I was pretty excited about this game when I saw that is was basically a playable anime and the fact that it had received so many good reviews on Gamefly. Much to my dismay, I was seriously thinking about giving up this game within the first 20 seconds. I was pretty excited watching the opening sequence, but was immediately outraged when I found that there was no Japanese language option. Why do American game companies spend so much money to hire terrible voice actors and ruin games that will mostly only be played by people who would rather have the original Japanese voices anyways?
Unfortunately I trucked forward in hopes that things might look up...sadly I was mistaken. The battle system is beyond terrible. The best thing about RPG games is being able to strategize every action for every character. This battle system wants so badly to be a new genre fitting somewhere in between RPG and action but fails at being either. You never expect to do well in the first battle of the game but seriously...I died because the battle system is so terrible. I then died again at the first boss battle. I am not a terrible game player, this is just how bad the battling system truly was. The story line really had something going but was totally overshadowed and ruined by the other terrible aspects of the game.
I would not even recommend renting this...a complete waste of time and effort. RPG's for the Xbox 360 are dead. They have not figured out how to bring something completely old school into the next generation without completely ruining it.
The Tales game seem to be getting better and better in terms of their voice work. Tales of Symphonia for the GameCube is the game I think of when I want to make an example of a Japanese RPG that has good, if not excellent, English voice work. The dialog is good, the voice actors are all excellent, and the story is great.
Tales of Vesperia is continuing this tradition. I wasn't sure if I liked Estellise's voice at the beginning, but it quickly grew on me. Yuri's voice is good, if a bit low-key. So far, no one's voice work has made me wince.
My only complaint so far is that the boss fights are far and away more difficult than the standard fights. That means you might be doing awesome against normal enemies and then get smashed fighting a boss, with no previous indication that you were doing badly.
With classic Tales story-telling and a revamped 3D Linear Battle System, Tales of Vesperia is a great game and worth buying if you enjoy Japanese RPGs.