Recently released to international audiences, Tales of Berseria is the 16th and latest continuation of the popular JRPG series. Although the game met generally positive reviews, receiving praise primarily for its story and characters, many fans were disappointed by the game’s lackluster visuals.
“The graphics leave a lot to be desired”, says game reviewer Mick Leo. “We live in the age of the cutting-edge PS4, and yet the game looks like it belongs on the Wii.” Leo acknowledges that Japanese CG has generally never had a good reputation, but adds that “…a series as popular as Tales should at least get some special treatment. The 2D cutscenes are nice, but basically everything else takes you out of the experience with the ragdoll movements and wonky faces.”
In a recent press conference with Bandai Namco, the issue was addressed by game director Yoshimasa Tanaka. “We’ve always focused on other elements such as complicated stories and extraneous gameplay elements, so visuals were never really a focus”, he explained. “We were also under the impression that Japanese gamers didn’t notice bad graphics, as long as the gameplay was decent. But I can definitely see how better graphics can enhance the other key elements. I can assure you that we will place a greater emphasis on good graphics for future titles.”
“If more developers placed as much effort and passion into their games as, say, Kojima Productions or Polyphony Digital, it would make a big difference,” remarked Arthur Colbran, an entertainment journalist. “Unfortunately, it’s just economically unfeasible. That’s the current state of many other situations, like the anime industry, where fans will settle for ‘significantly below-average’ CG visuals, and shows like Ajin and Knights of Sidonia will still get picked up because the season lineups are filled to the brim with mediocre titles.”