Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition, Nintendo Switch

Anyone who’s been reading my blog so far, or who follows me on Twitter, will know that I’m a sucker for a good JRPG. It is with shame then that the Tales series had completely passed me by. When Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition was released on Switch earlier this year, I knew that it was the perfect opportunity to give the series a try.

Set in a land reliant on an ancient technology called blastia to keep them safe, Tales of Vesperia‘s epic story has everything from journeys of personal discovery and love interests to politics and war. And inevitably, when a force appears that threatens existence itself, it’s up to our heroes to defeat it and save the world.

Screenshot from Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition, showing eight of the nine party members lined up together

And what a group of heroes they are. Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition has nine playable characters in all, each with their own unique personalities. From Yuri the rebellious former knight and Estelle the princess, to Patty the amnesiac pirate and even Repede the dog, this is one of the most varied party line-ups I’ve come across in pretty much any JRPG I’ve played.

We get to know these characters really well, with the wealth of dialogue between them, especially in the optional dialogue scenes that play out as talking heads. The writing in these is funny and brings the relationships between the team to life in a way that’s deeper than in many games.

Dialogue scene showing conversation between Yuri and Estelle. Sat between them is Repede, the dog. Estelle is asking, 'Yuri, is this dog yours?'

These cut scenes are also incredibly expressive, which is indicative of the beautiful art style deployed throughout. Everything looks stunning: from locations to characters, the world is vibrant and very much alive.

Occasionally, the art style is taken to its logical peak with stunningly beautiful animé-style cut scenes, like the one below. The only disappointment with these scenes is that there are so few of them, because they take Tales of Vesperia‘s storytelling to a truly great level.

With a world and story as vast as Tales of Vesperia‘s, the only question remaining is how the game plays. This is where I can see the only real downside in the game. Battles play out using the ‘Linear Motion Battle System’, which the trademark system of the Tales games.

It’s an action based system, and unfortunately that means I found it meant far too much button-mashing for my tastes. The combat often felt like a trial to be got through rather than a hugely enjoyable part of my experience of Tales of Vesperia.

Screenshot from Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition. The shot is taken during battle, showing Yuri, Estelle and Repede fighting enemies

Thankfully, this didn’t stop me enjoying Tales of Vesperia. There’s so much else to admire in the game. The story, characters and art-style all made for an experience I won’t forget.

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