Welcome to my Tales Of Vesperia Definitive Edition Review. The thought of playing a JRPG brings back memories of growing up and playing the classics from the Final Fantasy series. Games from the Final Fantasy series will forever be burned into my memory, they had such an impact on not just people’s gaming preferences but people’s lives aswell. They helped form friendships that last to this day. The reason I’m reminiscing (banging on about the past) here is that when people or other blogs mention the classic RPG’s, that are tagged as ‘must play’ the Tales franchise is often missed out and I’m not sure why!
Time for a brief history lesson then. The Tales franchise of games will be 30 years old in 2025! Tales of Vesperia itself is over 13 years old now. It was originally an Xbox 360 game, and an exclusive game at that. Microsoft wanted to enter into the JRPG market and gain some traction in Japan, so Vesperia was born.
If you’re unfamiliar with the game franchise, that wouldn’t surprise me as it’s not spoken about the same as the behemoths of the JRPG genre. And, to me at least, that’s a bit unfair. The entire Tales series is worth working your way through and coming top of the list of best among them is Tales of Vesperia. It’s widely critiqued as being the best of the bunch and in my opinion, it most definitely is.
Enter Tales Of Vesperia: Definitive Edition on PS4 and PC. It’s the re-release of that 13 year old game and it comes complete with additional content. When we talk about additional content, this isn’t just some cop-out. They haven’t just added a bit of DLC or a handful of new weapons. They’ve made a really good effort at pushing as much additional content as possible for the Definitive Edition. You’ll get additional playable characters, stories, updated graphics and more.
Tales Of Vesperia Definitive Edition Review
Tales Of Vesperia is set in the world of Terca Lumireis. This world uses uses an energy source called blastia for all its needs, including creating protective barriers around its cities. The story focuses on Yuri Lowell, a former Imperial soldier who forms a guild called Brave Vesperia to aid Estelle, a noble woman he encounters on a mission. As they explore the world, Brave Vesperia are challenged by factions who have different plans related to the abuse of blastia resources, and Yuri is forced to confront his friend and former comrade Flynn.
The game installation files on PC were around 20GB, this installed quite quickly, download servers are well maintained! Upon launching the game I was greeted with a fantastic introduction. It set’s up the game perfectly and introduces you to some important characters and describes elements of the world you’ll be playing in. I really liked that they did this as it helped build a bit of hype around what was to come. It also enabled me to get to grips with the game’s graphics aswell. The introduction is swift and drops you straight into dialogue between you (Yuri) and Ted. Ted is alarmed that the Aque Blastia is broken again. So you and Ted head off to check it out.
This gave me the chance to check out the controls and fluidity of character movements. I normally game with an Xbox Controller (don’t judge me!) but I found it really easy to get to grips with the mouse and keyboard controls in the first few minutes of the opening stages of the game.
Movement is super smooth and controlled, Yuri moved exactly where I expected him to move and the input was instant without any jittering or lag at all. A few remakes I’ve played in the past have suffered from a bit of input lag. It’s like the game devs didn’t account for the improved hardware performance of an older game designed for older technology being played on newer systems. But Tales of Vesperia doesn’t suffer from this issue, which is great!
Traversing the world of Terca Lumireis is simple and exploring other areas often results in being rewarded with a treasure chest or two. The locations I stumbled across were both memorable and exciting and the rewards in those chests lets you customise your characters with plenty of different competencies using the built in skills system. Adding those boosts / skills is a really straightforward process and is actually effective. I recently reviewed The Caligula Effect, and the addition of character skills in that title was practically pointless. It’s great to see skills have an actual effect to in-game character performance.
Speaking of exploration, the in-game map that aids you on your travels is a bit old hat, I guess the inclusion of a mini-map in the bottom right hand corner of the screen was overlooked when they were working on the re-make. It would have been a much welcome addition in my view.
For the review I ploughed roughly 6 hours into this game; during those hours dialogue between characters was, for the most part perfectly fine. There were just a few awkward patches of dialogue where it just felt like script didn’t quite fit the overall arc of the conversation. I’m not sure if it was due to it being translated from Japanese to English, or if a last minute change to the script was made. It’s only a minor issue and it didn’t bug me that much, but I thought it worth including in the interest of openness and honesty.
Tales Of Vesperia is firmly set apart from it’s competitors by it’s unique look and feel. You could almost describe it as having a unique personality. If I didn’t know any better I’d think the main characters are best suited toward being the villains rather than the heroes. They’re almost a band of misfits. But, they all have those human traits that we as gamers find solace in. They’re all just looking for their place in the world and who could argue against wanting to know where you fit in?
