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The Failure of Great Promise

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    Tales of Berseria

    Rating: 3.0 – Fair

    The Failure of Great Promise

    As background, my two favourite Tales games are Vesperia and Xillia. I have not played Xestiria.

    I’m afraid I just can’t agree with the consensus on this one. I found this game to be full of initial promise but ultimately disappointing.

    Story – 10/10 – The one shining light to this game. One of the reasons to play the Tales games is they’ve ditched the absolute good and evil of most JRPGs. The characters learn and grow throughout the game. When I started playing this game, the story dragged me in immediately. The infrequent additions to the story as well as the characters themselves were the only thing that kept me playing this game.

    Gameplay/Overall Experience – 4/10

    Linear – Berseria is almost completely linear. You have basically zero freedom of movement. In comparison, very quickly after starting Xillia, you were able to warp to almost anywhere you’d already been. Here you are forced to walk back over the same areas over and over again. The warp function is provided late and is really bad. You are only able to warp to towns and through most of the game, most of the options are greyed out. You do get the geoboard about 2/3 of the way through the game. This makes the slog a little less painful. The game finally opens up just before you go to the final battle. Better late than never I suppose.

    Sidequests – None through most of the game. Oh wait – there are some minigames. I tried them all at least once but the only one that held any interest for me was “Character Cards’. Not nearly as good as Gwent or Arcomage but not terrible. The only actual sidequests show up near the end of the game.

    Loot – I recognize that this isn’t Diablo but wow were the treasure chests underwhelming. There are three types of chests and only one of them is actually worth opening.

    Mapping – Not a huge deal but I didn’t find the mini-map very well set up. I recognize that NBG is a relative newcomer to this aspect of game development. They only added mapping to their games with Xillia. But come on guys, its 2017, we have the technology.

    Summary – Someone in the development team seems to believe that slogging through the same areas over and over again is an acceptable substitute for real content. Berseria is the Tales version of Final Fantasy XIII.

    Combat – 7/10 – They really played it safe with this. Its fun but really dumbed down as combos are pre-programmed in. Combat is mostly button mashing with the occasional pull of the L2 or R2 triggers. No real skill required.

    Newgame+ – 1/10 – Don’t bother. The only reason to play the Newgame+ is if you’re a fanatical completionist and simply can’t put down a game until you have the Platinum trophy. There is no new content and you just slog through the same stuff a second time. If they had any common decency, they would at least give you your geoboard at the beginning. But no – you have to play through 2/3 of the game to get it again.

    Conclusion – 6/10 – A playable game but a disappointing addition to the Tales saga – This game has a great start but falls apart very quickly. It has one of the best stories I’ve seen in a JRPG. Unfortunately, its given out in dribs and drabs amidst huge amounts of slogging through fields and caves. If the game had been half as long, I would probably be giving it a 7 or 8, but I was so bored by the time I was through that I really wanted to downgrade the score even further than I did. I really don’t understand how people are giving this game such great reviews. I can only conclude that they wrote them while still in the early stages of the game – before boredom set in.

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