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Xbox 360 Game Review

Tales of Vesperia


Format: Xbox 360
Bandai Namco
RRP: £44.99
Age Restrictions: 12+
Available 26 June 2009

Set in a world reliant on a mysterious ancient technology known as "blastia," follow former knight Yuri as he delves into a shadowy plot to use these magical devices to control civilization, or destroy it. The game also makes significant additions to the series' trademark real-time combat system, allowing players to do battle in massive battlefields and learn new special attacks that are tied to individual weapons. New finishing blows allow players to take down enemies in a single hit with correctly timed button combinations, while mission-based battles increase the variety of each encounter as players gain unique items by fulfilling various battle objectives...

At the start of the game there is a massive intro that last for a good few minutes and shows you a lot of what is to come. After the intro has finished you are able to access the menu and continue with the game (you can skip the intro cut sequence so you won't have to watch it each time you play the game).

The game takes quite some time to get into. When you first start it is a little too dull and boring, with a lengthy talking sequence. But once you're through all that you are thrown into your first battle with a couple of stupid, but also funny, knights. This allows you to have your first practice with the game's combat system.

The combat system in Tales of Vesperia is set in a 360 arena but your movement is restricted to just a straight line of movement when locked onto an opponent, but by pressing the left trigger you can move around the arena freely and change the opponent you wish to attack.

Attacking is not overly difficult and consists of button mashing (repeatedly pressing "B") for most of the time. But, as you progress, you start to learn new things about combat, such as new abilities and also that you can change the main attack by pressing the directional buttons whilst attacking to vary your attacks.

When in battle you are not alone and are joined by three other companions to make up a party of four. Most RPG fans will welcome this as it gives a much more flexible team to work with and also gives you more people to rely on.

Tales of Vesperia has an interesting feature that most RPG's do not have and that's a world map that can be explored on foot. One of the most time consuming things about RPG games is exploring the world map trying to find its secrets or just getting from A to B - either way its a great inclusion here.

There are many things on the world map that can be found. There are secret points, which generally look like tree stumps or pieces of rubble, and each one holds some item or equipment, but whatever it is it will always be something that makes it worth your while searching for it.

On your travels you will come across a traveling inn where you can rest. This is usually placed at certain key points in the game.

Near the beginning of the game you should notice that the main character, Yuri is holding his sword by a piece of string, and as you progress through the game you will see that his weapon changes with each weapon that he equips. Also in the cut scenes his weapon will change to the weapon he currently has equipped - something not all RPG games manage to achieve.

If your health is low you can cook items to heal yourself. At a certain part in the game you will be told about cooking and from there on you can make certain things by getting ingredients and making the recipes you find throughout the game. Also, if you making certain things often, they evolve into different items.

The graphics and music are fairly average and do not really stand up that well when compared to most other RPG games. This is a shame as Tales of Vesperia incorporates character designs by the renowned Kosuke Fujishima (Ah! My Goddess, Sakura Taisen).

As I mentioned earlier, at the start of this game you might be tempted to give up as it appears a little too slow and dull. However, if you stick with it you'll be greatly rewarded. It has many hidden factors and has a good story line once it gets up and running. And when you finally get into the characters you will soon discover how addictive the game is and you'll find yourself wanting to get to the very end in order to discover how it concludes.


Carl Simpson

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