Tales of Vesperia is a Japanese Role-Playing game from Namco Tales Studio. It stars Yuri Lowell as the primary Protagonist. Yuri is an ex-knight of the strong but somewhat oppressive Empire who now spends his life living in the lower quarter of the capital, usually getting on the wrong side of the Knights during his crusade to helping the poor and proving their value is as important as the Nobles.
Along with a substantial cast of characters, the players are immersed once more in a world of magic, elemental spirits, and a cell shaded anime style presentation.
The people of Terca Lumireis rely on Blastia, which are a form of technology made by inscribing a “Formula” on a blastia “Core”. The people use these blastia to carry out different things that go on in their daily life. Cities use the blastia to draw water from the ground or to create fire from a stone. The knights and guilds of the land use blastia to carry out the sole duty to kill monsters that attack citizens. Blastia have been used to create barriers protecting these cities from impending monster attacks; however, they have kept most people from travelling outside the barriers to see distant lands.
In the beginning of the game, the aque blastia that provides water to the people in Yuri’s hometown is stolen. He sets out to find it and in the process meets a large cast of characters and gets wrapped up in much larger plots that threaten the existence of all life.
The main protagonist of the game, Yuri is a young ex-knight who was born and raised in the lower quarters of Zaphias. Becoming frustrated with government corruption, he becomes a knight with his childhood friend Flynn. Attempting to work his way up the ladder and replace the corrupt officials, it soon dawns on him that his goal is nothing more than a romantic dream. He leaves the knights and returns to his old ways, longing for adventure outside the city’s barrier. Upon waking up one day, he discovers that a thief has stolen the lower quarters fountain blastia. In an attempt to recover it, and capture the thief, he embarks on what will become an epic experience. Yuri chooses to fight with with swords and axes, while also utilizing various artes via his bodhi blastia bracelet. Strangely, Yuri does not actually wear his scabbard, instead choosing to carry his sword in its sheath in his hand at all times, discarding the scabbard at the beginning of battle. It is unknown why he would deliberately choose to do so.
In addition to Yuri’s title skins the player can also use some modifiers to change the way Yuri looks. There are a variety of these modifiers in the game, and some are even unlocked for the entire party (like the canteens after the desert event), however the most common thing to change about Yuri is his hats.
Estillese Sido Heurassein
The female lead of Vesperia, Estellise is introduced at the beginning of the game, becoming the players first party member. She claims to have an important message for Flynn Scifo, but being a noble, is not allowed to leave the castle without permission. This is when Yuri, who knows Flynn personally, decides to help her escape Zaphias Castle. Yuri later nicknames her “Estelle”, which she soon grows fond of. Estelle specializes in rapiers, maces, and rods in one hand, and shields in the other. A majority of her artes replenish HP for one or more party members, making her the primary healer of the group.
In addition to Yuri’s title skins the player can also use some modifiers to change the way Estellise looks. There are a variety of these modifiers in the game, and some are even unlocked for the entire party, however, the most common thing to change for Estelle is to add a series of veils to her head.
Flynn grew up in the poverty filled lower quarter alongside Yuri. Sharing the same unsatisfied opinions of the Empire, they both join the knights in an attempt to fix the broken system by becoming one of its leaders. Yuri soon realized that they may never achieve this, and abandoned his knighthood. Flynn continued to to move up the ranks, getting closer to the coveted high-power positions. Now operating on opposite sides of the law, Flynn and Yuri often must confront each other on their journeys. Although he plays a major role in the story, Flynn is not a playable character, save for one battle in which he aids the group. Flynn will, however, be selectable in the non-canon PlayStation 3 version of the game.
Yuri’s faithful sidekick, Repede is a four year old dog of unspecified breed. Raised by both Yuri and Flynn during their knighthood, he appears to have lost an eye during a fight with a monster. Although nothing is known of his previous owner, who apparently died prior to the beginning of the game, his pipe (which does not actually contain tobacco), chain, and weapon are apparently keepsakes of the man. His dislike of strangers is evident in his treatment of Estelle, though he does take a liking to Rita. Repede attacks with a dagger in his mouth, while also performing artes, usually in mid-air.
