Tales of Berseria Hands-On Preview – The Next Evolution of Tales

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Tales of Berseria is releasing in Japan on August 18th, and in the West sometime in early 2017 across PS4, PS3, and PC.

Chris Gregoria


I’m a pretty chill guy. Huge video game fan, but a bigger anime fan. I also love to write – obviously.

  • I can’t wait to crawl in my skin.

  • Scorching Sirius

    Looks badass. I still have to try Tales of Graces F, though.

  • Obbliglol

    I loved Graces F and Zestiria was fine, so I am looking forward to this.

  • KenAyagami

    wait.. just want to confirm.. the english version is not coming to PS3 correct?

  • Etherblaze

    >no PS3 for the west
    I hate this

    Really hope my PC can take it.

  • Pirate it and see if you can take it, then buy it, otherwise don’t.

  • Nagato

    Chances are Zestiria will be a decent indication of whether your PC can handle this one, so check that out and go from there?

  • Shiggy Diggy Doo

    So I hated Vesperia, would this be any better?

  • Snea Zel

    Vesperia is widely accepted as one of the best Tales games in the whole series. imo, it is THE best one. Berseria has been the only one since Vesperia that I have been excited for and i’ve played all the ones inbetween. It looks really fast and having this sort of dark female protag with superhuman powers sounds refreshing after all the samey feeling MCs of every other game. Looks unique.

    If you liked any of them, I think it’s worth a shot. But if you really hated Vesperia that much to not even be able to get far into it(?).. Then it’s passable.

  • Bobby/Godless

    Honestly I doubt it. If you didn’t like one of the best Tales games ever created, I doubt you’ll like this one.

  • Bobby/Godless

    PS4 and PC only.

  • Guin

    Maybe he can try Destiny. I personally think it’s better than Vesperia and it has the old school 2d sidescrolling battle system.

  • Guin

    According to Japanese devs, Westerners are all about the latest and greatest and have to throw away old tech the moment new ones are out for sale.

  • Shiggy Diggy Doo

    I quit when I got to that first town after you pick up the little boy as a party member.

  • Shiggy Diggy Doo

    Well that’s a shame. Can’t help it I guess

  • Bobby/Godless

    What did you dislike exactly? Was it the battle system or the story? Or both?

  • Shiggy Diggy Doo

    It was the battle system mostly. I’ve been told it gets much better when you get new moves though but right now I keep spamming the same shit and running around avoiding hits and then doing it again. Just poking and running.

    The story isn’t too great either but I can tolerate it considering I played Phantasy Star Universe to completion

  • Bobby/Godless

    Oh then maybe there’s hope. This one is different from Vesperia. Maybe you should get it. I also recommend maybe trying out the demo for Graces F as well. That one is one of my favorites strictly because of the combat

  • Shiggy Diggy Doo

    Will do, fam. Thanks for the suggestion

  • Smug

    Assuming the port itself isnt trash (and that it has a japanese interface)

  • Bobby/Godless

    Yeah I feel Destiny directors cut is the best Tales ever made.

  • Bobby/Godless

    No prob.

  • EinMugenTenshin

    Hope it’s close to Xillia or Xillia 2 in gameplay, or something different than Zestiria (Graces F was “ok”). Zestiria just didn’t click with me. The facts that you can bind combos and use all 4 bottons seems interesting and I hope it will turn out ok, where I guess I didn’t use more than 3-4 combos at the time in Xillia either before bashing regen skills.

  • Kiryu

    I’m probably the only one here but as it stands i’m more excited for this the Persona 5.
    After the disappointment that was Zesteria this looks really good.

  • DizzyGear

    I’m starting to wonder if its Sony urging devs to skip the PS3 versions in the west to push their shitty PS4.
    Seen it with Atelier Sophie, Yoru no nai Kuni and now this.

    Thank fuck this will get a PC release unlike the other 2 I mentioned.

  • DizzyGear

    About time they changed combat controls. I always thought the old controls were a tad awkward.

