Video Game Thoughts: Tales of Vesperia

Tales of Vesperia was a 2008 role-playing game by Namco Tales Studio for the Xbox 360. I really loved the earlier Tales of Symphonia game for the Nintendo GameCube. When Christmas time came around again, Tales of Vesperia was my pick for my yearly Christmas gift. Like the earlier game, Vesperia had a huge cast of characters, all with their own personalities, special abilities, and parts in the story. The game started off pretty linear, but eventually opened, with the player being able to travel anywhere.

I have always liked exploration, so this game was a lot of fun. I spent about eighty hours playing my first time through the whole story and doing all the side quests. I did two more playthroughs to finish everything in the game for a total of around two hundred hours. Tales of Vesperia was worth the time and money. I liked that most of the characters were older than the characters in Symphonia. I was a teenager when I played the earlier game, but now I was an adult. I appreciated the older cast.

One thing I didn’t like in Tales of Vesperia was the upgrading system. The player usually couldn’t just buy new weapons and armor. Instead, they were created by finding materials and ingredients from monsters. This was a cool idea in theory but too tedious in practice. The problem was that some materials had a low chance to drop. I ended up having to fight a lot of extra battles just to get ingredients. I think they should have made the materials have a 100% chance to drop instead of a 50% chance or even lower. This system was better than the simple “just buy everything with in-game gold” strategy the developers employed in Symphonia, but it still wasn’t perfect.

The other thing I didn’t like was the new characters and story. I liked that the characters were older in Tales of Vesperia, but they just didn’t seem as memorable as the characters in Symphonia. The story was fine too in the new game, but still I liked many things in the earlier game more. After doing everything in the game, Tales of Vesperia just couldn’t leave the shadows of that former game. It did some things better like having better graphics, the older characters I already mentioned, and some more complex game mechanics, but it was largely the same kind of game. There just wasn’t enough freshness for me to really find the game memorable. Tales of Vesperia was definitely worth it, just not my favorite game.

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