Hello! This is Grace, also known as Ecargmura. I’m here with a review for Side Story: Velvet!
The review contains spoilers for Crestoria, Berseria and Symphonia.
The story starts off with Velvet having a nightmare about her brother Laphicet, nicknamed Laphi, dying. She wakes up in cold sweat and assesses on what had happened. She had separated from Milla due to a monster attack and fell unconscious due to her wounds. She notices that she’s in an abode and bandaged up. The house belongs to a young boy named Laphicet who not only shares the same name as her late brother but also resembles him. Laphicet assumes Velvet is an adventurer and longs to go on one himself, but doesn’t have to courage because he’s young and not that strong enough.
He shows her around Kio Village, which is filled with friendly villagers that ask Velvet to take care of Laphicet despite her being a visitor. Then they warn her to not go to a nearby mine.
However, being the rebellious protagonist that Velvet is, she does not heed their warning and goes to the mine because she senses an “incarnation” inside. A hostile young girl named Presea guards it. She happens to be Laphicet’s foster sister, with her father being the adventurer uncle that had adopted him. Apparently, Presea is very protective of what’s inside the mine, apparently someone named Alicia. She soon blocks the entrance by collapsing the tunnel and runs off, angering Velvet. She then runs away. Velvet is angered, but has to defeat the monsters and then retreat back to Kio.
Once they make it back, Laphicet tries to tell Velvet about his family history, but gets interrupted by villagers that ask what had happened due to tremors. Learning that Presea was the cause, they seem rather reluctant to help Velvet. Velvet gets angered because the incarnation will attack the village if it gets out. She then just leaves the village, warning the villagers of their impending danger. Although she does care about the civilians, she’s trying to erase the fact that she has kindness underneath by taking in her anger and sorrow over Laphi’s death and swears revenge on those who killed him. Laphicet follows her and then tells her about his sisters.
Presea and Alicia were very close. They even worked together; Presea was a lumberjack and Alicia being a woodcarver. Apparently, Presea fell ill five years ago and a traveling healer cured her, but with costly side-effects: it stunted her growth—she’s actually much older than Laphicet. Presea then got a serious injury, but the medicine was very expensive. Their father left for another long adventure, so it was up to Alicia and Laphicet to find ways to buy the medicine. Laphicet tended to Presea while Alicia headed out to the city to find work—eventually working as a maid for a nobleman’s estate. She eventually got the money to cure Presea. Unfortunately, the nobelman’s son was enamored with her and couldn’t accept her rejection, so he had abducted and locked her away.
How did Alicia get away? She killed the young master, causing her to become a transgressor, but the enforcers never came; Alicia’s crime was recorded onto Vision Central but enforcers never came. The reason? Presea cut off Alicia’s arm to remove her Stain of Guilt.
Presea’s actions had negative reactions. The villagers stayed away from the sisters and then Alicia transformed into an incarnation. An incarnation is a physical manifestation of sin—how the world used to work before Vision Orbs came to be. It was an older method, so no new incarnations should have been born until Alicia. Laphicet tells Velvet that Presea believes Alicia’s spirit is still inside it and seems to believe it himself for it is tame around Presea.
Velvet chides Laphicet’s remarks and tells him to leave the village as soon as possible because Alicia will attack the village anytime. Laphicet talks back to her, telling that adventures don’t matter if he doesn’t have a place or people to come home to. Impressed by his resolve, Velvet and Laphicet come up with a plan to save Alicia; the latter believes Velvet’s arm is the key. With the resolve to either save or end Alicia, they head back to Pasedy Mine and meet two treasure hunters trying to find another entrance. They are Caius and Norma. Norma is more of the treasure hunter of the two while Caius got forced to accompany her—he’s looking for someone named Rubia. Norma’s carefree and impulsive attitude forces Velvet and Laphicet to join their group as they all are looking for something in the mine.
Norma finds them an entrance and then they encounter Alicia. Alicia doesn’t recognize Laphicet anymore, so Velvet decides to take the extreme measure and ending Alicia. As she tries to kill her, Alicia goes berserk and scurries out of the mines, dropping something that Norma picks up while Velvet chases after her.
