Tales of Berseria is a great addition to the Tales series! Not only is the story itself great, but all the characters are too. Each feels like they’ve got a reason to be hanging with Velvet, with their own stuff going on. We already compared the 6-strong main party to the cast of FRIENDS, and it’s surprisingly accurate.
It also led me to the disturbing conclusion that Chandler (as played by Matthew Perry) looks really good as the head of pretty much any anime character. So, without further ado, here’s a little rundown of the characters that you’ll be adventuring with in Tales of Berseria. Please keep in mind that you accrue characters as you progress through the game, so by its very nature party information is sort of a spoiler, but I’ll keep any non-premise info to a minimum.
The “Monica” of the group. A very angry and bitter Monica who’s out for revenge, and is also a demon. Imagine if Monica had a demonic arm that had the power to basically absorb any of her enemies. Velvet is a “therion”, a type of demon that is described as being able to feed on other demons. Not only is this badass conceptually, but it also ties in to how she plays. Entering beast mode allows her to chow down on enemies, giving her different boosts and restoring some health. However, stay in beast mode too long and that health will begin to plummet. It’s a balancing act.
Velvet is also the first female main protagonist in a Tales game, which is also pretty cool. But the main thing is that she’s just a super cool character. Sure, she’s on a Kill Bill style revenge quest (as I noted in my hands on preview of the game), so she’s going to be a bit dark and brooding, but it’s never laid on too thick. You can understand where’s she’s coming from, and why she has so much anger and pain. But there’s also plenty of human moments you share with her too. Velvet is a fantastic character not only visually (designed by Mutsumi Inomata), but also as a person.
The “Joey” of the group. Handsome, with dark hair, and a hunger not only for food but also for violence. Just like Joey. Like Velvet, Rokurou is a demon who still retains a semblance of the humanity he’s lost. He might carry a huge sword on his back, but he prefers to actually use two short swords to attack. He mainly uses martial artes and slash moves, just as you’d expect from a samurai.
Rokurou makes a good team with Velvet, both being angry demons, but sometimes he can be a voice of reason, though easygoing enough to roll with most of her plans. Until he gets into fighty mode of course, in which case it’d be advised not to talk to him at all. He feels he owes Velvet a debt, which is why he helps her out, but he’s also on his own path for revenge that aligns with hers nicely. Oh, also, “Rokurou” means “sixth son”.
Magilou is the “Phoebe” on the team. She’s just as mysterious, unpredictable, and funny — and is even a performer to boot. She claims to be a “sorceress” and a “witch”, but is pretty vague about what powers she has and where she’s even from. The rest of the team don’t seem to really know either, though it becomes clear pretty quickly she’s not to be trifled with. She tags along with Velvet and Rokurou at the beginning of their journey, but she might have her own motives for wanting to follow them that she keeps to herself.
As you would expect from a witch, Magilou focuses on magic attacks. Her moves are slow but powerful, so she’s better off hanging back and letting others take hits while she charges up, which is so like her. She mainly focuses on fire and water attacks, and she’ll be able to help out in many jams. Also, being the trickster she is, her Break Soul move actually absorbs the spells of enemies so she can send spells right back. She’s also working on her stand-up comedy.
Just like how “Ross” from FRIENDS is known for his healing artes, so too is Laphicet. When the group meets him, though, he’s just called “Number 2” (no, not the flamboyant guy from One Piece). He’s a Malak devoid of personality, being used a tool by the Abbey and the Exorcists, but ends up having no choice but to cross paths with Velvet and the crew. Naturally, he wants to know more about why the Exorcists force mindless obedience from his people, which is a pretty dark theme, and one that runs throughout Berseria.
Laphicet fights using paper, which is much more effective than it sounds. He’s not good at close combat at all, but can use his mostly non-elemental artes to keep enemies at bay while at the same time dealing out some damage. On top of that, his healing artes make him great to have around as support.
Eizen isn’t really that much like “Chandler” to be honest, though he can be up for a laugh at times. More often, though, he’s much more gloomy. Like, Laphicet he’s also a Malak, although he’s not been used as a tool by Exorcists and as such has his own personality and feelings. He’s also known as the “Reaper”, though you shouldn’t fear him, as he’s actually one of the best characters in the game. He believes he has a “Reaper’s Curse” that cause misfortune to those around him, and it seems that he’s right, sometimes to comic effect. Oh, also, he’s a pirate, and a member of Van Aifread’s crew.
Even though he’s a pirate, he’s not a Water Malak, instead having an affinity with Earth and Wind. That’s actually one of the reasons he set out to sea and decided to become a pirate in the first place. He’s a really strong punching guy, and most of his moves are martial artes. When you need someone to just punch some dudes, Eizen is your guy. He has a pretty close relationship with some characters from Tales of Zestiria, which takes place about 1000 years after Berseria!
Pure and innocent (like Rachel from the beginning of FRIENDS), how does an Exorcist end up working with Velvet’s band of rogues? Not by choice, that’s for sure (also, again, like the first episode of FRIENDS). Eventually Velvet and Eleanor find themselves in a place where they have no choice but to throw in together, and each might learn some new things about themselves as a result. Eleanor works fantastically as an antithesis to the rest of the group, and it’s interesting to see how her relationships with the other characters are different from Velvet’s.
Eleanor isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty though, and is quite the scrapper when the need arises, using her trademark spear. Some of her attacks can even drain health, and she can even set up a bunch of aerial attacks. She’s all about sliding in and out, putting it on to boil with some occasional fire artes, then slamming it right back out.
That’s just an introduction to some of the main characters in Tales of Berseria! There’s a whole load of interesting NPCs and stuff too, populating a world that is full of interesting stories both large and small! Of course, as this has just be an introduction, there’s a tonne more to learn about everyone too. Look forward to it! They’ll be there for you!
Tales of Berseria launches on PS4 in Europe on 27th January 2017, and the same date on Steam worldwide.