I’m going to say it. Yuri, is one of the best characters I’ve had the pleasure of playing. He’s up there with the likes of Cloud or Squall. I really liked playing with Yuri and I’m still baffled as to why Tales games aren’t held in the same regard as the FF ones.
It wouldn’t be a RPG review if we didn’t talk about the battle system and how combat’s played out. At first I didn’t really like the combat system. It feels a little bit sluggish and not as fluid as the generic character movement whilst moving about. It feels a little old and a bit muted. This is another area which I feel could have had an ever so slight tweak to bring it up to modern standards. I’d like to have a fast paced battle that’s thrilling and gets me excited. The thing is though, it’s quite tactical, you can’t just button bash and expect to win.
The tactical approach to battle actually works well. The game’s focussed on using lots and lots of combination attacks. You need to approach your battles in a methodical way and it can take a bit of time to get to grips with it. You’ll need to attack the enemy but at the same time be ready to defend yourself, because counter attacks come quickly and you can be sometimes left defenseless unless your reactions are timed just right.
Early boss fights are really quite difficult and that can be an issue if you’ve not boosted your characters abilities. If you’re struggling, go a grind a bit more and improve and then come back to it. It’s not too grind heavy and you can quickly acquire a wide array of powerful special moves and combos to use at your discretion.
Overall the battle system can be rewarding, just spend a bit of time getting used to it and you’ll grow to love it, just as I have.
In comparison to the original the greatest or I guess the most obvious change to the Definitive Edition is the upgraded visuals. Having the entirety of the graphical assets remastered must have taken a while. Vesperia looks aged but I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s aged like a fine wine and gives off a subtle vintage vibe that I think is so endearing.
The character designs are fairly simple but they have individual mannerisms. The available accessories for each character have been well designed and are unique to each personality trait. The only thing I thought was a little bit of a let down was the attack sequences. The animations look stiff but it’s not a deal break. It’s still a great-looking game and the remaster has been well worked. Another saving grace is that is also plays at 60fps, so as I mentioned it’s silky smooth!
One of my faves! It’s up there with the Kingdom Hearts soundtrack as being one of the best OST’s. It fits the theme and content of the game so well. I think the best track on the sound track is probably ‘A vow of Unity’. It sets the theme of the town just perfectly, it’s the perfect song for the guilds too. It’s gritty, dark but always forward moving and never lingering. Which also, coincidentally contrasts perfectly with the noble quarters theme.
I’ve included a YouTube video below of the best music from Tales Of Vesperia Definitive Edition.
Summary and Verdict
In my humble opinion this is definitely up there as being one of the best RPG’s I’ve played in recent years. The remake and remastering ensures that it doesn’t look too dated. And the fairly modern gameplay tweaks makes this a fantastic option if you’re in need of a game to play. Is it worth the £35.00 asking price though? If you play through it on Hard you’ll put enough hours into it to get your money’s worth. You’ll get 50+ easily. If money is tight, you can opt to get it from somewhere like CDKEYS.
There’s often talk in gaming communities about the lack of original games and the need for new titles. But when you have games like Tales of Vesperia being re-made you can’t help but hope developers continue to re-master classic titles and release them as a Definitive Edition. Tales Of Vesperia: Definitive Edition does just that. It brings easily the best Tales game to modern gaming systems. More than ten years have passed since it’s first release, Vesperia deserves more credit than that. It’s a pretty much classic Japanese RPG, and one that still, to this day keeps up with it’s competition thanks to a great team of developers and original story.
Other Games In The Tales Series (Steam Store)
There are currently, at the time of writing 4 Tales games available to buy from the Steam Store. They’re all available for immediate download. It’d be great if all of them were made available, but here are the games you can play on PC for now:
- Tales Of Vesperia
- Tales Of Symphonia
- Tales Of Berseria
- Tales Of Zestiria
All The Tales Games
And, here is the full list of games in the series. There are so many!
- Tales Of Phantasia
- Tales Of Destiny
- Tales Of Eternia
- Tales Of Destiny 2
- Tales Of Symphonia
- Tales Of Rebirth
- Tales Of Legendia
- Tales Of The Abyss
- Tales Of Innoncence
- Tales Of Vesperia
- Tales Of Graces
- Tales Of Xilla
- Tales Of Xillia 2
- Tales Of Zestiria
- Tales Of Berseria
- Tales Of Arise
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The copy of the game used in order to write our Tales Of Vesperia Definitive Edition Review was paid for by us.