Tuesday, 12 February 2019 05:37

Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition Review

Written by

Edited by: Tiffany Lillie

Reviewer's note: This review is based around playing about ten hours of the game.


Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition brings back the beloved JRPG Tales entry in a big way, providing content that was previously unseeable by the Western market, and with a fresh coat of paint in the form of HD graphics for the current generation of consoles. You play as Yuri Lowell, an ex-knight who’s thrust into an adventure to find the stolen blastia core for his town. With the help of your animal friend Repede and sheltered princess Estellise, with many other adventurers joining along the way, you will travel the continent completing missions and fighting enemies to gain experience.

Vesperia uses the “Linear Motion Battle System,” which allows for free roaming when battling, whereas the battle is framed like a typical turn-based strategy game, creating a style of combat often found in fighting games. While it might be jarring for anyone not familiar with this type of system, Vesperia presents it well by slowly introducing new concepts, giving you time to learn as you go.

Vesperia prides itself on simplicity. Simple combat, simple story, simple characters, simple enemy designs, simple navigation, and simple leveling. This is both its greatest strength and possibly its greatest weakness. On one hand, this is delightful for those who are not fans of extremely complex RPGs, requiring only that you follow simple instructions and simple button inputs. On the other hand, such a system probably doesn't appeal to the more niche market of JRPG enthusiasts who enjoy high-density battle and management systems.


The Tales series has always had a Japanese anime/manga-esque aesthetic and Vesperia is no exception. The characters, their designs, the story, and the enemies all scream Japanese fantasy. While there is nothing wrong with this in the least bit, outsiders might find it hard to enjoy the experience, what with how unapologetically early-2000s anime everything is.


While the true age of Vesperia shows in its design and animation, the overall look of the experience has been improved. The depth of field is breathtaking, making you stop and really appreciate the effort that was put into designing the cities and villages available. Plus, the colors give everything a polished look, with slightly washed out shades that are still distinctive, so everything stands out from one another. It gives you an incentive to explore, showing off the hard work the developers put into building the world. Everything has a very earthy look, making you believe this is a lived-in society with lots of history.

To some degree it feels as if there could’ve been more done to improve the look of the game, however. The conversation feature, where the characters speak to one another, could’ve been cleaned up a bit, as it just offers a few facial expressions inside boxes talking to one another. This presentation feels out of place with the pseudo-medieval-punk style Vesperia is going for.

And while we're on this subject: the characters do manage to each stand out in their own way. In the ten hours I played, none of the characters felt lesser in their design than any others. Some felt a bit more cliché than others in personality, but none of them just felt as though they were there just to fill a need. The fact that they clashed with one another gave the experience a realness to it all.


The Verdict: Great

There is absolutely nothing wrong with Vesperia. It's a JRPG that lets itself be simple in its execution so it can focus on providing a world for you to enjoy your time in. What harms the game is just that it doesn’t feel like it tried to accomplish anything, simply doing what it needed to without trying anything new. However, as a re-release of a game from ten years ago, it goes far toward meeting the expectations of the modern player.

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Liam Cunningham

Hailing from Maryland, Liam spent his college years studying all kinds of media, granting him an Associate's Degree in film from Anne Arundel Community College and a degree in Simulation and Digital Entertainment from the University of Baltimore to learn narrative game writing. He has worked on his own internet serials for many years, including Colorless Commentary (a review series of classic Hollywood films) and A Look Back with Lac! (Reviewing classic Anime). Also, he has voiced and wrote for many anime parodies for fun as well as creating, writing and directing a Batman fan adaptation, The Gotham High Radio Drama. His favorite games include the Kingdom Hearts series, Sly Cooper, Metal Gear Solid, The Stanley Parable, and Super Smash Bros.