[XBox 360 Review] Tales Of Vesperia

The latest installment of the popular Japanese RPG Tales series, Tales of Vesperia,
has arrived on the Xbox 360.  The world
of Terca Lumireis is one of which that depends on ancient technology known as
Blastia.  Blastia is utilized to perform
various tasks from helping to boost combat skills, using magic, dealing with
daily activities and work, or even protecting towns from monsters.  The protagonist in Vesperia is a young man
named Yuri, whom deviates from the J-RPG stereotype. He isn’t whiny or
immature, but instead has his own sense of justice and takes matters into his
hands, but is very caring even though he tends to not let it show.  When the Aqua Blastia is stolen from the
lower quarter’s fountain, Yuri sets out to catch the thief.  After being arrested by the Imperial Guard,
he meets Estellise, a young and naive princess, during his escape.  Estellise decides to join Yuri on his quest
to recover the stolen Blastia, so she may see the world outside of the castle walls
she has never had the chance to experience.  Once you leave the Imperial Capital of Zaphias, Yuri, Estelle and Repede
(Yuri’s companion, whom resembles a dog) embark on a journey to find the person
whom stole the Aqua Blastia. 



The story
within Tales of Vesperia is very well written and features many twists and
turns, in which some are obvious and some you probably won’t see coming.  You will meet up with quite a few friends
along the way who will help you along the way in your journey.  Many characters fit the typical RPG mold,
such as Karol, whom is the typical whiny little kid; Flynn, who is strictly by
the book and won’t deviate from the rules; and Judith, who’s outfit and figure
is straight fan service, just to name a few.  The antagonists of the story are also molded in typical fashion, from
crazy and maniacal, power hungry, and cunning, to describe them without naming
names (I don’t want to give away too much due to potential spoilers).  Even with these stereotypes being well
represented, the characters don’t seem flat or boring, and they all have a good
amount of development and depth to their personalities. When something happens,
you feel the emotion that game wants you to feel.  You will find yourself caring for, distraught
about and sometimes outright despising characters as the story progresses, and never in
a way that is detrimental to the game.

graphics in Vesperia are done with cel shading, and look absolutely gorgeous,
and feels like you are playing an Anime.  Some of the cut scenes are fully animated and while they are well done,
the game would have benefited more from in game cinematic. The character models
are stunning and absolutely beautiful, to which you can appreciate the time and
effort put into their every detail.   Cities, dungeons, and other backgrounds are all well drawn and never
show any faults.  While in combat, the
animation of the characters and enemies is very fluid and well done. 

The audio
in the game is more of a mixed bag in Tales, as J-RPG and anime purists will
find a lot to complain about in the lack of a Japanese language track.  It was one of the initial problems I had with
the game, as I worried the English voice actors would ruin yet another good RPG
with shoddy acting.  Much to my surprise,
I found the English acting growing on me, to the point I actually enjoy a
majority of the characters’ voices.  The
soundtrack, composed by Motoi Sakuraba, is full of very well crafted music and
never seems stale or forced. Japanese singer Bonnie Pink lends her talent to
the opening theme song to the game entitled “Ring A Bell”.

While the
story, characters, graphics and audio are all very well done, you can’t have a
Tales game without a good action RPG element, and Vesperia delivers this
beautifully.  The combat is very quick
and crisp, yet never feels rushed.  Normal monster battles tend to be easy and never too much of a
challenge, while boss battles can range from easy to very difficult.  One thing Tales of Vesperia provides is a
difficulty setting for those finding battles too easy or too difficult.  You set certain skills to your characters
that improve various stats or give boosts of EXP, Gald or LP.  In battle you can use and learn new battle
techniques or magic known as Battle Artes, which use up varying degrees of LP
depending on the strength of your attack. 

is a wonderful title that even gamers who typically shy away from RPGs, will
enjoy and have a good time with.  With gorgeous graphics, an engaging story, well developed characters, and a fun combat system, Tales of Vesperia is
easily the best game in the long running Tales series, and quite possibly the
best RPG to grace the XBox 360 to date.




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