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Tales Of Vesperia (Xbox 360)

Tales Of Vesperia (Xbox 360)

The Tales series of role playing games has been running now for over 10 years and the latest incarnation from Bandai Namco has been released as an Xbox 360 exclusive. The role playing series has finally hit the high definition scene!

Much like the games before it Tales Of Vesperia has a real time battle system with no random encounters. This game differs from the usual RPG game by putting you in control of when and how you fight. Obviously not all the battles are entirely your choice as you may have to defeat a foe who is blocking a road or path. It is quite an action based RPG, which is a good thing and ill explain why.

Because the characters involved don’t take turns attacking, combat is slightly less about strategy and focuses more on knowing your own abilities to string together combinations of attack at the right time. As the game progresses you acquire better weapons and learn new techniques and the way you can implement them into the game play is really very rewarding.

So far we have learned the battles are real time and not turn based however to say there is no strategy at all would be wrong, every character in your party (up to 4) can be custom adjusted to suit your particular playing style. There are four preset styles of play or you can make your own, give it a name and store it to a hot key. Therefore you can have a healer near the back concentrating on keeping the rest alive while the toughest hand to hand melee expert would be at the front dishing out the blows and taking the hits. It does sound simple but it is exactly what makes or breaks a game like this, having a usable and configurable system.

As well as warriors there are spell casters who fire long distance attacks, these are handled by the B button. Characters in Tales Of Vesperia also have access to specialised Skills and Artes and both become an integral part of the combat. Artes are individual and can be mapped to the left analog stick and used in conjunction with the A button. As your character improves and levels up, then their powers also become stronger and then they get access to more advanced attacks. Additionally, you can link base, altered and arcane Artes together for extra damage. Skills are improved by using weapons with Skills attached.

Later in the game you can choose the character you wish to control in the battles, but for the majority of the game you will be playing as Yuri Lowell, a tough knight who has a few grudges to take out on the Empire who rule the game world. Early in the game he meets up with Estellise Sidos Heurassein (try saying that after a few beers) and they team up to try and save the world from dark corrupting magic and evil deities.

It would be fair to say that the story is nothing original or exciting however in the context of such a game it works perfectly well, we don’t after all need something groundbreaking to make a good solid game. That said, under the surface Tales Of Vesperia deals with betrayal, political intrigue, corruption and honour which is more than many Japanese RPG’s dare to tackle.

Initially I found the experience rather shallow and mundane, however after a few hours you begin to realise that the characters are actually quite well rounded and there is a certain amount of depth to the background story. I am a sucker for a good story, especially if it enhances a connection with the characters you are controlling.

The world is called Terca Lumirels, a land ruled by the Empire. Each major city in Terca Lumirels is protected by a barrier blastia, a protective ring created by ancient and mythical magic which keeps the many wandering monsters outside. As you will have already guessed these blastia come under some unknown form of attack which threatens to throw every city (and therefore the world) into chaos. It is therefore your job to find out what is going on and stop it.

Graphically the game is very impressive with some beautiful backdrops and world design. The characters are also lovingly crafted and they animate very well. Not only that but as the game progresses they change as you outfit them with improved equipment, these changes also show up in the cutscenes which is great attention to detail.

Even though I thought the world was very impressive visually if you play it immediately after something like Eternal Sonata (also from Bandai Namco) you will find it is sadly lacking in areas. Lighting is a particularly weak part of the game engine and it can at times look very flat and lifeless. I don’t think it ruins the game however at times it would have been nice to see a little more happening in some of the scenes outside the main gaming area. That said, the game is certainly not lacking in regards to immersive dialogue and it helps to build up a lot of connection with the world and the people who inhabit it.

The audio side of the equation is positive, the score is very poignant and matches the dramatic changes within the game very well. The sound effects are also strong with ambient noises bringing more depth to the environment.

Tales Of Vesperia is a strong title which will appeal to any fan of Japanese RPG games. The story is quite sophisticated and the real time combat system is more involving and rewarding than the run of the mill turn based alternative. The visuals are generally impressive and the sound is engrossing which help make you feel a part of the world. All in all I can recommend this title to fans of the genre, it will keep you busy for many weeks.



Real time combat system works well with the intuitive nature of the controls.


A little inconsistent, but still impressive as an overall package.


Voice acting is great, and the musical score will stay in your head for some time to come.

It is a big world and there are many possibilities for exploration.
(not an average)

Entertaining and recommended to fans of the genre.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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