Tales of Vesperia – A Review

The Xbox 360 console isn’t exactly renowned for producing world class role playing games, with only a handful available that are worth playing. How does Tales of Vesperia compare to the likes of Lost Odyssey and friends?

Gameplay

For the most part the control system used in Talesof Vesperia is pretty standard stuff, the A button performs actions, Y accesses the menu and so on, but it’s during battles that the gameplay truly shines. Each battle takes place in real time, meaning it’s a frantic button-mashing extravaganza to get those combos flowing before you can be attacked. However there is much more to it than that if you want there to be, such as the ability to plan out strategies for your allies to carry out at your command should you wish to wipe out your opponents with maximum efficiency. There are plenty of options when it comes to fighting meaning battles are always enjoyable, and you can usually choose to fight as and when you want to because there are no random encounters. If you want to fight you can simply engage an enemy, if you’re low on health or items you can simply avoid it

At first the control system during battles might be a little confusing, but after a few fights you should find it all to be quite natural and simple to pull off awesome combos, defensive stances and magic abilities. All in all very few complaints can be made about the gameplay aspect of this title.

Graphics

The game features beautiful cell-shaded graphics

The game features beautiful cell-shaded graphics

Tales of Vesperia features cell shaded anime-type graphics, and quite honestly they look stunning. The characters look smooth and detailed as do the various towns, cities and dungeons you’ll encounter throughout the game, but detail is lacking slightly once you explore the world map. This is only a minor flaw though and takes nothing away from the overall beauty of the various locations.

Sound and Music

There aren’t many recent games I’ve played that features a truly memorable soundtrack, but Tales of Vesperia is one of those games that does. The opening theme tune is a pretty catchy song with full lyrics that really sets the standard for what’s to come, and it doesn’t disappoint at all along the way. The music that accompany places like Aspio and Dahngrest are memorable and well put together.

The sound effects featured on the game are also top notch, with the voice acting being a particular highlight. Each character is voiced to perfection, although there are a lot of scenes that are just text which is a shame. A staple part of the ‘Tales’ series are something called ‘skits,’ which are periodic conversations between characters while they travel. This is an excellent way of developing character relationships, and it features full voice overs which is an added bonus. Apparently the Playstation 3 version of the game has an almost complete voiced script (taking advantage of superior blu-ray data storage) which is something I would have really liked on the 360 version, however the PS3 version hasn’t been released outside of Japan yet so full English language voiceovers might not happen. Even so, I would have liked a fully voiced script in exchange for maybe two or three disks, having grown up with the likes of Final Fantasy VII, VIII and IX as well as more recent multi-disk games like Lost Odyssey that isn’t something that would bother me. Still, can’t have everything, and what we do have is practically flawless.

Value

In the United Kingdom the game is apparently pretty hard to get, yet I had little difficulty finding it. It’s still retailing for about £30 – £35 despite being translated into English and released in North America well over a year ago, however it was only released in Europe in the Summer of 2009, six months ago as of writing. As a result you probably won’t find the game for much cheaper, but whatever you pay will probably be excellent value for money.

Tales of Vesperia should take about 40-50 hours to complete the main story, and apparently there are a ton of side quests equating to roughly 100 hours total game time. There’s also a ‘new game +’ feature for added replay value, meaning this is a game that will last you for quite some time. RPG fans should definitely check this one out.

Overall score – 10/10

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Posted on December 12, 2009, in Video Games and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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