Customer Review

127 of 141 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of all the Tales, September 8, 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Tales of Vesperia - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
It's really a shame that game reviewers have started reviewing Japanese RPGs from the perspective of mainstream American gamers recently. Let's face it, most Americans don't like anime, and they don't like RPGs, so trying to tell them whether they'll like a game like this is pointless.

However, to any Japanese RPG fan who might actually play this game, it is unquestionably a 9 or a 10. It is the best Tales game ever, better even than the early Tales games from SNES and PS1, and better than Tales of Symphonia. It's miles beyond Tales of the Abyss for the PS2, which despite having decent gameplay, had characters that were the worst mutations of anime, who got really annoying and made parts of the game a chore. Tales of Vesperia, by contrast, focuses on the simple humanity of its characters, and always keeps their individual thoughts and desires in view. Not only does it stay true to its characters, following their adventures with humor and empathy, it's also conceptually the best cast any Tales game has had, for so many reasons.

The game is full of characters who, despite being based off of obvious anime cliches (like the individualistic hero dressed in dark clothing, Yuri) really jump off the screen. Even the 99% pink princess is charming because she's realistically naive but also well educated, and it doesn't hurt that she isn't voiced by an annoyingly high voiced little twit. The best of these are characters you'll remember after you play the game, like the characters of a good fantasy novel.

The world of Vesperia is actually rather innovative as well, I thought, though I haven't seen this mentioned in any of the press reviews, all of which spend a good portion of their time stating the bloody obvious: (WARNING: this is a Japanese RPG, which means it is from Japan and is an RPG, and so on).

What makes the game world feel unique is that, instead of being a normally peaceful, ordered place that is threatened by some mad Machiavellian villain or organization*, Tales of Vesperia begins in a world in which humans are a minority, struggling for survival. Early in the game you are shown that the only reason humans are able to survive at all in the harsh environment is because of magical force fields created by artifacts called Blastia barriers that protect the cities of the world, barriers that people rarely leave (anyone else smell a recipe for adventure?)

I'll stop there, because I don't want to spoil any of the game. Let me just say in conclusion, to anyone who's still undecided about this game: I have never played a Tales game that I would rank anywhere near my favorite JRPGs. My favorite JRPGs are Final Fantasy 4, 6, and 7, Suikoden 2 and 5, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, the original Final Fantasy Tactics, Lunar, and the Grandia 3 combat system (though the game itself sucked after 5 hours). I've played a lot of JRPGs (too many...) and the above are the only ones that I've ever replayed. Tales of Vesperia is actually worth replaying. Every aspect of it is enjoyable, from the fast action combat to the beautiful graphics to the great characters and surprisingly great voice acting (no whiny main characters here!).

What's sad about the reviews this game has received is that you can tell most of the reviewers really enjoyed the game, and had almost nothing negative to say - they just felt that scoring it too high numerically would get them in trouble with the mainstream audience, and they may be right (I'm sure they know about that better than I do). What's a real shame is that as a result of all this, a game that is clearly the stand out in a long series (the Tales games have been around for years) is receiving a lower metascore than most of the previous games in the series! For example, Tales of Symphonia: 85. Tales of the Abyss: 80. Tales of Vesperia: 79. Sure, that's not a huge difference, but this is a game that should be scoring five points above Symphonia, not six points below! One last thing I didn't see mentioned in ANY of the reviews - and I obsessively read these things - the game has four player co-op! So if you like playing RPGs with a girlfriend, wife, sibling, or just some good friends, consider this review score an 11. Going from exploration to cut scenes to combat in this game is like going from a candy store to a game store to glorious paintball. Two thumbs up and all that, what what.

* (For those who play lots of JRPGs, this setting should sound familiar)

Pros:
Pretty much everything. See above. To me, the story is the most important part of an RPG, and the characters and how they interact with their world is the most important part of a good story. But the combat and graphics are also incredibly polished and probably better than any other RPG on the system.

Cons:
Every fourth cutscene or so isn't voiced, but because all the inter-party banter is voiced, the game still has more voice acting than a Final Fantasy game, and probably better voice acting too (and I love the Final Fantasy games).

I've heard the boss battles can be too easy if you control the mage character Rita for most of the game.

Oddly enough, the worst voice actor out of the main characters in the game seems to be the dog, Repede, whose bark lacks... um... conviction. That dog needs to stop smoking (and walking around with knives in his mouth).
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Comments

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Showing 1-10 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 8, 2009 5:23:19 PM PDT
techmannn says:
lose the first paragraph and you have a great review. One could argue from reading this that you harbor a dislike of USA and UK RPG's.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2009 3:22:54 PM PST
I have to disagree with techmann. I felt that the first paragraph correctly conveys that main stream american gamers don't like RPGs particularly of the J-RPG variety (or old school RPGs). I think anyone who has played RPGs for any extensible amount of time will total get first paragraph. True today's mainstream gamer would misconstrue it but this review isn't targeted at that kind of player.

Posted on May 16, 2010 7:01:51 PM PDT
Kristie says:
...Uh, Repede doesn't smoke. He carries the "pipe" in his mouth as a sign of love, and respect for his old owner. It's in one of the character guides.

Posted on Dec 15, 2010 9:43:07 PM PST
I tried a demo of this and really enjoyed it. I too, loved Secret of Mana. It was the first RPG I ever completed. Sounds like we have a similar interest in RPG's and I feel more confident in purchasing this game after reading your review. Thanks!

Posted on Apr 8, 2011 2:03:18 AM PDT
Nightwing says:
Accually the best tales game is Tales of the Abyss, then Tales of Symphonia but this one comes a close thrid place to those games. Both of those tales of games have a better story then this one. While this was is good, those are just better.

Posted on May 8, 2011 2:17:51 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 25, 2012 8:09:16 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on May 8, 2011 2:18:18 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 25, 2012 8:09:29 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2011 9:08:14 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 25, 2011 9:11:30 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2011 9:13:35 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 25, 2012 8:09:52 PM PDT]

Posted on Nov 22, 2011 9:42:15 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 22, 2011 9:43:14 PM PST]
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