Tales of Vesperia reminds me of an episode of "The Simpsons." In an attempt to boost "Itchy and Scratchy" ratings, the producers add a new character, Poochy. The first episode is a total flop. Kids usually watch for the gratuitous violent killing of Scratchy on each episode. In the first new episode, Itchy and Scratchy are driving toward a fireworks factory when they encounter Poochy on the side of the road. Instead of fighting or biting, Poochy breaks out into a corny, indulgent rap. After a minute of this, Milhouse cries, "When are they going to get to the fireworks factory?"
That's how I felt playing "Tales." After About 4 hours of game time, I had probably watched 2.5 hours of dialog, and another 0.5 hours walking to the next cutscene. I felt like crying out "When are they going to get to the fireworks factory?"
(If you need me to spell it out, Poochy is the cutscenes, and the fireworks factory is gameplay.)
The core of the gameplay (the fight encounters) is unique in my experience, but still amounts to little more than button mashing. However, I imagine it would be great fun to play with 3 real people in co-op.
The positive side to the game is that is undeniably gorgeous. The many cutscenes you are forced to watch are well directed and voice-acted, but they are just too long. The underlying story was not compelling enough for me to continue playing.
I love a good story as much as the next guy, but I'm foremost interested in playing a game, not watching a 20-hour+ movie.