Tales of Berseria Review: The Game For Every JRPG Fan

Tales of Berseria Review

Platform: PS4, Steam

Publisher: Bandai Namco

Release Date: January 24th, 2017

In a genre permeated with the new generation growing weary of traditional JRPGs, the Tales series has remained steadfast. Despite the clamor for open world environments, the series has attempted to update it’s style while staying true to its roots. Tales of Zestiria was a step in the right direction but fell short with fans. I brought Zestiria, the collectors edition in fact, and while there weren’t any egregious errors, I just didn’t care enough to finish the game. Tales of Berseria, set 1000 years before Zestiria, is a return to form for every JRPG fan.

Disclaimer: This review may contain some light spoilers for early parts of the game.


“Everything is worth watching and discovering to learn more about the characters and the world”.

Story is Dynamic Dark and Engaging

Velvet's Demon Arm
Image Credit: https://www.playstation.com/en-us/games/tales-of-berseria-ps4/

The story follows the adventures of Velvet, a once doting sister turned vengeful demon. After a certain event unfolds in the first hour of the game, she is exiled to a jail cell for 3 years. In that time she has snacked on demons and had plenty of time to plot her revenge. With the help of her brother in laws Malakhim Seres, she escapes from the jail picking up the beginning of her rag tag group of companions. Mind you, this is only 2 hrs or so into the game and the world unfolds from here. It is easy to take this story at surface value but stick with it and you won’t be disappointed.

The story is told through the series staples skits, anime cut scenes and in game cut scenes. Everything is worth watching and discovering to learn more about the characters and the world. If you played Zestiria or watched the anime there are many call backs. Players will be able to see how the names and lore have changed. For example Malakhim are Seraphs that are able to be seen by the general population after the events of the prologue. Why did things revert? The game will explain it.

Berseria’s Characters Are Awesome

Tales of Berseria Party
Image Caption: https://www.playstation.com/en-us/games/tales-of-berseria-ps4/

This game follows the traditional scope for JRPG tropes. The only outlier may be Velvet because she is the anti hero to Zestiria’s Sorrey. She is selfish, arrogant, single minded in her revenge with no remorse. For some that has been a turn off but for me it is refreshing. One of the themes of the game is reason versus emotions. The characters are battling this dichotomy through out the game and it’s intriguing to see how it manifests itself in each one.

The skits and side quests help to further flesh out the characters, their motives and growth. If you’re a side quest skipper I wouldn’t suggest it for this game because you may miss things. You won’t miss anything major and important things are reiterated in the main quest so never fear. There have been some conversation about the English voice acting but I found it fine. Players have the option to change it before they start every save so test it out.

Music and World Building is Perfect

Environments in Tales of Berseria
Image Credit: https://www.playstation.com/en-us/games/tales-of-berseria-ps4/

Full disclosure, I’m not a fan of open world games. But this game seems to get the formula just right. With the inclusion of fast travel and items to lower enemy encounters players can travel the world unhindered if they choose to. The world is colorful, big and littered with random items and treasure chests. Early in the game players are tasked with finding various Katz by collecting Katz orbs that are everywhere. Opening these chests are easy especially if you go on foot.

Katz and Orbs
image credit: www.Gamona.de.com

The environments are not repetitive and reflect the region they are located. Hellwaus is an icy cold climate so there is snow everywhere, the NPCS are wearing parkas and the enemies tend to be colored in deep blues. The area music tends to be light giving the area personality. The whole thing flows and fits for each place characters visit.

Quality of Life Changes For Everyone

tales of berseria options menu
image credit: https://www.pcinvasion.com/tales-of-berseria-pc-technical-review

Players can customize every part of their game play experience at will. I mentioned the voice acting can be changed at the beginning of every game. The games battle difficulty can be changed in game at any time. When the game starts the sound came from my controller and TV. That can be changed at will as well. The skits can now be skipped through to help the time pass quickly. If there is a side conversation available the NPCS have a green exclamation point above their head. This even counts for staying at the Inn so players no longer need to waste Gil to not miss scenes.

