I love a good revenge story. It may be one of the most base character motivations out there, but it’s one that is believable and somewhat relatable. In Tales of Berseria, the newest entry into the Tales of series that’s come to the west, revenge is what motivates the protagonist to head out on her quest. And judging by my time spent with the title up to now, it proves to be a gripping premise.
A human who’s become part daemon after a catastrophic event, Velvet is a woman hell-bent on killing the Exorcist who sacrificed her younger brother to save the world. That very world has now become overrun with Exorcists during the three years that Velvet has been incarcerated, building up her powers by feasting on the blood of other daemons. After an unexpected visitor drops by, however, she is finally able to escape and take action. Already you should be able to tell that Tales of Berseria’s yarn is quite the departure from the usual Tales of series’ goody two shoes protagonists heading out to save the world, and it’s greatly welcome. Sometimes it feels good to be bad. But then, it’s all a matter of perspective anyway.
Graphically, Tales of Berseria keeps it simple. Just like previous games in the series, its anime stylings are generally pleasing to the eye, but they’re in no way ambitious. You’ll never be wowed by the rather generic environments that look unashamedly last-gen, for example, but the colourful and charming character designs draw your attention away from them. Special effects do nothing to raise the bar either, but what it does mean is that gameplay is smooth whether you’re wandering in the field or in the heat of a raging battle.
Speaking of battle, combat is also something that will be very familiar to series fans, though that’s not a bad thing. As usual, attacks, or artes, can be assigned to form combos; the extended use of which this time being limited by a Soul Gauge. You generally start out battle with three out of five Soul Gauge units available, but the number can fluctuate depending on you and your enemies’ actions. Defeating, stunning and inflicting enemies with status ailments, for example, extend your gauge by one. Make use of one of the new Break Soul attacks to enable your daemonic powers, however, and you’ll see your Soul Gage reduce by one.
It adds a nice element of strategy to battle – controlling the ebb and flow of the Soul Gauge is crucial to victory – and with the free moving, action-based combat already being a highlight, it makes Tales of Berseria truly shine. Enabling daemon form via a Break Soul attack itself also adds a layer of depth to combat thanks to the benefits it provides. The ability to extend and finish a combo with a powerful mystic arte is one of them, which then returns you back to your normal form.
I’ve still got much to play of Tales of Berseria, but at this early stage I can safely say that it has left me very impressed indeed. I look forward to making more progress in the coming weeks, so watch out for a full review nearer to release.