Tales of Berseria Review: Best Tales Game I’ve Played So Far.

5 stars
Coming into
Tales of Berseria, I was optimistic yet cautious about how my experience would be.
I had heard good things about the game, however, I knew that Berseria was a loose prequel to Zestiria and I found that game to be a bit of a mess with its mostly bland cast and story, and needlessly complicated system.
So, imagine my relief when I was in the first few hours of Berseria and was already ten times more invested in the characters, story and gameplay than I ever was with Zestiria.
In fact, I would go as far to say that this is my favourite Tales game that I have played so far, even beating out Vesperia.
Developed once again by Bandai Namco, and directed by Yoshimasa Tanaka, Tales of Berseria follows the story of Velvet Crowe (Cristina Vee, English Dub), a Daemon on a mission of revenge to take out the man who took everything from her.
Velvet’s quest for vengeance is a gripping one that sees her go through quite the character arc.
Many say her character arc stagnates until the last ten hours of the game and, while I can see what they’re saying, I personally liked a lot of the subtle moments we got from her before this point.

Even when her character isn’t developing, Velvet has a lot of subtle moments that kept me engaged with her character.

Velvet being like this also gives the game time to get you acquainted with the likeable party members.
There’s the sweet as a button Malik Laphicet (Amber Conner), the virtuous Exorcist, Eleanor (Erica Mendez), the fighting addicted Daemon, Rokurou (Benjamin Diskin), the wise yet cursed Malik, Eizen (Taliesin Jaffe), and the sly and eccentric witch, Magilou (Erica Lindbeck).
All of these party members are great to be around and fun to watch grow, with my favourites probably being Velvet, Laphicet and Eleanor. 
It’s also cool how, unlike with pretty much every Tales game, you could be considered to be playing as the villains here.
Overall, would I say I enjoy the main cast as much as I do Vesperia’s?
No, I still like that cast a little more but it’s still close, and given how much I love the main party of Vesperia that is saying a lot.
Two things that Berseria definitely has over Vesperia in terms of characters, though, is its antagonists and supporting characters.
In Vesperia, with the exception of Duke, all of the villains were one dimensional and boring, along with most of the side characters.
This is not the case with Berseria where every single villain is great, especially the main antagonist Artorius (Ray Chase), and many of the side characters, like Dyle and Kurogane, are very memorable. 

Artorius is a fantastic antagonist who perfectly encapsulates the themes of the game.

The story surrounding these characters is also amazing and suits them and their arcs well, with the theme of emotion vs reason.  
Heck, I think the story was so good that it actually made me appreciate Zestiria a lot more.
Seriously, even though I find Zestiria to have a lot of flaws, I would actually recommend playing it before Berseria because, if I had played Bersiria first, then a lot of the fantastic twists and connections with Zestiria would have meant nothing to me.
Speaking of which, I also enjoyed how Berseria expanded on some characters from Zestiria, most notably Zaveid (Ian Sinclair).
I liked him in Zesitiria, but he had no development there.
Berseria, on the other hand, gives him that development, showing how he got to be the way he was at the beginning of the other game and how his pact with Eizen was forged.

Zaveid is a standout side character in Berseria with his dynamic with Eizen being particularly greart.

The final thing I will praise about Berseria’s story is how it was able to bring so much emotion out of me.
I was shocked at certain points, excited at others, laughed with the characters, and even teared up during one incredibly emotional moment between Velvet and Laphicet.
The story and characters of Berseria are just amazing but what about the gameplay?
Well, I am glad to say that you can finally listen to what I have to say about Tales’ gameplay without a pinch of salt because I finally figured out how to play one.
I was new to the series with Vesperia, so was naturally pretty bad at the gameplay there and Zestiria’s was way too complicated for me, but I actually managed to get a good handle of Berseria’s.
I figured out how to power up the characters and their weapons, how to cook, send scout ships, and what play style suited me best.
All in all, I can say that the gameplay for Berseria is a lot of fun.
Each character is unique in their own way and it is fun to rotate which one you are playing.
I mostly found myself playing as Velvet and Eleanor because I found that their play styles worked the best for me. 

Close range, long distance, a mixture of both, each of the characters offer one of these play styles.

