I’ve played a fair share of Tales games over the years, each with their own story, characters, and battle system. Many Tales games have dark stories, but none of the ones I’ve played could top what Tales of Berseria has to offer. Bandai Namco has given us their darkest plot yet. It’s all about revenge and what that’ll cost you. You could almost say the protagonists are the bad guys!
As far as the story is concerned, the length is a bit deceiving at first. At one point I felt a bit cheated because I was already where Velvet, the main hero, needed to go to face off with Artorius. Once I went past that, however, I realized there was so much more to go. The story is dark in Tales of Berseria. Velvet’s brother was murdered by Artorius. It came down to the one person versus the whole world debate. Unfortunately, Artorius is a man of reason, so he chose the world instead of his nephew. Velvet, who was once a sweet girl who just wanted to take care of her family, became consumed with hate and revenge when her brother was killed, becoming a daemon in the process. This starts her and those she meets along the way down a long and dark path. She claims she’d do anything to kill him, and that’s shown time and again with how she treats the rest of the world. Velvet isn’t afraid to leave destruction in her wake if it takes her a step closer to killing Artorius.
Besides the story being a beautifully dark and heartbreaking, it also has some Easter eggs for those who played Zestiria. Some characters mentioned there, such as Eizen, Edna’s older brother, and Zaveid are shown or able to fight on your team. It also seems to begin the legend of the Shepherd. Artorius is named Shepherd Artorius early in the game. Even some of the locations in Berseria are shown in Zestiria, such as the temple in Loegress. It makes the story even better for those who’ve played the previous game. All this and more are why I’m giving Berseria a 5 for story.
The atmosphere in Berseria is dark and violent and Bamco does a pretty good job of showing it. Half the characters even wear dark colors and the way they present themselves in words is often accompanied with threats of violence or anger. All the stealth and sabotage in the game often requires going through creepy caves and dungeons. However, they keep the atmosphere from getting depressing with the addition of characters like Magilou, a trickster witch who really loves to push people’s buttons. The art throughout the game is also at normal Tales standards, but I felt like the anime portions looked better than the actual game. That’s why I’m giving it a 4 for atmosphere.
While Berseria is fun to play, it ends up failing in a few places. First, the game is constantly being interrupted by cut-scenes. If they were short, it might not be a problem, but they certainly were not. Tales games often suffer from long intros, but even the skits seem to take a couple minutes to watch, which is longer than most of the skits from other Tales games.
Second, the battle system, while it seems complex, is just as easily made into a button masher. All of the Tales games I’ve played have had this problem, and it makes fighting battles tedious after awhile. Fighting in harder modes honestly just makes the battles take longer. However, this is a person-by-person problem. I’m not into making strategies, but others who do could still find it fun.
Third, and most unfortunate, many people need the Tales of Berseria “Fix” in order to make the game playable. Trying to play it at 60 fps on my own computer makes it slower than an injured snail. This is something the last few games have had problems with as well, and it’s why I waited so long to play it. I wanted to make sure the fix would be ready before I put $50 down for it. I might add that it suffers from backtracking, as many Tales games do, but some items help to alleviate this issue. Even with all that said, it is still a fun game overall. The adventure is often the best part and so with Berseria‘s problems in mind, I’m giving it a 3 for playability.
I don’t usually have a separate category for characters, but I like to keep my ratings relevant to the game. The cast of characters is one of the things that really make this game great. Bamco knows by now how to make an interesting cast and they showed that in Berseria. While Velvet is bitter and angry, Laphicet is curious and excitable. While Rokurou loves to fight, Eleanor prefers to be reasonable. The way each character interacts with each other and the world around them is interesting to watch. Their conversations bring a lot to the table, and that’s why I’m giving Berseria a 5 for its lovable, and love-to-hate, characters.
Overall, despite its problems, I find Tales of Berseria to be another great Tales game. Bamco knows what they’re doing and the formula they use for their games still works. I’m very much looking forward to replaying Zestiria with Berseria in mind.
If you’d like to play Tales of Berseria, Humble Bundle is currently having a sale. As long as you get the fix for it, I highly recommend it for the story and characters alone.
Have an opinion on the game? Agree or disagree with my rating? Let me know in the comments below!