Review: Tales of Berseria (PS4)
The Tales series is truly something special to me and has been since playing my first ‘Tales of’ title on the PSP, Tales of Eternia. The series has been around since the mid 90’s and has since spawned 16 titles in its main line series as well as multiple spin-offs. The latest being Tales of Berseria.
A tale that should be told, and played
Tales of Berseria follows the quest of a young Velvet Crowe. Her once calm and caring demeanor turned into a blood thirsty enraged monster out for revenge. Players will be taken through an emotional roller coaster of a journey through the Kingdom of Midgand in a crusade bent on wrecking havoc and bringing Velvet’s once trusted teacher to justice!
Velvet is joined on her quest by various unique and often wacky characters. Each character willed to join our protagonist in hope that their own agendas will be attended to. I found that character development in Tales of Berseria was quite well written. The game never lets you forget about Velvet and her purpose within the game, and yet at the same time also grants players the joy of learning and investing time into the other characters back stories and lives. Each character bringing their own tragedy, skills and artes to the table was simply refreshing. I don’t often attach myself emotionally to characters in video games but with Velvet, Laphicet and the rest of the Berseria protagonists it was hard not to. Although I have to admit that throughout the game the protagonists felt more like criminals rather than heroes.
Tales of Berseria hosts a number of stunning locations in the game. From snowy towns to luscious green fields or an architectural beauty that is the capital known as Loegres. Unfortunately these areas are quite linear so don’t expect much from them. They do however hold various items such as plants, treasure chests and Katz spirits that can be collected and offered at special pink treasure chests, granting the player ‘fashion’ items to equip during the game. And with the game making you travel through each area multiple times (unfortunately) you’ll be able to collect these items numerous times.
Keeping it traditional
No matter what difficulty level you play on (however I do suggest higher than easy) the battle system allows players fast-paced action combined with special attacks known as artes. The battle system is known as “Liberation-LMBS”. Sure there are multiple equipment combinations and weapons that the players can choose from as well as the ability to dismantle and upgrade these tools, but I found that the real technique comes in with which artes you select to run through combos. The game hotkeys’ a set of four moves that can be performed just by tapping one button four times. Not once did I feel that combat was sticky or frustrating. The real fun comes in when you activate the special skill known as Break Soul, allocated to your Soul Gauge. I like to call this “going Super Saiyan”. While this mode is activated in combat the character will be able to perform high powered attack moves without restrictions.
Tales of Berseria has quite a large number of enemies scattered throughout the ‘open world’ areas of the game. From lizardmen, spirits (no not Malakim), ogres, wolves and giant eagles to name a few. The game also hosts special enemies that you’re tasked with hunting down and collecting bounties on their heads. These enemies were a little tougher admittedly but really not as difficult as some of the boss battles in the game. I often found though that timing on the boss battles rewarded me quite well.
All-in-all the music is simply superb and locations in the game gorgeous. The story and character development really had me hooked and I found myself playing till the wee hours of the mornings just to discover the next twist. It is quite sad that Bandai Namco had licensing issues and had to restrict the screenshot (share feature) capturing on the PS4 but I won’t focus too much on that as we’ve been playing games for decades without snapping screenshots from our favorite locations and set pieces within the games. The game also has tons of zany moments provided to the player in dialogue scenes not compulsory to the main story, but definitely worth taking the time out to watch, especially since these scenes give players a comedic break as well as some back story deeper into each individuals history. The game takes place in Tales of Zestiria past so you can say its really a prologue in the time line. And if you’re worried about whether or not you have to play Tales of Zestiria, DON’T. Tales of Berseria is most definitely one of my favourite ‘Tales of’ titles to date and I highly recommend it for both newcomers as well as veterans of the series.