Localization Review and flaws
Tales of Vesperia is considered by some to be one of the best in the series. I'm nearing the end, and one thing I always look out for when playing a smaller budget JRPG game is how well the localization holds up towards the end of the game. Quality localizations will end up finishing strong, with the voice acting, text, and sound remaining high quality and constant.
How is Tales Of Vesperia's Localization?
Sadly, I can't say that it's good. It starts out great. The voices are consistent volume and quality, pronunciation of works is consistent, etc. I haven't compared it to the Japanese version yet, but usually Bandai Namco does a fair job maintaining accuracy.
Tales of Vesperia's localization gets weak toward the end of the game. At the 40 hour mark, I started to note that skits started to have characters that were barely audible. And some were louder than others. Tales of Vesperia's skits are brief conversations you can watch between all the characters.
The audio quality was getting bad, to the point where I had a hard time making people's voices out in the skits.
Another huge flaw with Tales of Vesperia's localzation is the audio quality. I play on the Nintendo Switch on a home theater system. Towards the end of the game, some characters' voices start to lose all low frequency, making them sound like they're coming through a phone or something. It's very unsettling, because I noticed in one conservation between a knight, Flynn, and the main character, Yuri, most of Yuri's voice had no depth to it while Flynns did. It was extremely off-putting, making it sound like the two characters weren't actually there with each other.
But, the largest flaw I can find with Tales of Vesperia's Localization is that towards the end of the game, pronunciation becomes inconsistent. Primarily with Zaude.Some times they call it Zaude with a silent e. Other times they pronounce it Zaudie or Zauday. And they'll do this within a single scene.
It comes across as extremely low effort, like the voice actors weren't even in the same room. In fact, I'd even argue that this is evidence they actually weren't and they were phoning in lines. Could you imagine what would actually happen if you were in a room with people and someone was repeatedly pronouncing words wrong? You'd tell them to fix it right away.
Now imagine they are all doing it in separate rooms, they send in the voice clips once they're in, the localization team notices the pronunciation is wrong. Do they have them redo it? No. Specially when you have a smaller budget.
A lot of the voice acting in Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition comes across like people speaking disjointed lines to each other. And normally, it's somewhat acceptable, because a lot of characters just have one liners anyways. But towards the end, the conversations start to have more direction, and the voice acting's problems start to become obvious.
Towards the end, the on screen text may stop matching the voices of the characters. I already noticed it with one character saying "the" while the text said "this.". It's not a huge deal, but it really feels low budget and it hurts the experience.
The final problem I've noticed in my play through of Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition on Nintendo Switch is that the characters voices seems to be different between the CGI cut scenes and the in game voices. It's not entirely noticeable, but if you listen somewhat closely on a decent sound setup you can hear it. Which means they more than likely redid the voices for the definitive edition of Tales of Vesperia and left the CGI videos alone.
Overall Judgement on Tale of Vesperia Definitive Edition's Localization
These are some minor problems, they're not enough to completely detract from the experience of the game. Tales of Vesperia's characters were some of the most memorable parts of the game and the story, watching them all grow up and develop was pretty exciting. Some characters, like Karol, really change and you build a connection with him.
I think if you are going into a JRPG with this sort of budget, you should be expecting these kinds of problems. They are there, they aren't horrible, but they are noticeable and they do detract from the experience. Not to mention this is a "definitive edition" of a game that originally came out in 2008. It's quite old and games have evolved quite a bit.
Bandai Namco seems to be placing a lot more effort into Tales of Arise, the newest entry in the Tales of franchise. Hopefully we see Tales of Arise have a solid localization to the end. Remasters and localizations that fizzle out at the end are always taken as a big middle finger to fans. Like the people who made the game don't care about gamers who make it to the end, because they know most gamers won't.
Localizations, remasters, and HD versions should stay strong until the end. Besides the voice acting, Tales of Vesperia does a great job holding it together. Unlike the worst offender I've played lately, Disgaea 1 Complete. That's a prime situation of the remaster and localization getting so bad, I won't be bothering with another Disgaea "Complete" remaster ever again.