*Review is biased since I played the game*
As a Tales of fan, I knew exactly what to expect watching this movie, and I got what I was expecting. Since Tales of Vesperia is one of favorite games, I was quite excited, and my expectations were ultimately met, with only a bit of expected disappointment. Fans of TOV will be happy to learn more of the back story of Yuri, Flynn, and Repede, while newcomers will be amazed by the greatness of the Tales of series.
To be fair, The story was cliche, with some points that adds more flair, however, the art, animation, and music were absolutely fantastic, which completely masked this factor.
The story revolves around Yuri Lowell, a few years before the events of TOV, his best friend Flynn Scifo, and his platoon. The world, Terca Lumireis has a substance called aer, which a tool called blastia can harness. However, recently, the aer has been becoming dense, causing monsters and strange beings to begin attacking the already weakening barrier blastia that defends a town. To solve the problem, Yuri and his imperial knights platoon try find the cause of increasing aer density, and solve it.
The story is carried out by the simple, "there is a major problem, and we fix it format," and is forgettable with a few exceptions, but the other features of the movie makes you completely forget it. The fight scenes are done incredibly well (but also realistically), and the music is majestic, and fits the world and movie quite well. And of course, the movie carries the badass and arrogant Yuri Lowell and the righteous and heroic Flynn from the game, adding lots of spice to the movie.
*Spoilers, Gamer's Rant*
Although The First Strike was done incredibly well, from someone who had high hopes from the game, I was disappointed. You will not be seeing any azure edges (I like to think of them as demon fangs), tiger blades, first aids, or any artes for that matter. One main feature from the game is nearly completely removed, and the movie is primarily based on melee combat without magic or artes, making the fight scenes not as dynamic as the could be. I guess this is because the producers wanted the movie to be more true to the world since blastia were said to be rare, but come on. Basically the only named arte I got to see was force field. Another disappointment was that some characters from TOV were added just to make the fans happy, and were more of breif cameos than anything else. Estelle, Raven, and Rita all appeared and their roles were nearly insignificant (except for Rita, and not by much). Although I am happy that I got to see Repede's history with Yuri.
All in all, Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike, is a great movie, with amazing battle scenes, art, and music. Although the plot is a bit cliche, you will forgive that factor, as the good points will be overwhelming. And honestly, I recommend that you should watch this before playing the game, as it guarantees that you will not be disappointed.