Since the beginning of the semester several friends and I have been playing our way through the Xbox 360 game Tales of Vesperia. Almost every week we would gather for “Vesperia Friday” and play for several hours until we beat the game two nights ago. Now that we have finally finished I can now reflect on the experience and say that it was a good one. Since plenty of professional and amateur writers have already covered the game in depth I’ll skip over the technical details and focus on my impressions of the main playable cast.
Yuri was an interesting departure from the stereotypical hero who hides behind a shield of absolute justice which made things refreshing. Instead of worrying about such things he did what he felt was right without trying to justify it to make himself feel righteous. In general Yuri was a cool protagonist and everyone liked him. Of course as the main playable character he learned a ridiculous number of cool artes and abilities so he was mostly unstoppable by late game.
Repede’s strange combination of characteristics easily won him over fans when we started playing. He’s a ninja dog that smokes and fights with a dagger which made him irresistible to play for some of our party. There’s not too much to say about his personality since he’s a dog but it would have been nice if he lightened up to Estelle a little more. He’s really fast with a low profile and has plenty of tricky artes that made him a swift hard-to-hit fighter so the only real trouble playing him was with flying enemies. Of course he learned anti-aerial artes later on which remedied the situation slightly.
Estellise Sidos Heurassein
Estelle is my favorite character from Vesperia for various reasons. When I played the Japanese demo for the game I became infatuated with her simply because she was voiced by Nakahara Mai. She also seemed like quite a proper and kind young lady strengthening my initial interest in her so I practiced with her as I anticipated getting the full copy. When we were still deciding amongst ourselves on who would play who I was the only one really interested in playing a healer/support character so I became “stuck” with her. However I truly did fall in love with her character both personality-wise and in battle.
Estelle was a little naive at the beginning of the story having been shielded from the outside world for most of her life but she always had her heart in the right place. As she went off on her journey with Yuri she started learning more about the world. Coming to understand the true nature of the world she stuck to her kindness and convictions and helped everyone, friend and stranger, as much as she could. This unwavering kindness and selflessness in keeping with the perfect healer is what I really loved about her. I really got in character as I played and I felt the need to keep everyone safe from harm. I especially loved the character development between Estelle and Rita but I’ll leave that for later.
In terms of gameplay at the beginning Estelle started off as a typical healer that needed protecting so early game I stayed back healing everyone. However as the game progressed Estelle became a tank often times having the highest defense in the party. In addition as the game progressed Estelle learned more and more novel abilities such as Auto Medicine which lets Estelle auto heal herself on occasion when she is hit. Usually I would do a little healing or buffing at the beginning of a battle and then proceed to either run into the middle of the battlefield like a regular melee character without worrying about dying or cast light spells from the back with Rita ready to cancel spellcasting at any moment to defend her.
By far Karol was the least well received character among the roster. Most of the time he got on everyone’s nerve so no one played as him and we kept him in goofy costumes to make him more bearable. One time I had to play as him for story reasons and I absolutely hated it. He was impossible to use with his slow speed; The enemies would mostly be dead by the time he reached them and even though he has healing artes it was nearly impossible to get near enough to a comrade to use them without unreasonable amounts of effort on both parties end especially when one is slow and the other is most likely being pummeled to death.
At the beginning of the story Rita was quite reclusive. It’s hard to blame her when her genius isolated her from everyone leaving her without much choice other than to research blastia by herself. Without much experience in regular human conversation she could only act rationally and logically towards others often coming off as cold. However gradually thanks to Estelle’s friendliness she was able to open up more. Estelle treated her as any other person and though this doesn’t seem like much Rita must have felt a strange sense of easiness. She didn’t have to feel alone or worry anymore and she could just be another member of the party. Gaining her first true friendship in Estelle their bond grew stronger throughout the course of the game so that Rita would do anything to protect her friend.
Being the only pure caster Rita had access to several types of spells. Casting time was quite slow early on so that magic wasn’t that important early game but as she learned new skills she became essential to our party dynamic. Her wide area of effect spells and her simple spells coupled with stun attribute kept enemies at bay giving time for melee beat downs or for running from cover as members got healed.
Raven was probably one of the favorites among the Vesperia-watching audience and players. He’s quite the comic relief character and likes to joke about his age and mess with the girls. It’s quite fun to see how everyone reacts to him as he keeps things from getting too dark.
As a playable party member he is also fun to use. Apparently old age endows you with ridiculous stats and a plethora of abilities. He is the ultimate flex character who can do just about everything. He can melee from close-range and long-range, cast magic and heal. The only thing he can’t do is provide support magic. Furthermore having access to this variety wasn’t handicapped with mediocrity in actual usefulness. Whenever we checked his stats he would rank near the top in nearly every respect so he could backup his range of powers. During story sequences in which I couldn’t use Estelle I was so glad to have him.
Judith has this very laid-back personality so she was amusing to watch. Often times she would come off as strange or seductive although she herself would be oblivious to the fact. I found it especially funny near the end of the game when she started coming onto Rita and squeezing her way into the Ristelle fun. I can’t say much about her in battle since I didn’t actually use her but her combination of agility and aerial prowess made her a welcome addition on the front lines.
Although the version of Vesperia I own is the “incomplete” Xbox 360 edition I can’t really complain about anything; I got it on sale at Play-Asia for only $20 which brought 50+ hours of fun for 6+ players. I really fell in love with the characters and the combat system. If the PS3 version of Vesperia ever makes its way to the US I’ll make sure to get it assuming Aorii doesn’t beat me to it. Speaking of which you can read Aorii’s impressions here.