Tales of Berseria on PS4
Tales of Berseria is cut from a bit of a different cloth than most games in the series. It doesn’t feature the happy go lucky tale of friendship that we’re used to, instead opting for a much darker tone in terms of both story and character. Luckily, this proves to be great change of pace for the series, along with a few other tweaks to gameplay.
Tales of Berseria actually takes place in the same world as the previous game, Tales of Zestiria, but is set in the distant past. Because of this fans will see some commonalities and links, yet it’s a game that stands completely on its own. The story revolves around a young girl named Velvet who lives a quiet life in a small town. After a terrible event takes place, her entire life is taken away from her, causing her to want nothing more than revenge against the man that ruined everything.
Even with just the basic setup, Tales of Berseria adopts a much darker tone than normal. Bad things have happened to the world and Velvet, hardening her and making her emotionally cold. Even though she’s much different from most protagonists, Velvet manages to be one of the most memorable main characters from the series in a while. Her tale is definitely tragic, and you can understand her plight, even if her methods are questionable. Despite this, she manages to grow and become more than just the vengeance filled hero.
This extends to the rest of the party, who each have some kind of troubled past, or sizable character flaw. More than any other Tales game I’ve played, Berseria’s ensemble cast really is a ragtag group of characters. You have Eizen the pirate who bears something called the Reaper’s Curse, which eternally gives him bad luck in just about everything. Magilou is a witch that keeps her secrets to herself, instead putting off an eccentric air and over the top personality. These are just two examples, but the rest of the party all has their own history, hangups, and flaws.
The actions the party takes during the story differs from the norm as well, as you don’t get your bright-eyed protagonists who want to save the world. Throughout the story your characters are doing things that aren’t exactly seen as “good.” They lie, steal, kill, and more to achieve their objectives. Of course, their end goal is noble, but Tales of Berseria’s story is more about moral grays than the battle of good versus evil.
This honestly ends up being a refreshing direction for the Tales series to take, especially as the cast grows and changes through the turmoil. Each party member is incredibly fleshed out, and becomes increasingly more likable as you see more about their personality. Of course, there’s still plenty of fun to be had even with the darker story, as Berseria has the Tales series trademark quirkiness.
Fully voiced and animated skits flesh out the characters better than ever before, and there are tons of NPCs to talk to in order to learn more about the world and story. There are also tons of different costumes and attachments you can use to dress up your characters in fun ways. It’s certainly not a short game either, as the main story will take you nearly 60 hours not to mention side content. There’s a ton of sidequests, optional monster battles, and minigames to partake in. There’s even a new option in the menu called “Expedition,” that lets you send out ships to explore different parts of the world, and bring items back. It’s a quick an easy distraction, but feels rewarding when you find a rare item.