Before Alicia could reach town, Velvet and Laphicet catch up to her. Laphicet tries desperately to convince Velvet that Alicia is still herself and to find another way to save her without ending her life. Unfortunately, Alicia goes fully berserk and Velvet uses her arm, an incarnation, to end her. Presea approaches Velvet after she had heard Alicia’s voice and learns that Velvet killed her. Angered with her actions, Presea fights Velvet, swearing revenge. After their fight, Presea passes out and Velvet is wounded. Laphicet decides to take them back to his house and treat Velvet’s wounds.
Norma and Caius somehow finds Laphicet’s house (how on Earth did they find it?) and gives him a letter that Alicia dropped. It’s for Presea. Before he could deliver it to her, monsters swarm into the village. The reason behind it is because of Alicia. They kill the monsters and then a larger one comes in; Velvet reluctantly teams up with Presea to stop it. Once they end it, they have one last showdown. Presea’s anger is fueled even more when the villagers are happy after learning about Alicia’s end. After their battle, Presea is still angered but then calms down when Laphicet shows her the letter; she finally accepts Alicia’s death.
Presea finally calms down and she plans on going on a journey to fulfill Alicia’s wishes. Velvet and Laphicet part ways with Norma and Caius. Velvet then leaves the village. Laphicet promises to find Velvet once he becomes stronger and goes on an adventure of his own and she accepts it.
To me, this side story isn’t as great as Cress’s, but they do have their interesting points. I really like the lore of the incarnations. Like I said above, incarnations were what transgressors would have become if the world didn’t have Vision Orbs. This means that Vision Orbs were created. Though, I wonder if Laphi is a reason for vision orbs coming into the world…Crestoria better not pull the same stunt he did back in Berseria. The Innominat twist was very shocking and a headache when learning about the cause of his manifestation. I just hope that Laphi didn’t choose to die willingly like in Berseria. Despite my disdain for Velvet, I actually dislike Laphi even more than Velvet. If he did choose to die willingly in Crestoria, I am rioting.
Okay, I’ll be going back to topic. Incarnations seem like an interesting concept and make me wonder if they’ll incorporate it into the main story. I also wonder why vision orbs came to be. I can sense a conspiracy behind these things already. So, thinking that Kanata should cut off his hand to rid away of his Stain of Guilt is actually NOT a good idea because that’s what Presea did to Alicia and look how messy that decision became.
I wonder how Velvet’s arm became an incarnation. Maybe we’ll see it in Side Story Laphicet? I do wonder about Velvet’s overall role in the plot other than seeking vengeance.
For the characters, they stay true to their original counterparts…most of them. Velvet still remains her vengeful self but has a softer side, especially with Laphicet. Like in Berseria, Laphi died and she roars out vengeance against those who killed him. Laphi’s death is not specifically detailed out, meaning that there’s more to it than meets the eye… Great. Velvet still has poor communication skills, as shown with how she keeps ignoring Laphicet’s pleas to stay put. STAY PUT FOR ONCE!
Laphicet, or Phi as I will call him that for the rest of this review, is still his cheerful and sweet self. Unlike in his original game, he’s an ordinary human with a sense of self this time. He still is attached to Velvet, which is great. I liked their bond in Berseria. Though, I find it a bit amusing how he’s the foster brother of Presea, another character who was an empty shell at first. The writers probably did this on purpose. Just seeing Phi with a desire for adventure and having a family in this universe makes me rather happy for him. Though, I feel like he’s mainly used for exposition regarding Presea’s issues. That’s okay, I guess? I still want Side Story Laphicet.
