First up, Tales of Vesperia for 360. I waited for the price to drop before getting this one. Since it's a Tales game, it's inevitably compared to all other Tales games because that just how it goes. The only other Tales games I've played are Symphonia, Legendia, Abyss, and a bit of the GBA Phantasia remake which I had to quit because it was just awful.
First, the things that are better: load times, backgrounds, character models, more enemies possible on screen during combat
Next, the things that aren't, which is obviously going to be everything else.
Let me start with my short complaint: the soundtrack. My complaint is that it sounds exactly like Smyphonia and Abyss in which the only good tracks in it were composed by someone else and the rest of it sound roughly identical to the last game. Legendia's soundtrack was composed by someone different (Go Shiina) and it sounds a ton better and less samey than the other Tales games tracks, but you can just tell with this game that Motoi Sakuraba has lost his stuff and often times, I'd just play my iPod while playing Vesperia to avoid the dull music.
Next overall complaints: there are way too many invisible walls. They're just everywhere, it's practically a mess of invisible walls in some towns and it makes the game far less fun to play. Sometimes invisible walls come in the form of doors that won't open unless the story dictates it needs to.
Another major problem is Repede, one of the party members. In fact, the team Ai for this game can be just awful, the best you can do is assign a command to a certain party member to use a healing move when needed, but most of the time, they just spend their time annoying me. They each have their own unique problem too that instantly disappears the minute you take control of them. Estelle (aka healing character)'s problem is that she runs up to attack when she should be healing, heals the wrong people, and won't cancel her spells and wastes them unneccesarily at times. Yuri's problem is that he consume TP stupid fast and if you leave him to use whatever he wants, he's have depleted your orange gel supply ridiculously fast. Not to mention that he doesn't seem to know how to guard against attacks and uses some artes when nothing is nearby for it to hit. Karol's problem is using charge attacks against enemies that are so obviously about to move. If he did this on occasion, fine, but he does this all the time. Rita's problem is her spell usage. There were a few certain bosses that had elemental weaknesses that changed, the only solution was just to take command of her myself. Not to mention that she uses blade roll when no enemies are nearby her. She also doesn't learn to stop using that attack. Judith's problem is that she goes after the wrong enemies and loses tons of health in a snap, then complains. She's not as bad as the others, but she also wastes TP like a lunatic. Raven's problem is that he casts windblade all the time and he casts it near enemies where he's likely to get hit, and his blow up charm, he puts it on the ground when he's nowhere near enemies and just wastes it. And Repede, he is the biggest problem, he can start off a common battle with full health and by the end of it, he's dead. This isn't even a boss battle where it's expected, this is a run of the mill battle! And then for an overall combat issue, the camera never maneuvers to best suite you, you constantly get enemies in your camera view that just block you constantly and you can't see what to do. And while the enemy AI is great at coordinating attacks, your teammates can't seem to do the same. TP is consumed as soon as you hit the button to use the spell/arte, if an enemy interupts you, you've lost that TP because it wasn't logically used up as the spell/arte completed it's usage. And I find that the controls can be rather unresponsive at times.
Now then, onto characters. The main problem with both Lloyd and Luke was that they were massive bleeding hearts, which I highly resented them for. Yuri, thankfully is not a bleeding heart, but I still seem to take issue with him. His problem is that he's a lone wolf. This might seem an odd complaint, Senel certainly started off Legendia as a lone wolf type too, but Yuri's problem is 1) he doesn't learn and 2) no one reprimands him for such behaviour. Therefore, even when he should have learned something about how he doesn't always need to be a lone wolf, he doesn't whereas Senel did learn because people reprimanded him for lone wolf behaviour while everyone in Vesperia just laughs it off.
Another character problem is the ruining of crowning moments of awesome. Here we have a great moment but the story ruins it by doing things like being afraid to kill characters or make them feel bad for more than a nanosecond. Something I wish the characters would do more often is talk about things not related to the story, I know how the feel and interact with the story, but rarely with each other as a group, which is a similar problem that both Symphonia and Abyss had. If I'm not caring about the story and all the charactesr care about is the story, I'm unlikely to care about them either. Legendia avoided this pitfall not by having me care about the story, but having the characters banter more. I honestly wish someone from Tales team saw what Melfes team did when making Legendia once in a while.
So, so far, the game is actually rather annoying me, much as I hate to say it. So far, I think it's in the 6.5-7 range for me. The biggest problem is that I want to beat the game by the end of the week before I leave for school since I don't plan to bring my 360 with me, but I don't think I'm gonna it by the end of the week honestly.
The other game I started playing, I just got the other day, Contact DS. I picked this up due to being a Suda51 game, I saw how he does shooters/action/rail shooter things in killer7 and liked what I saw then saw how he did Grand Theft Auto clones with No More Heroes and enjoyed that too. Now I get to see how he does RPGs with Contact. I'm only a few hours into the game, but like it so far. The first thing I found out was that dying did not hurt me, I have to see a 15 second long cutscene of the team pet Mochi on Terry's bed, but I don't appear to lose anything but progress into a dungeon. I don't have to start a half hours worth of progress over, I don't lose any items or money, I just lost how far I was into the dungeon. So, I have motive to not die, but I don't exactly get punished for it either. I'm used to always having been punished severely for dying, but now that I'm not, I take a lot more risks during combat for that very reason. Your stats will only build through battling enemies and the more you fight, the more your strength increases, the more damage you take, the more your stamina increases. Normally in an RPG, I tend to avoid enemies I know are too strong, but here, you get bigger benefits from defeating them, so it makes me want to take risks.
Not much has happened story wise, the professor made contact with aliens and picked up Terry, the twist being that you're the alien he made contact with. You basically control Terry, which can be done with face buttons or the touch screen.
So, so far, I like Contact, but I'm not far enough in it to really say what on a scale of 10 it's looking to get.