When Tales of Vesperia released back in the summer of 2008 exclusively for the Xbox 360, many of us didn’t realize what a journey the game was going to take is on, or that we’d end up growing attached to the cast of characters that ended up joining our party. Sometime later, a PS3 version was announced for Japan that included a new character, all skits fully voiced, fleshed out the story and a slew of extras that were absent from the version of the game Xbox 360 got. Fans clamored for the release of the PS3 version overseas for years, but the cries were ignored. It seemed as though Bandai Namco had given up on the Tales series getting localized altogether. That changed when Tales of Graces f came overseas and began a slew of localization efforts to renew the series, as well as introduce it to new fans. But in spite of that, sadly the PS3 version of Tales of Vesperia never did see release overseas. Fast forward to a decade after the original release of Tales of Vesperia, rumors started that a remastering of the game was going to be coming and that it was coming overseas.
At E3 2018 in June, those rumors were confirmed. Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition was announced at Microsoft’s E3 press conference and show, and this time, the game was coming to multiple platforms. Not only that, it was going to be based on the PS3 version that never left Japan. Meaning we were going to get all the things that were left out of the initial Xbox 360 release. Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition hit the Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch and PC on January 11th, 2019 to quite a bit of fanfare from both die-hard Tales series fans and newcomers alike. So, how does the game hold up a decade after its original release?
Tales of Vesperia was heralded as one of the best in the Tales series, and for very good reason. The cast of characters made this game a unique experience from start to finish. The main protagonist, Yuri Lowell, is a guy who literally starts out from the bottom. He tried to become a knight like his best friend, Flynn Scifo, a guy who becomes very important to the storyline, but unlike Flynn, Yuri failed to become a knight and as a result is still living in the lower quarter of Zaphias, the city you start the game in. The pace of the game begins to pick up fairly quickly from the moment you start out. You’re thrust in the middle of the action almost right away, but in a way that actually makes sense and is not overwhelming in the slightest.
As a small spoiler for the beginning of the game, Yuri stages a break-in at a mansion in the upper class part of Zaphias in order to try and retrieve something that the lower quarter had paid for but was stolen from them. He ends up in prison, and a character ends up slipping him the key to break out and ultimately ends up escaping the castle through the sewers while meeting another character who becomes a party member with a connection to Yuri’s friend Flynn. The story continues to pick up from there. I wish not to give away too many spoilers for this grandiose story, but I will definitely say that the cast of characters that you end up acquiring in your final party are people you become attached to because of their personalities and their goals.
You have Estellise “Estelle” Sidos-Heurassein, the woman Yuri ends up rescuing at the castle, who wants to warn their mutual friend that they are in danger. Karol Capel the kid who wants to settle things with his friend. Rita Mordio, the mage who is actually trying to save the world by freeing humans from dependence on a certain fictional material known as Blastia. Judith, a Krityan, which is a fictional race within the game, with her own objectives and whom is initially a hostile member. New to this version? A character named Patty Fleur, a pirate with a mysterious past and someone who looks younger than they really are. Along with that, Flynn Scifo, a character who is important to the plot of the game, is finally made permanently playable after a certain event in the game.
Graphically, the game holds up very well. Visuals are pastel-shaded, brightly colored, basically straight out of an Anime. It’s classic Tales, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The Tales series has always had that look of being an Anime in 3D, which only adds to its charm. The game itself has a fairly long quest, lasting easily about 60 – 80 hours on your first playthrough, with or without sidequests. With the Definitive Edition, there are also new dungeons, a bigger post game, bonus costumes and other things that make the package more complete.
From a technical perspective, Bandai-Namco did a bang-up job of making sure the game runs well on all platforms. The game runs at a constant 60 fps on the PS4 and PC with the PC allowing for dynamic scaling of resolution, and on the Xbox One as well as the Nintendo Switch? The game runs at 60 fps in battles, and outside battles, like on the world map, as well as towns and dungeons, it runs at 30 fps. All in all, a very solid port on all fronts. Bear in mind there is a small caveat with the Xbox One version though, when I initially popped the disc into the system, I was informed that I had an update I needed to download and that update was 19 GB, utterly ridiculous to say the least. I was none too pleased about that at all, considering a standard Blu-Ray disc can hold at least 25 GB of storage. With the Switch and PS4 versions though, the transition was far better.
There was a patch needed on both the PS4 and Switch versions, yes, but the patch was significantly smaller on both ends. On the PS4 it was 1.6 GB, on the Nintendo Switch it was 268 MB. So the Switch version was the one that allowed me the quickest access to the game from the get go, but I think PS4 owners who purchase the game will also be ridiculously happy with the final results too. For Xbox One owners? The 19 GB patch was disappointing and took me forever to finally download, I was relieved when it was finally done, because while waiting for that massive patch to download, I was able to get started with the other two versions, the PS4 and Nintendo Switch, in just about no time at all. But no matter what, you’re purchasing a great game, even if there are some caveats involved in finally playing it on one of the systems it was ported to.