Presea… ooh boy. There’s a lot I want to say about her. I think Crestoria did a poor job with her. She’s a bit similar to how she was in her original game, where she looks the same as she does and filled with anger when she finds out Alicia had died. Unlike Symphonia, however, Alicia is still alive, and Velvet has to kill her in present-day. That doesn’t sit well with Presea who is out for Velvet’s blood for the second half of the story. Although this is similar to the side quest in Symphonia, this is poorly done because Presea isn’t someone who is hell bent on vengeance to the point that she becomes unreasonable. She’s very hard to deal with here. I get that her protectiveness with Alicia and anger is shown with her beef with Regal in Symphonia, but it’s so bad here. She can communicate in Symphonia, so why are her communications skills worse than Velvet’s in this universe? If I were to summarize this side story, it’s ‘anti-social vs poor communication skills’. Another aspect I don’t like is that she doesn’t seem to care about Laphicet. I mean, all three are family, right? He even took care of her, but all Presea is fixated on in protecting Alicia and refusing to listen to her own foster brother. Girl, LISTEN TO HIM! Geez, Presea does not deserve Phi as a brother with her actions in this story. In Symphonia, her lack of emotions and growth stunt was due to frequent experimentations, but she still had a caring side underneath her “baggage”. As an actual adult, Presea really behaved immaturely here and I don’t like it at all. Presea is one of my favorite Symphonia characters, so to see her ruined here frustrates me. Fortunately, she finally calms down and decides to go on her own adventure…without Phi. What a great big sister you are, Presea. I hope her future appearances will have her calm and mature demeanor like in Symphonia.
Norma is still her kooky self like in Legendia. I think people may find Norma and Caius’s inclusion to the story irrelevant, but I found them hilarious; they made the story light-hearted. Norma was pretty much comic relief in Legendia from giving people nicknames they don’t want to being very pouty and manipulative when things don’t go her way. Her nickname for Phi is hilarious. She calls him Pheephers. I held back my laughter when she named him that.
The only thing I know about Tales of Tempest and Caius is that he can turn into a beast. Other than that, he seems like a chill dude. The person he’s looking for, Rubia, is the heroine of Tempest. I feel bad for him though. He got dragged into working for Norma, but it’s free labor since she doesn’t have any money. If you played Legendia, you should know how Norma is like regarding money.
Alicia is alive in this universe…she’s still suffering. She was a maid for a wealthy family like in the original game, but there's a twist. Apparently, a noble’s son abducted her and she had killed him. Was that Regal? Did Alicia kill Regal in this universe? Oh my goodness. I hope this isn’t true. It would be so weird given how much of Regal’s character revolves around her.
Also, congratulations, Kio Village, you are not on my hate list. The villagers’ fear of Alicia is justifiable since they want to live in peace; they don’t abuse the vision orbs either. Why can’t Nocheet and Dalchia learn from these guys?
For gameplay, all I can say that they were LAZY when it came to the bosses. Three Alicia fights? Why? Three Presea fights? WHY? Some of these repetitive boss fights are unfair as well! The first Alicia fight has you locked with Norma and Caius who both have abysmal defense stats at level 40. In my playthrough, Alicia kept attacking Norma, but I believe it’s mainly luck-based because she attacks other characters in my other attempts. I honestly do not think there should have been a second Alicia fight. There should’ve been two.
The Presea fights are repetitive, but they’re very tricky. Presea hits hard and every time she does, defense is lowered, making it easy for her to kill someone and losing your chance at a no-death reward. The second fight was interesting because there was dialogue mid-battle and Presea’s HP reverts back to full health after you diminish it down to red health. The final Presea fight has her element change from water to wind. However, what’s unfair is that Velvet is locked…as a water element. Given Presea’s tendencies to lower defense, having Velvet not die is another strategy in itself. My frustrations with Presea mainly stemmed from these boss fights. WAS HAVING THREE FIGHTS NECESSARY?
The Titan boss is pretty much the only original boss in the story. Honestly, I think the boss is challenging because Velvet and Presea are locked. Velvet is water. Presea is fire and has abysmal defense stats. Who in the game’s staff thought this was a good idea? Hm? Getting three stars is a hard task. Just pray that it doesn’t attack Presea because it keeps killing her in my copy of the game. Velvet doesn’t do much for this fight either since her attacks resist the titan due to elemental disadvantage. I have yet to get three stars on this boss fight. Anyone who does has my respect.
My gripes with this side story made me enjoy this less than Cress’s, but it’s still a really good side story. I hope Velvet comes back to the main story soon. Velvet’s overall likability went slightly up for me after this side story. The reason? The faces she made during the end when Norma and Caius showed up. I was trying hard to not crack up whenever she gave Norma the =_= face.
What are your thoughts on this side story?