Tales of Berseria, part of the Tales series of RPGs and the latest one. This is not a story about heroes. Most of the characters are self-proclaimed bad guys, and while they aren’t overtly villainous, you can easily see why people would consider them the bad guys. Things generally take a turn for the worse when you show up.
The other part of the game, the gameplay. It uses real time combat where you need to watch the combo gauge. I will get more into that in the second half of the review.
Find it at your local gamestore.
Tales of Berseria is about Velvet, a woman on a revenge mission. She will do anything to find complete her mission, and she pretty much does throughout the story. Velvet is not a pleasant person at the start of the story, which is a good thing we get other characters to balance out her violent, tunnel-vision tendencies.
Still, a good 4/6th of your party members are some kind of jerk that do things without caring about the consequences. The others are just more likeable than Velvet. You have a samurai that’s in it for the fight. You have a pirate. And you have a witch that’s a complete troll (in the modern sense of the word). All of them are amusing and the interactions between Velvet and them helps make Velvet more bearable until her character development starts.
Balancing out the party are a couple of good characters, though both of them are naive in different ways. They grow by finding out more about how the world works. And the world works in mysterious ways here.
People are randomly turning into monsters, and to combat that, the Abbey has become the most powerful organization around. They are trying to control all parts of people’s lives to maintain order. So of course the protagonists are all free spirits that go against the overbearing rule.
Starting out, thanks to Velvet’s single-mindedness, the story is pretty linear. It stays that way for a good while. There is no world map here. To get to places, you need to trek there through huge fields filled with enemies each time. I think they unlock the better transport options a bit too slow. Good thing most enemies are easily avoidable.
Soon, though, the characters start to become endearing, despite their huge selfish tendencies. But how much you enjoy the story depends on how much you like being a villain. The only reason they can be considered heroes is that the actual bad guys of the story are even worse. But at no point do they ever become the heroes.
Though I find the characters fun and interesting. So how’s the combat?
Every attack you do is a skill, and you can set up chains to four in the menu to the four primary buttons of a controller. That gives you about sixteen skills to use during combat. Using skills is divided into two parts, the cost of the skill, and the ability to combo. Throw in break skills and other stuff, and there is quite a bit going on.
Combat does have a few systems in it, but they flow together well. Once I got used to things, I really enjoy it. Be careful about falling behind, since it can be tough to get ahead again, especially against bosses. The AI companions work pretty well, and you can customize their behaviors a bit.
The world is alright. It’s nothing too fantastical, but there is a lot of different places to visit. The music is decent. There are some memorable tracks in there.
Rounding everything out is a nice collection of mini-games. You can use the reward tokens to buy useful items, but they’re way too expensive. I mainly use the reward tokens to buy accessories to my characters. Yes, you can dress up the dark and edge Velvet in dog ears if you want. Which I did.
How much you’ll enjoy the plot depends on how much you like playing as anti-heroes. Most of the characters are selfish. Any good results are a byproduct of what they’re doing, not the goal. And there are plenty of bad results, too. Good thing most of them are endearing in their own ways, and Velvet eventually mellows out.
Towards the end of the game, the subtitles get bad at times for some reason, like speech-to-text bad. I have no idea what happened.
Find Tales of Berseria at your local gamestores.