Tales of Berseria - PC/Steam Review

Tales of Berseria PS4

You won’t get any pity or compassion from me!

Game Info

  • System: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Steam
  • Publisher: Bandai Namco Studio Inc.
  • Developer: Bandai Namco Studio Inc.
  • Release Date: August 18, 2016 [JP] | January 24, 2017 [NA] | January 27, 2017 [EU]

Who it Caters to

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Tales of Berseria is a wonderful JRPG title that takes players into a fresh new world that takes some of the finer aspects from previous iterations like Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Xillia and mixes them together to create a very polished product. Anyone who’s a huge fan of the Tales series will definitely find this game to be a real blast, and for those who are looking for that JRPG fix, this one will most definitely satisfy your cravings. The battle system has seen a lot of drastic improvements over the past Tales of Zestiria title, which fans of the series were somewhat disappointed with.

Tales of Berseria is a breath of fresh air that not only provides a lot of fun and exciting gameplay, but the voice acting is top notch along with a powerful narrative to top it off. One great aspect about Tales of Berseria is that it doesn’t try to steer the course and be something that it isn’t, the title feels very much like how a Tales game should be and while the formula may be very traditional, that very tradition is what makes this game an absolute treat.

What to Expect

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When the alpha and beta versions dropped here in Japan just over a year ago, we honestly weren’t sure what to expect. The build we had played with felt very rigid and slow paced, along with performance issues during battles. That, of course, all changed in the final version because this game runs at an extremely smooth and buttery 60FPS on PC, while we can imagine the PS4 version does the same. We managed to grab a hold of the PC version which looks crisper and performs at a consistent rate so we were pleased with that.

A heads up though that if your PC specs don’t match the criteria you may experience a lot of slowdowns, and that may hinder your experience just a little so be sure to check the specs before purchasing on Steam. Another reminder is that if you plan to stream the game like we did, be sure to run the game on slightly lower settings to ensure a more fluid experience. As we stated earlier Tales of Berseria comes with a lot of perks and the story is perhaps the most enticing. While the gameplay itself comes with a plethora of cool options such as being able to cook, go on expeditions to collect rare items and so on, the story is emotionally riveting and really absorbs you into all of the action.

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Each character has their own story to share which only adds more meat to the already chunky pot of goodness, while their unique move-sets are like that extra bit of seasoning to spice things up a little. We’ll dive into more detail pertaining to gameplay later in the article, so in the meantime, let's dive into the story and go from there.

Tales of Berseria Trailer

Story

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A disease had spread across the nation infecting humans turning them into Daemonblight, bloodthirsty beasts with no trace of humanity in them and lose all sense of their rationality.

Velvet and her little brother Laphicet live in a small village situated within the Holy Midgand Empire and were saved by her brother-in-law, Artorius, when Daemonblight attacked their village, consuming everything in their path. Velvet’s older sister Celica, who was pregnant, succumbs to the disease and it eventually takes her life.

Fast forward a few years later, Velvet along with her brother and Artorius reside in a new village. Unfortunately, the Scarlet Night returns yet again and succumbs to the terror brought on by the Daemonblight. Desperately in search for her brother who disappeared, she runs into Artorius who is seen using Laphicet as a sacrifice for a ritual. Velvet tries to intervene but instead gets attacked by a Daemonblight and possesses her arm, transforming her into a Daemon. Mad with rage over her brother’s sacrifice and being betrayed by Artorius, Velvet is now on a journey to seek revenge and make sure Artorius is eliminated by any means necessary.

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Gameplay

Skills[Artes] | Equipment | Battle Mode

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Tales of Berseria has plenty in store for anyone who’s truly looking to pick up the title, and we’ll go into some of the features that really make the game shine. One of the finer aspects of Tales of Berseria is that it comes packed with a ton of skills that your character can learn throughout the game, as you engage in constant battles with enemies.

These skills known as Artes come in different varieties ranging from Martial Artes, which are essentially physical based attacks, to the more crazy Mystic Artes which are extremely powerful finishing blows that you can use to destroy any tough opponent with relative ease. All of the skills do of course come with a cost, as you’ll be using up your Soul Gauge(SG) in battle to come up with flashy combos and using various special Artes to dispose of enemies that stand in your way. Depending on the attack that you use, the cost of SG will differ so being aware of this while in battle is essential in not getting countered.

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Once your SG runs out, do not worry, since it regenerates after you use it. However if your gauge is totally empty and the enemy stuns you, they’ll be able to steal a small section of your Soul Gauge leaving you with little options for combos. You can steal the SG back of course by using specific attacks that the enemy is weak against, and stunning them to return the favor. This constant shift within battles is what makes Tales of Berseria challenging especially in the harder difficulties.

Normal mode is forgiving a lot of time and the enemies don’t typically pressure you into the corner gasping for air, but hard mode is where the fun really happens because these enemies will sometimes call on some of their buddies to join the fray. When this occurs, enemy damage increases and tension starts to rise as well since you don’t want to die. Fortunately, you don’t lose anything you’ve collected if you were to die, but dealing with them again may be irritating for some.

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Tales of Berseria does a stellar job of providing you with an assortment of tutorials that are extremely easy to understand and are quite fun to read. Throughout the game, tutorials are thrown at you which always introduce new elements, and also reminds you of the things you've learned before. This constant habit of refresh and review felt very endearing because everything always felt up to date, and so there was never a time where you’d be questioning what to do or how to do it.