I mentioned the Katz chests above but these chests also contain the costumes for the characters. One of my gripes was being nickeled and dimed for these, and you can still buy them, but there are more in game options.

Not So Great:

Skits May Be Too Long and Too Plentiful

Berseria Skits
Image Caption: http://www.dualshockers.com/2016/09/14/tales-of-berseria-gets-lovely-1080p-screenshots-in-english-and-new-trailer/

This is an odd complaint since I said this is a good thing about the game. Sometimes you want to get from A to B and you’re unable to do that because the game will stop you for conversation. When it does it can appear to be long winded especially if the skit is comedic. While it’s awesome for character building it can be annoying for players that want to grind away.

It’s Hard To Get Ingredients For Cooking

TOB cooking menu
image credit: http://www.abyssalchronicles.com/tales-of/tales-of-berseria

Cooking is always one of my favorite things in the Tales series but they made it more complicated. There is a basic recipe that players can easily buy and find ingredients for but some others require an extra step. Players will need to use the ship exploration to find new recipes and ingredients for those recipes. The game keeps track of where you get them but you have to wait a 30 minutes to get it. Even then, those ingredients are RNG based so you may not get what you need. As you travel to different locales foraging for the stuff in dungeons and the environment may help but I just want to buy it.

The Battle System Is Fun But May Be Broken

“At this point, I can probably perform Power Ranger call outs of all Eizen and Magilou’s Mystic Arts”.

Battle System
image caption: https://www.playstation.com/en-us/games/tales-of-berseria-ps4/

I wasn’t a fan of Armitization in Zestiria. I wanted to see all my characters on screen and didn’t want powerful spells locked behind combining. They did away with that system in Berseria. However, Velvet has the potential to allow players to button mash and strong arm their way through the mobs with no real strategy or skill. For example, when she is in her demon form she can’t be killed but her health is ticking down faster the longer she is in the stance. This quirk can be exploitable if you know what you’re doing.

The way the game tries to explain the battle system can be a bit confusing and overwhelming as well. Luckily the help tab is easily accessible for review at any time for pointers. Artes are still here in their Tales glory but when your other characters perform them there is no way to shorten or skip the sequence. At this point, I can probably perform Power Ranger call outs of all Eizen and Magilou’s Mystic Arts. It may be annoying for some players but I can tune it out.

Enhancements, Dismantling and Mastering Skills Can be Overwhelming

Tales of Berseria weapon system
Image Credit: https://www.playstation.com/en-us/games/tales-of-berseria-ps4/

I’ve used this system for the characters weapons and I’m still not sure what I’m doing. The game will throw repetitive sets of gear at you but each one may have a unique extra skill attached. The characters can permanently learn the skill that each piece of weapon/armor contains after their earn enough experience for it. What that means is that characters may have on a low level piece of gear even if a better one has come along until said skill is mastered.

This has become more of an issue for me as later party members trickled in. There were sets of gear that I dismantled that may have had skills for them to learn. Players will either, not worry about it, save sets of gear until they get a whole party or re-buy old sets of gear to have the party member learn skills later on. I went with the save set option once I figured out the pattern. The one bright side is that there does not seem to be a limit for the amount of items and armor you can carry so horde away.

Exploration and Hide Out Are Underwhelming

Exploration in Berseria
Image Caption: http://www.dualshockers.com/2016/09/14/tales-of-berseria-gets-lovely-1080p-screenshots-in-english-and-new-trailer/

I mentioned the exploration when it comes to recipes but it serves another purpose. Players can find extra outfits, rare sell-able items and special items that provide lore for the world through exploration. Players will have to send the ship out constantly at 30 minute intervals to unlock additional islands. This feature while interesting didn’t add much to the experience. Another feature was the introduction of a hide out players will acquire for story reasons. There is no way to customize the building at all which is a let down. Since players can already get costumes from exploration, incorporating furniture in the finds may have helped make it feel more like home.

Menus Make The World Go Round

Tales of Berseria menu

Most JRPGS have menus in it. It comes with the genre and it is to be expected. This game just appears to have an abundance. There are so many tabs that the game makes fun of you and gives players a title for it. The good thing is that they are easy to sort through and manage to stay organized.

