this game rocks. it is fun, easy and has every thing that a rpg should. No cards just monsters cool weapons and a fun cast. A good installment to the TALES OF games. Try it you like it. I am going to buy as soon as I have the money.
When you first start out, naturally the game is hard to understand - specifically the battle system. It has a few odd characteristic: left trigger and left joystick move you in 3 dimensions of the circular battleground, whereas just left stick moves you in a straight line left to right; right bumper lets you change targets mid-battle; the most confusing point being the combo system. You start out only being able to perform simple attacks (B button) and one "base arte" [magic] (A button). Next you get "arcane artes", which deal more damage. As you progress throughout the game you acquire more of these skills, and further, you can "link" them to perform combos. Eg: 3-hit B-button combo -> base arte -> arcane arte. So on and so on. It can either be very intricate (you can delve into "cancellations" and ultimately wrack up 100+ hit combos), or you can keep it very simple (I got through most of the game off of 3 hit B-button combo -> base arte [specifically Azure Edge, the first base arte you get].
Long story short, the battle system is great because it's as intricate as you feel like making it and once you get the hang of it, it's pretty simple.
The characters - excellent. I loved them. I was actually really sad that I beat the game, because I just wanted to keep playing around with them. There's SO many subplots (that are actually annoyingly easy to miss) and mini games within the game that it really keeps you entertained - yet is linear enough for the people with little patience. There are occasionally a few corny dialogue sequences but they're few and far between and there's really no cheesy love story thing going on, it's all just very subtle. The enemies were great and you could really get a feel for who they were, their motives and what their quarks were. The game really makes you ask alot of questions, then answers them later in a very unexpected way.
If you like RPGs, RENT THIS GAME, it's amazing. You won't regret it. I spent about 150 hours on it.
I haven't played a good JRPG since Final Fantasy X. I used to play them all the time. When I was about 13 years old Final Fantasy VII came out and I was hooked. Tales of Vesperia brings those sort of feelings back.
ToV starts off much like any other JRPG, a little slow, and a little ambiguous. One of the things they did pretty well was give the feeling that there was something going on and make you want to experience more. The story was a little generic but the pace at which they exposed more and more of the story was excellent. The player is always moving forward and you never once feel like you're missing something, or wander around for more than 5 minutes to figure out where to go next. It moves you along in the story by providing you with little breaks that show how the characters interact with each other. Sometimes delivering some monologues that provide insight into the characters feelings or motivations. It is a nice way to keep things progressing forward without shoving tons of story down your throat. You have the choice to watch the little scenes or not.
The combat system is also excellent. As it has been said in many other reviews it feels more like a good fighting game than an JRPG during the combat. There are some awesome combos that you can pull off with some really nice animations to go along with them. All the characters have pretty robust abilities available to them. Leveling also comes pretty easily too so you don't find yourself grinding for too long. Another thing that sets this game apart is the way "random" encounters are handled. It never gets too bad and if you don't want to fight, you really don't have to.
All in all, Tales of Vesperia offers plenty for the RPG lover. Puzzles, beautiful locations, good enemies, story, and most of all the game is just fun. With 60+ hours of possible game play (20 on the low end) put this one in your queue for sure, and don't be afraid to click keep it.