In an age where the JRPG is an increasingly rare commodity and even his majesty Final Fantasy XV attempts a partial westernization, here is that the constants of the genre acquire considerable value for the numerous enthusiasts; among these we certainly find Level 5 and Square Enix which, despite some small missteps, still manage to keep alive the increasingly nostalgic community of Japanese role-playing fanatics. Although some gems spread over the years are also released by the very talented Monoliths of the series Xenoblade and Mistwalker of the master Sakaguchi, here is probably Bandai Namco earns the third step of the podium with one of its most famous series: we are talking about Tales of, a decade-long videogame brand started on SNES with the never forgotten Tales of Phantasia and reached PS4 with the newborn Tales of Berseria, a title that we are going to analyze in this exhaustive review. Will Hideo Baba's new title make it through this important test? Let's find out together!
Maturity I had taken you before ...
Tales of Berseria is exactly a prequel to Zestiria, good title released on PS4 now about a year ago. This means that he will share the world and the divinities of the latter, but it will not be absolutely necessary to have played Zestiria to fully learn the events of Berseria: on the contrary, the attentive and experienced player will find some inconsistencies in the narrative plot, inconsistencies that will be resolved. as the interesting story continues. Unlike the other chapters of the brand we will have a female figure as the absolute protagonist for the first time: we present the wonderful Velvet Crowe, splendid undisputed figure to whom all the events of the title revolve. The girl of just nineteen is the victim of a cruel fate, as her brother-in-law has snatched her only affection from her hands and locked her in a sinister prison at the mercy of sadistic jailers; is in this time frame, lasted more than 3 years, that Velvet became a Therion, a demon who feeds on similar entities and sated only by the taste of blood. The attractive girl, forced every day to face monsters and demons and eat them to survive, has in fact abandoned every ideal and sentiment in this terrible period, becoming a being moved exclusively by the desire for revenge towards Artorius; revenge that will allow her to escape from terrible captivity and embark on a journey full of violence and drama in search of her maximum purpose.
Tales of Berseria therefore abandons the stereotypes of the series and of the JRPG in general, which mostly prefer stories based on friendship, love and respect; the title places us in front of a much darker and above all mature story, based on moral choices that the player will be able to share or not. A captivating plot led by the splendid figure of Crowe, a decidedly unusual protagonist for a title of the genre but very successful at the same time, who will know how to get involved against the whole world in order to achieve his goals. A plot that will capture you for all the many hours that characterize it, marking a decisive turning point for the series of Tales of.
Paradoxically, the most successful aspect of Zestiria, or the combat system, is the most revised thing in this new title, with even more interesting and fun mechanics than the predecessor. From the canonical chapter of the series, Tales of Berseria offers the never obsolete Linear Motion Battle System, a combat system that has made the fortune of the Hideo Baba series. The combat has a strong action component, with our team consisting of up to 4 members who will clash with enemy forces, always avoidable and therefore visible on the screen. As usual, there will be arts and magic, powerful techniques that will allow our heroes to destroy even the most leathery entities. OIn addition to being able to change the active group members in battle, which will give no little depth especially to boss fights, the biggest innovation of the battle system is undoubtedly the addition of the Soul Bars: the latter will be available for heroes and enemies, with a maximum number of 5 bars and a starting number of 3; Soul Bars will replace the classic mana, so be prepared to spend them to chain limbs and physical attacks. The bars will be rechargeable by parrying or dodging enemy attacks, while they can be deducted thanks to attacks suffered and altered status: this makes the basic gameplay very deep, discouraging the button smashing that characterized the previous productions a little too much and making positioning fundamental. and in-game dodging, which has always been too mistreated.
But the final gem of the gameplay is undoubtedly the introduction of two devastating attacks, combined with the triggers of the PS4 pad: the Explosion Gauge and the Breakthrough Soul; while the first allows, by filling three circles thanks to attacks made and suffered, to extend the number of combos available, the Breakthrough Soul deserves a separate discussion: usable with at least full Soul Bars, this technique allows you to inflict devastating damage on the enemy, with lots of benefits for us based on the available Soul. The downside is the fact of permanently losing a Soul Bar for the current fight, giving it to the receiving target: this means that the use of this technique must be decidedly prudent, under penalty of making a boss too devastating for the whole next phase. of the fight.
Therefore, by giving a soul bar to the enemy, it will be possible to inflict absurd damage and trigger statuses such as constant regeneration or protection of physical damage: this is where practically the entire combat system revolves around. Tales of Berseria, which touches the highest point of production against the often memorable boss fights.
As you well know, Tales of Berseria is the latest title to share development with PlayStation 3; this means that the title has a cross gen nature and, like all the titles of the case, it fails to take full advantage of the enormous possibilities of the current Sony console. Comparing the title with its predecessor, however, we notice several improvements: the title now goes to 60 fps much more stable, except for some drops in some situations that are too excited, while the textures and general resolution have improved compared to the predecessor; this means that we will find denser and less bare backgrounds, as well as an improved and more varied animation sector. On the other hand, the models of the protagonists are splendid, made with a masterful cel shading, and which almost clash with the rest of the production. Despite some reused assets, the bestiary is promoted with good marks, while on the artistic side there is little to say: i Tales of they have never disappointed on that point of view, with the sector often putting a patch on some graphic flaw too many.
Small sore point the audio sector, with the veteran Motoi Sakuraba who fails to repeat the excellent work of the previous titles: with only the memorable main theme and a good number of successful tracks, we are more than sure that the audio sector has missed Masaru Go Shiina, co -partner of Sakuraba on the occasion of Zestiria. Nothing to say about longevity: to complete the main story it will take about 50 hours, which can increase exponentially given the good number of secondary tasks and optional mini games.