When I purchased Tales of Vesperia back in 2008, I didn’t expect to fall in love with it’s cast of characters, world, and gameplay. I ended up putting in dozens of hours most of which was spent learning and mastering the battle system, so I could pull off stylish moves against enemies. There’s so much to love about the world in Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition. With a definitive re-release on current generation consoles, now is the time for you to experience one of the better JRPGs available.
Ring My Bell
Originally revealed as an Xbox 360 exclusive in 2008, Microsoft wanted a piece of the Japanese market. Through this deal with Bandai Namco, the Xbox 360 was the only console that this game was released o – in the West, anyway. In Japan, an updated version released on PlayStation 3 and included new playable characters, more mystic arts, and more cutscenes. Here though, the series was facing dwindling numbers and the decision to release the same updated version never happened. Rumours, however, confirm that new lines were indeed recorded for use here but never used.
Of course, the Xbox 360 never got its moment in Japan and the brand went out with a whimper there. The battle of Xbox winning over Japan was always an uphill battle but claiming such a great game as an exclusive helped Xbox, but not enough to win.
So, what does the definitive version bring with it? Well, most importantly the game now runs at a framerate of 60 frames per second and full 1080p resolution. There is also new music, new bosses, side quests. You also get all the downloadable content included, which includes costumes for each character and adventure packs to make your journey easier.
Yeah, that one
The world of Vesperia brings with it a uniqueness that’s been hard to replicate, even to this day within the series. Each subsequent release delivered unremarkable, cookie-cutter worlds and oft-forgettable designs, which in my opinion, did not help the series. The open world was one of my favourites if not most memorable to explore.
Add in a stellar cast where the main protagonist is so popular within the fandom, that Yuri Lowell had to be retired from future polls because he kept winning. Every character you come across is lovable and introduce their own sense of identity, where they are learning to understand who they are. Over the course of the game, Yuri ends up going through with morally questionable things but then we’re able to process and acknowledge this about him and move past it. A character like Yuri is a massive departure from the typical protagonist found in a JRPG, a competent man who does what needs to be done. In fact, the support the guild of Vesperia has for each other is refreshing.
Every character in your party ends up being great and their character arcs ended up becoming the best the series offered up until Tales of Berseria. Yuri is without a doubt, my favourite protagonist and one of the best things about Vesperia.
And, while the characters and the world end up being engaging, the story is generic and often sometimes, the voice acting was meant to be awkward, but it feels like those moments where it’s happening that it was meant to be this way. Speaking of voice acting, Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition included all cutscenes and new characters, as well as new voiced lines for and a new character, Patty LaFleur. What really offset the experience for me was hearing Yuri’s new voiced dialogue recorded by a different actor. Troy Baker was not asked to reprise his role of Yuri and Bandai Namco brought in Grant George, who does a well enough job. Sadly, it’s noticeable and throws the experience off when you hear Troy voicing most of the dialogue but then hear Grant speaking right after.
Another arte mastered
Combat in Tales of Vesperia involves four party members – usually a rounded cast able to adapt to any battle situation. Ten years later, I find the gameplay holds up well. Granted it is dated but allows for freedom. Called the Evolved Flex-Range Battle System (say that ten times) you can chain combos and finish off enemies in spectacular fashion. This is one of the harder games in the series and offers a challenge if you’re up for it. Bosses hit hard and defend attacks when you come at them. The best thing is to learn the ins and outs of the battle system and learn to synthesize new gear.
See, weapons and armour carry with them skills that unlock but you’ll need to continually use them to earn those skills. As you progress through the story you’ll end up earning tons of abilities that make you stronger. All in all, there’s a deep system worth exploring.
Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition is welcome on any console at any time. A personal favourite that has aged well, this is a good example of how a game holds up years later. Even though some systems feel outdated now, the combat and the characters are some of the best the series offers. While this one was made for fans of the series, newcomers are more than welcome to join.
[A copy of the game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]