Getting big One Piece vibes (never watched it)

123.9 hours

After more than 100 hours, i have once more gone from hunting rats (or pigs in this case) to defeating God

Tales of Berseria is the first Tales game i've played (but not the first JRPG). I found it quite similar in a lot of ways to the other long running franchises in the genre - Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, etc - except for the battle system, which was definitely a unique experience

Apparently the combat is a staple of the entire series, but the basic idea is real-time action, within a party-style battle. Up to four of your party take part in the battle, but you can only directly control one at a time. You assign attacks and spells to face buttons beforehand and then mash them out in real time, guarding and dodging when under heavy attack or while your stamina refills. These moves all have a stamina cost, as well as different elemental damage, status effects, and monster-type bonuses - classic RPG stuff

Party members not in your control are left to the directions of the AI, which you can tweak in broad "behavioural" strokes, as well as turning off the use of specific moves. I'm going to be honest here: trying to juggle enemies while calculating enemy weaknesses and resistances (for each enemy) made this combat system mostly incomprehensible. Once i noticed the AI handling battles as well as me (maybe better ?), i opted to set all characters to AI control, and only occasionally stepping in to apply an item, or switch out someone being reckless

Once battles were out of my mental load, i could focus on good old character progression - and boy can these characters progress. You have classic level-ups; equipment and its upgrades, with mastery bonuses; titles for grinding out actions; special gems that unlock more bonuses (and some new mechanics); and even stat-boosting consumable herbs. If you enjoy crunching numbers and optimising progression, then Berseria has you covered

Story-wise, it's pretty classic JRPG fare, although our protagonist party is very morally grey. They're not out to save the world here (at least not all of them, and not at first), but simply out for different types of vengeance. The chaos they get up to in pursuit of this is often a little hard to morally justify, but i think that's kind of the point - these people aren't "right" in that sense, but they are very human. Each character has their own quest, and seem to join up because their goals roughly align, and it's lots of fun (and a large chunk of playtime) watching them interact and develop unique relationships between each other

It was many hours spent (as expected) but i had a good enough time, and i'm pretty happy to jump into more of this series