As you can tell, Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition is a remaster of the original game that released on the Xbox 360 first, and then the PS3. However, the PS3 edition was exclusive to Japan and came with additional content. The Definitive Edition comes with all costume DLC and some new ones, as well as new Mystic Artes which are essentially skill to use in battle. The combat system also got an upgrade from the original version, however the main addition is two new characters that you can play as in the game. Flynn Scifo, an Imperial Knight who is your best friend and rival, and Patty Fleur, a mysterious but cheerful young pirate. Both of these characters were in the Japan exclusive PS3 version, but not the Xbox 360 version. The game also comes fully voice acted in both English and Japanese which is a nice addition.
Tales of Vesperia’s story takes place in a country ruled by the Imperial Capital. You play as Yuri Lowell who is more or less a Robin Hood type of character because he is willing to help anyone in need. I’ve not played a game with this type of character for quite a while and I find it a refreshing change. At the beginning of the game we learn that Yuri used to be a Knight of the Capital but left because he did not agree with how things are run there. In true Robin Hood style Yuri, along with his loyal companion Repede (a dog) then gets caught up in helping his neighbours in the poor, lower quarter of the city retrieve a stolen Blastia core which was powering the area’s fountain filtration system.
Unfortunately, whilst attempting to retrieve the Blastia core, Yuri is apprehended by Knights of the Capital for breaking and entering into the thief’s residence. Now in jail, Yuri catches a lucky break as a fellow prisoner slips him a key, and he manages to escape. During his jailbreak he bumps into a Noblewoman called Estelle who is fleeing from the knights for reasons unknown. Seeing how both of them are in a spot of bother, they agree to help each other out, and the story unfolds from there as you go and explore the world outside the city.
Overall the gameplay is pretty good. The graphics got an upgrade to HD, and thanks to being on a next generation console the fps is also boosted. The game now runs a lot smoother, though using a Xbox One X or PS4 Pro won’t make any difference as the game cannot display 4K. The combat is adequate, but can be a little slow at times, and while this isn’t a game ruining problem, it can be a tad annoying. Combat uses a Linear Motion Battle System that places you in a small area, with fighting similar to a ‘beat’em up’ style game. You control one party member in real-time combat, while the other three party members are controlled by A.I. However, you can set customised commands to predetermine what skills they can use in battle, and you can also switch to another party member at any point during combat.
In this game it is wise to fight every battle and level grind whenever possible, otherwise the bosses will tear though you like paper. There are also mini games, as well as several new ones to play. My personal favourite is ‘Repede Snowboarding’ (originally exclusive to the PS3), a time trial race downhill. Overall the minigames are a fun distraction from the main story.
As for the music (I’m a sucker for a good game OST), so far I’ve been impressed with the soundtrack, although there has yet to be a piece that stands out to me. The costumes for the characters are super funky and one of my absolute favourites is one for Repede called “Top dog’s right paw”, mainly because I think he looks like such a badass. Another one I absolutely adore is Karol’s “Dream Traveller” outfit, which is from a series called Klonoa – one of the first games I ever played on the Playstation One.
Personally I am enjoying playing though Tales of Vesperia and chances are I’ll end up replaying it in order to achieve 100% completion. I’m only 10 hours in, and I already know that there are loads of achievements that I’ve missed. However, this is something I value in a game, as I believe that replay value should be a key feature of any game, and this game has certainly got it. For example, every boss fight includes a secret mission to beat (essentially a hidden achievement) which adds an extra challenge to what are already challenging boss fights. There are also plenty more challenges you need to complete in order to hit that elusive 100% achievement mark. Being a self-diagnosed completionist and trophy hunter, I am sure that I will easily spend over 100 hours finishing this game. In terms of price, Tales of Vesperia sits at a reasonable £40, which is a reasonable price considering that it comes with all the DLC included.
I would recommend this game to anyone who loves JRPGs, especially if you never got a chance to play it before. It truly is an enjoyable game as the characters are all unique, and the story is gearing up to be extremely intriguing.