#09 - Tales of Berseria
The latest game in the Tales series is a big game. It was the first 2017 game I played this year, so there has been a long time between finishing it and me writing this. I did not anticipate starting a blog, so I have no notes to go off, but I’m going to do my best to explain why I loved it so much.
What really makes Berseria work for me is an incredibly fascinating world and a deep and layered, strong female protagonist. Velvet Crowe could have been a very one note character bent on revenge. Instead, Velvet is a character bent on revenge that has fascinating relationships with the other members of her crew. The party you build is one of convenience, for sure. However, as the story unfolds, Velvet’s relationship with Laphicet begins to change her. You see, Laphicet looks almost identical to her brother who was murdered in front of her by her guardian and brother-in-law three years earlier.
Let’s take a step back. The world of Tales of Berseria is inhabited by humans and the once invisible, angelic Malakhim. The Malak are the source of magic in the world. Their purpose seems to be to rid the world of the daemons corrupting the world. This is going to get complicated, so bear with me a minute. When humans feel strong negative emotions, they bring an impurity called malevolence into the world. When enough malevolence is gathered in one area, humans can be transformed into daemons. Daemons and Malakhim could only be seen by humans with resonance. However, Velvet’s brother-in-law, Arthur, performed a ceremony called The Opening. To do this, he sacrificed Velvet’s younger brother, Laphicet. Velvet attempted to save him but did not succeed. Furthermore, her arm was touched by the daemonblight, turning her into a type of daemon that feeds off of other daemons.
The Opening fine-tuned human resonance. This means that ALL humans can now see daemons and malakhim. This also means that human emotion is more volatile, and negative emotion creates more malevolence. A Templar-esque group of daemon hunters, called Exorcists, is formed by Arthur. These Exorcists use the malak as familiars, suppressing their free will in the process. We eventually learn that Arthur’s true goal is to remove human emotion from the world. He believes that it is better to live without emotion than to bring malevolence to the world. I have left out quite a few (probably) vital details, but it’s dense and complex so I’ll spare you.
I don’t know how well I explained the set up there, but it is all incredibly fascinating to me. The antagonist is driven by logic, while the protagonist is all pure rage and emotion. The Tales games have a history of generally being a bit cheesy at times with a lighter tone throughout. I love that, don’t get me wrong, but I really appreciate how dark Berseria gets with its tone. It isn’t afraid to make its protagonist unlikeable at times. She can be exhausting, but it is almost always earned. The payoff is also worth tolerating her, because there are times, I will admit, where her grudge and attitude is laid on thick.
For anyone who hasn’t played a Tales game before, Berseria is a fantastic starting point. I didn’t go much into the systems of the game, but the combat is really good. It’s an elemental, combo based, action RPG. I didn’t love it as much as Xillia’s combat, but it is better than most Tales’ combat. I highly recommend Berseria to anyone wanting to check out the series.
#08 - Cuphead
Aaron (me) is a lover of games, Extra Life member, Twitch streamer, and husband. I have never written much before, so I apologize if things start a little rough. I hope to improve in time.