Monday, December 8, 2008

Review: "Tales of Vesperia"

There's nothing much to gripe about this game really. While I was thinking that JRPGs are on a decline (or rather, a dead genre), I decided to borrow this game from John. Tales of Vesperia is probably the epitome of today's JRPGs. Since 1997's FFVII, there hasn't been many JRPGs that can bring a story that captivates the player. Many remember the legendary JRPGs like Chrono Trigger, Suikoden II, FF4, 6, 7,Tales of Eternia, Tales of Destiny. At first I thought it was perhaps nostalgia, but Tales of Vesperia proved me wrong.

Packaged with the cleanest cell-shading graphics I've ever seen, very memorable characters (playable and non-playable alike), a polished combat system (haven't played Tales of Abyss to compare but anyway), the Tales series have come a long way with Namco. Many JRPGs just focus on graphics and end up having really shitty story (*cough*Lost Odyssey*cough*). Some even have main characters that you don't even feel like playing. I know that most game developers love to do something new, but sometimes, they don't have to go overboard and try a new unexperienced model that has a high chance of rejection. Instead they can just revise a working formula.

As for Tales of Vesperia, Yuri is one of the best, if not the best, main character I have ever played. He has done some unexpected things that makes him so awesome. Not only that, Yuri has managed to stay in his character from the start to the finish. What I mean by that? I meant Yuri at the ending is the same Yuri I know that the beginning, with only a few changes. One bad example is FFVIII's Squall. I don't know wtf happened to him at Disc 3 where he suddenly turned mushy. Players don't like drastic change in character without a good proper reason.

For once, random encounters are actually fun. I remembered clear falling asleep while playing Tales of Legendia. I mean, I can actually do combos. Fatal Strike is just too fun to activate to me.

The plot, like all Tales games, is to save the world. Of course, one can't judge an RPG by its ultimate goal, but by its route towards that goal. ToV has it's fair share of plot twists...a couple of them that makes you squeal and go wtf (in a good way). I don't think I have ever seen that in any JRPG (maybe when Crono died in Chrono Trigger).

The bottom line is: All JRPG developers should take a look at ToV and try to understand why it is hailed by some as the best Tales game ever made, and possibly, imho, one of the best JRPGs ever created. JRPG writers (espacially you Suckaguchi) should learn that it is mostly the memorable characters that makes a RPG so great. Rethink back into past JRPGs. Sephiroth, Luca Blight, Kefka, Magus, Frog, Kain, Delita, Gafgarion, Fei, Citan, Grahf. Those are JRPG characters of the past. Nowadays we have wat...Seymour? Gangora? C'mon please...

I don't think I can think of enough praise for this game. I'll even consider giving it a 10/10, but it has lousy villains. It's kinda weird actually...that you play through 3/4 into game and only just discovered who the sub-villain is.

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