Tales of Vesperia is my favorite entry in the series, the cast has a synergy that makes them stick in your mind even years after finishing the game. It is the only entry that I have played through...
Yuri is the Best Lead in Tales History, First Two Acts are Great
Third Act is out of Left Field, Content was Cut for the 360 Release
Tales of Vesperia is my favorite entry in the series, the cast has a synergy that makes them stick in your mind even years after finishing the game. It is the only entry that I have played through multiple times without taking a break. This was the first entry on the current gen systems, and it shows with some odd design choices and cut content.
The main adventure is divided into three acts, with the first two focusing on the Political struggles of the Empire and the Guild, and it is great, plenty of shading dealings, twisted hobbies, backstabbing and assassination attempts throughout. Given the game's theme is Justice, this is a great setup for it to play out. Yuri and Flynn's contrasting world views lead to each taking a very different path in their pursuit of what is right. Rarely does anything at this point play out as expected.
At the end of act two however, the magical angle takes center stage, and it just isn't as good. By this point all the interesting villains are taken care of which reduces the weight of the story being told and all the twists are pretty easy to figure out. Thankfully none of this is simply shoehorned in and every one of these revelations were hinted at through the whole story.
Tales of Vesperia was the last Tales game to use a classic overworld, and it is missed, dungeons and towns are much like most Tales games using on rails fixed camera angles as you explore. The combat is fast and fluid at 60fps, and fairly straight forward. Using basic combos and artes to combat your foes. Managing your burst limit guage to maximum effect adds some needed depth to the battles.
Tales of Vesperia is a curious case, using a semi deformed art style in game, and a mixture of animated and CG cinematics. It is an odd choice to mix all of these styles, and it clashed each time they switched. Everything is bright and colorful in game, the overworld is lush and some of the cities are quite impressive visually.
The voice actors all deliver great performances, when they speak. A lot of the game's scenes are not voiced in the 360 release and it can be jarring going from a voiced scene to an unvoiced scene. It is made even more obvious since all the skits are voiced. No dual audio here, which is expected for a single disc 360 release. The music is solid throughout, lending itself well to whatever you are doing.
Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike is a Prequel movie that explains several things that were left out of the story. It also introduces several new characters, such as the twins who take over Flynn's story duties in the PS3 version. The First Strike is worth a watch after playing the game as it does spoil a few plot points from later in the game through foreshadowing.
PS3 Version Differences
Tales of Vesperia received a enhanced port to the PS3 with added characters and content in Japan. This version included all of the cut content and then some. Patty is an entirely new party member who had a few references in the 360 version and Flynn permanently joins the party. A handful of new bosses and story scenes are scattered through the main adventure. The missing Colosseum battles are all present, and an added bonus dungeon offers more to do post game.
While the added features are welcome, as was Flynn, I felt Patty was not needed and detracted from the chemistry the original party had. It is for this reason that I actually prefer the original version. Even with the missing content there is plenty to do through the game. It is a shame that it never left Japan, but it isn't like we are missing out, Tales of Vesperia is still an amazing adventure that every RPG fan should play through at least once.
720p Native with 60fps for battles, 30fps for everything else