First out on the Xbox 360 in 2008 as a less than complete version, Tales of Vesperia was subsequently released on the PlayStation 3 with additional content, much to the ire of the owners of Microsoft’s game console, although that is another story by itself. As a finished product, the game never made it out of Japan, but here we are, more than 10 years later with the definitive edition for Tales of Vesperia. Read below for our Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition Review!
Tales of Vesperia takes on a more mature approach to its storytelling compared to a lot of JRPGs and even games in the same series (at least at that point in time). Instead of being thrust into the game as the chosen one, you take on the role of Yuri Lowell, a dropout of a prestigious knight school living in the slums.
After a series of events that left the downtrodden district without drinking water, Yuri sets out on a journey to right some wrongs. Its grounded subjects and themes make the story much more relatable to the average player than your traditional JRPG plot. The cast you meet along the way that joins your party is memorable, and like Yuri, they are in no way perfect and can be flawed at times. However as you play, both you and your party will grow together.
The cel-shaded graphics have withstood the tests of time, and spruced to accommodate the higher resolutions of modern machines, Tales of Vesperia looks better than it ever did before. While similar offerings have better fidelity overall today, the game still manages to hold its own for the most part and retains much of its charm. Due to limitations imposed on it back in its day, the world of Tales of Vesperia is fairly empty, fine then, but a lot more noticeable now. The medieval Europe setting the game strived for has been improved a lot more since as well.
However, what it lacks in those areas are easily made up with its vast offerings in terms of content. Sidequests are abundant here, and they expand beyond the simple fetch quests. You often find yourself deviating from the main plot to engage in missions that have little to do with the main story but provide a much needed relief from its serious tone. Furthermore, these are among the many occasions where you will be able to interact with the rest of your party, which helps build characterisation overall.
As a product of its time, the combat system of Tales of Vesperia, while much simpler than its newer counterparts, is very satisfying to say the least. The real time battles take place on a 3D plane which you can freely maneuver, a system which was still fairly new at the time.
On top of your usual attacks, and depending on the direction in which you tilt you analogue stick, you will be able to unleash a series of Artes. If you aren’t familiar by now what Artes are, think of it as special moves which take up mana/stamina, otherwise known as TP in this game. Each and every art has a level and they can be used in conjunction with other Artes. It’s by comboing these Artes that makes the game feel fresh even after you are several hours in.
While the difficulty is fair for the most part, there are some instances of spikes here and there. However it is not something that cannot be resolved by grinding out a few levels and because the combat is fun anyway, it never feels like a chore.
This version of Tales of Vesperia is a return to what made the series so great in the first place. The minor flaws do very little to take away from the fantastic storytelling, enjoyable combat system, and lovable cast.
Available at RM179, the Steam version which we reviewed this on is the best possible version of the game you can get your hands on right now although there seem to be some issues with micro-stutters. Thankfully, there is a mod to fix the problem, so be sure to get it first before you start the game.
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Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition Review
A modern classic JRPG that withstood the test of time.
- Combat system that manages to stay fresh many hours in
- Memorable, diverse cast
- Tonnes of sidequests
- Not much in terms of exploration is available
We Give Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition 9 out of 10