Tales of Berseria (Japanese: テイルズ オブ ベルセリア Hepburn: Teiruzu Obu Beruseria) is a role-playing video game developed and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Microsoft Windows. It is the sixteenth main entry in the Tales series and a spin-off/prequel of Tales of Zestiria. It was released in Japan in August 2016,and was released worldwide in January 2017.
Great story with plenty of engaging moments. Like Tales of Symphonia, the game borrows some symbols from Judeo-Christian mythology.
Six party members (Velvet, Rokurou, Laphicet, Eizen, Magilou and Eleanor), each with their own battle style, and each with their own reasons to fight the Abbey.
Velvet specializes in sleek and quick physical attacks with Martial and Hidden Artes. Being a therion, her Break Soul releases her daemonic power and allows her to devour enemies, granting her bonuses depending on the enemy.
Rokurou's attacks with Martial and Hidden Artes are fast and numerous, but deal less damage and cover a small area. His Break Soul is a counter that blocks and instantly returns the blow to the enemy.
Laphicet, being a malak, is fragile at close range, but shines at medium to long range with Hidden and Malak Artes. His Break Soul speeds up casting time and restores a set amount of health, which is divided between party member.
Eizen is able to weaken the enemy at long range with Malak Artes then getting close and finishing it with Martial Artes. His Break Soul releases his malak powers, transforming him into a dragon and allowing him to swoop across the battlefield, tossing a fireball that covers a wide area.
Magilou hits hard and covers a wide area with Hidden Artes and can attack at range with Malak Artes, but her attacks leave her open to enemy counters. Her Break Soul allows her to absorb enemy magic and reflect it back at them, depending from several parameters.
Eleanor can use her spear to launch a variety of physical attacks with Martial Artes, and can also cover other party members with Malak Artes. Her Break Soul is a spear attack that launches the enemy in the air, leaving it open to combos.
A brand new concept using a anti hero. Instead of the traditional hero concept the series has used.
The game allows you to visit the world of Tales of Zestiria in the past, and there are several references hidden in the environments and dialogue. However, you can still play the game and understand the story.
While previous Tales games had separate buttons to attack and to use Artes, in Tales of Berseria, Artes are your only means of attack, and can be stacked to form a combo. The player has a 4x4 grid where they can set Arte combos, which can then be used in battle by pressing the buttons on the controller. It's perfectly possible to switch Artes in the middle of the fight, or change your Arte combo at your pleasure, too.
At the end of every battle, you are graded based on your performance. Obtaining a high Grade will allow you to learn unique skills from your equipment (like in Tales of Graces) and purchase New Game + bonuses after beating the game once.
Your attacks are limited by the Soul Gauge (SG), which normally contains 3 souls at the start of the battle. The player can earn more by defeating enemies, inflicting status changes or stunning enemies with repeated attacks, with enemies being able to do so as well. This forces the player to elaborate strategies to win battles with ease.
The game also incorporates a weakness system: hitting an enemy with its weakness will break through his guard and start a Chain combo. Attacking more with the same element will increase the damage dealt by the combo, and increase the chance of stunning the enemy.
The game allows you to obtain abilities from pieces of equipment, like previous games in the series in the game. However, in Tales of Berseria, each piece of equipment has an ability you can learn through repeated use, as well as several skills that are unique to each piece of equipment, and even to different articles of the same piece of equipment, but can't be learned, meaning that the player has to decide carefully on his equipment so as to be ready to deal with any situation.
Aside from Velvet, there are many memorable characters like Eizen, Eleanor, Rokurou and Magilou.
The game refreshed the franchise in many ways:
Side-quests are finally marked and explained, without the need for a guide. They also take a "quality over quantity" approach, by cutting the number of side-quests, and making each one longer and more challenging.
Side-quests are now also unlocked as the story goes on, and they never expire (unlike in Tales of Vesperia).
You can instantly kill weak enemies by ramming into them with the Geoboard.
