The Tales series continues to release new installments more and more frequently, with a new title having been released on a yearly basis for quite some time now. Other franchises releasing installments at this pace have often fallen flat and the quality of the games decreased severely. Remarkably this has not been the case for the Tales series which continues to knock it out of the park with each release, Tales of Berseria being the latest in the winning streak for Bandai Namco.
Set in the same universe as Tales of Zestiria, one of the series finest installments to date, Tales of Berseria finds itself at an advantage most other Tales games do not, there is a pre-existing world and history to mine for story in interesting ways. Most games in the series start with a clean slate, Berseria however jumps back in time set around a hundred years before Zestiria and lays out how the world once was.
It is interesting to note that the terminology used in the time of Berseria is different to that of Zestiria. Every generation has a different word for something and the verbage alterations are a nice touch that add further layers to this world. It also goes a long way in allowing Berseria to stand alone from Zestiria without tying itself so closely or requiring players to have played Zestiria to get a handle on the game’s story.
Berseria is a decidedly darker tale than Zestiria and one that revels in its world on the brink of complete destruction. In protagonist Velvet we see the tale of loss of innocence and the slow corruption of the world around her reflected through her. She may very well be one of the Tales series best heroes to date and her character’s evolution is truly a fascinating experience one that has real pathos. Her character arc in general is wonderfully written and it stands as one of the best the Tales series has ever pulled off.
In terms of gameplay, not a lot has been changed from previous entrie in the series. It plays as you would generally expect of a Tales game with a few new mechanics and adjustments made to the battle system, which makes combat a lot more fluid and faster paced. Which is of course a nice step forward for the series.
Visually the game is awe-inspiring. The environments are beautifully composed and the clash of tones between the vibrancy of the world and the darkness that threatens to envelop it is perfectly captured here. The same can be said for the game’s soundtrack which underscores the action splendidly. However as has been the case in the past, the English dub voice over is a bit spotty and there are some off performances here and there in this game too but overall it isn’t too significant a problem.
Tales of Berseria is another great installment in the Tales series and one that makes for a great entry point for those new to the series. It also serves as a fantastic prequel to the stellar Tales of Zestiria. So whether you are a seasoned veteran of the Tales series or someone looking for a place to start, Tales of Berseria is on hell of a JRPG, that continues the great legacy of this iconic series, while journeying into darker terrain story wise than the series has before.