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Feature Article

Should You Buy Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition?

Brave Vesperia, assemble!

If you're eager for a great JRPG to dive into, you should pick up Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition. Often cited by fans as one of the best games in the Tales franchise, this remaster of 2008's Tales of Vesperia is essentially an enhanced version of the Japan-exclusive PS3 port. This means you get additional playable party members, story subplots, dialogue, costumes, dungeons, mini-games, and much more that weren't available in the original Western release. In addition, all paid DLC is included. For hardcore fans who never imported the PS3 version, Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition is essential. And for newcomers, the remaster serves as an ample opportunity to experience the series at its greatest.

Tales of Vesperia tells the story of Yuri Lowell, a former soldier who embarks on a journey to aid a young noblewoman on an important mission. While simplistic at a glance, the story remains captivating thanks to its alluring cast of characters and vibrant anime-styled presentation. Much like last year's Dragon Quest XI, there's a strict adherence to classic fantasy conventions in Tales of Vesperia, but it's delivered with such infectious joy and charisma that you can't help but be drawn towards the plights of its characters.

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Over a decade after its release, Tales of Vesperia is still fantastic.

It also helps that the Definitive Edition looks and runs great. Aside from a blurry filter that seems to pop up during cutscenes at times, the visuals have aged well. We spent the majority of our time with the Switch version, which divvies up its performance to 30 fps during exploration and 60 fps during combat. Returning players from previous versions should feel right at home with these specs, but if you're looking to experience the game at its most enhanced, you're better off with the PS4 and PC versions, which run at higher frame rates across the board. Interestingly enough, it's worth noting that the Xbox One version's performance is identical to Switch. Regardless of which platform you choose, you'll find few technical issues that'll take away from your time spent playing Tales of Vesperia.

Admittedly, one major shortcoming of the Definitive Edition is the new bonus dialogue interspersed across the story. A welcome addition on paper, the way it has been handled left us scratching our heads. While most of the original cast reprise their roles, a new actor has been brought on to play Yuri. Originally voiced by Troy Baker (The Last of Us, Bioshock Infinite, Metal Gear Solid V), the replacement does a decent enough job emulating the popular voice actor's performance. However, it's undoubtedly disorienting to hear Baker one moment only to hear a different actor take the reins for a brief slice of bonus dialogue. Fortunately, you're not without options, as the game does contain the original Japanese performances, which keeps its voice cast consistent throughout.

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Over a decade after its release, Tales of Vesperia is still fantastic. With the flow of big releases slowing down, now's the perfect time to jump into this JRPG classic. For a closer look at how the game holds up and how it plays in its early hours, be sure to check out our commentary video above.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

mgespin

Matt Espineli

Matt Espineli is an Editor at GameSpot. He loves MGS, film noir, and westerns, but he very much loves YOU too.
Tales of Vesperia

Tales of Vesperia

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Avatar image for Cikatriz_ESP
Cikatriz_ESP

I appreciate the port, but I’ll pick it up if/when I can play in 4K.

Avatar image for thelostscribe
Thelostscribe

I'm starting to think Bandai Namco has a particular dislike for Xbox. They screwed 360 users last gen by releasing the updated version on PS3 only and now this gen they put the Switch version on the Xbox One, with no X enhancements. Patterns.

Avatar image for jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

@thelostscribe: Well, not really, matter of fact not at all actually. So early on during the 7th gen 2004- 2005 , xbox gaming/publishing division were throwing money at many different studios for access and exclusivity to some RPGs, Jrpgs, etc. But with the success of the Wii and the overall industry forecast that all games were gonna be 'motion controlled' or social media games 'like facebook, farmville etc.' Microsoft, Nintendo, and sony all started shedding first party developers like crazy. Luckily we did get a large amount of very good rpgs an JRPGs for the xbox, before Microsoft went FPS and 'bro' games almost exclusively. Bandai - did keep the exclusivity and only released the ToV 'best' in asian, North American and EU were sad.

So this generation, Sony is the one throwing cash like crazy to developers and publishers to get their games on the ps4 as exclusives or early access. And Microsoft has really dropped the ball about acquiring JRPGs for its system. Having lost all desire to try and go into a bidding war against other console makers for a genre they do not have the install base to justify. And I would say are now biding their time till 9th gen.