The effects of Titles in battle are properly explained, unlike in Tales of Symphonia.
Titles can also level up by performing specific tasks, which boosts their effects in battle.
The game also tells you the requirement to unlock Titles.
You can fast travel at your leisure by using an Inoph Bottle outside dungeons.
The Monster Book and Collector's Book are available right from the start.
The Log now registers viewed skits, total grade earned in battle and chests opened, giving players who go for 100% completion a much easier time.
While you can see how many chests are in an area, you aren't told how to get to them, meaning that exploration is still rewarded.
Nice anime art style.
Lots of collectibles to find.
As per tradition of the series, you can fight characters from previous games in the series, this time Milla and Jude, the protagonists of Tales of Xillia.
Funny moments, especially in the scenes after a battle and during skits. Every scene with Magilou is nearly guaranteed to result in some laughs.
Good musical score, such as the opening, BURN (by FLOW), Innominat, the Fifth Empyrean (Innominat's theme), The Way of the Embodied Dragon (the final dungeon theme) and Titania, the Prison Island (Titania's theme).
Excessive amounts of backtracking.
Enemies are often damage sponges.
Excessive amounts of padding and filler.
Velvet can be incredibly nasty and mean-spirited even by anti-hero standards.
Healing spells have very long casting times, and how they work isn't explained to the player: the amount of health restored isn't arbitrary, but based on the length of the user's Soul Gauge. Because of this, players tend to shun them and prefer to avoid attacks to save health and rely on healing items when needed (even though they lower the grade obtained at the end of the battle).
Because of Sony's censorship policies, a certain scene was changed to be less violent in all the western releases. However, the Japanese version remains uncensored.
Velvet's Break Soul reduces her health up to a minimum of 1 when it's active. You can stop this by using her Burst Arte, or by using another Break Soul on an enemy with low health to heal yourself.
Rokurou's Break Soul consumes one of his souls whenever the button is pressed, regardless of whether the attack activates, to prevent the player from endlessly spamming it.
Eizen's Flash Step arte can be used to quickly get near enemies and start combos with his physical Artes. Unlike Magilou or Laphicet, who perform better with separate combos for malak and martial/hidden Artes, he has a much better chance of inflicting ailments and stuns with mixed Malak/Martial Arte combos, allowing him to use his powerful Break Soul.
Magilou's Break Soul works the same as Rokurou's, but only works with magic, and her Burst Arte changes depending on several parameters, including element, type of spell, enemy, and enemy level.
There are a few Code Red Daemons that reflect all damage inflicted to them. To defeat them, one must wear equipment that reflects damage back, and kill them with reflected damage (Laphicet is particularly good for this). Another option is to turn the game to the lowest difficulty, where there are no elements and weaknesses.
If you hold down one of the buttons on the D-Pad while executing a Mystic Arte, you can chain your party members' Mystic Artes together to connect their combos. This also allows you to activate any character's Tier 3 Mystic Arte (despite the game not telling).
Artorius shares his voice actor with Yuri, the main character of Tales of Vesperia, and the developer referenced it by having the two share their Artes.
Because the game was released on the 20th anniversary of the Tales series, there are many references:
All shopkeepers are named after characters from the previous Tales games (like Patty's store in Meirchio, which is named after Patty Fleur from the Japanese PS3 version of Tales of Vesperia)
Mystic Artes from other games are reused by the game's cast:
Laphicet's Tier 3 Mystic Arte is the recurring Indignation;
Eleanor's Tier 2 Mystic Arte (Lostfon Drive) is the same as Luke fon Fabre's ultimate, New Game + exclusive Mystic Arte (from Tales of the Abyss, where it was spelled "Lost fon Drive"
Magilou's basic Mystic Arte, Ascending Angel, is a parody of Yuri Lowell's ultimate Mystic Arte (Heavenly Bladewing).
Some characters even physically resemble other characters in the series, like Oscar Dragonia, who looks like Flynn from Tales of Vesperia.