|Tales of Berseria|
|Game Systems|| •PlayStation 3 (JP)|
•Microsoft Windows (NA/EU)
|Developers||Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.|
|Character Designers|| •Mutsumi Inomata|
|Japanese Releases||August 18, 2016|
|North American Releases||January 24, 2017|
|European Releases||January 27, 2017|
|Opening Theme||"Burn" by Flow|
Tales of Berseria (テイルズ オブ ベルセリア Teiruzu obu Beruseria?) is the sixteenth Mothership Title in the Tales series. The title was announced on June 6, 2015 during the Tales of Festival 2015, while the localization was confirmed on December 21, 2015. Ufotable produced the animated cutscenes for the game. The main motif of the game is a conflict between emotion and reason. Tales of Berseria is a distant prequel to Tales of Zestiria. Its characteristic genre is "RPG of Discovering Your Own Reasons to Live" (君が君らしく生きるためのＲＰＧ Kimi ga Kimirashiku Ikiru tame no RPG?).
Berseria takes places in a world known as Desolation, specifically in the Holy Midgand Empire, a powerful country that rules over Desolation's archipelago of a continent. The game's world is shared with Tales of Zestiria, though these events occur in the distant past. There are countless numbers of islands around, and Midgand's rule crosses even the seas. Areas of land and islands in the game are divided into territories. Along with humans, one of the other main races is the malakim, supernatural spirits whose wills are sealed and used by humans as slaves to utilize their magical abilities after being made visible to even normal humans due to the Advent, an incident three years prior to Velvet Crowe's escape from the prison island of Titania.
Throughout the empire, a disease known as daemonblight causes those infected to lose their humanity and sense of rationality and transform into monsters known as daemons, who pose a threat to the world. Along with the rulers of the Holy Midgand Empire exists a theocratic order known as the Abbey, who are of great political and religious importance and are influential in imperial affairs. The exorcists, soldiers from the Abbey, are tasked with bringing peace and order by purging the world of daemons and are willing to go to extremes to reach their goal.
When she was a child, Velvet and her younger brother, Laphicet Crowe, were saved by her brother-in-law, Artorius Collbrande, when a Scarlet Night occurred and the daemonblight consumed their village, Aball. Velvet's pregnant older sister, Celica Crowe, is killed by the disease through an event known as the Opening. A few years later, Velvet lives with Laphicet and Artorius in the same village. The Scarlet Night returns, with the entire village succumbing to the daemonblight. When Velvet finds Artorius, she witnesses him sacrifice her brother as part of a ritual known as the Advent.
Artorius attempts to use her for the Advent as well, but she resists and the daemonblight possesses her arm, mutating it and turning her into a daemon called a therion, with the ability to absorb daemons. In a rage, she slaughters the surviving daemons, then witnesses the summoning of malakim into the world, including a reincarnated Celica, now an emotionless malak called Seres. She is thereafter thrown into a prison for daemons on the prison island of Titania, swearing to kill Artorius and avenge her brother's murder. Over the next three years, Artorius forms the Abbey to bring peace to the Holy Midgand Empire and is seen as a savior by the people for establishing the exorcists.
The Vengeful Quest
After three years in prison, Velvet, now embittered and possessing the power to absorb and produce malevolence from her mutated arm, is freed by Seres, who has regained her emotions and broken away from Artorius, who is declared as the Shepherd by the Abbey. During her escape, Velvet also aids the samurai Rokurou Rangetsu and witch Magilou. During the escape, Velvet and Seres fight against the praetor-rank exorcist Oscar Dragonia, and Seres takes a fatal attack when Oscar turns one of his malakim servants into a dragon to face them. Absorbing Seres at her own request, Velvet makes a final attack on Oscar that blinds him in one eye before he escapes.
Velvet, Rokurou, and Magilou then escape the island on a ship. Over the course of their journey, they also meet Eleanor Hume, who is one of the Abbey's exorcists but beginning to doubt their methods; Laphicet, a malak formerly in service to praetor-rank exorcist Teresa Linares until breaking free and traveling with Velvet; and Eizen, a malak who travels with pirates that grant the group sanctuary. Eleanor is initially reluctant to join Velvet, attempting suicide before being stopped by Laphicet and learning the full truth behind the Abbey's plans. They eventually learn that Artorius, Oscar, Teresa, and legate-rank exorcists Shigure Rangetsu and Melchior Mayvin are trying to purge the daemonblight by erasing all emotion from humankind. To do this, they need to summon Innominat, the Empyrean of Suppression, an extremely powerful malak, into the world.
