Tales of Vesperia (テイルズ オブ ヴェスペリア, Teiruzu obu Vesuperia?) is the tenth mothership title in the Tales series. It was developed by Namco Tales Studio and published by Namco Bandai Games for the Xbox 360.[4] The title was announced on December 22, 2007 at Jump Festa, and was released on August 7, 2008 in Asia, and on August 26, 2008 in North America. On June 26, 2009 Tales of Vesperia was released in Europe making it the second console game in the Tales series to be released there. Tales of Vesperia's characteristic genre name is To Enforce One's "Justice" RPG (「正義」を貫き通すRPG, "Seigi" o tsuranukitōsu RPG?). The game's character designer is Kōsuke Fujishima, the chief director and producer is Yoshito Higuchi (who previously worked on both Tales of Symphonia and Tales of the Abyss), and the animated movies were done by Production I.G. The game's theme song is "Ring a Bell" (鐘を鳴らして, Kane o Narashite?) by Bonnie Pink.[5]

A special limited edition was released in North America, including a metal case with unique cover art and a 22-track soundtrack.[6] In April 2009 it was announced that those who purchased the special edition would be mailed a second 10th anniversary soundtrack CD.[7]

A prequel to the game in the form of an animated film called Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike was released on October 3, 2009. A PlayStation 3 port was released including material not present in the original Xbox 360 version, such as a new playable character, named Patty Fleur[8], on September 17, 2009.

Tales of Vesperia uses an improved and evolved version of Tales of the Abyss's battle system, called the "Evolved Flex-Range Linear Motion Battle System" (EFR-LMBS). As with previous Tales games, characters can move freely around the battlefield to combat their enemies in real-time.

An added aspect to the game's world is the "Encounter Linking" system. If multiple groups of roaming enemies are in close proximity when a battle starts, the ensuing battle will contain all the enemies. Also returning from previous Tales games are "surprise encounters." Like in Tales of the Abyss, a surprise encounter rearranges the active party when taken into battle. Tales of Vesperia also makes use of "Secret Missions," special tasks or challenges that can be completed during boss fights for certain rewards.

Returning from Tales of Symphonia and Tales of the Abyss is the "Over Limit". As in Tales of the Abyss, it is marked by a visible gauge, but it comes in the form of a single bar that can be used by up to four party members at once, or used by a single character up to four levels to give more powerful effects. "Burst Artes", another new feature, are powerful attacks performed while in Over Limit mode and after using an arcane arte or a spell change. Depending on the Over Limit level, its duration increases, allowing players to add in more combos. As with previous Tales games, characters are able to pull off powerful Mystic Artes. Characters can also perform "Fatal Strikes", attacks capable of defeating enemies with one strike after a certain gauge is depleted. These attacks can also be chained for a higher score.

As in previous entries, Tales of Vesperia features an arena where the player can battle a number of enemies for prizes. In the arena, one chosen character will have to challenge two hundred monsters. After enough monsters are defeated, the battle with the next contender is unlocked. The 4 contenders are: Dhaos, the final boss of Tales of Phantasia; Shizel, from Tales of Eternia; Barbatos, from Tales of Destiny 2; and Kratos Aurion, a playable character in Tales of Symphonia.

Tales of Vesperia also includes character costumes, which are dependent on the various titles that characters have obtained throughout the game. Equipping various accessories also affects the wearer's outfit. Tales of Vesperia also includes skits, short optional conversations that further character or plot development. Unlike the English releases of Tales of Symphonia and Tales of the Abyss, skits in the English release of Tales of Vesperia are fully voiced by the English voice actors, which is also the case in Tales of Legendia and Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World.

Tales of Vesperia introduces a new skill system to the series. They are found and used through equipment. Through fighting battles, characters gain Learning Points, which are assigned to all currently unlearned skills. When enough Learning Points are acquired, that character learns the skills. Learned skills can be equipped on a character without having the associated weapon equipped, but then they use up a certain number of Skill Points (SP), which are gained through leveling up. Through skills, characters are also capable of "Altered Artes," artes or spells that are created when a certain skill is equipped and a certain arte is used. Through using an Altered Arte enough times, the character learns that arte or spell and is capable of using it without having the skill equipped.

[edit] Online component
The game does not contain online multiplayer or competitive battles, but it does contain online leaderboards for things such as highest combo and minigame scores. The game also has downloadable content for items that are difficult to acquire in-game.

Vesperia takes place on the planet Terca Lumireis. The people of Terca Lumireis have come to rely on "blastia", an ancient civilization's technology with a wide array of capabilities, such as providing water, powering ships, or creating barriers around major cities and towns to protect them from monsters. The Imperial Knights and Guild members also use "bodhi blastia" to enhance their abilities in combat. The blastia are created from a substance called "aer" that lends its power to the blastia's ability, but can be fatal to humans in large concentrations.

[edit] Plot
When the aque blastia core is stolen from Zaphias's lower quarter, denying water to the lower class that lives there, Yuri attempts to chase down the thief, but is arrested and jailed in the castle. He escapes and flees with Estelle, after discovering that she is searching for Flynn. The two, along with Repede, chase after both Flynn and the thief. They meet Karol and Rita, who takes great interest in Estelle's healing artes. The group is able to catch up with the thief, and, with Raven and Judith's help, recover the blastia core, thwarting the plans of an evil guild leader, Barbos, in the process. Yuri then turns the core over to Flynn to return to the city. As the group recovers, Rita discovers that Estelle does not actually use her bodhi blastia to cast healing artes. Estelle soon comes to learn that she is the Child of the Full Moon, and an omen of an impending disaster upon the planet.

Judith leads the group to Myorzo, the home of the Kritya, who explain that the Child of the Full Moon, if used as a tool, could bring forth the Adephagos, a being that feeds off aer and would convert all life on the planet back into pure aer due to their use of blastia; the group is encouraged to kill Estelle as soon as possible to prevent this from happening. As the group comes to terms with the revelation, Raven, revealed to be the Imperial Knight Captain Schwann Oltorain, kidnaps Estelle and takes her to Alexei. Alexei is able to take control of Estelle's power, and uses it to reveal the Enduring Shrine of Zaude before the group can save her. Raven has a change of heart and regroups with the team as they chase Alexei to the Shrine. Before Yuri can kill him, Alexei activates the huge blastia at the top of the Shrine, causing the Adephagos to break through a magical seal and send tentacle-like appendages across the planet, Alexei then dies. As the group recovers, Duke appears and states his intention to help destroy the Adephagos and save Terca Lumireis by sacrificing the life essence of all humanity, including himself.

The group comes up with a strategy for stopping the disaster, but at a cost: by creating spirits of the elements from the apatheia of the four Entelexeia (Belius, Phaeroh, Gusios, and Khroma), they will be able to convert all the blastia cores within the planet to an energy weapon that can destroy the Adephagos. The group decides to push forward with the plan and work their way through the tower of Tarqaron, a gigantic, hidden city-turned-weapon underneath Aspio that Duke activated, meeting Duke at the top. The group is able to defeat Duke, and Yuri attempts to convince him that all humans are willing to give up blastia to stop the Adephagos. Duke recognizes Yuri's honesty and assists the group. The combined power of the Elemental Spirits, the converted blastia cores, and Dein Nomos slices the Adephagos in two and destroys it.