Remember a developer makes a game, a publisher distributes the game, promotes, and financially backs a games so a developer will not go belly up if its a flop. The publisher and or console maker then shop these games around. Now to have an updated ToV, localized, and ported costs some MONEY. Of which Bandai expects microsoft to shell some out before it does all the work. Who knows maybe it was much cheaper to just port the switch version then the ps4 one allowing Microsoft to maximize its cash return. Or maybe Sony just said, here is some sofa change, tell Microsoft to a shitty version only.

So the only pattern is the profit and bad choices by many companies. Also the Japan developer crash of 7th gen was a huge factor also.

Avatar image for thelostscribe
Thelostscribe

@jenovaschilld: Thank you for the response there. While i do understand that publisher thing, neither Microsoft, Nintendo or Sony published Tales of Vesperia. Also, I'm pretty sure I read that console developers actually get paid by publishers to release games on their system, so it wouldn't be Microsoft opting for a cheaper option.

Namco Bandai actively chose to exclude any of the extra performance and resolution updates that PS4 and PS4 Pro have. Regardless of whether it is because JRPG's don't traditionally do well on Xbox or Sony tossed a little extra money their way to exclude those improvements, it's sloppy and doesn't reflect well on them in my opinion.

Looking over the sales data, it did very well on the Xbox 360. So it doesn't reflect well to not only port the game to PS3 with a ton of extras in it, but then limit it to Japan only.

That's my take on it anyways.

Avatar image for jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

@thelostscribe: Actually, here is how the money path of this industry goes and this is true 100% of the time.

Developers makes games, but it is crazy/risky/brilliant to risk your own money therefore they need Publishers - who are a large corporation with investors (whois money they risk instead- also a ton of benefits that go along with a corporation of size), Platforms- (consoles, pc, mobile, etc) of course need those games to make money as console makers usually sale at a loss, and pc want to sale hardware.

Okay - Platforms take on average around 20-30% of every dollar of every game sold. Publishers take almost around 60% and developers are lucky to get anything left - some are happy to just get funding to make that next game and keep the lights on and talent employed. Also why a developer tries to become a publisher as soon as they get big enough. Publishers never get paid to release to a console maker- what they will barter on is the % of each game sold, attracting better deals through stuff like exclusivity. Console makers will also create their own publisher (Microsoft Games division, Sony interactive Entertainment, etc) to keep even more money but also with more risks. And Nintendo has/own all three - but three separate corps to reduce risk.

Back to Bandai - They did NOT choose to forego those upgrades to xbox platform - ONLY !! because the console maker would not contract for those upgrades in their sales % ! ... Of course Bandai/Namco would eat their left nut to get to push out some upgrade visuals for the xb1x for their game - but not if they have to eat the cost and never get paid for it. Again this is where the Platform will weigh in on what % to share of games sales, which ultimately determines what the dev/pub will do.

An Example, you make dogfood, where a wholesaler then invest/buys your dogfood, that then sales it to general stores- Okay would you make extra fancy large bags of dogfood on the hope/prayer that it may or may not sale at that general store, and even if it you know it would sale - that general store will not give you an increased % of the sales- I mean why would they - they bought what they thought they would be able to move, and you the dogfood seller will get an extra heaping amount of ... nothing.

But that is why developer. Publisher, Platform work closely together and sometimes agree to risk profit on a game, rework, features in hopes they all make a little more money. And sometimes that extra fancy game remake is just not the right fit for a platform- even though WE know that taking some risks now, will help their sales down the road. Bandai for sure asked the platforms, want Tales of Vesperia HD Best, YOU do!, and would you like some fries with that? NO, how about a drink, No well, well how about... No - Microsoft says- we just want the lower cost kids meals, maybe some kids might eat, who knows.

On your last paragraph- again xbox platform paid for that exclusivity. Just because you make a game doesn't mean YOU get to choose what platform it goes on, that is the main purpose behind - Well second- of a console maker- is acting as a gate keeper to your platform. Microsoft was not going to graciously, from the bottom of their hearts, let a game they contracted exclusivity be made for the ps3 in the NTSC. Why would you give a gift to your competitor, harming yourself.