Nope I Don’t Like This At All

“I had to train myself to look in that corner at all times in fears of missing a skit or wasting valuable exploration time”.

Why Are the Notifications There?

I have virtually no complaints about this game except for one thing, the placement of notifications. In the lower right hand side there are two icons, one for when your exploration ship returns and when a skit is available. The exploration icon is a gray white ship that is kind of easy to spot. The skit icon is a green outline of a person and the name of the skit doesn’t always stay active. I missed this entirely for the first 2 hours of the game. Mainly because a lot of the environments have blend-able backgrounds like grass. I had to train myself to look in that corner at all times in fears of missing a skit or wasting valuable exploration time.

Who Is This Game For?

Tales of BerseriaDisclaimer: Since this is my first review for the site I will say that I do not care for traditional review scores and will instead recommend if this game is worth the time of the player.

This game is for JRPG enthusiasts who want some comfort food. In the vein of I Am Setsuna, Tales of Berseria scratches an itch that Final Fantasy 15 left wanting. If players are into story, character development, free extras and plenty of game modes to challenge themselves with this is a good fit. It is worth the 60 dollar launch price and if you were like me, the Collector’s Edition provides some great goodies as well.

Have you played Tales of Berseria? What did you think of the game? Did you have some of the same likes and dislikes? Let us know in the comments section.

5 Things You Should Know About Tales of Berseria

Tales of Berseria

I just loaded up the collectors edition on January 24th, 2017 when it dropped. I’m only about 6 hours in but I felt compelled to say a few things about the game. Tales of Zestiria left a bad taste in the mouths of fans from the series, mine included. I didn’t finish the game because something felt off from the opening menu. There was a controversy surrounding the game that didn’t help. In any case, here are 5 things you should know about Tales of Berseria.

1. It’s More Linear Than Zestiria

Linear in the sense that the Xillia series was linear. Zestiria suffered from being open world just for the sake of it. The world was colorful but bright and empty. The open areas of the map give the illusion of openness but not quite. I like having a clear direction to travel and the world being open for the sake of it has not been appealing for me personally

2. A Controversial Scene Was Removed

There was talk of a controversial scene in the very beginning of the game. I’m not going to spoil it but there is a video that highlights the part that was changed. The scene occurs very early in the game and the company promises that nothing else was changed in the US/EU release. That is evident by the skimpy attire that Velvet, the main character, runs around in. I love her outfit but of course there is always the option to change her clothes as you find more costumes.

3. Tales of Berseria’s Story Is Dark

The prologue sets the tone for the game. Since I just started I can’t say how it will end. But I can tell you that Velvet takes “by any means necessary” very seriously. The game made sure to let you know that this was not the typical “feel good” story. Zestiria tries to make the player feel like the journey is justified while Berseria does not hold your hand. A lot of the actions Velvet and company take have real life consequences to the people around you.

4. The Battle System Is Fun

They fixed the camera! Thank god because that was a hot mess in Zestiria. The main character Velvet can be very OP though once u figure out how it works. I have been using Velvet as my main attacker and all of her moves are connected to the face buttons on the Dualshock controller. It has been great watching her move across the screen in a flurry of kicks and punches. In addition her demon arm adds an exciting elements to the battle.

5. The Characters Are Great

I love that the main protagonist is not the traditional hero. Rokuro is my new husband. Their personalities shine through in the skits and various conversations held in the over world. Magilou is the designated comic relief and she was a joy so far in the journey. I can’t wait to see how all of their stories conclude in the end. Side note don’t forget to download the free dlc on PSN that contains additional skits.
Have you tried Tales of Berseria? How do you like it so far? Is it better than the Zestiria? Let us know in the comments.

5 JRPGS Gamers Should Look Forward To in 2017

JRPGS Gamers

2017 just started but this generations consoles are finally hitting their stride for Japanese Role Playing Games or JRPGs. Due to the nature and length of these games it’s no surprise that they take a while to show up. Games in this genre can be text heavy, story driven, world traversing and expansive quests that steal hours away from the player. Which is a good thing! There are many niche titles coming out but for the sake of this article I will only mention the 5 JRPGS that gamers should look forward to in 2017.

