Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition

released on Jan 11, 2019

The Return Of A Fan Favorite! Celebrate the 10th anniversary of Tales of Vesperia and the return of this fan-favorite with the Definitive Edition!

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This is a really good game. Like, REALLY good. If you have any interest in Tales Of, please play this one.

And now for a more serious review, which I will mostly copy from my Steam review lol

To be real with you, Tales of Vesperia just might be my favorite game of all time. This game has been with me for over a decade now, seeing it played for the first time in a Let's Play on Youtube. The video I watched was from the midpoint of the game so I had no clue what was going on storywise but regardless I fell in love HARD with the world, the characters, even the gameplay, which incidentally, was one of the first action RPGs I saw in action, which looked sick as shit to the young me. However, I couldn't play it for myself for a few reasons: at the time, the game (along with other Tales games) was very rare and I didn't own an Xbox 360 and I still don't. But I still watched stuff about this game so much on Youtube, to the point it might've been my most watched game on Youtube, but I have no idea.

So after that, I try get into the Tales series more. In fact, one of the first Tales games I experienced was the godawful GBA port of Tales of Phantasia, which was very easy to emulate (don't tell anyone). Then came games like Graces, Xillia, Symphonia, Abyss, Zestiria, Berseria etc. and made me a bona fide fan of the series, which I was actually able to play thanks to me owning a PS3, 3DS and a PS4 later down the line.

But Tales of Vesperia always struck to me as my favorite. Maybe it was because it was (technically) my first one, but I kept coming back to it even after playing the other games. Eventually I did get to actually play the game on my friend's 360, but never got far into it. But the dream was to play the game on my own platform with my own copy of the game. Sure there was the PS3 version, but that was in Japanese, so I didn't really wanna bother with that.

Then came E3 2018, and lo and behold, Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition was announced, coming to ALL platforms and with the content of the Japan-only PS3 version. I was so freaking excited to finally own this game and later that winter, me and my brother finally got to play the game on our PS4 and it was amazing.

Afterwards I picked this game up at a Steam sale, because I wanted to see if my computer could run it and I decided that you can never have enough Vesperia (in fact, I'm also planning to get it for the Switch as at some point), and give it another playthrough by myself, to see if the game really is my favorite of all.

Now with the overly long history lesson over, the game itself.

Let's start with the story. When I first compared Vesperia's story with other Tales games, I've thought in the past that it was weaker in comparison, but the more recent playthroughs have made me appreciate it more. It has themes like the question of true justice, environmentalism, making your own future and your own choices, latter of which especially resonates with me on a personal level. And while the story kinda fumbles in the third act of the game, what with the game focusing a maybe little too much on the enviromentalism part, the story as a whole is a neat package and the finale even redeems the third act somewhat. I also like how the story starts as simple fetch quest to get back something stolen, only to escalate into something much bigger later on. It truly feels like an adventure into the world of Terca Lumireis.

What helps the story is cast of main characters. Holy fucking shit, these characters are amazing, without a doubt one of my favorite casts in all of gaming. Some of them might seem a little "tropey" at first, but dig a little deeper and see them be absolutely awesome. Yuri is a strong lead, very different from many JRPG protagonists due to him being a wise-cracking badass twenty-year old trying get a blastia core back rather than a kid or a teenager trying to save the world. Estelle is cute as a button, has a very great character arc involving choices and a great relationship with Yuri, which can be interpreted in many ways. Karol has the strongest character development out the group, becoming a great leader from the once scared kid. Rita is a very multi-layered character in my opinion due to her many interesting personality traits and she's funny as all hell. Raven is my favorite character in the game, no question. He's even more multi-layered and funny than Rita, which is only amplified by his backstory and development. Judith also has an interesting backstory behind her and a plight that is very relatable. Also she's hot (it had to be said). Patty might be my least favorite character out of the group, but she too has an intriguing backstory and even has a moment that made me tear up the first time I played the game. Flynn has a very real struggle with the themes of justice and his relationship with Yuri is awesome and once again, can be interpreted in multiple ways. Lastly, there's Repede, who's just awesome dog who can fight with a dagger. All in all, I feel like this cast feels like a family by the end, like there's some character development in the group itself rather than the individuals, which is emphasized by the guild Brave Vesperia being at the core of the group, and it definitely adds to the feeling of togetherness. I could talk more in-depth about the characters, but I don't want this review to become a thesis on the characters, so I'll just leave it here.

Then the gameplay; Vesperia plays similarly to other Tales games before it, like Symphonia and Abyss, but in my opinion, it's the most polished version of that gameplay style. The combat system especially is really good, it feels like the perfect evolution of those two games' combat systems. It's easy to learn, but hard to master, and it gets better and better the further you get in the game. More options unlock, you get more skills and artes, and the game overall becomes more satisfying to play. Some people have complained about the combat being "too clunky" or "aged badly" but I don't really see it. This game is an action game at its finest and while I wouldn't go and say "it's the Devil May Cry of action RPGs", it's still really, really good.

The visuals and sound, however, are still as gorgeous as ever as they were back in 2008/9. The game looks like an anime thanks to its cel-shading look and it's overall a style that none of the other Tales games have been able to replicate. The music composed by Motoi Sakuraba is masterful, and while not my favorite soundtrack in the series, it's high up there. Lastly, I want to talk about the English voice acting. The dub in this game, or in the original 360 release, at least, was perfect. Every character sounds like you'd expect them to and the voices just ooze with charm. Not to mention headlining the cast are some of the biggest names in anime dubbing and video game voice acting, most notably, Troy Baker as Yuri Lowell. But then came the Definitive Edition and new scenes were voiced and Namco decided to give this part of the game the least money possible. Some of the characters are recast, not to mention the voice direction is a little different from what it was in the original, and as a result, some of the new voiced scenes are... jarring, to say the least. The actors are doing a fine job, but the change in voices is so noticeable that it's kinda hard to ignore. I won't be surprised if some decide to play the game with the original Japanese voices because of this, but I ask of you, please give the dub a chance. Like I said, the original dub was perfect and since it's still at least 60% of the game's voiced content, please play the game with the dub at least once.

In the end, I still don't know if this really is my favorite game or not, but I hope you give this game a chance. This is the finest the Tales series has to offer in a franchise full of bangers.

Might be da best game ever made fr fr

the character models aged very well for an original xbox release, and the story had a very promising start. i only wish the plot could have stayed on the "what's good vs what's right" theme the whole way through though.

Vesperia has great characters and fun combat but a pretty lackluster story that I could not bring myself to finish. Still, enjoyed almost the entire rest of the game.

yuri lowell marry me please thank you