Review: Tales of Vesperia
Reviewer: Olen Bjorgo
“The blessings of the blastia will bestow ever more prosperity to the world and peace to its people.”
The people of Terca Lumireis live in fear of the monsters that crawl upon the world. Their only protection from the monster threat is an ancient technology called the blastia, mysterious devices that absorb a substance called aer to provide the people with basic necessities like water and fire to enforcing the barriers that defend entire cities. When a necessary blastia is stolen from a fountain that people depend on for fresh water, it is up to Yuri Lowell, a dropout of the Imperial Knights and vigilante, to get the blastia back and save the day! Of course, it’s never that simple. This is a Tales game, after all.
Right off the bat, it should be stated that this game is gorgeous. The use of cel-
As should be expected by now, Motoi Sakuraba is the man of the hour when it comes
to composition but it seems appropriate that I bring this up now. If you recall from
my Tales of Phantasia review, I had mentioned that Sakuraba has a distinctive style
to his composition. This is something of a strength of his, as well as a detriment.
While other famous game composers, like Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy) or Koji Kondo
(The Legend of Zelda, Mario) have used callbacks to previous works, they also have
made such varied songs that only a well-
The battle mechanics are, what do ya know, the same as before but this time you’re thrown for a loop because now the B button is the basic attack and the A button executes your special attacks since this is on the Xbox 360 and that’s just how the button layout for the controller is. Don’t worry though, because you’ll forget about this little detail once you’ve done a few tutorial fights and it just comes naturally… unless this is the first Tales game you decide to play: then it’s irrelevant. The trusty old Linear Motion Battle System is back once again and, if you can say nothing else of the Tales series, it’s familiar enough to get into easily but different enough to learn how to use effectively. A nice added feature is that there are some battles which require you to interact with your environment rather than making the battle area seem like some alternate area everyone enters until the battle is over.
The game is… interesting, to say the least. The joke I made at the beginning has some kernel of truth in that the game is not as simple as getting back a stolen gem that controls water to help the poor. It morphs from a simple “I need to find this guy and get this thing back” into a power struggle that will impact the entire world and then into something even bigger than that. While you can say that about many games and their stories, it feels like the story can get all over the place, and leads you to think one thing but result in another. It also doesn’t help that much of the world feels empty. It is established that people don’t exactly travel and even that towns are being wiped out, but seeing as how there are two entire continents with incredibly few inhabitants, and one continent devoid of any civilization, it can feel like much of the world is wasted. Except for people who want to complete their bestiary or get other such completionist goals, there doesn’t feel like there’s any need to explore, and this is a terrible thing for any RPG. Fortunately, the game tried to counterbalance this with some interesting locales and dungeons to crawl through.
While it does some retreading of worn-
Controls & Mechanics: 7
Atmosphere & Experience: 7
Entertainment Value: 9
Consoles: (Xbox 360), PS3
Developer: Namco Tales Studio
Publisher: Namco Bandai/ Atari
Release Date (U.S.): Aug 26, 2008
Release Date (U.K.): Jun 26, 2009
Release Date (JP): Aug 7, 2008
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