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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Role-Playing

 

Publisher

Bandai-Namco

 

Developer

Bandai-Namco

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

August 23, 2008

 

 

- Excellent co-op mode included

- Donít feel like grinding? You can buy those levels now

 

 

- About as hard as a speak-and-say.

- No Japanese language options? Are you kidding me?

- No replay value

 

 

Review: Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles (360)

Review: Blue Dragon (360)

Review: Infinite Undiscovery (360)

 

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Tales of Vesperia

Score: 8.0 / 10

 

tales of vesperia          tales of vesperia

 

With all the action titles dropping this quarter, itís nice to get a few RPG titles out. Tales of Vesperia holds similarities to both genres Ė not quite an action title, a little too watered down to be an RPG. Not that thereís anything wrong with multi-tasking, just be warned thatís what you are getting when you pick it up. All battles take place in a melee format Ė characters and enemies are kept in an encircled barrier until someone wins or flees. You can have up to 4 people control characters during fights, otherwise the computer will control all supporting characters.

 

Being an import of a running franchise from Japan, a lot of the traditional items, enemies, and locales should hold more meaning Ė but we just donít have the exposure to the earlier games. That being said, the game is only offered in English

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- Games Published by Bandai-Namco

dubbing Ė one of my major pet peeves about imported RPGs. If the characters are Japanese anime-style archetypes I expect to able to listen to their original Japanese voices, not whoever they found to dub over it. The character designs are very bright and clean, the dialogue is very centered around the team and their personalities instead of the situations that they come into. The inter-team dialogue is probably the best part of the game storyline.

 

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Tales of Vesperia focuses primarily on the travels of the group including Yuri, Estelle, and Repede and the friends they make along the way. Yuri is a former guardsmen, a competent swordsman who will fight to uphold his own sense of duty and responsibility. Repede is his dog, who not only smokes but fights with a dagger clenched in his mouth. Estelle is the prototypical young princess in despair, albeit a competent fighter and healer. You also meet Karol (the young monster hunter), Rita (the talented mage who is almost as hot-headed as Karol), Raven (the mysterious character), and Judith (an actual Dragon Rider).

 

As with most RPG games, your team will shrink and swell as the story progresses, so learn to get comfortable with your individual characters and their strengths. More importantly, make sure to re-map your controls for your support characters on boss battles (you can setup 8 pre-set moves from your allies to call during battle) otherwise, they are going to be just doing whatever the computer comes up with. For some reason, whenever the computer controls Rita Ė it seems to think that I always need the most powerful spells on the enemy that Iím currently fighting instead of attacking the one that is wailing on her. Nothing like wasting the apothecary on keeping your retarded allies alive. That being said, the multiplayer option can take control away from the AI - that in of itself completely changed the difficulty of the game, having a competent friend helping allowed us to set up some just nasty series attacks against bosses. We were able to re-fight some of the major boss battles in less time and without dying just by having another person able to exploit openings that were being opened.

 

tales of vesperia          tales of vesperia

 

The general questing and fights with random encounter enemies donít provide too much challenge, but some of the boss fights are controller-tossing. Usually once you hit that point, you have to go back and grind so that you arenít such a candy-ass. If you donít have the patience for that, you can purchase additional levels for your group for a couple hundred Microsoft points. From a time/money perspective, thatís totally up to you, but since Iím not getting paid to play nor am I getting free points cards, I didnít do it. Besides those, you can purchase some unlockable items, equipment, and synthesis items from the store as well.  

 

Tales of Vesperia  took approximately 30 hours of gameplay to complete on first pass, I didnít find every little sidequest nor item available to me, but I didnít go avoiding them either. I didnít find the game particularly difficult, but did die a number of times on some of the more complicated boss battles. The general story plot isnít particularly dense and I called every plot twist in advance of it happening. Besides re-testing those hard fights with an ally, there was no reason for me to go back a second time, does that make it a bad game? No. Just not a classic, is all. Would I recommend Tales of Vesperia? Sure, to a gamer that has no experience in RPGs or to try and entice an action junkie into the genre. Otherwise, hardcore RPG gamers will find it a bit too thin of an experience.

 

- Tazman

(November 3, 2008)

 

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