be somewhat familiar as in a goody two shoes humble villager, once she’s transformed into a daemon after three years locked up in an underground jail her outlook is very much the polar opposite. This means players are gunning for the anti-hero character who often presents some moral testing actions. Whilst this is perhaps nothing new in video games it’s a welcome element in this game although it’s not played into as much as it could be. Velvet, whilst determined throughout still exercises a bit of a reality check on occasion. That said, the story lends itself to some cliche moments which is a little poor. I won’t spoil them for you here.
Gameplay consists of typical Tales fare such as running around populated areas talking to people, picking up glowing items which seem to litter every location like discarded junk and undertaking the odd side quest/activity in the process. Once you’re in the open Velvet and her party are free to explore and take on wandering enemies at will. It’s also pretty easy to run around them if constant battling gets a bit too overwhelming. Question locations are marked on the map although on occasion there’s a little bit of puzzling to find these. It’s all pretty straightforward in terms of navigation around the world.
Combat is where the game shines and it’s here where your attack moves or Artes can be used effectively against various standard and boss like opposition. At times it can feel like you’re doing all the work with the AI seemingly doing little damage, but you’re able to switch characters during battle which is quite neat. Interestingly, players can simply mash the attack buttons performing combos to their hearts content, but mastery and customization of Artes to suit the opposition is key to more effective successes. The game does a reasonable job of explaining its systems but it does initially appear to be quite convoluted and overly complex. As they say, practice makes perfect, although it is quite feasible to just ignore that and bully your way through via the aforementioned button mashing.
Probably the main pull of this game and many other Tales games is the story and characterization. The story presents a misfit bunch banded together which is not totally unexpected. However, there’s a lot of dialogue and interruption (some of it being optional) throughout the game and if you’re the type to just crack on with the main story then you’ll find the intrusion to be quite impacting. The extra skits are fun though and can be accessed by pressing a button when prompted. Often you’ll gain greater insight into the story and characters but more importantly be privy to some humorous dialogue on occasion. If you’re happy sitting back and just enjoying the story aspects here then there’s enough on offer to keep you well entertained especially with characters such as the witch Magilou and her comical sidekick Bienfu cutting in with comedic scenes throughout most of the game.
In terms of visuals the game whilst pretty on PC in 4K suffers a bit from a general lack of detail. It’s a very colourful game no doubt about that but the simplistic textures and lot detailed characters makes for a game that doesn’t take advantage of current hardware, the same can be said on PS4. It’s a very basic looking anime inspired offering which sad to say does present itself as quite dated for a 2016/17 release. That said, the game does run smoothly with no issues or hiccups which is fine and dandy.
Audio is perhaps one of the game’s greatest assets and to be fair there’s options for Japanese or English voices, take your pick. The English is acted well and as mentioned, there’s some great comedic moments, so hats off to all concerned there even if some of the tones come across quite typical.
Gamers can sink quite a number of hours into this game so in terms of value for money there’s enough bang for your buck, plus if you’re the farming type then there’s plenty of options here for that as well. There’s a fair amount of customization too if that’s your calling which is always pleasant to find in game. It’s an RPG so expected for the hours to stack up quite considerably.
Tales of Berseria is a fun game to play with its likeable characters, humor and engaging custom combat. However, it’s not going to suit every RPG gamer simply because it interjects much of its extended story elements into the gameplay for those who want to crack on. In this regard it does require a little patience unless you’re in tune with each of the characters and are quite happy listening to them at every turn. The game whilst accomplished in terms of its gameplay does present itself as quite old school and could have had more refined visuals to suit current generation systems. That said, if you’re after a fun romp through many hours of story and intense real time combat then this is certainly worth checking out. Whilst not as good as some of the other Tales games this is still a worthy entry for fans, just maybe not essential for everyone else.