The group learns through an ancient tome that Innominat, depicted as a dragon with eight heads, is connected through earthpulses, areas of the world where its mana is highly concentrated, to seven therions, daemons similar to Velvet. The therions devour daemons, whose energy is then absorbed by Innominat in order for him to be summoned into the world. Artorius, Oscar, Teresa, Shigure, and Melchior are ultimately successful, with Innominat taking on the form of Velvet's deceased brother. It is also revealed to the group early on that daemonblight is actually an impurity called malevolence generated by the negative emotions of humanity, which can turn humans into daemons, and that daemons and malakim are visible to only humans who possess resonance in them.
An End and a Beginning
Due to Artorius's actions during the Opening and the Advent, the latent resonance in humanity amplified, allowing for daemons, followed by malakhim, to become visible. Laphicet is revealed to be the reincarnation of Celica's unborn son, and that Velvet, being a therion herself, is able to produce malevolence from her mutated arm when she absorbs daemons, and is even declared by both the Abbey and the populace as the Lord of Calamity. In order for the group to defeat Artorius and Innominat, they pursue each of the exorcists, defeating them and using them as vessels to awaken the four Empyreans.
They then face Artorius, who merges with Innominat in the final battle before Velvet kills him once and for all. Innominat begins going berserk, and Velvet decides to seal herself away with him, nourishing him with her malevolence while being with the brother she loves. Laphicet becomes Innominat's replacement with the help of Oscar, Teresa, Shigure, and Melchior, reincarnated as the four Empyreans who will serve Laphicet as his lords. Laphicet then transforms into a benevolent dragon and purifies the land of malevolence, at the cost of humans not being able to see the malakim. Magilou records the events of the world in her role as a scribe, while Laphicet renames himself "Maotelus". These events ultimately foreshadow and set the scene for Tales of Zestiria.
- Velvet Crowe (ベルベット・クラウ Berubetto Kurau?) – The main protagonist, who is a 19-year-old woman on a quest for vengeance. Her life changed due to an incident that occurred three years prior to the events of the story, during the Scarlet Night. She fights with a blade mounted on her right-hand gauntlet, her feet, and the demonic left arm. At some point, she joins Aifread's pirate team to face a common enemy.
- Laphicet (ライフィセット Raifisetto?) – A 10-year-old boy of the malak race who is considered to be the "light" to Velvet's "darkness". He possess a compass that is a key item in the story, as it points the boy to the places that will help his mind and heart grow. He fights using paper sheets, similarly to Lailah.
- Rokurou Rangetsu (ロクロウ・ランゲツ Rokurou Rangetsu?) – A black-haired man wearing samurai garb who, despite turning into a daemon, has retained his sense of reason. He follows Velvet to pay a debt to her and fights with twin daggers.
- Magilou (マギルゥ Magiruu?) – A mysterious woman who introduces herself as a witch, Magilou is an extroverted and chatty woman on the outside, but there is something secretive and sinister about her.
- Eizen (アイゼン Aizen?) – A man who, despite his appearance, is actually about 1,000-years-old. Eizen is Edna's brother. Known as the "Reaper", he is the First Mate of Aifread's pirates, who is on a search for his missing captain, Van Aifread, on the ship called the Van Eltia. Eizen joins forces with Velvet against their common enemy: the Abbey and its exorcists.
- Eleanor Hume (エレノア・ヒューム Erenoa Hyuumu?) – A compassionate, caring woman. Eleanor is an praetor-rank exorcist from the Abbey. After a certain event, Eleanor joins Velvet and her team to discover the truth behind the world.
- Bienfu (ビエンフー Bienfuu?) – A peculiar malak donning a unique hat, Bienfu stands out among his kind with his own will and thoughts. Despite his feeble appearance, he thrives on adversity and appears to know Magilou, but the circumstances of their meetings seem to not be of a friendly sort.
- Seres (シアリーズ Shiariizu?) – A malak woman with power over fire, Seres is Artorius's subordinate who began to question his motives after the incident from three years ago when she started to regain her mind. She sneaks into the prison island Titania in order to free Velvet.
- Oscar Dragonia (オスカー・ドラゴニア Osukaa Doragonia?) – A strong, praetor-rank exorcist from the Dragonia family, a major aristocracy from the empire. He fights against Velvet as she flees Titania, the prison island where she was held captive.
- Teresa Linares (テレサ・リナレス Teresa Rinaresu?) – Also a praetor-rank exorcist from the Abbey and Oscar's half-sister. She governs Hellawes, the northern area of the Holy Midgand Empire. She has gained the title of "Frozen Queen" because of her stoic and cold personality, but she dotes on Oscar and shows her kindness only to him. She calls Laphicet "Number Two" and uses him for his malak artes.
