Developer: Namco Bandai Games
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Platforms: PC, PS4, PS3 (Japan)
Tested on: PS4
Tales of Berseria – Review
Namco Bandai has several great franchises, but RPG players will mostly know the Tales-series. These games tend to have an unique story every time and although some of the fighting elements are recurring, they always tend to add some extras. With Tales of Berseria, Namco Bandai heads down the dark road and presents a rather extraordinary story. Are you ready to turn to your demonic side?
We’re thrown into the world of Holy Midgand Empire, where we witness what has transpired on the Scarlet Night. Velvet Crowe and her brother Laphicet were living with their pregnant sister Celica and her husband Artorius. On this dreadful night, the Deamonblight consumed their village, turning people into demons, while Velvet’s sister is killed by the “Opening”. Artorius takes his responsibility and takes care of his family in a different town. They are quite happy, trying to live with the loss of their beloved. Velvet learned to defend herself thanks to her brother-in-law, while Laphicet is more into books.
The anniversary of the Scarlet Night is approaching fast and on that particular night, things go south rather fast. Artorius performs a ritual, which will be referred to as the ‘Advent’, and Velvet witnesses quite some horrible things. Due to circumstances, her arm is possessed by the Daemonblight, turning her into a Therion. She can suck daemons to increase her power. Due to the Advent, Malakim are introduced to this world. These mages use the power of nature and their sole purpose was to get rid of the daemons. Of course, things will get complicated rather soon and will take you on a dark and sorrowful journey.
The Tales-series always have quite special and rich lores and this game isn’t any different. You’ll get some inside information thanks to the skits and conversations, making immersion so much easier. It surely is a lot darker than previous instalments and it will definitely tug some of your heartstrings. So get those handkerchiefs ready when you start this game.
Tales of Berseria is available on the PS4 and PC, and although it could have performed better on certain parts, the overall quality of the graphics are great. The all-known skits are back but are presented on yet another way. The characters are more integrated in the visuals as they’re mostly almost completely visible but their emotions and reactions still change depending on the subject of the conversation. This makes it quite fun to watch and is yet another type of graphics that are integrated.
The battlefield and roaming the world map has an anime-look and the rather big eyes might be one of the most striking characteristics of this game. It has to be said though, the surroundings might seem a bit bare but it is quite plausible as this game was released first on the PS3 in Japan and they probably didn’t add much for the latest console version.
One of the most beautiful aspects of the games are surely the cutscenes. These little gems are actually short anime-movies and are really the cherry on the cake21. They are so well-finished and so pretty that they will probably leave you flabbergasted for a while, before realizing you should actually be paying attention on what is happening.
Just as with the graphics, Namco Bandai has put quite some effort for getting the perfect soundtrack and their work has paid off. The music will emphasize the feelings from that moment, so be ready to hear some rather dark and forceful tracks while the more emotional moments are guided by some more classical tones. Sometimes you’ll be enjoying the music while you should actually be continuing the story.
Sound effects and voice acting are two other important aspects that can make or break a game and it is good to see that the complete package is just one harmonious composition. The sound effects will highlight some of the more important aspects that are happening at that moment, while the fights are also guided by quite some animated sounds. Speech wise, every character has a fitting voice and the emotions are conveyed so well while playing the game and having conversations. Certain events will make your heart bleed, so be prepared to face some rather hefty moments.
Tales of Berseria is an RPG that will take you into the same world of Tales of Zestiria although the events from this game occurred beforehand. There are several main ‘quests’ you need to tackle if you want to continue the story but there are some side-events available as well. It might be a good idea to look around and try to find all the valuables you can find and also talking to some people in the meanwhile. These can give you some important information or you can witness some lively conversations.
Of course, fighting is inevitable and although the battling system is similar to other Tales-games, there are some altered elements that give it a fresh feeling. Up to four people of your team can join the battle and you can choose if you take control of one of the characters or if you want to have everything done automatically. You can set everyone’s strategies so you have the possibility to personalize your gameplay. Velvet mostly uses martial Artes and is quite a deadly asset as she can also use her demonic claw during battle. The Malakim on the other hand are more skilled at magical Artes. At the start of an encounter, everyone receives an amount of Souls in the Soul Gauge. This meter represents the strength of energy or mana and will deplete when you perform attacks. Souls are regenerated over time and although you can keep attacking after they’re all depleted, you will have a bigger chance to be blocked and countered. Break Souls is an attack where you lower down your Soul Gauge by one and giving the enemy an extra one. This might seem a bit dodgy to perform but it is such a devastating mode that it can actually work in your favor. Killing and stunning enemies for example will increase your gauge again so if you trigger that attack at the right time, you won’t have any soul loss. Also, Velvet is able to heal by sucking the life out of her enemies with her demonic claw, so you can use Break Souls if you’re quite low on health. One of the recurring elements in battle is the Blast Gauge, which is in this case used for the Mystic Artes. This skill packs quite a punch and might turn the tide in battle.
Next to your battling skills, gear is also quite important. Equipment has master and random skills, which will have its effects. Characters can learn master skills and will be effective even when the equipment has been replaced. On the other hand, the random skills will remain on the equipment and will be gone when switching. This is quite a handy feature as this means that you can improve your character by learning these abilities and swapping them afterwards with other characters.
Equipment can be enhanced by infusing certain materials, which can be found all over the world and by dismantling older gear you don’t require anymore. This enhancing can be done a few times before an item is satiated. Of course, this upgraded equipment can be dismantled as well, giving you other resources which can be reused. This is a great way to improve your gear, which is quite important to gain the upper-hand in battle.
After victory you will get some sweet loot, and one of the fruits will be Potentite. These items will be activated automatically and will make your characters so much stronger so it is good idea to keep an eye out for these. Next to battling, items can also be found in the wild namely from the sparkling dots on your screens and by finding chests. Depending on the color of the box, you’ll get different goods. Also, sometimes you’ll be able to find herbs which increases character parameters.
There are quite some other elements to the game. For instance, you can cook meals after each battle to give you some extra boosts, while you can also change your physical appearance by changing your clothing and accessories. These are acquired by opening Katz boxes which are spread all over the world. You don’t need keys to open these, but spirits that are floating here and there. If you see some opaque balls floating, be sure to take them along with you as they’re quite important. One of the other aspects the game has to offer are the expeditions with your vessel. You can set out mission to explore new parts of the ocean, which can give you quite some sweet loot. Some trips take longer than others of course but you’ll get a message when your boat has arrived in the port. After you’ve collected the loot, you can pinpoint a new location and off she goes.
Tales of Berseria is yet another title in this series and it will take you on to a dark trip with Velvet Crowe as main protagonist. The graphics and sound are great and, together with the story, will suck you right into this world. You’ll have plenty to discover and much to do, so you’ll probably spend quite some hours behind your PC or PS4, tackling the events and trying to get justice for what has transpired.