One criticism I can give, though, is that Velvet’s demon claw attacks are pretty over powered and it is very easy to constantly spam it if you have the right amount of souls to attack.
Speaking of the souls system, I have heard some criticize it but I personally enjoyed it because it made me have to think tactfully about how I would tackle different enemies.  
As for those enemies, a lot of them were pretty fun to fight and some even offered a unique challenge, like one ridiculously funny level 100 boss, who is thankfully optional.
About the final boss, I actually found them to be pretty easy but that is only because I was enjoying the game so much that I finished most of the side quests before I went and fought him.
The gameplay isn’t completely perfect, though, because dungeons in this game are pretty bland and empty, with the exception of the final one.
That said, this didn’t affect my own, personal enjoyment because I was loving the rest of the gameplay, characters and story too much.
If you like JRPG dungeons, though, you will most likely be disappointed with Berseria’s.
I, however, felt that the game’s few negatives were easily overpowered by its many positives.
I can definitely see myself returning to this game and replaying it again and again in the future. 

Neon Genesis Evangelion Review: A Classic Anime with a Bizarre Ending.

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Neon Genesis Evangelion 
is one of the big classic anime.
Not only do a lot of people love the series but it also helped shape anime into what it is today.
So, with the anime being released on Netflix, I knew I had to check out.
And what did I think of it?
Well… its complicated.
After watching Evangelion, I had honestly no idea what I thought about it.
There were things I liked about the show and things I did not, and my mixture of feelings was blended into an anime with great symbolism, well done and problematic animation, along with a downright bizarre ending.
You probably all know the plot by now but, for those who do not, Neon Genesis Evangelion is set in a world where giant monsters known as Angels pose a threat to all of humanity.
In order to combat them and stop a world ending event known as the Third Impact, a group of children are chosen to pilot robots known as Evas to combat them.
Our main character is Shinji Ikari (Casey Mongillo), a 14-year-old boy whose father, Gendo (Ray Chase), leads Nerv, the organisation that runs the Eva program.
Shinji is called in by his estranged father to pilot Unit 2 and help save the world.
From there the story unfolds into an in depth character study of Shinji and his allies, along with plenty of Eva vs Angel fights spread out.

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The fights between the Evas and Angels are well handled and choreographed.

Speaking of these characters, I found them to be a bit of a mixed bag.
Shinji is a relatable protagonist, and I found his growing bond with his guardian Misato Katsuragi (Carrie Keranen) to be very well done.
But then there is the emotionless Rei Ayanami (Ryan Bartley) who was difficult to connect with a lot of the time, and Gendo, who both deserves the terrible father award and has pretty much no resolution with Shinji by the end.
And finally there are the characters who my opinion changed of over time.
A prime example of this is Asuka Langley Soryu (Stephanie McKeon), who I could not stand at first, until her backstory was revealed in an episode that sent her spiraling into a deep depression that I found very sympathetic.

neon genesis evangelion
Evangelion offers a wide range of characters from the appealing, like Shinji and Misato, to the less than investing, like Rei.

However, while the characters were a bit hit or miss for me, I found that the symbolism and themes of Evangelion were usually spot on.
The director, Hideaki Anno has talked about how the anime expresses his experiences dealing with depression and this can clearly be seen with many of the characters.
Then there is the Christian symbolism, which is everywhere and incredibly well handled.
I have no idea what it means but I do not think we are supposed to.
Despite these themes, though, I honestly was not able to become fully immersed in Evangelion’s story until episode sixteen but, from that point on, I was fully on board.
Some really great episodes came after this point, my favourite of which is definitely episode nineteen, “A Man’s Battle”, which had plenty of amazing character development and the best action of the anime.

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“A Man’s Battle” is, without a doubt, the best Neon Genesis Evangelion episode.

This is helped by the great animation of the episode, which details all of the epic battle moments.
The animation is far from perfect throughout, unfortunately, as there are constant still shots that go on for long periods of time with nothing moving.
The worst of these comes in the first few episodes when there is a shot of Shiji and Misato staring at each other at a train station that feels like it goes on forever.
Sadly, the still images are not the only problem with Evangelion’s animation because it becomes quite obvious that they had almost no budget left by the final two episodes, with literal drawings being used.
Speaking of the ending, I had heard that it was not very good but I was not expecting the confusing, absurd, drug trip that I got.
I literally laughed out loud at the ending because of how nonsensical it felt.

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The ending to the Evangelion is certainly strange with its drug trip feeling complimented by its big animation issues.

The ending is not completely terrible because it does do justice to the characters’ inner psychology, especially with Shinji, however, there is no narrative cohesion whatsoever in these final two episodes.
I understand that the movie End of Evangelion (which I will be watching and reviewing soon) explains the ending but that is not good enough in my mind.
When watching a finale you need to understand what is happening without needing a follow up movie to get it.
Still, I will not say that the ending ruined what came before.
Overall, I found Neon Genesis Evangelion to be a good anime.
I cannot say that it affected me on the level that it obviously did countless other people but I can recognize its significance in the anime world.
Without Evangelion anime would be in a very different place to where it is now and for that it should be recognized.