Tales of Vesperia was first released for Xbox 360 players back in 2008. It soon earned the adoration of fans, and many acknowledged it as the best instalment in the series. A year later it captured the hearts of PlayStation 3 players too - although, contrary to what was first announced, it was only made available in Japan. And so it came to pass that one of the best games in the Tales of series got a somewhat limited audience in these parts. Ten years later and Bandai Namco is looking to rectify that as the game is being remastered and launched across PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One. And as it turns out, even a reheated meal can have an exquisite taste.
Considering the time that has passed, our initial impression was that the title hadn't gotten old in the slightest. That said, upon closer inspection, certain things weren't so impressive anymore. We're looking at an enhanced edition, for the first time released beyond Japanese borders - as a matter of fact, there hasn't been that much new added to the re-release. Fortunately, as a language barrier does exist, to most of you the Definitive Edition will be your first encounter with the world of Vesperia, but even after all these years, it's still a wonderful and good-looking game. Only former 360 players will notice the differences, and may even be positively surprised by the fact that you can now recruit two previously unavailable characters. These characters, along with new dungeons, challenges and customisation options will expand an already massive game. Yes, this is one of those long games that will keep you entertained for many, many evenings, so get ready for diligent searching through locations and hours of levelling up your team as the game cuts you no slack and often poses quite a challenge.
Connoisseurs of the genre will be pleased by the option of switching between English and Japanese. Although as much as we personally prefer the original voice acting, the dubbing is of surprisingly good quality. It's even better than that of later instalments of the series - if you played Tales of Xillia you probably know what we're talking about. This time there is nothing to fear - characters' voices are not going to haunt you at night. There can't be anything bad said about the soundtrack either, which was composed by Motoi Sakuraba. His music was always regarded by Tales of fans as a strong feature of the series, and once again it's catchy for the most part and perfectly matches the atmosphere of each scene, and, what's more important, it doesn't bore you even after many hours of playtime.
Visually, Vesperia still impresses, without having aged much since the initial release. It's less detailed than later instalments, with less realistic and more plastic-looking models, although it comes with some beautiful backgrounds and animated cutscenes. It comes across like a good, timeless anime. During your journey, you'll encounter a number of short yet fully voiced dialogues, which, although not animated and minimalistic in terms of their presentation, maintain satisfying quality, introducing side stories or simply entertaining us.
Unfortunately, despite the passage of time and porting the game onto seemingly more powerful devices, it isn't free from problems. Travelling across the world, you'll occasionally experience a glitch in the animation. They're caused by the loading of new enemies, which constantly spawn in the area near your avatar. The optimisation does have flaws - but with these textures and simplified graphics, such things shouldn't be happening. Animations lag a bit during encounters with a greater number of enemies, and it takes a while to render some of the locations. The latter surprises, especially since Vesperia isn't rich in multilevel cities or dungeons; most of the locations have a simple layout that's easy to memorise. Let's hope that further updates will fix these issues.