  • Guin

    I wouldn’t mind that if only PS4 had actually true BC to play PS3 PS2 and PSX games and no, that stupid streaming thing doesn’t count.

  • DizzyGear

    Its good game but I don’t think its the master piece people make it out to be. For once the combat system is kinda broken but my major gripe were the side quests that made a guide almost mandatory unless you wanna sleep at every inn after every story event hoping to trigger a side quest or skit.

    Kinda wonder if people hype Vesperia because of its obscurity since its an 360 exclusive in the west.

  • DizzyGear

    It it had that I would have bought a PS4 by now but i’m sure as shit not gonna buy a console for the 3 or 4 games exclusive to it that have my interest.
    Especially after that PS4.5 and Xbone 1.5 reveal my interest in the new home consoles hit rock bottom.

  • Jack

    I’ve never played a tales game, would I need to prior to understand the story?

  • chocodino

    this one is only related to Tales of Zestiria (heavily implied/essentially confirmed), but since this one is a prequel, happening around 200 years before Zestiria….I would say “not really”

  • Scorching Sirius

    You should try Xillia or Symphonia Chrinicles on PS3.

  • TheCynicalReaper

    Each Tales game is its own universe/reality story unless it has a sequel number in the title (Tales of Xillia 2 comes after Tales of Xillia, etc.)

  • MegaRay

    You dont have to, each have their on stories and characters (like Final Fantasy), but do yourself a favor and play them. Each sparkle in their own ways, so you cant go wrong picking any game available in any system you have, and they’re pretty cheap nowadays.

  • Jack

    Thanks bruv

  • Zombie_Barioth

    It probably has something to do with sales for the PS4 being pretty good now in the west, where as they aren’t in Japan. They don’t really have a problem with people sticking to old consoles here like they do over there.

  • Nagato

    Vesperia’s generally seen as a series highlight because it was the last game in the series to feel like an actual complete product, and the only one since to have some actual production values going for it.

  • scemar

    No need for that, or the risks associated with it.

    He can buy it from Steam and then try it out.
    If it doesn’t work well then he may ask for a refund and he is entitled to it without any hassles.

    The only requirements are the following:
    The game may not have been open on his computer for 2 hours or more.

    The game may not have been in his library (owned) for two weeks or more.

    Once any of those two conditions is met, the easy refund system ceases to be an option through steam.

  • scemar

    I like the little disclaimer in the article, it’s little touches like that which make nichegamer feel so down to earth and real

  • scemar

    Wish it had a PC port

    It actually looks good enough and with proper PC filters it could easily pass as a current gen game for the most part

  • Psyramics

    I didn’t care for Vesperia either, solely due to the combat. Just never clicked. But I did play through all of Grace F no problem. Good fun. So +1 this recommendation.

  • DizzyGear

    >complete product.

    The Japan exclusive PS3 version maybe.
    With some of the stuff that was found later (patty reference’s in the games files, a scene where they stand in some sort of circle and it has a vacant spot in the 360 version, etc) it was painfully obvious they held back the stuff that would become PS3 exclusive content.

  • DizzyGear

    I’m honestly surprised they didn’t do this already. From the day the PS3 port was announced people have been begging them for a western release.

    Instead they port Tales of Symphonia 1 out of the blue even though i cant remember anyone asking for a PC port of that one.

  • “No need for that, or the risks associated with it.”

    There are no risks.

    “He can buy it from Steam and then try it out.

    If it doesn’t work well then he may ask for a refund and he is entitled to it without any hassles.”

    It’s more of a hassle to do this, but whatever floats your boat.

  • In all honestly I’m surprised that Velvet’s design is still intact…

  • Kelandris

    Okay a question for Tales fans. I usually love jrpg’s and had heard great things about the Tales series, bu t I tried Graces f when it was on sale, and played a few dozen hours into it, and it just didn’t appeal to me that much. Now on the other hand, this one seems really interesting. How likely is it that I’m going to enjoy a different Tales game if I disliked Graces f?

  • bgrunge

    Never played Graces F, but I can personally vouch for Tales of Eternia(Tales of Destiny 2 in the U.S) being a great rpg that I had a blast with. Starts out slow, but gets really good after the first 7 hours or so, and the battle system was super fun.

