It’s going to be a good year to catch up on classic RPGs.
Break out the glasses and pop the champagne because it’s time to celebrate some classic RPGs on Switch. For at least the next few months, Nintendo fans will be treated to ports of some of our favorites from yesteryear and others we may have missed. For me, that means a title like Tales of Vesperia, a JRPG that when first released was only available on XBOX 360 in North America. Ideally I probably shouldn’t be picking the 10th mainline title as my starting off point in the Tales series but from the few hours I’ve put in so far, I can report that I’m having a really enjoyable time.
The most striking detail that I’ve observed so far is just how focused Tales of Vesperia remains on the story and character development. During the introduction we learn that civilization exists because of the protection from Blastia, an energy source that provides resources and protection from monsters that roam outside of the magical barriers. The story has thus far followed a core group of characters, starting off with the reluctant hero Yuri Lowell, an ex-imperial guard investigating the disappearance of a Blastia core that provided his neighborhood with clean water. During his investigation he runs into an innocently naive noble woman named Estelle who is on her own mission of tracking down a friend whose life is in danger.
The first few hours have so far been centered around the pair as their own individual goals keep them on the same path. Through their interactions we watch the characters develop and learn much about their pasts. The journey has so far stayed linear with about 70% of my playtime watching the story unfold with the remaining time devoted to combat. Visually speaking the graphics are quite striking and with the update to HD, Tales doesn’t look out of place with today’s new releases.
Battling enemies, whether they be evil or misguided foes in the capital or dangerous monsters in the overworld, is done through an action-RPG style system. Both your party and the enemies battle within a circle, with the player controlling Yuri while the rest of the party supports with either attacks or healing measures. The battle system feels like older version of Ni No Kuni 2 and at times can feel outdated and clumsy.
With the full campaign lasting about 50 hours it’s going to be a little longer before we can get out a full review. So far the only source of frustration has been with the save point system that doesn’t allow for saves anywhere. Otherwise Tales of Vesperia holds up as a title worth playing in 2019. While I’m having a real fun time so far, check back in next week for a full review plus a discussion about this definitive edition on our RPG themed podcast, The Thirsty Mage.