Review: Tales of Berseria (PS4) (While Bake Off's Luis Troyano Bakes a Quiche)A delicious, rich, refreshing entrée.... Sorry... Entry.
Tales of Berseria is the most narratively interesting Tales Of game to release in a great number of years. Forgoing the optimism, hope and positivity of many recent entries, Berseria tells a fascinating bloody tale of unrepentant revenge and irredeemable anti-heroes. Berseria spends 45 hours inspecting the human costs that come with seeking revenge at the expense of enjoying the remains of a salvageable life, the uncorrectable choices made in that pursuit, and what’s left of a life devoted to the pursuit of hollow vengeance.
This shift to a look at the dark realities of humanity is fascinating to watch unfold. It is, however, seriously at odds with Bandai Namco’s odd decision to send us a Quiche recipe and bright colourful silicone cooking tools alongside our review copy of the game.
Yep, you read that right, Bandai Namco sent us the tools to make a Quiche. The cooking system has been missing from the last couple of Tales Of games, and now it’s back in a functional, if not narratively, relevant form, so we got sent a bunch of narratively dissonant colourful baking supplies.
I’m still going to give Tales of Berseria a proper review, but I’ll also be enlisting the help of The Great British Bake Off Finalist Luis Troyano to review the recipe and let us know if The Very Original Velvet Quiche adds anything to our enjoyment of this dark trip into the human psyche.
We got sent a bunch of narratively dissonant colourful baking supplies.
Laura – Berseria’s world is linear, bland and unmemorable. While the visual style may be pleasant enough and the game certainly isn’t graphically poor in terms of resolution and visual quality, the world design is often completely indistinct. Areas meld in to each other in my mind, and I struggle to remember which are from Berseria and which are from past Tales Of games. Nothing about them ever sticks in my mind for more than a moment.
Berseria’s story is interesting, but it is mechanically set within a series of largely forgettable linear corridors.
Luis – I had a read of the recipe reviewers were provided for The Very Original Velvet Quiche. It would be impossible for a non-baker to make a quiche from that recipe! It’s missing quite a few fundamental instructions and processes! I nearly wet myself reading that recipe.
Making any tart can be difficult, and actually it’s the pastry case that’s always tricky to do and requires practice and patience. Unfortunately, the recipe missed out some pastry fundamentals. An egg is usually added to a pastry to act as a binding agent. Also, kneading the dough for 10 minutes certainly isn’t the norm; in fact, handling as little as possible will ensure a short, crumbly pastry.
Laura – Berseria’s wider cast outside of our protagonist all have interesting motivations, unique personalities, and are given the time to properly shine as part of an ensemble cast. The group of travelling villainous heroes bicker, they quarrel, they disagree and they clash in ways that are understandable and interesting to watch unfold, while never clashing badly enough to justify leaving the mutually beneficial allegiance they have formed.
That uneasy cooperation makes for interesting moments of personal and group character development that were far more engaging than most recent Tales Of games.
Laura – The battle system in Berseria is relatively unchanged from recent Tales Of releases, with a couple of tweaks to improve the back and forth flow of combat. It still takes place in a 3D space with free movement, but now all of your attacks pool energy from a single meter. When the meter is running on empty, your attacks will be less likely to land successfully, while filling the bar completely unlocks a brief period of completely unlocked combos and special attacks. The system doesn’t penalise taking advantage of an opening, but does discourage spamming attacks thoughtlessly and adds a really nice back and forth strategic element to pacing.
Luis – Once left to rest in the fridge for a while, it then needs rolling out thinly before placing in the tart tin, a step missed by the recipe. A loose bottomed tin is essential for easy exit of the tart after baking. A round piece of non-stick parchment in the bottom will also help shift the tart after baking. None of this was mentioned in the instructions for The Very Original Velvet Quiche.
Roll the pastry nice and thin using lots of flour to prevent it sticking to your worktop and line the tin with it. Leave any overhang and trim it after blind baking. Again, none of this is explained in the provided recipe.
Laura – The cooking system is back, it’s functionally identical to past uses, and it’s useful as a mechanic but not in any way linked to the themes of the game. I have no idea why Bandai Namco made such a big deal out of it in their press kit, because desire to make or consume quiche is in no way a pivotal element of Berseria’s plot.
Luis – After lining the tin with the pastry, indeed you do prick the bottom of the pastry, but it needs blind baking before any filling is placed in it. Line it with 3 or 4 sheets of cling film and fill with dry rice. Bake for 20 minutes at 200c, then remove the cling film and rice and bake again for about 6 minutes to finish drying the case. The cling film in the oven will not melt!
None of this is explained in the recipe.
Leave to cool, and then brush with a beaten egg and bake again for a minute. This will waterproof the pastry case and ensure no soggy bottoms! The recipe provided would likely have resulted in a soggy bottom!
Laura – Berseria is in many ways just another Tales Of game. The combat feels familiar, the environments are non-distinct and the cooking system isn’t anything special or new. What carries this entry is its narrative, the characters, and how the game explores the consumptive and destructive nature of revenge as a motivator. It’s an interesting RPG story wrapped in decent, if not exciting, surrounding elements. An alright RPG I’m certainly glad I played.
Luis – Then you can make your filling, pop it in the case and bake at about 130c for roughly 25 minutes until there is an ever so slight wobble when it is moved. The filling recipe was perfect, even if the cooking and pastry base instructions were not. Strange how the recipe is almost 2 different halves!
Remove from the oven and it will set to perfection as it cools.
Platform: PlayStation 4
Developer/Publisher: Bandai Namco
Release date: Out Now
- Dark interesting narrative
- Compelling cast
- Good combat flow
- Weak world design
- linear environments feel like clear paths