Guidebook Giveaway: Tales of Vesperia
Allow me to introduce you to the end result of my constant toiling in July. Yes, this 256-page tome of a guidebook consumed my every waking minute for over a month and is indeed primarily responsible for my failure to earn a belt buckle at Leadville. On the bright side, at least it's a really good game.
Tales of Vesperia is a massive Japanese-style role-playing game, one that I found a bit refreshing and actually quite enjoyable to play. The combat is in real-time with a lot of action mixed in and numerous, subtle layers of complexity that slowly get added to the system over the course of the game. Although there are a lot of "random encounters" in the game, they are not invisible and can be avoided. Also, I should note that I only briefly felt the need to grind for a few additional levels. There was no instance in which I had to sit and level-grind for more than 20 minutes or so. There are a nearly endless list of things to do and discover in the game (my first playthrough of the game was roughly 80 hours) and the grade system encourages multiple playthroughs thanks to the genius way in which your grade points are used to purchase very, very helpful bonuses for subsequent trips through the game.
One of the things I liked most about the game, and I don't normally say this, is the story. Yes, the game ultimately does fall into the kids-save-the-world trap that so many of the games in this genre subscribe to, but the writing and overlying story were both very interesting. And there were some genuinely moving moments throughout the epic story. Also, the "skit" system allows you to view some very funny conversations between the characters in your party. I became genuinely interested in seeing how this story unfolds and I can't normally say that.
This game caused a pretty major craze in Japan when it released a couple weeks ago and Xbox 360s were sold out all across the country because of this game. I don't expect it to get the same welcome here in the US (not enough guns, probably), but it is definitely one to put on your list if you even remotely like this brand of game.
I haven't had a guidebook giveaway in quite a while so if you're new here, here's how it works: Be one of the first four people to email me your name and address and I'll get a signed copy of the guidebook out to you as soon as I receive my shipment of copies (North America only, please). This is good time for me to mention that I did have a co-author for this project (thankfully) who helped with compiling the massive items, weapons, and skills, chapters for this book as well as the game basics portion of the guide. The walkthrough, side-quests, and bestiary portions of the book (among a couple others) were written by me.