Disclaimer: The games that I will mention in this article can be found on PS4 or Vita and are scheduled to come out this year. These games are in no specific order so take the numbering with a grain of salt.

Persona 5

persona 5
Image retrieved via wikipedia

Release Date: April 4th 2017
System: PS3, PS4

Released in Japan in September 2016 then delayed into 2017 for the rest of us Persona is my most anticipated game. This game has garnered great reception in Japan so I’m expecting the same here. With the stylish graphics and traditional turn based combat this will scratch the itch that I’ve been waiting for.

Players familiar with the Persona series can anticipate the game diving deep into the psyches of the protagonists to unravel an intricate mystery. This game does not shy away from mature themes which makes it more appealing to an older audience. The setting of this game is in present day Japan which is a departure for the series.

Danganronpa V3 Killing Harmony

Danganronpa V3
Image retrieved via wikipedia

Release Date: TBD 2017
System: PS4, PS Vita

While not a JRPG this game is a hit in the making. Danganronpa got its start on the PS Vita trying to find its audience and it succeeded. This 3rd iteration will deal with a brand new cast of characters so playing the older titles is not required. But if gamers wants to experience the old games they are releasing the previous titles on the PS4 this year.

This game takes a Phoenix Wright style approach to solving cases but add in some high school drama and murder you have Danganronpa. Lead by the mascot Monokuma, the mischievous bear guides the Ultimates to their doom or salvation.

Tales of Berseria

Tales of Berseria
image retrieved via wikipedia

Release Date: Jan 24th, 2017
System: PS4

This year is the anniversary for this franchise and they are bringing it in style. While Tales of Zestria was disappointing to some long term fans, this game promises a return to form. Already censored in the West from the opening credits, this game has a darker more mature story to tell.

This Tales games follows the adventures of Velvet as she seeks revenge for the death of her younger brother. Cursed with a demon arm that devours their souls, she will cut a bloody path across the world. She picks up some rag tag companions along the way so it will be interesting to see her growth. This game is full of all the Tales staples like anime cut scenes, cooking, skits and comprehensive character development. This game is an exciting entry for the series.

Trails of Cold Steel 3

Rean ToCS3
image retrieved via Siliconera

Release Date: Fall/Winter 2017?
System: PS4

God bless XSEED for bringing over these titles. From the initial screens it seems as if it is coming out exclusively for the PS4 which would be a shame since I enjoyed the others on the Vita. Playing the first 2 entries will probably be a prerequisite but the game does provide a glossary to catch up new players. The game will be releasing in Japan fall 2017 so we can only hope that we will see it later this year too.

This game will continue the adventures of Rean and company as they continue to defend their country. Set a year after they graduate from the academy, the crew has set on their separate paths to find their own purpose. I anticipate that choices from the first 2 games will impact the narrative like the others before. Players can expect more of the same with some slight changes but if it isn’t broke why fix it?

Utawarerumono Mask of Deception and Truth

Image retrieved via wikipedia

Release Date: Spring 2017
System: PS4, PS Vita

A surprise release for this strategy JRPG was recently announced. This is a game that I dreamed would get localized but was slowly losing hope for due to the content involved. The people at Atlus are doing God’s work. This game has recently had an anime based off of the narrative that can be viewed via Crunchyroll at the time of this writing.

Following the adventures of amnesiac protagonist, Haku, he wakes up in a village after he is rescued by Kuon. The game is populated with animal human hybrids so it will be interesting to see the combinations come to together. The plot revolves around Haku developing a team of strong women and becoming unwittingly involved in the political plights of the nation.

All in all, 2017 is shaping up to be a great year for gaming and definitely a great year for JRPG fans. My wallet and time can’t take all of the titles coming but I will try to experience these great titles. Are you a JRPG fan? Are any of these titles on your list? Let us know in the comments.