Tales of Berseria – Review

Vengeance on the right, revenge on the left, a round table of peculiar guests with some anger on top. Tales of Berseria has a lot of cryptic dialogues that points to the direction of the antagonist hero and the antihero. Namco’s first title with the sole heroine has brought upon a lot of tickled emotions, piqued morality and a good pinch of comedy.

Tales of Berseria starts with the story of sixteen year old Velvet, happy, sweet, and hardworking. She only yearned for nothing but a peaceful life with her brother in their small, isolated, but happy island. A lot of plots and twists happened and I believe that the process of discovering the angry and vengeful Velvet is an experience that every player should experience, so I would stop telling stories here. Although I would only leave a message that, this game explores the deepest and darkest corners of the human heart… and you may feel that you are actually more evil than you think you are.

Platform Reviewed: PS4
Platform Available: PS4, PS3, PC
Developer: Bandai Namco Studios
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Release Date: January 24, 2017
Price: $59.99
Review is based on a review copy provided by the publisher

The first point that has me amused with this game is that when you see something shiny, pick it up, leave the map and go back and pick it up again… and again… and again… The game gives you a sense of fulfillment as you look for the shiny thing and pick it up like nobody’s business cause I’m gonna be the pick-up master and no one can stop me. Although honestly, I have never seen a game show me plenty of items to pick up from the ground as much as Berseria has. I’m not quite sure if I’m disappointed or glad or just… having mixed feelings of this new experience or—Ooohh Shiny…

And so past the ‘picking up,’ playing this game further has given me a refreshing feeling. In contrast to the previous games’ happy go lucky, I’m a hero and I will save the world stories. Tales of Berseria gives you a dark thirst for vengeance. You just get so angry… by watching Velvet get angry… and the anger is quite contagious. One of the games stronger points is its set of characters. The characters all talk in a language that’s fitting their personality and background and their light banter and jokes are a refreshing. Velvet travels with a unique set of companions, a Samurai who likes drinking, a man nicknamed ‘The Reaper’ for being extremely unlucky, a chatty ‘Useless Witch’ and a whole lot more to join the already growing family of unique descriptions. The game’s setting also hinted to be in the same universe as Zestiria with familiar faces and enemies and terminologies that pops out every now and then. Although this does not mean you won’t understand the game if you have not played Zestiria yet, however, having played it before moving onto Berseria will shed some light and “Ah-ha!” moments into some parts of the story.

The game introduces a new type of Linear Motion Battle System called ‘Liberation Linear Motion Battle System’ that completely disregards the previous Tales games akin to side scrolling action to a complete free roam of the battle map. Side to Side movement, you will be dearly missed. However, the new liberty of moving freely has given the players more leeway in producing combo chains and contrary to a forced left and right, the character will still run a simple forward/backward motion to its currently locked on target, like always. Together with the new battle system the Soul Gauge (otherwise known as TP/Technique Points in other Tales games) or SG. The SG is consumed when the character performs attacks (Martial Artes) and special attacks (Hidden Artes).

Although a coming back feature is the Blast Gauge (BG) that lets the player unleash a powerful Mystic Arte to knock their foes into oblivion. Such additions to the now simpler battle system opens the game for a more complicated addition called ‘Break Souls’ each break soul uses three or more Souls from the Soul Gauge, and such a power comes with a cost. Using Break Soul for a longer time will have your HP deplete more than you can heal yourself, but don’t worry, you won’t die, you’ll be at least be given… 1hp at the end. Aside from that there more different penalties to abusing Break Soul such as losing one soul from the soul gauge as your enemy gains more giving it more leverage to hit you with heavier combos. Although, I did abuse it all I want either way, because it ignores combo limits and gains a constant balance of heals (along with the default HP zap) and bonus damage to specific enemies to turn the tide of battle. Besides… what else feels better than defeating enemies? Defeating more enemies.

The game definitely shone in its unique characters and smooth gameplay, but one thing that people may find disappointing is the game’s tendency to be linear and intense lack of deep exploration. Although I love games that has a straight forward dungeon and story, but sometimes that lack of thrill in whether this right turn leads me to a dead end or surprise it’s making the main story advance is quite a disappointment. The game may have made up for its lack of adventure with its never-ending equipment to make the traveling easier and a vast amount of mini games and collectibles to keep our completionist hearts quenched. The visual rendering and the sceneries are also a great sight to take in and despite it all, the intricate details on the mini map and the world map gives an equal balance to the otherwise short adventure.

One of the cuter parts of the game is collecting ‘Katz Souls’ that frees trapped ‘Katz Spirits’ in ‘Katz Boxes.’ As you have noticed they are ‘Katz’ that are scattered around the world. Sometimes they’ll give you their mew of happiness, but some of them will give you their catitude and give you a new cosmetics item to pretty-up your characters. Oh, did I say catitude? Please excuse meow cat language, I meant gratitude.

However, the part of the game that I will get used to will be the equipment system that takes the patience out of my brains. The whole ‘Equipment mastery to learn its skill’ idea is not new to me and to the game, it is mainly with the issue of new items drops too frequently that you’ll find yourself backlogged with items to master. The main idea is to dismantle the spares to get enough materials to enhance the ones you’d like to keep and power up, however if the drop rate is too high and you find yourself having one too many items in your pockets the tendency to get confused on which you’d want to keep and throw to sell or dismantle gets tiring. This tends to make the player have weaker items equipped to what they’re supposed to already be equipping, because of how fast the new items arrive.

Overall, the game’s battle system is probably the most enjoyable among the whole series although there may be too many information to take in during the tutorials for a first time player of the franchise. It would take a lot of time to take in the whole essence of the battle system. The equipment and enhancement system may be quite frustrating at first but I encourage first-timers to not be discouraged by this. The writing, the story, the characters are all well-written and the game’s developments are well paced. Despite the game’s lack of deeper exploration of dungeons and maps, the game offers plenty of new features such as the Expedition, where you can send a scout ship to gather items, recipes, items in different parts of the seas and the usage of a Geoboard to go around maps and lengthy walks.



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Review Written by: Maria Kamille Chavez