Repede has the highest variety of alternate costume modifiers. In addition to the canteen that he gets along with the rest of the cast after the desert event, Repede can get a small doll of the other 6 playable characters to go on his back during all scenes.
Rita is a fifteen year old mage prodigy from the city of scholars, Aspio, where she specializes in blastia research. Although orphaned, her family origins are never clear. She is at first very anti-social, only caring about her blastia and research, but soon takes a liking to the main cast, Estellise in particular. Rita seems to be one of the only researchers who believes that blastia are alive, and should be treated as such. She uses artes, powered by her blastia circlet, to attack her enemies, along with a ribbon weapon to attack nearby foes.
Most of Rita’s visual modifiers are things which can hang off of her back. She can get a series of different colored books or even a large scroll.
Karol is a young boy with plentiful knowledge of guilds and his hometown, Dahngrest. When he first meets Yuri, he claim to have an abundance of guild experience. It is later revealed, that he has been discharged from many guilds, the last being the Hunting Blades. Through the game, he tries to prove his worth and bravery to a Hunting Blades member, Nan, who he seems to be enamoured with. Although the main cast appreciates him, Rita treats him as a bratty little brother. Karol’s weapons of choice are Hammers, Axes, and the contents of his bag, ranging from baseballs to bug spray.
A strange man who begins following the party around, at first without any consent. He is a jokester, ladies man, and sometimes even perverted character. He introduces himself with an obvious pseudo-name, stating “‘Raven’ will be good enough”. His true intentions are later revealed, along with his participation in The Great War. A running joke involves characters, including Raven himself, referring to Raven as an ‘old man’, despite Raven only being in his 30’s. Raven chooses to fight with bows that can be split into daggers for close range combat, and there are a surprising number of stores in the world that carry variations on such a unique weapon. His arrows have multiple uses, such as healing party members, and being planted as mines.
A mysterious woman of the wise, reclusive race known as the Kritya, Judith first joins the party only to hunt down and destroy blastia. Most of her past is a mystery, causing the main cast to continuously question whether or not she can be trusted. Judith chooses to fight with spears, performing aerial combos with ease.
A young pirate girl whose goal is to find the lost treasure of the legendary pirate Aifread and a way to recover her memories. Patty fights with guns and firearms, though as a pirate, she’s equally skilled with knifes and other paraphernalia. Patty is exclusive to the the PlayStation3 version of Tales of Vesperia. She is hinted in the Xbox360 version through a pirate hat with the word “Pa…” found in Capua Torim. As you progress in the game, her story ties in with the original plot. She was likely meant to be in the game from the start, which was further proven when game data indicating her as a playable character was found.
Tales of Vesperia uses an improved version of the Tales of the Abyss combat system which is now called the “Evolved Flex-Range Linear Motion Battle System”. Also returning from Tales of Symphonia and Tales of the Abyss is the ability to activate an over-limit ability, enabling the person to continually slash an opponent as well as pull off a effective special attack which can be stacked in a single bar or spread out to different members of the party. When stacked it can be put up to 4 times giving various effects (To see more look at the Linear Motion Battle System in concepts).
Tales of Vesperia uses a different type of GRADE points compared to other Tales games, Instead each member will have “Learning Points” or LP. Through fighting battles you will gain more LP points and putting them to unlearned skills and when enough of the points are required the skill is unlocked and can use it without having a type of weapon equipped for a certain number of “Skill Points” or SP. SP points are gained by leveling up from experience and a character with a certain skill to that weapon enabling to use that skill (The demo of this game only gives a set number of 20 SP points), Skill Changes are also enabled in the interface for the character enabling to switch up different skills to different enemies, if an enemy has a high knock-back attack a player will enable a skill such as “Quick Recover” so the user is able to jump back up after being knocked down, through using the skill change enough times, you will eventually learn that Arte or spell.
