After several years of waiting for the PS3 version to get translated, Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition has finally landed in my arms to be reviewed. If I’m not mistaken, this is the last free world-exploring title in the Tales of series, which means you can freely explore on land, air, and sea without using fast travel. It’s your typical Tales of JRPG, but by far it’s not that perfect too, it has its flaws. Here’s my review on this wonderful re-release.
Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition is still a great piece of video game even though when I first played I thought nothing has changed, at all. I mean, it just looks the same when I played it on the original version in English, which was on the Xbox 360. The color palettes are still vibrant, the 3D models are almost perfect, the special effects, and even the world, however, the facial animations are not that perfect. Well, the visuals look sharper though thanks to the higher resolutions and 60 frames per second, which is actually awesome. As a fan and a critic, I would not have it in any other way and let it stay just the way it is. Better visuals with just small iterations, just the way I like it.
Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition is just the same as the original version of the game except that it was based on the PS3 version. This means that there are two more characters included in this Definitive Edition release, who are Flynn Schifo and Patty Fleur. The previous character has similar styles with the MC Yuri Lowell while the latter is a female pirate with a gambler-style mechanic. These two new characters are pretty good inclusions to the game, and they both make the gameplay much more interesting – especially Patty. It adds variety but still challenging, even with their firepower added.
The gameplay is solid too even though it is a predecessor to the latest one in the series, Tales of Berseria. It still has the basic artes, burst artes, and the mystic artes that gives you the much-needed power to overcome almost any obstacle. To be honest, though, the jump attacks on some characters are kind of flimsy and that made me not use them much. Flying enemies can be reached by other means, so for me, the jump attacks were not that needed. The gameplay is still good though.
If you aren’t paying attention, you would’ve missed a great side-quest that would give you a great payoff. Doing side-quests will give you an advantage, but you can still finish the main game without doing any of it. Still, the rewards are worth it like overpowered accessories, weapons with high offensive power, armor that could render enemy weapons useless, and so much more. It also gives special costumes that your characters could wear with some looking really cool.
This game is also the last of its kind in the series because the next titles after this will not have the world exploring mechanic, which is now replaced with fast travel. I really love it where you can go exploring using boats or flying machines and travel all over the world, heck travel between worlds. Previous titles had underwater exploration and even space travel. Good thing this got translated and remastered.
There is some bad stuff mixed in this though. I’ve seen it in my playthrough and I swear some of the bugs that were present in the original version still exist. One of those bugs is the fire bat in the desert area of the game. The bat is positioned way too high on the screen and when it gets knocked out, it doesn’t get knocked down to the grown because it’s floating an inch higher from it. Other bat enemies will come crashing down to the ground when hit by a strong attack, but this one just floats. This is the reason why I don’t want to fight this particular enemy because it just ruins the gameplay and it looks ridiculous. I hope Bandai Namco fixes this with a quick update.
Hitting enemies with the sorcerer’s ring is also a bit flunky. If the enemy is just a bit higher on a slope, you can‘t hit them, but they attack you instead. The hitboxes aren’t that accurate for this particular mechanic, but other than that, it’s all good.
When I think about it, Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition is actually one of the darkest stories in the Tales of series. Well, Tales of Berseria beat that top spot after it got launched but before that, I thought Vesperia was the darkest. There’s no soap opera redemption story for villains, there will always be some gunning for his/her life and end it for revenge or justice. I like how it is done right here in this game because at first, it hits you with the trope of the hero escaping some top officials and getting away with the heroine and go on a journey. You would think it would just go on like that, but no. It’ll suddenly present you with a scenario that’s a bit dark for a young gamer’s mind. Only adults would appreciate such a dark plot scenario. So yes, as an adult, I really like how realistic and moral-provoking the story arcs are. There are jokes here and there, but it does not make the story too overacting as a whole (Tales of Zestira) and just sets the tone right. I don’t want to spoil the story so I’ll just stop here.
The gameplay is great with engrossing mechanics, but some of the previous bugs got carried over. The overall story is a masterpiece and it’ll be one of the Tales of stories that I’ll remember for a long time.
I won’t lie, Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition definitely has the best English dubs. Oh, wait, the Tales of game series has one of the best dubs compared to other translated Japanese games out there. The definitive edition didn’t get one of the original voice actors again, which was Troy Baker. Another one took up the mantle, but he handled it quite well, so it was no loss. The Japanese dubs are great as well and I can definitely say you can change your language voice settings as you please.
The soundtracks are great as well and they hit on point, especially on certain scenes. It gets loopy on battles, but I think that’s the staple already for any JRPG. It still hypes any player to fight those monsters or the opponents they face.
Great English voice dubs, great soundtrack, and sound effects.
The best part of Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition or yet, the best part of any Tales of game is its New Game+ feature. In every battle, you earn Grade from winning and that will be your means to “buy” some advantages for your next playthrough. Tons of awesome stuff will be available after you finished the game if you have earned enough Grade, but I won’t spoil you what exactly you can gain access to. You can also opt for continuing the game as is after finishing the main story because you can go through the post story dungeons for some awesome loot. It’s a lot more challenging too, so there’s that payoff.
A big warning though: do not use all of your free DLCs when you download them from the online store. It’s all free stuff like costumes, items, and more, but there are the experience multipliers that will make you overpowered at the start of your game. Even the hard difficulty will become easier due to this multiplier, so stay away if you want some challenge.
New Game+ in this game is pretty much a big payoff for finishing the game once and that’s a big point.
Overall, Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition is a great game to play and even the original was great in its time. It has great gameplay, beautiful visuals, small upgrades for resolution and frame-rates, a dark story, awesome English dubs, and the perfect replay value. Hands down to this beautiful JRPG, and thank you Bandai Namco Entertainment for finally bringing this version to western shores.
Disclosure: This review is based on a review code provided by Bandai Namco Entertainment. Read our review policy to know how we go with our game reviews.