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This post will be avoiding spoilers.
Look, I’m not really trying to make every other week’s Friday post into a video game post. It’s pure coincidence! But I finally made it to the end of Tales of Berseria this week and I want to talk about it while everything’s fresh in my mind. Once again, the videos of my playthrough are on YouTube and you should totally watch them.
Without giving away too much about the story, it’s hard to be specific, but I thought it was pretty good overall. As I said in my early impressions post, the game makes it very clear that the main characters are the bad guys of this world, even using the roles of characters as Lord of Calamity and the Shepherd in a reversal of Zestiria’s world. You’re not playing the heroes out to save the world…rather you’re the anarchists out to disrupt it.
Still, it wouldn’t be a normal post if I didn’t nitpick. Two main plot elements bothered me in this series way more than they should have. First off, I understood the overarching concept of emotion vs. reason in the game, but the Exorcists in the game felt like terrible embodiments of reason. Nothing about them convinced me that they were fighting for reason at all. They just kept saying “we’re fighting for reason” without giving…a reason. Secondly, let’s give a brief aside about daemons. They’re clearly meant to be the hellions of this world, but they made much less sense. In Zestiria, the hellions could be killed by normal people, but could only be purified by the Shepherd. In Berseria, for some reason, daemons could only be killed by Exorcists. This doesn’t fit with the claim that malevolence is naturally-occurring but unnoticed.
I’ll stick with my impression of characters in this game. Velvet and Laphicet were fine and Eleanor had to go through her own crisis of choosing sides, but Eizen, Magilou, and Rokurou felt generally flat to me. Magilou at least brightened the mood in conversations, but her backstory still felt underdeveloped. Eizen in particular was frustrating because I felt like they made way too big a deal about his Zestiria role. I might have been over-thinking it, but it felt like it was being thrown in my face. Maybe I’m just being picky, but I expected more out of these characters. And for the love of all that is pure, someone please get rid of Kamoana.
I will say that I wasn’t a fan of the gameplay of Berseria and how the battle system worked, but I’m coming into this game with a lot of bias. I’ve always had a preference for the battle system of previous Tales games, so my opinion is mostly in comparison to them. Compared to most RPGs, though, I’ve always liked the Tales battle systems because they make me feel like I’m actually doing stuff in battle. I also don’t want to beat a dead horse on the equipment system, so I’ll just say my opinion hasn’t changed.
Overall, I’m happy with Berseria. The game makes me feel justified having effectively skipped over Zestiria and ended up being a solid 50 hours of gameplay to get through the story and most of the major side content. I’m not sure if I’ll ever play the game again, but stranger things have happened (I just recently played through Tales of Xillia for a second time). I’m really glad that these games are coming to PC too…more people should play these games.