First off lets talk about the graphics in Vesperia. Vesperia uses a Cel Shaded style popular among anime themed games and for good reason as it's the closet thing to anime you can get without using full blown anime cut scenes 24/7. However don't expect to be blown away by Tales look. The game looks great but isn't even comparable to something like Trusty Bell (Eternal Sonata for those in the US). On the other hand the anime cut scenes will blow you away. The character design and anime cut scenes were handled by Production I.G. and any anime fan worth their merit will know that Production I.G. does incredible stuff. Many of these cut scenes are down right stunning in their beauty, It's a shame there aren't more of them here.
The combat is extremely fun. Think the Devil May Cry of RPG's only slower in pace. Everything is in real time and you will form combo's guard and use special moves and Magic to survive encounters. The great thing about the combat is that it is constantly evolving over the course of the game. Be it from new mechanics being added or the hundreds upon hundreds of moves you can learn the combat always feels fresh and fun to play.
The story is a bit off putting in that at first glace it seems to be nothing special. It simply starts with the main character Yuri Lowell investigating the theft of a Aqua blastia core from the Lower Quarter of Zapias. He soon gets arrested and breaks out of the Dungeon where he meets up with a young lady who joins him on his journey to find the stolen blastia. Now the story takes the first 6-7 hrs of game play to get you introduced to the various characters from the game but the story quickly becomes far more mature and deep then it first lets on. There are plenty of plot twists some of which come out of no where and you will never seen coming. It is certainly a story worth experiencing granted it takes a little to really take off.
Now as for sound the game has a decent soundtrack by Motoi Sakuraba but it's not close to the level of his other work in games like Trusty Bell and Valkryie Profile 2 Silmeria. The voice acting on the other hand is a grand slam. We are talking about a All star anime voice cast here with the likes of Liam O Brian, Sam Regal, Michelle Ruff and Wendee Lee just to name a few. There are no bad voice with the exception of one and that's done of purpose as he is a annoying character so they helped get that across via his voice. Combat is constantly full of chatter be it story related chatter or simply spells being chanted and moves being called out. One of the great things I noticed from the game was the amount of victory dialog there was. There is at least 50 different things that the characters will say after a battle depending on who is in the party who killed the last monster who performed the best and so on and they are all very funny. The game also has this innovative feature they call Skits. Skits are little dialog sequences that can be activated when the game tells you to press the Back Button. These Skits are basically the characters talking to each other about various things and it really helps you learn about them and also gives a deeper understanding of whats going on in the storyline. A simple but very effective method of getting to know the characters. There are 100's of these skits and I don't even think I was able to see them all.
So as you can see the game really is a great entry in the series. There is little to bog down the experience. You vary rarely need to grind because of the nature of the combat system you can win battles even if you are very under leveled in fact one of the games achievements is about that fact. If you are a J-RPG fan or ever just a causal RPG fan there is no reason for Tales of Vesperia not to be in your collection.