Its platforming is clunky, its animations stiff, and you eventually tire of its repeating puzzles—but I'll remember J.J.'s story, and her inner struggles, for a very long time.
Elea's first instalment gets less interesting as it goes on, and if that trend continues then Episode 2 could fall flat, especially if bugs and performance problems remain. But it sets up a fascinating world that promises a deeply personal story, and it's not afraid to switch gear and throw odd, dream-like sequences at you. By playing with your expectations, it makes you want to push on just to see what's around the corner.
While ARK can be a lot of fun – grabbing another player off of a raptor with an Argentavis feels bloody brilliant – it's rarely worth the hours of tedium. If you can spare the 100 or so hours it takes to get your teeth into it then I'd recommend you spend them elsewhere.
It's not the most polished shooter but it does shine in all the right places, and it builds on the huge potential of Red Orchestra, which I loved. There are very few games that can match the feeling you get when you watch an artillery strike destroy a treeline and push up with your squad mates under the cover of smoke and deafening explosions. If you're after a slower-paced shooter with tactical combat and tense moments, then it's time to enlist.
Despite its flaws, Tales of Berseria has numerous interesting stories to tell. If the developers had cut the flab and focused almost exclusively on the cast of characters – with some combat thrown in – then I think this would have been a must-play. As it is, I think it’s still worth playing if you’re a fan of story-focused JRPGs, as long as you know you’re strapped in for the long haul.