Tales of Berseria is a wonderful JRPG with a lovable cast of characters. The game introduces the first full female lead to the long running Tales franchise, and she’s brilliant. The game itself is a fun ride all the way through, and makes several improvements from Zesteria’s battle system. This article is less about the game, and more about how Velvet is a good example of a strong female video game lead. She is a great addition to a list including many famous female characters, like Lara Croft, Princess Peach, and Roll.
Not Focusing on Romance
Berseria keeps away from going the romantic route, and establishes a family-focused bond. The story starts out showing Velvet’s close relationship with her brother, Laphicet, who is sick. She plays the role of a strong older sister who is training to be a warrior under their brother-in-law, Arthur. Velvet has lost most of her family due to the “daemonblight”, a disease that causes people to turn into monsters who will attack on sight. This causes her to be slightly over-protective of her younger brother, and pushes her to be more self-sufficient.
Everything changes when her brother is sacrificed by Arthur, who attempts to kill Velvet as well. A chain of events leads to Velvet trapped in a prison for three years and becoming a daemon that can devour other daemons. She then begins a quest, making friends while on a path to avenge her brother by killing the man who took his life. Throughout this journey, she meets a young boy that resembles her brother and takes him under her wing. The game explores an in-depth brother-sister relationship, which we don’t often get to see from the female perspective.
Velvet’s personality is very to the point, with little nonsense mixed in. Velvet is the member of the group always keeping other party members on track. She has a straightforward personality that doesn’t bend for anyone or anything. As time goes by, the game starts to show Velvet’s softer side towards other characters. She never has moments of chasing after boys or spending all her money shopping, and acts like an everyday person.
The best thing about the characters in Berseria is that they’re not stereotyped to one role, and they have changing emotions. They all have human reactions with believable emotions. While Berseria may take place in a fantasy world, the writers do a great job of connecting the player to the emotions through realistic situations like Velvet and Laphicet’s sibling relationship. Each character has their heart set on their own path, which causes the game to show that there’s more to a good story than a romance plot. For example, Rokurou is a character completely driven by his want to defeat his brother. While this is a simple plot in theory, the writers do an amazing job of fleshing out his character, emotions, and relationships throughout it. The same goes for each of the other characters, especially Velvet’s developing bond of friendships and sisterhood with the boy that resembles her brother.
Their are two other women that accompany Velvet on her journey, Lady Eleanor and Magilou. Eleanor is an exorcist who has the power to fight daemons and lives by a code of chivalry. Magilou is a self-proclaimed witch who brings shameless comic relief to the group. She a girl with no place to go, who tags along with others because she can. Eleanor, on the other hand, is searching for her own truth about what’s actually going on in the world. These two women, mixed with Velvet, have several clashes throughout the game, but ultimately have the utmost respect for each other.
The best interactions between Velvet, Eleanor, and Magilou are found in the game’s skits. Skits are additional dialogue that can be activated in certain areas, for deeper character development. The skits between characters, especially involving these girls, bring up a battle of the sexes that explores the male and female sides of issues. The girls can be seen banding together to defend their views, or talking about feminine topics, which gives a much more humanized view of the story. These skits have the girls talking about things like their first crushes, or giving motherly advice to the young boy in their party.
All in all, it’s great to see strong female characters in games for women to look up to. In the industry, there are many male role models that are worthy of the praise they get, but sometimes a connection to someone of your own gender is just refreshing. Velvet shows young women that they can be strong-willed, independent, and that they can take on the world if they want. This is something that can inspire many people in their daily lives as they feel run down by jobs and relationships.