Unless you've been following the goings on in the Tales of community for a while, Bandai Namco's surprise E3 announcement of Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition may not strike you as being all that significant. After all, it's a decade old remake of a Japanese role playing game, albeit with a handful of never-before-seen-in-the-West extras thrown in. However, Tales of Vesperia stands out as the only last-generation Tales of game to not see a release in the West on the Playstation 3 - its Xbox 360 exclusivity a remnant of when Microsoft gave a hoot about Japanese games. Over in Japan, a swish definitive edition hit the Playstation 3, but sadly, due to reasons that were never made entirely clear, it never made it to the West, much to the chagrin of Playstation Tales of fans, who missed out on one of the series' best-loved entries… until now, that is.
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Revealed at last night's Microsoft conference (of all places), Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition will be hitting the Playstation 4, Xbox One, Switch and PC later this year. Following the tale of Yuri, a former Imperial Knight who's on a mission to retrieve a stolen Blastia Core (essentially an energy source for the people of the game's world, Terca Lumireis) for a neighbour, it doesn't take long before Yuri finds himself caught up with a mysterious noble woman named Estelle. As the pair flee the capital in pursuit of the ne'er do well, Yuri soon finds himself wrapped up in a much bigger plot that threatens to destroy the entire planet. Along the way, he'll meet with a whole cast of colourful characters, from fellow Imperial Knights and eccentric Blastia researchers, to pirate girls and many more, as you travel the length and breadth of Terca Lumireis, on a mission to save the world.
Along the way, you'll face off against many a bad guy in the Tales of series' staple button-mashing real-time battles. In traditional Tales of style, never using just one word where half a dozen will do, it's called the 'Evolved Flex-Range Linear Motion Battle System' - an overly complicated way of saying you can freely run around the battle field and whack enemies, rather than being fixed to a particular plane or area. With a whole range of flashy special attacks, fancy sword swings and aerial moves at your disposal, fighting bad guys is a pinch, with the game's controls letting you pull off impressive-looking moves with ease, interspersed with jumps, guards and dodges to avoid enemy attacks. Despite the (always) complicated sounding names they give their battle systems, the Tales of series has some of the easiest to pick up and play real-time fights of any Japanese role-playing game - and coupled with its light-hearted, friendly tone, it's a great one for newcomers and seasoned veterans alike.
The Definitive Edition is essentially the same as what hit Japanese PS3s about a decade ago, except with improved graphics and English voices for the shift to the Playstation 4. Perhaps the biggest addition is the two new party members that supplement the original roster - Patty Fleur, a young pirate lass searching for her lost memories, and Yuri's best friend and fellow Imperial Knight, Flynn Scifo. Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition also promises some new locations, scenarios and missions to play through, that weren't in the original Xbox 360 Western release too.
Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition will be hitting the Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC (via Steam) later this year, in the winter - and we don't know about you, but we're seriously excited for it. Currently, there's no news on any collector's editions or day one goodies for those who pre-order, but given the series' precedent in recent years, we imagine there'll be some super dooper fancy editions announced at some point soon. In the meantime, why not check out the announcement trailer below, which shows off some of what we can expect, to the tune of the rather catchy 'Ring a Bell' theme: