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May 2019

Tales Of Berseria

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4
Genre: RPG/Strategy
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
Release Date: Jan. 24, 2017


PS4/PC Preview - 'Tales of Berseria'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on June 23, 2016 @ 2:00 a.m. PDT

Tales Of Berseria is the latest installment in the Japanese role-playing game series, where you will encounter a myriad of characters and join them on challenging quests exploring the world.

Pre-order Tales of Berseria

At E3 2016, we were able to demo Tales of Berseria, the latest in the Tales series of games. We play as Velvet, who's cursed with a strange malady that takes the form of an uncontrollable berserker rage and a crimson claw that bursts from her arm. Her entire family was murdered, and she's seeking revenge. According to Bandai-Namco, the story is largely about the impact the desire for revenge can have on a person. It's set many years before Tales of Zesteria, but some characters from that title may appear, and this game offers a different perspective on the world compared to that of the Shepard.

Our demo put us in control of a brief snippet of the game world, where we explored a large, tranquil beach area. Anyone who's played any of the Tales titles will probably feel right at home. There were a few interesting things we noticed, including collectible orbs and items, but the rep mentioned that they couldn't tell us about those items — yet. We know that there is a dedicated button for warping out of dungeons and warping to visited towns, so fast-travel is in the game.

The combat system in Tales of Berseria has a lot in common with the other Tales titles. It's a real-time action/RPG system, where you have four party members out on the field at once. One is player-controlled, and the other three are AI-controlled. In the demo, you have a party of six members, with two members being subs who you can swap in at will. You can also swap between the three other party members at the touch of a button, allowing for seamless transitions between your fighters, healers and mages based on what you need.

The combat system has been slightly reworked. The most significant change is to the basic attack system. Rather than the usual "attacks and artes" seen in most Tales games, you have access to a Tales of Graces-like combo system, where every attack can chain into other attacks with their own properties and abilities. This includes elemental attacks and special attributes, like HP recovery or guard-breaking. Unlike Graces, all four of your face buttons are tied to attacks, and you can set up custom combos to each, allowing you to create incredibly long and complex combo strings that are far easier to implement than in previous Tales titles.

Also new to the game is the "Soul" system. There isn't any TP or Chain Capacity, but each character has between one and five "souls." Attacking temporarily drains these souls, and if they're empty, you're still capable of attacking, but your attacks are slower and weaker. Souls recover over time, but you can knock more souls out of enemies to increase your potential combo strings.

When a character has three or more souls, he or she can use character-specific abilities, or Soul Bursts. In the demo, Velvet can summon her iconic cursed claw to amplify her damage, but it also drains her health. Other characters can perform parries, leap into the air and shoot energy blasts, or create barriers. Soul Bursts can be customized outside of battle.

One of the biggest surprises for me was the announcement of online multiplayer. According to the rep showing off the demo, Berseria will feature online multiplayer for the first time in the franchise's history. The details are still sparse, but the rep indicated that they're aiming to allow up to four people to play together at once. If it pans out, it will be a pretty huge change for the game. Tales has previously only allowed local co-op, so online multiplayer could be the biggest change to the Tales franchise in years.

There are also some visual updates to the game. Most noticeably in the demo is the inclusion of new skits. Rather than the static bodies seen in the previous games, Berseria has more fully animated skits with character movement. There are a lot more custom animations, and the backgrounds shift and change to help emphasize the mood. It added a lot of extra personality to the often bland-looking skits, and it really helped them pop. The Attachment system is also returning, so you'll be able to customize your character's appearance.

Unfortunately, our demo of Tales of Berseria was rather short, and it ended just as we reached what looked like the boss fight. The combat system is an interesting change to the engine that mixes the complex attack chains of Tales of Graces with some modern Tales changes. It was a lot of fun to play and grabbed me more immediately than Tales of Zesteria did. We'll have to see how the full game turns out when it hits later in 2016.

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