  • bgrunge

    I heavily enjoyed Eternia- moreso than ToD.

  • Nagato

    Hence “feel”, as even in that technically incomplete state it didn’t come across as an unfinished or low-budget game in comparison to its predecessors. It still offered everything one would’ve expected from a Tales game at the time, which back then meant significantly more with it still being one of the bigger “JRPG” brands in general.

  • Bobby/Godless

    More than Directors Cut? Or are you just talking about the original?

  • MegaRay

    You welcome

  • bgrunge

    Never got to play Director’s cut- didn’t they pass on releasing that in the states? I mean I would have loved to play the actual ToD2 as well, but same thing.

  • C4

    I’d say keep this one on the radar and you might gonna enjoy it a lot more than Graces. I like Zestiria, but admittably it has some issues and some things like the skill system only shine during postgame in a second or even third playthrough. Tales of Graces is a bit cheesy and for some people and even fans doesn’t seem to have the most interesting characters and lore. What’s more or less universally loved is the battle system and Pascal of course.

    Based on your dislike of Graces it’s kinda hard to recommend you another specific Tales of game though.

  • Mohammed Allha

    I hope it’s better than zestiria, zestiria is just a mistake

  • Chocolate ISISCream


  • TsukuyomiMagi99

    No censorship! :D Long live the boobies!

  • TsukuyomiMagi99

    Play Vesperia and Symphonia.

  • Guin

    When Legendia and Tempest exist, Zestiria doesn’t even count as one.

  • Guin

    No one recommends Abyss yet? I guess I will. Beware that the characters may or may not piss you off.

  • Guin

    Director’s Cut made improvements and added content to the original, namely Leon because Japan just loves him.

  • Taiga Gao

    Literally every single time a new Tales of is announced someone says this.

  • Mohammed Allha

    Legendia was actually one of my favorite tales of all time lol

  • Tempest.. why oh why…

  • Eldhin Hellknight

    Is Zestiria any good? it’s pretty cheap right now but i don’t know if it worths or not

  • Raspberry

    ToX2 and Zestiria sucked so hard I’ve lost all faith is this series. And seeing that this game is connected to a shitty world of Zestiria i don’t even know if i want to play it at bargain bin price…

  • Tenetan

    Graces f is considered one of the worst in terms of story, and one of the better in terms of combat and usually the reason most finish it, personally Gradces F is the only tales game since symphonia that I haven’t beaten, mostly because the story bore me to death, tried multiple times to but about 10 hours in i just lose all motivation.

    With that said i personally recommend Abyss/Vesperia or if you want a one from the newer series pickup Xillia.

  • Robert

    It’s pretty good, I ended up putting more than 100 hours in it and had a good time. The soundtrack is really good as well.

  • Smug

    >still using and supporting Steam in this day and age
    >implying piracy has risks

  • Snea Zel

    :( That means you didn’t even meet the 3 best characters!

  • Shiggy Diggy Doo

    Yeeeep. I just ended up getting the worse (I think) off the bat.

    If it does get better I guess I can give it another shot

  • MegaRay

    Yup. One of my favorite PS4 games.

  • D.Va


  • Bobby/Godless

    Yeah Director’s cut is where it’s at. It never released in the states.

  • FitzpatrickPhillips

    I guess I’ll get this in August to hold me over until Persona 5, FFXV and Atelier in September. I’ve always been saying “This is the last Tales game I play” but the next one always seems so interesting. I did love Zestria, but never finished it.

  • C4

    Yeah, Xillia is probably the one to recommend from the more recent games. It has a bit more serious tone than Graces and older main characters. I like both Jude and Milla. Might fix some of the issues Kelandris had with Graces if those were some of them. It’s not a very long-ass game which means at least for people like me you keep being motivated until the end.

  • Sheogorath

    Its pretty good the cameria is funky
    I think xilla is better

  • Sheogorath

    I really need the ps3 version to release in English (with dual audio)