Madeline Ricchiuto writes from E3,
Tales of Berseria is the latest installment of the Tales series, though it isn't necessary for you to have played any of the previous titles to enjoy Berseria. It is the sixteenth entry in the main Tales franchise and follows the protagonist Velvet Crowe, a 19-year-old pirate, and her spirit companion Laphicet. Along the way Velvet picks up a party of five other characters, though you can only play using three at a time, though you can absolutely swap out characters mid-battle.
It's worth noting that Berseria will mainly take place in the Midgand Sacred Kingdom, much like Tales of Zestiria though the two games are not linked as Berseria takes place in Zestiria's distant past.
Much like previous entries in the Tales series, Berseria uses a Linear Motion Battle System, though this time players may freely move around the battle arena and rotate the camera at will. Characters will interact via skits, though those in Berseria are able to cut-in to the action, allowing for a more anime-style storytelling.
The game will include crafting elements, fully customizable combos, as well as a battle system that can be fully automated or set to be completely manual, which removes auto targeting. I will say, playing with Japanese controls for the demo made the auto-targeting very handy. The actual gameplay was intuitive enough for those familiar with action JRPGs, and a total breeze for players intimately familiar with the Tales series. I am not very familiar with the other Tales games, but I managed not to die which was pretty nice. The custom combo tree is an awesome idea, though not being able to customize it much myself, I can't quite comment on its usefulness. That said, I can't imagine it being too difficult to use and being a favorite for button mashers, since you can set things so that every time you hit triangle it uses a different skill. Why not, right?
Tales of Berseria will be released in August in Japan and will ship to North America sometime in early 2017.