The “Tales” series of RPG’s is one of the biggest and longest-running fantasy franchises in Japan. It has delivered many fantastic role-playing experiences, beginning with 1995’s “Tales of Phantasia“. Now a fan favourite entry in the series receives the remaster treatment for a new generation. Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition is now available on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch consoles.
Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition Details
Blastia from the past
Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition is the story of a people reliant on an energy source known as “blastia”. In harnessing the power of blastia, the citizens of Terca Lumireis are able to power their cities and protect themselves from the monsters that roam outside their walls. The powerful resource begins to shape the world around it however, threatening conflict as the understanding of its true potential grows.
Players follow the story of Yuri Lowell. Yuri is a former Imperial knight who embarks on a mission to retrieve a stolen blastia core. Its absence is causing the reservoir to fail in the poor district where he resides.
Along the way Yuri falls in with a hodge podge group of adventurers—each with their own separate goals. Working together they will not only overcome their own objectives, but also uncover greater conspiracies taking root in a world dependant on the mysterious power of blastia.
An epic tale for the ages
It no coincidence that with so many Tales games to choose from, publisher Bandai Namco would decide to re-release Tales of Vesperia. it has one of the most compelling and engaging stories across the entire history of the franchise. The pacing is excellent, and every twist will keep players glued to the screen to find out what happens next.
Even if you’ve already had the joy of experiencing the story of Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition, it’s worth the return trip. The game does an excellent job of developing likeable characters that gamers care about. While new players will surely be invested in the plight of these new friends, Tales veterans can look forward to revisiting one of the best casts ever assembled in the franchise. The definitive edition even includes two new playable characters to join your party.
The game also features both the English and the Japanese voice tracks. This is always a big selling point for JRPG enthusiasts who prefer to hear dialogue in the game’s native Japanese. This feature was previously only available in the Japan-only PlayStation 3 release.
If you opt for the English audio track however, you’ll discover fan favourite voice actor Troy Baker in the role of Yuri. The game’s original release was earlier in Baker’s career, so it’s by no means his best work. Nevertheless, Troy Baker on a bad day is still better than many other options on a good one!
Just the right amount of story
One thing that I always appreciate about games in the Tales franchise is how they handle additional dialogue. Many JRPG’s are very dense with narrative—which for some is the best part of the game. There are always those on the other side of the coin though, who want less dialogue and more action.
While Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition is chock full of beautifully animated cutscenes and great storytelling, much of the additional narrative is optional. While moving through the normal course of the game, prompts will intermittently pop up inviting the player to experience additional dialogue between characters. These smaller vignets are well-written and really serve to flesh out the lore of the game and the relationships between its characters.
That said, they are completely optional. There is no punishment for ignoring one or all of these intermittent asides, and the story does not rely on them. This means that players can choose just how much additional flavour they want to enjoy with their story. One can even ignore them altogether and get back to the action as soon as possible.
Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition uses the series’ trademark linear motion battle system. It features a real-time action focus inside a confined area, where players balance melee and skill attacks along with a team of AI companions. There is also a deep system for customizing the way your companions perform, allowing you to really tailor the combat to your style of play.
Unfortunately in my opinion this is the one aspect of Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition that ages a bit poorly. Essentially every Tales game since its original release has done a better job of incorporating these battle mechanics. While it’s not surprising that each iteration is an improvement, it does make it a bit more difficult to go back again.
I find the controls in combat to be less responsive than I would hope. I found myself occasionally entering commands without success, and unable to tell if my timing was off, if I was in a situation where the command in question actually could not be executed, or some other issue. With no feedback from the game itself, it’s impossible to know.
It’s certainly no game-breaker, but it just reminds players that similar games do often evolve for the better over time. With a bit of practice the controls surely do become more comfortable—and I suspect for some players coming back to Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition is just like riding a bike. Nevertheless some gamers will surely find combat just a little more janky than what they are used to in modern games.
Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition is a welcome return to one of the greatest stories in the Tales franchise
Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition is a worthy purchase for fans old and new. From a storytelling perspective it sits at the height of the series. It’s full of characters that will sit with players long after the credits roll.
The combat isn’t perfect, and will likely take some practice for new players. If this were a more in-depth remake I definitely would expect some improvement in this area. Nevertheless as a faithful port of a classic JRPG, Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition is a welcome addition to current generation libraries.
+ Brilliant storytelling
+ Engaging characters
+ Japanese and English audio tracks
– Dated combat controls
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF TALES OF VESPERIA: DEFINITIVE EDITION
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 5/5