Tales of Berseria: The Impression

I've been playing Tales of Berseria over the weekend and while I'm still far from finishing the game, I thought of writing something about it for now. You know, just in case you've been itching for a JRPG and you're indecisive about whether to get this or not. Since this isn't a review, I'll be jumping from point to point just to get the impression across. Also, since this is within the same universe as Zestiria, and with that title being a recent disappointment, I'd like to compare notes with it.

Firstly, Berseria's story is far more comprehensible to follow compared to Zestiria's jungle of turbulent mumbo-jumbo. Sure, you still have all the hocus-pocus jargon going but the explanations come along with it. You might have questions every now and again but they are answered not long after. That was a huge issue for me with Zestiria even when I reached the end of the game! I couldn't understand anything!

It also helps that Berseria's plot and characters are very well thought through and executed (so far). Playing a bunch of villains out to kill some so-called 'heroes' brings a certain kind of fun to the table. The interactions between the characters are both emotional and cheery, the pacing of the plot deserves applause, character development is solid and the joy of the adventure is definitely there.

Besides that, FINALLY, the animations in this game isn't as bad as in Zestiria! The graphics took a major hit for some reason but all is forgiven as I can actually watch the characters move and interact rather normally for the Tales series. I mentioned before that the Tales series tend to over-exaggerate character movements and reactions but the problem seems to have been dealt with in Berseria. Characters may appear a bit stiff at points but so far, it's a big improvement. It really helps with developing the characters and the plot.

Of course, I'm probably more forgiving partly because the main character isn't some boyish, dense chump out to do good with his band of occasional pre-pubescent party members. No, you get a calculative, vengeance-driven anti-hero and her crew of free-spirited troublemakers.

The gameplay has been improved though this portion seems divisive amongst reviewers. Some say it's bad and then gets good, others say it's good and then gets bad. I say it's pretty solid from the get-go and doesn't dip at all. You can't just input commands and overwhelm your opponents as easily as Zestiria. You also can't just unleash your demon form without some forward thinking as it can leave you pretty worthless after. Playing defensively is actually more useful in this game as quick-stepping is highly recommended to get the upper hand on your opponent. That's not to say that you can't just rampage through the battlefield. Depending on how you unleash your combo and who you're up against, you can definitely just go wild if you so desire.

Aside from the combat, a lot of the other gameplay mechanics work very well for the game. The upgrade system is thankfully, very accessible and isn't as pretentious as Zestiria. Zestiria's upgrade system was a complete nightmare and while some people appreciated the grind and effort needed to get the best skills, many others thought it was simply bad game design. Berseria fixed this and many others things while maintaining the quality of its own title-specific mechanics.

The score, so far, is as expected. There are a few excellent scores and some that are rather generic. At least it isn't a step-down. I must say, however, that the intro movie is incredible. Really, well done to Ufotable and Flow.

I'm really enjoying the game so far and I highly recommend this if you were on the fence about it at all. This is certainly no Zestiria. There's a lot of merit going for the people who have said that this is their favourite Tales game to date.


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