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Thelostscribe

@jenovaschilld: Very informative, I do not have any counter argument on how it works as I'm not that knowledgeable in how it works. However, I just don't see Microsoft, who's branded the X the most powerful console, not forking over a small percentage to get all the upgrades available on PS, especially considering any help in Japan would be great for them.

That said, we are both just kind of speculating. While you seem very knowledgeable in the process, neither one of us know exactly why because neither the publisher or Microsoft have made an official statement about it. You could be right, but I just don't see Microsoft turning down the best version of the game on the X.

Regarding your final point, according to the Wikipedia article, the director said they chose not to localize the PS3 upgrade outside of Japan because the developer was making another game while working to upgrade Vesperia for PS3. The choice was purely to alleviate pressure on the developer. He did not say that it had anything to do with the Xbox exclusivity.

Regardless, thanks for all that information, it is interesting to know how all the money is handled. It's kind of strange how little information is out there about how the game industry operates. I'm sure it's there, but you don't really see big sites publish stories on the going ons behind the curtain.

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jenovaschilld

@thelostscribe: I have been a long time fan of https://www.gamesindustry.biz/ for years, especially when they had post mortems of games that were developed. The FF12 post mortem is legendary to this day. They used to print the developers nightmare stories, but a couple years back they started to pull back due to bad press related to the sexism in the industry and how toxic all that got. Still, it is a great read, Im a RN, but the articles are so compelling in relation to this hobby we love, gaming, you cannot help but to read it all the time. Polygon is also awesome.

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Thelostscribe

@jenovaschilld: Definitely have to give the FF12 article a look for sure. I know developers in Japan work their staff to the bone, but I believe I read they also get huge vacation breaks after a game is done.

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sladakrobot

After finishing the game on the X360 back then,i found out that i missed few branches and scenarios(therefore also costumes) and was playing with the thought of revisiting the game sometime later.

But ill wait for the Xbox X enhancement and if that aint happening,i have no desire to revisit the game in that state its on Xbox X now(runs at 30 fps outside of battles,the ps4 version has no probs running at 60fps all the time)

I hope its Namcos radar.

Avatar image for jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

@sladakrobot: Not a matter of console fps and resolution, it is the port itself. One port is for pc/ps4 and the other mobile/switch. Microsoft could remedy this buy throwing some cash at the publisher, but considering the number of games they could sell.

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Barighm

@sladakrobot: It's on PC which is about as far as it needs to go on that front.

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sladakrobot

@Barighm: no gaming pc here

Avatar image for jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

Warning a Long Sad Tale: Bought this game when it came out, still on highs with the great JRPGs that were coming out on the x360 - Blue dragon, Lost Odyssey, Eternal sonata and more. And this game was one of the best in years. But around midway through ..... Red Ring of Death, then there were no repair center you could send it off to, self repaired with a strong fan, lasted through Oblivion but broke again when I started this game back up. Bought a new x360- loving it. But got a disc error when ejecting discs too fast and it scratched the laser lens itself. Took it apart cleaned the lasers lens off with acetone but never really read discs well and it kept eating discs including Tales of Vesperia. Tried it again several months later with a friend, we played till about midway through and then his xbox 360 got the RRoD !!!!

I finally got the digital version a few years back, I forgot when, and was playing through it again, enjoying myself, but had to split my play throughs up by a few months because of work, etc. A little past the middle of the game, I was with a couple who were watching the tales of anime on the big screen, and not paying attention, I was somehow watching the end of this game, "I said what is this?" and she said idk, but then we realized it was the ending video of Tales of Vesperia on Youtube... damn. I played it some more but having seen the ending, havent had the desire to pick it up again.

I think I will get the PC version, since it has been years away from the game and play it all the way through... again. The game is awesome but what i most remember was, this game went from a reasonable used price of $30 to over a $100 5-6 years later and it took forever before it went digital. I am just glad the game will be available to everyone to play. (plays on xbox one at switch specs, 720p 30-60 fps WTF!!)

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NettoSaito

@jenovaschilld are you sure you were watching the ending of Vesperia? The anime for Vesperia was a prequel movie that came out later. Then you have Tales of the Abyss (which was retold in anime form), and some OVAs for Symphonia. We have a Zesteria anime now, but it's pretty new, so that wouldn't have been it.

