*Sigh* Alright, let me get the more annoying part of doing these kinds of articles out of the way. That’s right, it’s time for theeeee
YES I HAVE ACTUALLY PLAYED AND ENJOYED THIS FRANCHISE SO DON’T BE AN IRRATIONAL FAN AND FLIP OUT QUANTIFIER PART OF THE ARTICLE!!!!
My introduction to this franchise began as a starry eyed elementary school kid who found out how emulators and roms worked. I played Tales of Phantasia, never got farther than the volcano dungeon, but enjoyed it a great deal. When I got a bit older I played Tales of Destiny, never beat it (had it stolen from my house by a then friend).
I’ve beaten Tales of Eternia (or Tales of Destiny 2 on PS1 for American fans) more times than I can count. I went on to play each Tales entry, and beat Tales of Graces R.
Now, a really weird new trend started with the otherwise fairly samey narrative of the Tales games around Innocence for the Nintendo DS:
Tales of Innocence began the trend of the church being super super evil. Now, I’ll admit that I haven’t played the two Xillia titles yet (I was trying to beat them in order of release and I got bored before I finished the extra story in Graces) so I can’t vouch for those games. As you know, Xeawn doesn’t comment on anything Xeawn hasn’t experienced first hand. But, the church wasn’t exactly super great in Graces, and in Tales of Hearts the church functions as a primary antagonist.
In Innocence, the church is rounding up people with supernatural powers and putting them through some pretty hardcore Nazi style experimentation. And this all brings us to Berseria.
Now I can hear you already, “XEAWN STOP BEING ONE OF THOSE KINDS OF CHRISTIANS GEEZ THE GAME IS JUST A FANTASY MYTH IT DOESN’T EVEN SAY JESUS ANYWHERE IN THE STORY!!!”
Hush your ravings of fan outrage, and let us dive a bit deeper. As newcomers may not know, I take the following stances on interacting with media:
- Hope to be pleasantly surprised (i.e. a form of media is innocent of attacking my faith until proven guilty)
- Do not speak on a game/anime/movie/show unless I have experienced the fullness of what it has to offer.
- Reserve judgement until the end.
- What is the final core statement on sin and sin lifestyles by the end of the game?
To elaborate on the last point, I like the God of War series. The core value and final statement in commentary is that Kratos sold his soul to a polytheistic deity, got screwed (as tends to happen with soul selling), then went on to destroy the polytheistic pantheon that abused humanity in a rage fueled quest for atonement and redemption. The final statement is that Kratos’ sin lifestyle was wrong and led to his downfall, and he fought to tear apart the corrupt institution he had once served. So, I don’t mind.
Conversely Bayonetta is about being a witch, lying about the Bible, killing angels while fighting on a stripper pole and killing Christ and God at the end, so, no grey area there.
So now that we’ve wasted 542 words on my credentials, let’s sit at the table and discuss.
Tales of Berseria sets itself up as a piece of fantasy fiction, but we can immediately dismiss those trappings because Hideo Baba chose to use Judeo-Christian terminology for everything. This isn’t like other Tales Of games; Baba didn’t use a bevy of made up words for his fantasy world and their religions (I swear you needed an encyclopedia for Tales of Abyss). Instead, Baba decided to make the church the antagonist, and use myriad Christian terms along the way.
What’s more, any argument of “Other religions say things like angel” (most don’t) is taken away by the fact that he didn’t just use “common religious terms”; Baba chose to go back as far as traditional Hebrew terms to use the church as the villain of the story.
Now, let me be clear about something right now:
For the duration of this article, no one’s opinions matter. My opinions do not matter. Your opinions do not matter.
I say that to tell you I don’t choose to base or frame these discussions around opinion, rather around the doctrine in Scripture. If I am wrong, please do not hesitate to show me scripturally where I am. I’ll also say that what you will read about my dissection of this story will surprise you. Let’s go on. Oh, and there will be spoilers for the first hour of Berseria, small bits of the rest of the game, portions of the last battle, and bits of Zestiria as we proceed.