Players embark on a journey of self-discovery as they assume the role of Velvet, a young woman whose once kind demeanor has been replaced and overcome with a festering anger and hatred after a traumatic experience three years prior to the events within Tales of Berseria.
The only reason the rating isn't perfect is because of the lackluster minigames.
That being said, the core gameplay of the game is phenomenal. The game adopts a unique and slightly challenging combo system that will take time to get used to, but once mastered, it becomes the key to most combat situations. The gameplay is fast-paced, with action going on every passing second, thus forcing the player to constantly be prepared for any situation that arises. If you happen to get bored of playing Velvet (the main character), you have an option of five other characters to play, so it's not a big issue. There is no worry about longetivity either; the game is long, and can easily take up 60 hours of your time in your first playthrough. And as is the norm with other games in the same series, after completion of the game, you can start a New Game+, allowing you to restart the game at an even higher difficulty while keeping all of your items and upgrades. In addition, the game contains fairly broad character customization, allowing you to tune the looks of the characters to fit your liking to allow yourself to immerse into the game further. Unfortunately, the minigames are minimal, and too simple to be of note, with no major ones. That being said, the remainder of the gameplay is hard to be topped by any other game, and perfect if you want more of a challenge.
Walking into the game as a big fan of the Tales series of games, I was fearful of the story. I had dropped a good chunk of money on the game and I did not want to be disappointed, as Tales games tend to be extremely long in gameplay, but sacrifice coherent storytelling in compensation. When I played the game, I was truly shocked; even the segments that appeared to simply be to fill up time somehow was able to link to another key point in the story, making every last part of the storytelling important. Without divulging too much information, all the characters go through a huge amount of development, all having various flaws and quirks that play off to one another while together growing and maturing as a group. The characters are all likeable and the villains are similarly detestable, yet all of the character's motives are justifiable and understandable in one way or another. It is impossible to not relate to at least one of the characters' plight, and consequently grow even closer and more fond of the characters. The story constantly draws you in and keeps you invigorated, giving you the motivation to continue as you want to see how the story progresses.
Yeah, not everything can be sunshines and rainbows. For a game in 2016, the game adopts an extremely anime-like artstyle, which, unfortunately, breaks no ground whatsoever and might look unappealing to most people. In addition, some of the animations, such as the running animation, tend to look a bit awkward. That's for the in-game graphics, however. As for the cutscene animations, they pulled out the big guns. The animation in Tales of Berseria was done by ufotable, who are extremely well known for their works in anime such as Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works. While it might still seem fairly unimpressive to some due to the fact that it just looks like you're watching an anime, every last detail is captured magnificently by ufotable during the cutscenes, and the emotions of the characters are shown beautifully in every situation. If not for the awkward looking animations within the gameplay itself, ufotable could have single-handedly brought this score up to a 10.
Once again, one major point brings down the rating, and that is the default combat music. It's not bad by any stretch of the mind, it's more of that it simply isn't memorable. It's not special to the point where it gets your blood pumping, but at least it does it's job. But the environmental and cutscene soundtrack of the game is stupendous. Tales of Berseria is very obviously a darker and more sombre tone towards a game, as such the music perfectly captures the emotion that is going through every scene. And the more serious battle music is also amazing, without me divulging too much information on the game. The song you can listen to on the right perfectly captures both despair and hope, both of which are key emotions that are portrayed in the story of the game. And if you have time, I implore you to listen to the full song, it's a story by itself.
This is probably the only game I'm reviewing that could have gotten a perfect score had it been a bit less rough around the edges. But even still, the game manages to be a giant boatload of fun, with extremely immersive story and non-linear gameplay that will keep you wanting for more. If you enjoy the gameplay of Tales of Berseria, then the Tales series of games is perfect to delve into, as the series is still ongoing with a fairly small but vocal fanbase. However, in my opinion, it might be a bit hard to top Tales of Berseria (then again, you can always try Tales of the Abyss afterwards).