Anyway, even if you do know the ending it's worth seeing for yourself. The ending is a small part in what this adventure really is.

Avatar image for jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

@NettoSaito: Actually what happened was my friends were watching some of the anime tales on youtube, but when that went off, the ending to tales of vesperia started autoplaying. Not really paying attention, was kinda watching it and not, before I realized what it was.

I even said, "hey .. was that just the ending to the game ToV ?!?!". They said, "not sure, yep guess it was"..

Well luckily my memory is just as bad as my luck and playing through it again will be like it was all new to me.

Avatar image for lostn
lostn

Warning: As stated in the article, they replaced Troy Baker in the new scenes with a different actor. At first I assumed this was because Troy was either too busy or not interested in these kind of gigs anymore because he's moved onto bigger and better things and his wages are now priced beyond what small Japanese studios are willing to pay.

This assumption was actually incorrect. Namco never even contacted Troy. Troy said he was disappointed because he wanted to do it. He loved the character and totally would have done it had they asked him to. They got everyone else to return as far as I know but didn't bother even asking Troy.

https://gematsu.com/2018/09/troy-baker-was-not-contacted-to-reprise-his-role-in-tales-of-vesperia-definitive-edition

I would have forgiven it if Troy turned down the role. But it was Namco who turned down Troy. You can't have 2 actors play the same guy and switch back and forth between them. You either re-record all dialog with the new guy, or you get the old guy to do the new dialog.

For that reason I won't be buying this game.

Avatar image for NettoSaito
NettoSaito

@lostn: Yeah they didn't ask him, which sucks, but it still comes down to money. Even if they reached out to hire him for a role he really REALLY loves, it wont change the fact it'll be expensive. VAs don't really have a say in how much they are worth. It all depends who they go through.

Now as sad as it is he's not in the game, what REALLY doesn't make sense is who they hired to do it. Now the VA does a good job in everything I've seen him in, but his voice doesn't match Troy's. They should've gone with Matt Mercer instead, like everyone else does. Heck he replaced Kanji half way into the Persona 4 anime, and pretty much no one even noticed.

Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

@lostn: You don't know the game's budget. Remasters tend to have much smaller budgets and Troy's asking price these days is likely much higher than it was. Unless you can find me a quote stating Troy was willing to do the gig for free or at least at the same rate, then I declare your reasoning to avoid the game silly. Some voice lines sound funny. Yeah, what a great reason to avoid the last great JRPG of the golden era.

Avatar image for Deedubau
Deedubau

@lostn: Really? They have seemed to have gotten everyone else to re record the lines but there's gotta be a good reason why they never asked him, and it's not really our business to know, especially if it has do with money. It's not like anyone go hurt over this and Troy is doing fine without this gig. Do you not buy iPhones or Androids either because people are being overworked in factories while getting underpaid? There's shady/unethical things that happen in almost all aspects with what we rely on to live our lives and this is a not a great reason to not buy this game, especially if you liked the original.

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Barighm

@Deedubau: Most likely the price would have been very high. I'm sure Troy would gladly do any project he's asked to do...if he's paid. Namco probably saw what his recent rates were and decided it wouldn't be worth the trouble.

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Lordcrabfood

I remember getting to the final dungeon on the 360 and for some reason stopped playing. I cant remember why, I am guessing that a new game dropped I was interested in. Well i will be getting this again and this time, I will finish it.

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sakaiXx

Have the game and damn its not as fun as I remembered. The combat feels a bit sluggish compared to previous tales of abyss. I am probably early game, just left the city but it really doent feel good. Hope I can start seeing more options

Avatar image for timothyss10
timothySS10

this is giving me flashbacks to that wolf boss in the forest that would destroy you because of how much harder it is then anything up to that point =/ and u could not power lvl once u got to the point because there was no heal point, and no way to go back out of the forest, RIP my first play thought

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AlexOfBurg

The lack of Xbox One X and PS4 Pro enhancements hurt this game badly.

Avatar image for lostn
lostn

@alexofburg: Hmm. If you're going to play it, go for the PC version.