- Shigure Rangetsu (シグレ・ランゲツ Shigure Rangetsu?) - A legate-rank exorcist from the Abbey. He is Rokurou's older brother and the head of their family. They use a unique fighting style in their aims to become the strongest warriors. Though a legate, he has a free-spirited attitude unappreciated by the serious-minded exorcists. He justifies his carefree behavior with his battle prowess. His sole joy is to fight tough opponents and seems to enjoy it when his opponent is stronger. He will never turn down a new challenge whenever it arises.
- Melchior Mayvin (メルキオル・メーヴィン Merukioru Meevin?) - A legate elder from the Abbey who is well-versed in the ancient legends and a master in alchemy. His years of experience places him as an adviser for Artorius, the head of the exorcists. He recognizes the importance of the exorcists' missions and that they cannot always be accomplished through good deeds, and to that point, is willing to do unpleasant deeds. Though mostly a support to the organization with strategy and resources, he himself is a powerful arte-wielder.
- Artorius Collbrande (アルトリウス・コールブランド Arutoriusu Kouruburando?) – Real name "Arthur", he is the head exorcist at the Abbey and considered to be a savior by the populace, as three years ago, he appeared with a large number of malakhim and, with their help, exterminated a large number of daemons that threatened the world.
A few new features have been added to the game. The first are items called "potentites", which grant additional effects and abilities during battle. A feature called "Code Red Daemon Hunting" has also been introduced, in which the player fights daemons called "Code Red" scattered around the world to earn powerful items such as potentites as reward; a player can meet a Code Red Daemon even without speaking to the quest-giver first. Another feature is called "Wandering Enemies". If a player meets a certain condition in battle, a specific daemon will appear, being more dangerous than a Code Red Daemon, appearing in multiples, and turning invincible for a limited amount of time, which requires strategic battle plans.
Following Tales of Zestiria, the game makes use of the Katz. Throughout the game, there are opaque flames called "Katz Spirits" that can be collected, and with enough of them, they will allow the player to open "Katz Boxes", which are special items such as equipment and accessories scattered across the continent. Tales of Berseria is the first game to allow multiple DLC costume colors, as well as posing characters in the accessory menu screen. The game introduces cooking levels for each character from when they cook a dish, likewise allowing them to level up in their skills and efficiency. A new form of transportation called the geoboard is a land-based version of the Rheairds. It can be customized just as character appearance.
Known as Liberation-LMBS, Linear Motion Battle System retains smooth transition to battle in the same manner as Tales of Zestiria, also reusing its Blast Gauge (BG) mechanic. It also has several changes made to its standard controls, including default Free Run, a freely-rotating camera, and the possibility to assign multiple artes to the "Triangle" (), "Square" (), "Circle" (), and "X" () buttons, allowing different artes to be linked together in a variety of combinations. The number of artes that can be executed in a single streak is dependent on the character's Soul Gauge (SG). Every battle starts with 3 SG, while defeating an enemy grants one more SG unit. Once the Soul Gauge fills up, it will allow a character to use their Break Soul (BS), which enables them to exceed the upper limit of artes in a combo and invoke a special effect.
When using Break Soul, the player can exceed the upper limit of performable artes in a combo, and each character can use their unique special action. These special actions are wildly different, depending on the character. The player can introduce more choices and apply greater strategic play by switching the controlled character during battle to react to the enemy and situation. Break Soul has multiple levels, and the player can unlock more abilities as they progress through the game. When a character has three Souls or more, the player can press the "R2" () button to consume one Soul and execute Break Soul. After using Break Soul, one of three out of the potential five Souls from the Soul Gauge will be lost after its activation, but it will allow further increase in complex and max-hit combos.
In addition, a game mechanic called Switch Blast can be executed by consuming Souls. Switch Blast allows a controlled character to switch with a character who is not on the battlefield. The switch will result in the summoned character performing a special arte. Before once switches, the summoned sub-character will have one more Soul. Each character has their own unique Switch Blast technique that can be linked into combos.
- Tales of Berseria is the only Mothership Title in the series to feature a lone female central protagonist, as Milla Maxwell shared the central protagonist role with Jude Mathis in Tales of Xillia.
- On December 8, 2016, Bandai Namco Entertainment released a preview clip of the English dubbing, which included scenes from the beginning of the game, one of which depicting the events leading to Velvet's resolve to kill Artorius Collbrande, as well as the means by which she got her daemonic arm. That scene played a bit differently regarding several scenes pertaining to Laphicet Crowe. On December 9, 2016, Bandai Namco Entertainment released a statement on Facebook stating that the changes were made mainly to maintain the age rating of 16, like the past few Tales games have maintained, and assured that it was the only graphic change made.