Title: Tales of Berseria
Platform: Steam / PS4 (Reviewed)
Developer: Bandai Namco Entertainment Japan
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Release date: Out now
tl;dr: A tale of demons and revenge! The darkest installment in the Tales series yet!
Price: $60 / £40
Family Focus: Click here for more information.

Tales of Berseria is the sixteenth main series title in the Tales series. Set in the Holy Midgand Empire ruling over this world’s archipelago of a continent, Berseria is set in the same land as the previous title, Tales of Zestiria although in the distant past. The story follows Velvet Crowe on her quest to fight against the Abbey and the Exorcists that now populate the world; this is a grim tale of bloody revenge.

This installment in the Tales series is definitely the darkest of the games that I’ve played; within the first hour of the game you see an entire village slaughtered by demons and a child executed within the opening chapter. Tales of Berseria definitely has the most colourful cast of misfits to date, and Velvet, the main protagonist makes a point of this during a mission where you must assassinate a priest. This cast includes a country girl turned demon, a samurai, a pirate, a witch, a little boy, and an exorcist.

The narrative is gripping, and thanks to the characters and the lore behind the world, you’ll be hooked for hours! If you’ve previously played Tales of Zestiria, you will understand and appreciate the different nods to the previous title, either through characters or stories. The story isn’t short either; I’ve clocked up about forty hours and the plot shows no signs of slowing down. Between the sacrifice of a loved one right in front of your eyes to watching your entire village become twisted into demons and begin slaughtering one another to watching Velvet turn from a sweet and kindhearted girl into a bloodthirsty demon on a path of a revenge against the one who wronged her.

As with the previous Tales titles, the game uses a variation of the Linear Motion Battle System. Berseria’s dubbed the Liberation-LMBS: when in battle, players can freely move around and rotate the camera at will. You fight by using an assortment of physical and magic attack known as artes, which have various effects on enemies such as stunning them or causing status ailments. Artes can be directly mapped to different control buttons. Abilities outside attacking include guarding against attacks, side-stepping around opponents, and escaping from battle.

Berseria has plenty to do asides from the story, including code red hunts where you fight powerful monsters. You have random islands that pop on your map at different that provide a battle arena against enemies from that part in the story. There is an expedition mode, where you send your AI pirate crew to islands outside the main game to find rare items and recipes for you to create. Finally, there are various mini games from a punching bag mode where you see how much damage a single character can land on a single target before the timer runs out, popping balloons within a set time limit, and a card game, pairing up character from past Tales game to make a set… by the way, that game is completely luck based and usually luck isn’t on my side. As always with the Tales series, you can customise your characters with various outfits either via unlocking them in the game or with premium outfits purchased via the PlayStation Store.

Graphically, Tales of Berseria is gorgeous with the classic anime cel-shaded visual and even though the game has a dark narrative, the visuals still present a vibrant world giving you hope that you may save this world and all is not lost to the darkness. As with the previous titles, some cutscenes are animated by the incredible team at ufotable, who never cease to amaze me with their incredible animations filled with life and character that puts most animation studios to shame. 

Overall, Tales of Berseria is a must buy for any JRPG or Tales fan! The story is incredible and fleshed out, the graphics are just gorgeous and the animated cutscenes continue to blow me away every time I watch one. Berseria will keep you occupied beyond the story with various mini-games, activities, and hunting missions that pop up amongst the dark and gritty story. I cannot stress enough how much I’m enjoying this game.

The Good

  • Visually stunning with solid gameplay.
  • Beautifully animated cutscenes by ufotable.
  • Plenty to see and do.

The Bad

  • Dungeons lack puzzles.
  • Some NPC voice acting is a little lacking in emotion.

Family Focus

Dark themes involving violence, demons and death. PEGI 16. ERSB T Rating.

Disclaimer: This review is based on a retail copy for the PlayStation 4 purchased for the purpose of this review.