My experience with JRPGS has been a little rough, starting them, getting distracted by other games before completing them, and then never having an interest to come back to finish them. However, Tales of Berseria left such a positive impression on me that I decided it was time to finally complete a JRPG, and let me tell you, it was an experience that I enjoyed wholeheartedly from start to finish with its emotional story and wonderful cast of characters. This is my very first Tales game, so I know nothing about how the other games work and their mechanics, so I do apologize if I judge certain aspects that are mainstream poorly.
Pros and Cons
-An emotional revenge story with some of the best cast of characters that I have seen in an RPG
-Interesting combat that has a variety of moves that can be equipped to utilize
-Great visuals throughout every area of the game
-A wonderful soundtrack that fits the themes of the characters and story
-Fantastic English dub as well
-The story has a slow start
-On some occasions, enemies would spawn right in front of me, leaving no time to react
-One of the items in the game has a misleading description
-Collecting all of the Katz sprits is a pain as most of the cosmetics are not worth it
Velvet Crowe is enjoying her normal life with her brother Laphicet and brother in law Arthur. Everything is normal, until the evening of the Scarlet Night, an event that happens every three years came. Arthur, now under the name of Artorius Collbrande, uses Laphicet as a sacrifice to be a part of this ritual known as the Advent. Velvet witnesses this and becomes engulfed with rage at Artorius, because of this her arm turns into a demonic arm that is capable of eating Daemons. Velvet is eventually knocked out and thrown in prison. Three years later she is freed by Seres and is on a quest to take revenge. At the same time, there is a disease called Daemonblight, which causes anyone to be infected to turn into a Daemon.
There is a lot more to the story of Tales of Berseria, never having a dull moment. I have never felt impressed with a story in an RPG outside a few standouts such as Persona 4 and Yakuza: Like a Dragon. Each Tales game deals with a certain theme and this one deals with the conflict between emotion and reason. It does a great job doing this with its characters and with their own motives throughout the story. The characters are what make this story shine the most in my eyes and they each have their own ways of doing things.
The story is great, however, it does have a slow start. To get into the actual gameplay you will have to play at least two hours of the story before getting into the actual good part of it. If you can manage to stick with things knowing this info going in, then you are in for a great story, it just takes its time.
Velvet is a character who is originally very happy, but her temperament turns into rage when she is betrayed by her brother in law, and slowly finds her happiness again as she starts to care for her crew. She even has a special ability called Consuming Claw, which releases her demonic arms power at the cost of a Break Soul and her HP. This fits with her personality as she is hell-bent on revenge, in all honesty, Velvet is one of the best female protagonists that I have played in a video game.
However, my favorite character has to be Eizen as he follows his own creed, promotes the people to their own free will, and honors others for taking their own path in life. He is followed by a curse known as the Reaper’s Curse that will bring misfortune to anyone that he is with. He tends to be a cool and controlled person and that’s what I like about him, plus whenever he uses his special move called Howling Dragon, Eizen turns into this shadow figure that just looks badass in this transformation.
The other supporting characters that you meet throughout the game are all very likable and help to bring variety into the combat and character interactions.
Tales of Berseria uses a Liberation Linear Motion Battle System, meaning that the battles take place in real-time. So in combat, you will have a smooth transition during combat which makes it fast-paced. Each character in combat will have Blast Gauges (BG), these will let you perform attacks and Arts to fight enemies. Each character will start battles with a total of three but can get up to five to use more attacks. When certain characters have enough BG they can perform a special attack called Break Soul which will do a large amount of damage to an enemy and will restore HP and BG after it’s used. There are a lot of moves for you to utilize and they all have their own uses and effects. Some moves will require a charge up time to be performed, and they can be canceled out so be careful.
I really only have three issues with the gameplay at hand.
First, sometimes enemies would actually spawn right in front of me which led me into battles where I had no time to react to the situation. This did not happen often but it was still an issue nonetheless.
Second, there is an item in the game called a Life Bottle and the description on it reads “Removes all status ailments from one ally and restores HP by 40% in battle". Life Bottles do not include any details letting you know that they also revive fallen allies. The assumption was that they worked like potions and recovered health. I realized that I could have had a smoother experience in previous battles if I knew this information up front.
Finally, there are Katz boxes that can be opened with Katz Spirits which are scattered throughout the game. There are a total of 58 of them in the game and a few contain a cosmetic and but others do not so you can actually waste Kats Spirits. These cosmetics also clip through the characters and certain objects will stick out. The only cosmetics that don’t stick out are the DLC ones, however, they cost money and they are not really cheap.
Graphics, Soundtrack, and Performance
Tales of Berseria is a really nice looking game with areas that are full of color and style. There is a nice variety of locations and climates from tropical areas to snow areas that are even beautiful when visiting the local towns within those locals. I also loved the 2D art style as it's drawn very well and looks beautiful.
The soundtrack is amazing and fits with the themes and elements that the game has. The intro song Burn is really good, however, Zaveid’s battle them gets an honorable mention as it fits his characters so well.
I tested the game with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, AMD Ryzen 5 1500X Quad-Core Processor 3.50, and 16 GB of RAM. I experienced no problems while playing and the game ran at 60 FPS. I should also note that I did test the game on a more low-end laptop so you don’t need a super-powerful one, more of a decent one, allow more game lovers to experience this title.
Tales of Berseria is a wonderful RPG, one that I could go on for a few hours about the story, gameplay, and much more. If you want an action RPG that has an interesting story with wonderful characters then I recommend this game, especially if this is your first Tales game as it functions as a great opener to the franchise. This is an RPG at its finest and as such, I recommend it.