Time to Finish: 49 hours
This is the second 40+ hour RPG I’ve beaten this year. I can’t tell you the last time I put 2 of these away so quickly, relatively speaking. I think the last long RPG I played before Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning earlier this year was Tales of Zesteria in 2018.
Tales of Berseria is the prequel to Tales of Zesteria. Besides being set in the same world, a few character cameos, and one re-occurring character, you wouldn’t know it. Tales of Berseria is it’s own game even if you didn’t play Zestiria. That said, I’m glad I played Zestiria first because the little references here and there were fantastic.
Things I Liked:
The Story: The story is long. It involves a lot of characters. It has so many moving parts. It’s engaging but it’s not overly complex. The main thread is that Velvet’s brother was sacrificed to a god by her sister’s husband, Arthur, to “save” the world. Velvet got turned into a demon and Arthur became the Sheperd, the savior of the world. Velvet’s single motivation throughout the game is to kill Arthur to avenge her brother. Along the way she meets a cast of characters with their own goals that line up in a way that helps her reach her goal.
The Skits: Everything in Tales of Berseria is voice acted and its voice acted well. There are optional “skits” that pop up everywhere. The skits are usually banter between the party or an event that serves nothing more than a bit of fluff. But these skits are what I like most about Berseria. I get to know the characters better through these inane conversations and it never feels like a waste of time. There’s also voiced NPC conversations that do nothing more than provide a little flavor to the world. I stopped to listen to each one and I never regretted it.
The Characters: In the beginning, I liked the characters but I didn’t think they were as good as the cast of Tales of Zestiria. As I got further into the game I started to like them more. By the end of the game, I genuinely will miss spending time with these characters. Which is exactly how I felt at the end of Zestiria.
The Combat: In Zestiria, the attacks were on the face buttons of the controller and on the D-Pad meaning you could have 16 attacks on each face button depending on which directional button you pressed. Tales of Berseria has attacks mapped to the face buttons which leaves you with 4 per button. It’s simpler and some might say that’s a bad thing. I found it easier to remember combos and which attacks were coming next. I enjoyed it more because I had a better grasp of what I was doing and I wasn’t just mashing buttons and hoping I was hitting the right attacks.
Things That Could Have Been Better:
The Mastery System: The first time I tried to start this game I completely missed how this system worked. This second time around I actually read the tutorial and its not your typical RPG armor system. Each piece of equipment has a mastery bar. When filled it gives a permanent stat to that character. If multiple characters can wear that piece of armor then each character has to master it. This leads to a ton of swapping armor around characters for the stats and also leaves you equipping much lower level gear for the stats. I felt like I was constantly having to equip weaker items and that just didn’t make sense to me. Even at the end of the game, I was picking up items that were worse than what I was wearing. The final dungeon I equipped everything with the highest stats and disregarded the mastery system.
Some Interesting Statistics:
There are these titles you can unlock when certain requirements are met and some of the requirements provide some interesting stats I’ve never seen before.
Skits Viewed: 361 – I watched as many of these as I could I knew there were a lot but that was a much higher number than I would have guessed.
Total Encounters: 750 – This is the number of times I was in combat. First of all, how great is it that it’s a nice even number. Second, that’s a much lower number than I would have guessed.
Battle Time: 405 minutes – Out of 49 hours I was in combat for 7 of them. Each battle lasting around 1.5 minutes
Menu Time: 265 minutes – This is the one stat I’ve never seen before nor gave much thought to. Out of 49 hours of gameplay, I was in the menu for 4 and a half hours. I wonder how much of the time I spend in the menus of other games…
Here’s the kicker if you add up the battle time and menu time you see just how much of this game is watching cutscenes and running around. 11 hours of the 49 hours were spent in battle and making decisions in the menu. That leaves 38 hours of cutscenes and world exploration. I can tell you I definitely spent far more time in cutscenes than running around. And I’m ok with that. It gave this game feel very much like binging a good TV show.