Tales of Berseria Review: An Excellent J-RPG Held Back by Awful Voiceovers
+ Addictive, yet challenging combat system.
+ Excellent storyline that will keep you wanting for more.
+ An entertaining cast of characters that will grow on you.
+ Suitable for casual and hardcore gamers thanks to its difficulty settings.
+ Over 50 hours of gameplay just on main storyline alone.
+ 60 frames per second (FPS) on regular PlayStation 4 console as well as on PC.
- Horrible English voiceovers (You can switch to Japanese voices and retain English menus).
- Some dark elements in the storyline would make it unsuitable for younger audience.
- Retains the same visuals as its predecessor, Tales of Zestiria.
I am a big fan of role-playing games. The way you experience the game’s storyline is so immersive, it makes you feel as if you are the protagonist, which is something movies usually aren’t able to do. Role-playing games have evolved so much from the usual turn-based combat system and today, we’re going to review the latest Japanese role-playing game (J-RPG) by Bandai Namco for the PlayStation 4 and Windows PC, Tales of Berseria.
Tales of Berseria Review
A Story of Vengeance and ‘Malevolence’
Tales of Berseria tells the story of Velvet Crowe, an ordinary village girl who suddenly finds her world turned upside down when her brother-in-law, Artorius Collbrande, murders her brother, Laphicet Crowe, in a twisted ritual to “save” the world. In an attempt to save her brother, she gets tainted by an ominous power and transforms into a being known as a ‘therion’.
Instead of killing her on the spot, Artorius knocks Velvet out and places her in prison where she grew stronger day by day by consuming abnormal beasts known as ‘daemons’. After 3 years, she breaks out from prison and goes on a journey to avenge her brother’s death, meeting several people who have similar goals to her along the way.
This game takes places in the same world as its predecessor, Tales of Zestiria, but it happens roughly 1000 years before the events in Zestiria. In this timeline, malaks are utilized as tools for humans, and it explains why they view humans in negative lights in Zestiria. As such, you’ll be seeing some characters from Zestiria appear in this game as their lifespan is much longer than humans. Unlike previous games from the Tales series, Tales of Berseria has a much darker storyline. Not so much on gore but death is a major element in the storyline so this may not be so suitable for the younger audience.
An Interesting Cast of Characters Plagued by Horrible Voiceovers
There are a total of 6 playable characters in Tales of Berseria; protagonist Velvet Crowe, half-daemon samurai Rokurou Rangetsu, malak pirate Eizen, mysterious witch Magilou, exorcist Eleanor Hume, and a malak named Laphicet who happened to be someone you kidnapped at a very early point in the game. Each character has their own agenda and principles to follow, with the only thing tying them together being somewhat of a common goal.
Truth be told, I personally thought that the cast would be completely unlikeable as they’re completely different people with different mindsets and each of them have their own agenda. After seeing how the story progressed and how their interactions improved over time, you just can’t help but love this quirky group. The way they manage to perfectly sync with each other, helping to cover each other’s weaknesses and packed with comedic moments from start to end, what’s not to love?
It would’ve been much better if the English voiceover weren’t so horrible. It clearly did not fit the characters and some lines didn’t translate well from the original Japanese version, which made a lot of story elements as well as jokes fall completely flat. The game became much better after switching to Japanese voices, which you can do so every time you boot up the game.
Dated Visuals but 60 FPS Makes it Forgivable
The first thing you’d notice when playing Tales of Berseria is that the visuals are pretty much the same as Zestiria so it makes the game’s visuals a little outdated. On the plus side however, Tales of Berseria is running at 60 Frames per Second (FPS) so it makes everything, from travelling to combat, very fluid. This is me playing the game using a regular PlayStation 4 console mind you, not the PS4 Pro. I personally prefer this over any games with life-like visuals.
Exploring the World of Desolation
Tales of Berseria is set in a world known as Desolation. There are a few continents for you to explore in the world map, and you can only truly move around once you’ve acquired a ship for yourself. The entire explorable area of the game isn’t huge but due to the fact that there are plenty of things to do in the game, it makes the game seem like it has a much bigger world than it actually is.
You have the choice of progressing through the main story, complete side quests for bonus story portions as well as items, collecting spirit points to save the fabled ‘Katz’ that are trapped all over the world, and ‘Code Red Daemon’ hunts. Code Red daemons are stronger than your average daemon and it’s akin to a boss fight but they have a bounty on their head. Simply put, there’s enough to do in Tales of Berseria to keep you occupied for hours, and it’s not to the point where you’ll feel suffocated by it.
Unlike previous entries in the Tales series, the side quests are very hard to miss. It’s practically embedded into the main story, with the exception that you don’t need to complete it to progress. For the sake of gaining new items as well as mastering your equipment skills however, there’s no point in skipping them.
The combat system of this is a variation of the series’ signature Linear Motion Battle System (LMBS) known as the Liberation-LMBS. You set up your artes in a string of 4, where the first arte will transition to the next until the string ends. Unlike in the past where your artes are limited to a numbered counter, the number of artes you can pull of is determined by a Soul gauge. You start the battle with 3 souls and you can gain or lose them in battle.
Each character has the ability to perform a ‘Break Soul’ function, where you lose 1 soul in exchange for a temporarily stronger battle form. Use this carelessly and you’ll become very weak after as you need souls to perform attacks. To gain souls, you can either stagger the enemies by exploiting their weakness or perform mystic artes; a devastating signature move that will also yield you a number of souls.
Despite it sounding complicated, the Liberation-LMBS at its core is still very similar to the past Tales iterations; a combat system that is more akin to a freeflowing fighting game and breaks away from the conventional RPG combat mechanics. It takes a bit of time to get used to but once you’ve gotten the feel for it, it’s never a dull moment in combat. Thanks to the fact that you can change the difficulty anytime, anyone from beginners to gamers looking for a challenge can dive in and have fun with it.
Tales of Berseria is an excellent entry in Bandai Namco’s Tales series and it far exceeds the previous game, Tales of Zestiria, overall. A surprisingly wonderful cast of characters, an excellent storyline that spans the length of RPG games during the PlayStation 2 era, and an improved combat system, Bandai Namco has outdone themselves.
I proudly present Tales of Berseria with the Gold Pokdeward, the first game to receive Pokde.net’s highest award.