Tales of Vesperia is one of the most popular entries in the long-running Tales Of series from Bandai Namco. Original released on the Xbox 360 and later ported to the PlayStation 3, Vesperia was beloved by critics for its ensemble cast and story that resonated well with critics. To celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the Tales Of franchise, Bandai Namco has released Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition for all platforms, sporting some new content and some upgrades that make the already beloved game a little better for everyone.
Tales of Vesperia follows the story of Imperial Knight Yuri Lowell and the people of Terca Lumireis, as well as a number of interesting and charismatic heroes that appear throughout the game’s plot. While some might consider the story of Vesperia to fall in line with many different anime tropes and gimmicks found in other games, Vesperia does a great job of implementing these kinds of things without coming off forced or rushed. We’re given a significant amount of time to become attached to Yuri and every character we meet as the story progresses, which is incredibly important for any Japanese role-playing game. Though not every beat from the game’s plot is a homerun, the majority of what’s here is solid and just as good as it was back during its original release. Fans of the Tales series are going to still love it, but if you never before experienced this chapter of series then you’ll love it too.
What makes Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition different from its first release back in 2008 is the compilation of new content not included on the Xbox 360 version. All the PS3 Japanese exclusive content gets bundled here (including new characters), as well as dual audio for English and Japanese voices that can be swapped when you first boot up the game. The voice acting is great regardless of which language you pick, but those looking for a more different experience may want to try the audio track that’s opposite of their preference.
Luckily, Tales of Vesperia also gets a boost to its visuals with upscaled graphics for modern consoles. The game already looked good during its original run, but the slight upgrade to the graphics is appreciated and will make everything feel fresh for long-time fans. Everything else you remember about the game is still here (artes, cooking, and more), but the newer additions for this version of the game will be the reason you jump into this adventure again.
While there isn’t a lot wrong with Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition, there are a few noteworthy hiccups that pop up from time to time. The hit detection in battle against some enemies can feel a bit inconsistent at random points. Though it’s not always clear as to why, some of the attacks directed to and coming from enemies might not always land consistently.
Executing combos into the famed Artes is good, but you’ll be baffled at a few points when a combo you’ve been doing regularly will just miss out on its target completely without much reason. In addition, romancing around the battlefield requires you to hold the shoulder button and switch targets with the opposite one, which can feel a bit uncomfortable.
It would’ve been great to have the shoulder button pressed to switch between roaming around the map and moving side-to-side when in battle, rather than needing to hold it to do so. Stuff like this can make some battles a little difficult to manage, especially against larger groups of enemies, but it doesn’t break down the gameplay enough to become not fun. Visiting towns and exploring the large world map you open up is still a joy and looks greats in the definitive edition, with lots of points-of-interest and colorful effects that appear often.
On the Nintendo Switch, Tales of Vesperia runs very well in both docked and portable modes. Though playing on the television screen looks significantly better, portably on Switch Tales of Vesperia still looks and plays very good. There’s no slowdown or big compromise to the visuals from playing on-the-go, and the audio still sounds fantastic between both language tracks. Tales of Vesperia already sported a great soundtrack with a few memorable tunes that will stick with everyone for a long time, but it would’ve been great to see some remixes to the soundtrack for the definitive edition of the game. It’s a small nitpick on an already well-presented package.
Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition is a solid role-playing game that has a few extra goodies that will make long-time fans want to revisit it again. It’s overall presentation is great and it’s story will keep you invested for many hours. It might not be a brand new experience for the Tales Of series, but it’s a solid choice to revisit for the franchise’s 10th anniversary. Anybody that missed out on the original game now has the best way to play Tales of Vesperia accessible to them.
This review was based on a digital review code of Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition for the Nintendo Switch, provided by Bandai Namco.