Throughout battles the player can raise a meter which progresses between battles by hitting enemies with basic attacks. This meter can fill itself up to four times. As long as there is one full bar the player can hit the directional pad in any direction to trigger Over Limit. While in Over Limit the character can repeatedly use whatever tech they have set to a hotkey with far less delay. The only limiting factor in Over Limit is that the techs still cost their regular amount of TP when used. This is an easy way to guard break an enemy.
Burst Artes are performed while in overlimit by using an arcane arte or a spell change. Depending on the overlimit level, the amount of time it takes increases allowing you to add more combo’s and string together more powerful techniques. A player will also be able to make use of the “Fatal strike” system, being able to kill an enemy in one blow with just one swing of the weapon by a button combination.
Yuri gets a Sorcerer’s Ring not too far into the game. This allows him (or whoever is the party leader) to shoot a ball of energy at enemies prior to battle. If hit, the enemy will either become staggered (allowing for an Advantage Encounter) or frozen for a short period of time. Less often, the enemy may become enraged and simply charge the party.
Throughout the game there are a series of secret missions that can be completed in some of the boss battles throughout the game. These can range from hitting a boss with a specific tech at a certain time, to destroying certain artifacts on the battlefield before beating them. These offer no in game rewards except for achievements on the 360 version. There are no hints of any of these and some of them are practically impossible for a player to simply guess.
Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike, produced by famed anime stuidio Production I.G., was released in Japan on October 3rd 2009. The movie is set before the events of the game, filling in the details of Yuri’s mysterious past as a Knight. Returning
game characters are Flynn, Estelle, Rita, Raven, and Repede. The games theme song “Ring a Bell” by Bonnie pink will again be used for the soundtrack. The film’s Blu-Ray release has been announced for May 2010, and will include DLC for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
The First Strike was released in North America on June 26th in a Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Pack.
The Premium Edition of the game comes in a steelbook case and includes an extended manual with exclusive artwork and a copy of the Tales 10th Anniversary Soundtrack Volume 1, which contains tracks from several games in the Tales series. The Premium Edition also contains a code that can be used to redeem a copy of the Tales 10th Anniversary Volume 2 CD from Namco Bandai.
Xbox 360 Hard Drive Installation
Tales of Vesperia requires 5.9 GB of hard drive space to be installed. Once installed, the load times decrease, but saving/loading can still sometimes be slow. The dashboard update in August of 2009 lowered this installation to 5.4 GB of hard drive space.
PlayStation 3 Version
The PlayStation 3 version of Tales of Vesperia was released on September 17, 2009 in Japan. Namco Bandai has neither confirmed nor denied that this version would be released outside of Japan. The PS3 version includes a new character, two new available party members (including the new character), and a completely voiced script, whereas the Xbox 360 version of the game voiced over important story elements only rather than things like small talk. The inclusion of these new characters does affect the story to an extent because of the nature of the returning character’s involvement in the original story. All additional content seen in the PS3 version is as follows:
- Full voice acting.
- New playable character (Patty Fleur).
- Flynn as a playable character and party member (in comparison to one fight in the Xbox 360 version).
- Tie-ins with the animated move, Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike.
- New cutscenes.
- New subplots.
- New costumes.
- New bosses (Including the Sword Dancer).
- New dungeons.
- New towns.
- New Mystic Artes (including a dual Mystic Arte with Yuri and Flynn).
- New skits.
- New quests.
- New sidequests.
- New songs.
- New Artes.
- Repede becomes a selectable on-screen avatar.
- Remodeled towns.
- A scene-skip feature.
- A Key Item known as the “Artes Ball,” which allows characters to assign up to 8 Artes to the left stick, and 8 Arte Shortcuts to the right stick for a maximum of 16 Artes instead of 8.
- Connectivity with Tales of VS.
- Pre-order bonus ( Abyss/ Symphonia costumes).
At the Tales of Vesperia : The First Strike release event Tales of Vesperia’s producer, Yoshito Higuchi, was asked if there was going to be a possible sequel to the game to which he replied that there is a lot of internal debate going around the studio about making a possible sequel to the game. “We’re thinking about it,” he closed.