July 10, 2019 at 1:50 AM #1069
Tales of Berseria
Rating: 4.0 – Great
Come for the combat, stay for the characters.
So let’s get this out of the way. I love this game. It’s great, the combat is fun, the story is an interesting take on existing tales tropes, the characters are fun, yadda yadda yadda. But it gets that way like an hour in. So I’m going to take this review in three places- the first few hours, mid-game, and late game.
The story here is basically a fun adventure story with dramatic bookmarks at the end and the beginning, but the trick here is it flipped Zestiria on it’s head, and now you play as the bad guys! Well, not bad. Chaotic Good, in fact, in a Lawful Good world. But they look darker and edgier than most of the people you fight, so there’s that.
I do want to focus on the characters a bit while I’m here, because they pretty much run the plot. So buckle up, kids, because it’s time for spoilers! WHOOOO!
Velvet- The protagonist of the story, and the first solo protagonist in the Tales Series. She has a tragic backstory, and as a result has three emotions- sad, angry, and choking on her own angst. Sometimes she cares for things, but expresses that care through those three emotions. Not the best character, but she drives the plot.
Rokuro- One of the two characters who generate like 90% of the humor in this game. He’s a samurai that isn’t particularily good at the whole… discipline… part of being a samurai. But he’s a character that has a defined relationship with pretty much every character, and it’s nice to see that play out. His motivation isn’t great- you found his useless sword, told him where it is, and now he owes you a life debt or something, but hey. Fun character if you can get past that.
Magilou- The best character. She’s funny, weird, charismatic, does strange things, and seems to be scheming against you at all times but they almost always turn out to be made in your favor, which is weird, because she makes a bet for a good sum of money early on that Velvet will give up. Whatever. She generates the greater 70% of the 90 that her and Rokuro make up.
Laphicet- The cute character who is surprisingly deep and not as annoying as you might think. Good job, Namco. He’s actually pretty important to the plot, as it turns out.
Bienfu- Read Laphicet.
Elanor- One of the bad guys turned good guy but you’re the bad guys so I guess she’s a good guy turned bad? I don’t know but I think she’s pretty nice probably.
Eizen- My least favorite character of the bunch, not because he’s not decent, but because the hype surrounding him was vastly too much for his character to bear. He’s like Velvet. He drives the plot. He also left the party way too often at the start for me to get used to his play style, so he’s an AI exclusive for me nowadays.
For a Tales game, the combat here is so solid.
Basically, you start a match with three little attack diamonds. You do an attack, one turns grey, and you can string a combo together with three of them. If you attack after that, They’ll regenerate after a short period of doing literally anything but attacking. If you hit an enemy at the right time, you stun them and steal one of their diamonds, up to a maximum of 5. If one of them hits you at the right time and stuns you, they steal one of your diamonds. If you kill an enemy you get a free diamond. You can also kill a diamond to use a special skill that depends on the character, my personal favorites being Magilou, who eats spells and spits out damage if you time it right, Velvet, who goes into berzerk mode and does a ton of damage with a combo finisher, and Eleanor, who knocks enemies into the air for a quick combo.
Well it’s not. It’s butter. It’s glorious salty butter and I love it dearly. Once you have the stun mechanics down you can really get into the depth of the combat system, and you can really get a taste of the complexities this system holds.
Or, you know. Play as Magilou and spam spirit drop. I’m not going to judge. Look, a shooting star!
It’s nothing special. A couple random disjointed islands that have a town or two, and some marshy fields or marshy swamps or marshy snowfall. The bonus stuff is interesting, but that’s going to be after a lot of hours of your characters having some very wet boots.
The music has it’s moments, but it’s nothing to write home about, and after you finish the prologue you have like 3 hours before you hear another upbeat song. You better really like dreary orchestra music. Or just mute it until you finally get to the second town. After that, it sets the mood okay, some good tracks, but it’s not something I’d have the family gather round the old computer to watch. Grandma isn’t going to get a kick out of it, I promise you.
Overall- 4/5. A solid game with some rocky patches here and there. Come for the combat system, stay for the characters, finish it for a lot of yelling. All in all a pretty great game in the Tales franchise.
Also I ship Bienfu with anybody and everybody.
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