It’s been a long time since I’ve been so excited about a Tales of game. The day that Tales of Berseria–the newest title in the long-running RPG series–arrived at my door, I immediately popped it in my Playstation 4 and started playing, despite not having sat down to play a console RPG in at least a year.
[Disclosure: Anime Consortium Japan (ACJ), the owner of Anime Now!, is an investor in Tales of Zestiria the X. Moreover, Bandai Namco Holdings, the parent company of the creator of the original Tales of Zestiria and Tales of Berseria games, is a major shareholder in ACJ.]
[Note: This article may contain minor spoilers for the story of Tales of Zestiria the X and Tales of Berseria.]
The story of Tales of Berseria–the beginning of which is recapped in the Tales of Zestiria the X anime–revolves around Velvet Crowe, a teenaged girl who has lost everything–including her younger brother and village–and seeks revenge against the one who took it all away. Though Velvet’s journey of hatred is an emotional rollercoaster all on its own, playing the game in tandem with the anime turns the anime into a heartwrenching affair.
In Tales of Zestiria the X, we are introduced to Edna, a young (by seraph standards) female Earth seraph who has one mission when protagonist Sorey meets her: Be by her brother Eizen’s side. This is a little difficult considering that he has become an evil dragon due to being completely infected by the filth and negative emotions of humankind. She knows there’s no way that he will be able to be turned back, even with the assistance of the Shepherd, Sorey. The only thing that she can do is stay by him and stop Eizen’s friend Zaveid from killing him, even if it might be the most humane thing to do–and even if Eizen in his dragon form will kill both Zaveid and Edna without discrimination.
Through brief flashbacks in the anime, we are able to see the ways in which her big brother Eizen had an affect on his sister in her childhood. Knowing how scenes of Edna with letters and her Normin doll are connected to the game made them all the more heartwrenching. Going back to the game after watching the anime left tears welling in my eyes. These items mean something to Edna and that means something to me as a player of Berseria.
In Tales of Berseria, Eizen is the big brother character to his party as well–he supports Velvet and the others and guides them throughout their journey, teaching them everything they need to know about the world and how it works. As time goes by in the game, it becomes increasingly apparent how much he means to the party. That’s why after watching Tales of Zestiria the X, it became so painful to play. Every step I took, while I was moving forward to save the world, I was also moving ever closer to Eizen’s death as a person. Seeing Eizen as a mad dragon in the anime and then returning to the game where he lived life with his comrades despite being in a world of chaos broke my heart.
Every conversation he has with the party, I’m reminded of how much he meant to these characters during the timeline of Berseria. Yet he is destined to turn into a murderous, unfeeling dragon, trying to kill his sister and friend. Seeing Tales of Zestiria the X, I felt like I was losing the Eizen I’m coming to know and love in my playthrough of Tales of Berseria.
Even now, it’s hard for me to believe the character I traveled with is the same as the vicious dragon we see in the anime. Where is the Eizen who supported and cared so deeply about his friends and sister?
Where is the Eizen who smiled?
Tales of Zestiria the X can be viewed for free and with English subtitles in the US at FUNimation and Daisuki, and at AnimeLab in AU/NZ territories. Tales of Berseria will be released outside of Japan in 2017 for the Sony Playstation 4 and PC, though the Japanese version of the game is out now for the Playstation 3 and 4.
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