A tale of emotion versus reason
Tales of Berseria, the latest installment of the beloved Tales of Japanese role-playing game series, is now available on the PlayStation 4. Take on the role of Velvet, a warrior on a journey of retribution against an evil lord, and embark on a journey of self-discovery. Renowned for its cutscenes and storytelling, Tales of Berseria features the first solo female protagonist for the series and expands upon the iconic battle system for chained combo attack opportunities.
Platform: PlayStation 4
Release Date: January 24, 2017
Developer: Bandai Namco Studios
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Embark on a journey of self-discovery
It’s important to mention that Tales of Berseria is directly related to a previous game in the series, Tales of Zestiria. While Tales of Berseria and Tales of Zestiria share the same universe, they are totally separate games. However, there are small elements of the story that both games have in common and those who have played Tales of Zestiria will appreciate. Regardless, you don’t need to have played any of the previous games in the series to enjoy Tales of Berseria.
Much like other games in the series, Tales of Berseria contains a rich and deep story that tells the tale of our protagonist. In order to understand the story of Tales of Berseria, we must look to prior events that took place in Velvet’s life. As a child, Velvet witnesses the sacrifice of her brother as part of a ritual by her brother-in-law Artorius.
After resisting attempts by Artorius, the daemonblight that is attacking her village, posses her arm, mutating it and turning her into a demon with the ability to absorb daemons. After a mass slaughter of daemons, Velvet is thrown into jail, and Artorius is seen as a saviour for bringing peace to the land by forming the Abbey—a group of exorcists.
It’s now three years later, Velvet is bitter and escapes during a mutiny. With only one objective in mind, to destroy Artorius, Velvet joins a crew of pirates as they set out on an epic adventure. In addition to the main plot, Tales of Berseria contains small arcs that help us to understand the other main characters in the game and their goals.
The new battle system
In tradition with the main games of the Tales of series, Tales of Berseria is a third-person JRPG in which real-time combat is the main focus of gameplay. There are no random battles, enemies are visible on the screen and for the most part you can decide when a battle begins. Combat is in real-time and based on the Linear Motion Battle System, distinctive to the Tales of series.
Entitled the Liberation Linear Motion Battle System, the biggest change to the battle system gives your characters’ free movement within battle, and free rotation of the camera. Additionally, you now have the option to assign up to four artes to each of the face buttons on the DualShock 4. Thus enabling you to utilize up to 16 different artes during battle. Artes are moves that can help you out during fights by unleashing powerful combos on your enemies.
Artes can then be used to help build up your battle gauge, called the Break Soul. Building up three of these gauges then allows you to perform a Break Soul attack, which can dish out heavy damage to your enemies, more than usual. Overall, the combat system is a lot of fun and offers many different attack possibilities. Each adventure is different and combat is varied with several abilities available, which can be customized.
The Cooking System returns and more
One of the most interesting aspects of Tales of series gameplay is your character’s ability to cook all kinds of different dishes. In Tales of Berseria the cooking system returns and gives you the ability to cook many different dishes, which allows you to have prepared meals that improve your attack, defense effects, and recover vitality. This makes exploring the world within Tales of Berseria fun, and I found myself searching the world for new recipes and the items needed for them.
There are also several different elements of gameplay you will encounter on your journey. Ranging from mini-games to collecting orbs to sending ships to explore unknown places. This in turn rewards with you treasure and items that can be used to purchase cosmetic items for your characters.
Manga anime style visuals with gorgeous cutscenes
Graphically, Tales of Berseria continues with the same art style as Tales of Zestiria did. With manga anime style, the design of the characters is fantastic and each has his or her own distinct personalities making them easily recognizable. The famous Japanese animation studio, ufotable, returns to animate the game’s gorgeous cutscenes.
The world of Tales of Berseria is much more closed and linear than that of Tales of Zestiria. Dungeons are longer than previous games and contain puzzles that have to be solved in order to out and continue the game. However, Tales of Berseria is much more colourful and than previous entries in the series, and in turn it gives a feeling of magic when you see them.
Tales of Berseria’s soundtrack is an absolute delight. It incorporates new and surprising themes, and there are some Tales of Zestiria melodies that will fans of the game will surely recognize.
Tales of Berseria is quite arguable one of the best games in the Tales of series. Velvet, one of the most interesting characters of the Tales of series, shakes things up by being the series first exclusive female protagonist. Complete with a darker history and personality than most of the other series’ leads, Velvet’s cast of companions each have their own unique personalities.
The character models and anime sequences are some of the best in the series, and there is a large assortment of skins and accessories to personalize the characters. The new Liberation Linear Motion Battle System shakes up Tales of Berseria’s gameplay, and offers a seemingly endless amount of opportunities during battle.
If you are a fan of the series or love JRPGs, you’re not going to want to miss Tales of Berseria.
+ Characters are filled with personality and charisma
+ Battle system additions are welcomed features
+ Interesting storyline
+ Lots to see and do
– Some dungeon designs seem uninspired and bland
– Veterans of the series may find the standard difficulty too easy
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5