The equipment selection in this game is incredibly vast since you not only can purchase them through various shop vendors throughout the game, but you can also obtain rare items from enemies and treasure chests.

Tales of Berseria really encourages you to search around every crevice of the map to scope out special treasure chests, along with Katz chests, special chests which are run by cute cat-like creatures who supply you with bonus items. In order to unlock what’s inside of those, you’ll need to collect magic mana orbs and the cat will then ask you for a certain amount. There’s honestly so much to absorb in this game and while we’d love to go over every item that you’ll encounter, we’ll let you go on the adventure to uncover them and determine their uses.

If you have too much of the same item, you can hop on over to the shop vendor and dismantle them so that you can then use those attributes to enchant your current weapons. By doing so you buff your items making them stronger, and this also applies to your clothing as well. The more you buff, the more perks you receive such as faster HP regeneration or an increase in defense.

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The battle mode is pretty much what you’d expect from any Tales game but they’ve decided to call it the ‘Liberation -LMBS’ which basically means you’re able to move freely around the battlefield and approach the enemy in whichever way you like. This freedom is perhaps one of the better selling points of Tales of Berseria because, unlike in Zestiria where things just didn’t feel right in many aspects, battles and exploration feel a lot more concrete. We encourage you to try out some cool combos on your own once you dive deep into the game, it’s definitely worth it! Always remember to constantly upgrade your weapons and equipment because these monsters don’t fool around, especially during specific encounters like ‘Risky Encounters’ where enemy attacks are much stronger and you deal with a larger group.

Cooking | Expeditions | Fashion | Misc.

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Moving onto the other areas of the game, one of the newer aspects of Tales of Berseria is that you can now cook and go on expeditions, which allow you to discover rare items that you can sell to make some extra Gald. It’s great because you can simply just press a button and your ship will do whatever it needs to do, and you can continue to focus on the adventure ahead.

Cooking is perhaps one of the more vital features because battles grow intense as you progress further in the story, so having the ability to cook items automatically after a battle is a huge plus. The game offers you the choice of whether you want to have the items automatically cooked after each battle, or you doing it manually. We tried out both ways and found that it really depends on the situation you’re in because if you run out of a certain item the automatic cooking feature stops. If you do it manually, you can keep track of what items you need and go searching for them.

Finding items in this game are very easy so long as you explore as much as possible. If you’re anything like us who love collecting everything we see, then there won’t be any shortage of important items. However, if you’re just trying to run through the game and not really soak in all of the wonderful scenery and hidden items scattered throughout the map, perhaps the overall experience may not be fulfilling. We really do encourage players to get out there and collect as much as you can because not only will it help you later in the story, but you can level up your team faster by taking everything to the shop and dismantling them. We had a ton of Gald but nothing to buy with it, because we leveled up our characters perhaps a little too fast, but again we didn’t have an issue with that because we just saved Gald for buying Apple Gels and Life Bottles.

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Fashion is another little-added bonus to Tales of Berseria where throughout the game you’ll collect fashion items either through battle encounters or treasure chests. These are only for aesthetic purposes and don’t really buff your character in any way, but it allows you to personalize each character to your own liking making the overall adventure feel more like your own. The selection of fashion items felt lacking in comparison to the abundance of random items you’d come across during battle, but this isn’t Elder Scrolls by any means. The character customization is just a nice perk for fans who want to dress up their characters and have a little fun. We already mentioned this but we think it deserves mention again, it’s that the voice acting and dialogue in the game really make the gameplay feel more satisfying. It’s full of humor, sadness and every other degree of emotion you can think of which just takes everything to another level.

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

Tales of Berseria is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor because it takes everything that was lacking in Zestiria and refines it beautifully with polished graphics, better performance both in battle and outside of battle while throwing in some added features to entice you. The game is pretty standard in terms of length, which is roughly 25-30 hours or so. Going through the entire game collecting every item and also playing through the harder difficulties will net you around 40-50+ hours which is real solid. Running at a smooth 60FPS felt extremely good and being able to use the PS4’s Dualshock controller on Steam made the experience even more delightful. As we stated in some of the earlier paragraphs, we wish there could’ve been more in terms of customizing your character a bit more along with a few other things but these don’t really take away from the full experience so it’s nothing to complain about.
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Honey's Pros:

  • Glorious 60FPS on PC.
  • 50+ hour long gameplay if you really put time into it.
  • Wonderful story.
  • Excellent Tutorials.
  • Awesome animations and cutscenes.

Honey's Cons:

  • Linear gameplay might turn some people off.
  • Limited character customization features.

Honey's Final Verdict:

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Tales of Berseria is one JRPG title you don’t want to miss out on because despite its linear gameplay, which is traditionally part of the genre and the Tales series in general, the game still allows you to wander around and take in the lush environments, wonderful storytelling, and action packed battles you’ll encounter throughout the game. This is surely a tale you’ll want to pick up and read. If you’ve played through Berseria let us know what you thought of the game in the comments below, and if you haven’t then let us know what you’re looking forward to! Be sure to follow us on social media and share your insights there as well!

As always, for all things sweet, with news straight from Japan, be sure to keep it locked here on Honey’s Anime.

Rob

Editor/Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

100% Vegan. A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and join me on Discord! Take care!

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