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oldtaku

The 'blurry filter' on the cutscenes is probably because those are still the originals in 720p (or 480p, whatever they used). I doubt they redid them at 1080+

Avatar image for mgespin
mgespin

@oldtaku: I imagined so! That and there is an overall blurriness to these scenes that's simply a characteristic of the engine the game's visuals are built on; many of the scenes I'm referring to are in-game moments. Not a deal breaker by any means, but it'll stand out for those who were hoping these could be cleaned up just a smidge for the remaster.

Staff
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Khfreak9

It’s a great action JRPG. I played it on the original Xbox 360 and never finished it since I traded it in. (Hoping it’d get Backwards Compatibility.) Now that it’s been re-released, I can’t wait to play it on Switch.

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Dualmask

Never played this, and since Switch is rapidly becoming the only console I (have time to) play, this release interests me greatly.

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Yams1980

I never finished the 360 version i had of this game. Kinda got bored & never got back into the game.

I think jrpg are a thing of the past for me, just no time these days for it with all the other games that are available.

More recently I did play Berseria and i liked it better. Still kinda boring at times, but i actually want to finish that game at some point.

Avatar image for James_xeno
James_xeno

@Yams1980:

I'd give up gaming altogether at the point I thought I needed to give up the type of games I wanted to play. especially if it was RPGs.. and eastern to western RPGs at that.. ugh no..

Avatar image for dhaynes25
dhaynes25

@Yams1980: I still like JRPGs for the nostalgia and the good franchises they have. I finished Tales of Bersteria and it did started to be a chore but the story was great. I just picked of Vesperia today and get into it. But these Western RPGs have been great. But, i still need that JRPG fix. Thanks Sony and Nintendo

Avatar image for JEF8484
JEF8484

@Yams1980: I hear ya. I always start these games and its great from a nostalgia point of view, but after 40 hours or so it gets tedious and other games seem more appealing....Persona 5 was the last JRPG I finished, but it was a chore at times tbh.

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Brian_Ghattas

I already have enough RPGs in my queue. Bought Zestiria and Berseria on Steam, trying to level up everybody to 99 in DQXI and Kingdom Hearts III releases in less than three weeks. I’ll wait for a sale in the summer.

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dhaynes25

@brian_ghattas: I am backlogged as well but I got this game just in case enough physical copies aren't available and the Ebayers jack up the price on niche game

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Barighm

@brian_ghattas: Don't wait. These are the kinds of releases that have small runs and quickly disappear from stores without ever getting a sale.

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snugglebear

I know it shouldnt be a factor, but I don't like games with time limits in the trophies. RPGs arent games that are meant to be torn through.Also fiddly missable trophies.

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Elranzer

Might be the 2nd-best. Symphonia is still the best.

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moonwatcher99

@Elranzer: Agreed. Out of all the Tales games I own, I go back to Symphonia the most. Don't care for the newer combat systems of Xillia and Berseria.

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Thanatos2k

@Elranzer: Symphonia is vastly overrated. Most people who claim it is "the best" simply played it first because they only owned Nintendo consoles.

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Barighm

@Elranzer: Actually, Symphonia has aged very poorly.

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aross2004

@Elranzer: This.

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gamingdevil800

Got it myself very different from the only other Tales game I've played Tales Of Berseria. I like the classic jrpg world travelling on a massive map but I thought it was a bit weird that you could literally set combat to auto. Still a great game though.

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Atzenkiller

Does "being the best in the Tales franchise" really mean anything when those games are all pretty much the same?

Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

@Atzenkiller: It means a ton. There are a lot of elements in Vesperia that aren't in the other games. And I find Vesperia's combat flows better than Bersaria's which is so chaotic it's hard to tell what's going on.

Avatar image for Atzenkiller
Atzenkiller

@Barighm: Yeah, I get it. If you've played every game in the series then you'd obviously be able to notice all the fine nuances. While to everyone else it looks just the same as all the others, just with some new or replaced feature here and there, that ultimately makes no difference.

Avatar image for lostn
lostn

@Barighm: I hate the fact that games newer than Vesperia got rid of the fixed camera. V's camera always gave you the best and most cinematic view. Now you have to waste time rotating the camera to find the angle that works best for you, something you didn't have to do in older games.

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Elranzer

@Atzenkiller: No, some are pretty bad and boring. Symphonia (GameCube, originally, now on PC) is still the best in the series.

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michaeldark

I might as well.

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