During our time at E3, I had the chance to sit down and try Tales of Berseria for a short while. The demo they had there really didn’t have too much to offer, unfortunately, but there were certainly some takeaways from the short demo, mostly about the new battle system.
When I got in line to try the game, there was only one person ahead of me, who was already playing. I watched a few battles, and right as they got up to the boss, the demo’s time ran out.
When I stepped up, I was determined to get to and beat the boss, so I bypassed a lot of the regular enemies on the field. There were three or so fights that were set up as intros to the combat system, but beyond that, I was pretty much given a free go at the area.
The demo was presented in Japanese, including the text, so I wasn’t able to dig too far into the systems at the booth. However, the basics of the new battle system certainly came through, as they are pretty drastically different from previous Tales games.
Of course, as a disclaimer here, I want to add that some of what I say here may end up being wrong – and if it is, I’ll correct it in August when I do my import review of the full game.
Now, right off the bat, the traditional two button attack combos are out, and now all four face buttons (Square, X, O, Triangle on PS for example) are all attacks. Each button has a four hit combo attached to it, and each individual hit in the combo is customizable.
The combat in the game revolves around mixing and matching these combos to form the combo you want while in combat, utilizing a style similar to Zestiria’s where the focus was on AoE attacks vs single target attacks.
To explain a bit further, you can set a full four hit combo for X as your main combo. But let’s say you have two other artes you like to finish your combos with, in addition to the one that is your fourth hit on X. You can set those other two artes as the fourth hit on Square and O, and then mix combos like X > X > X > O or X > X > X > Square to use those other artes.
Of course, you can mix the middle of combos too, with things like X > O > O > X, or whatever you like. The previous example would use the first hit of your X combo, the second and third artes in your O combo, and the fourth in your X combo. Hopefully that makes sense.
In addition, each character will have a special ability (like Velvet’s claw) that they can use in combat to devastating effects, but require consumption of the Soul Gauge, which functions like the Blast Gauge did in Zestiria.
The combat was solid and fun, though much like Zestiria’s, feel like it may be somewhat limited in combo potential when you consider older games like Vesperia where infinite combos were a thing.
However, the battles were still fun, and with the demo barely scraping the surface of the game, it’s hard to judge at this point.
I will say, however, that the boss of the demo was a decent challenge, and it gives me hope that the full game will be decently difficult. I’m very excited for the full release to see just what the whole game actually has to offer.
Also, I feel like I should mention that the appearance of skits have been changed again, and they are really well designed this time.
Instead of the body shots we had in Zestiria, we now get body shots like that, but in moving comic-like panels. It looked really neat, and I really enjoyed it.
Tales of Berseria is releasing in Japan on August 18th, and in the West sometime in early 2017 across PS4, PS3, and PC.