I have played the Tales series since Tales of Legendia. It was there that I fell in love with the anime art style, game mechanics and sprawling stories. For those unaware Tales of Berseria dropped on January 24th for waiting fans disappointed with the previous entry. I played Tales of Zestiria and it didn’t grab me and most of the community. I could tell from the moment I booted up the game that this Tales was going to be different. I could feel it in my spirit that this game was going to be a contender to topple Tales of Vesperia from its spot as my number one. I didn’t realize it would do it in such a heart breaking way.
**Spoiler Alert**: While this is not a review I will be discussing some MAJOR plot points. If you haven’t finished the game then please take your leave.**
Velvet is the first solo female protagonist with a bone to pick with her brother in law Artorious. I was prepared to go along for the ride on her journey of vengeance. I had identified my husbando, hey Rokuro, but I was not prepared to personally identify with Velvet. Nor was I ever prepared to shed my first tear during a Tales game.
Here’s where it happened, I’m in my second trip in the earth pulse as Velvet is having her melt down. Up to this point, Velvet has just discovered that her brother Laphicet is actually alive and now believes that she is “ugly”. He believes that she is the embodiment of everything he is trying to purge the world of and that she should die by letting him eat her for the 2 malevolences she carries. Ouch.
Eizen explains that the earth pulses house the memories of everyone on earth. Memory bubbles of Velvet and her sister Celica’s past start popping up to add further insult to injury. The players as well as the supporting cast get to see all of their dirty/happy secrets which is so intrusive. Velvet doesn’t get to choose what they see and her companions don’t get to opt out of the memories.
All of this is a ploy by Laphicet to push her to the edge and make her a prime meal for him. Velvet has been vulnerable before in this game especially towards Phi, who we learn is actually the Malak incarnation of her nephew, but this was too much. It was pulling back the veil of our prideful, arrogant Therion and exposing her which seemed terribly unfair.
So here I am trudging through the earth pulse, watching these memories and Velvet’s dual personalities go to war. We beat the final boss and Velvet is finally ready to be Laphicet’s snack. She has given up and accepts her fate but Phi was not going to let her go that easily. Eizen pushes Phi to tell Velvet what she needed to hear and this is where it happened. It wasn’t so much Phi’s words to Velvet but more of her confession to him that caused those tears to fall during the scene.
She confesses all of her hopes, dreams regrets and grief in a flurry of exposition. And at the end of all that she screams “It hurts!”. At that moment all of the events of my own life and current events flooded into my own being. A lot of days we have to keep going to work, interacting with people, being strong etc despite how we really feel. I thought about all the times I felt like “all of this hurts” but never said anything because who would really care. Going back to Phi, he says that he will support her and accepts her for who she is and what she feels. And like that, Laphicet’s snack was gone and I had to put down my controller to cry a bit.
I’m not sure if it’s because Velvet’s a girl and I’m a girl that this scene struck me so hard. I don’t know if it’s because of the climate on America and the bullshit happening made it matter more. I don’t even know if it’s because I’m an African American in this country who happens to be a woman and have cultural norms that support being strong above all else that this made it hit closer to home. It could be all of those things.
What I do know is that I’ve never cried in a Tales game and I’m bawling like a baby at this scene. I know that this is the Tales game that fans have been waiting for. I know that while I can’t speak for everyone this game has beaten out Tale of Vesperia for me and that’s not a knock but a good thing. If you love Tales, JRPGS and have been aching for a good story you should definitely pick up this game.
Have you played Berseria? Did you get to this scene and what did you think? Let us know in the comments below.
Until Next Time,
Edited 2/15/17: Fixed Grammar and updated the first photo