- Our protagonist Velvet herself is this to some degree to the player, and many times more in-universe to those in her path. Her obsession with revenge and Cannibalism Superpower make her one perspective shift and a few crossed lines away from being the Big Bad of the entire story.
- While the plot of stopping a Corrupt Church oppressing, manipulating, and/or purging people is nothing new for the Tales series, the Abbey really manages to show just how horrible it would be to live under that regime. All travel, trade, and knowledge is heavily regulated by the exorcists, even if it keeps people from making ends meet (as seen in Hellawes). And if someone becomes a daemon, they'll kill them on the spot with no remorse or sympathy for the victim's loved ones, essentially telling them "the needs of the many outweigh the individual, people die, get over it" (like with Medissa and her daughter). And that's not even getting into their secret daemon experiments, abductions, and their plan to wipe out humanity's free will!
- Even simple things like drinking, gambling, and most forms of entertainment are forbidden without the Abbey's permission. Not just regular gambling either, even games that use wagering are outlawed!
- And if anyone breaks the rules, they're arrested and subjected to Lord knows what kind of punishment. Being relocated to a barely protected frontier village in the daemon-infested wilderness is the only punishment we see, but talking to Non Player Characters in towns reveals all kinds of nasty rumors.
- At one point the heroes save Percival and a little girl from the Abbey but not before the girl has her emotions wiped. She then monotonously informs the party that her mother was executed for stealing food to feed her daughter. And to top it off, in her current state the girl agrees with them and calls it necessary.
- You thought Zestiria was brutal in how it treated its characters? This game quickly devolves into a never-ending spiral of despair for Velvet as she sees her village ravaged, has to kill monsters that were her friends in the village, watches her brother be sacrificed in a ritual by their brother-in-law, and has her arm turned into a giant claw that devours the lives of others before she's thrown into a Hellhole Prison where she has to fight and devour Daemons to keep herself alive. And that's just the prologue.
- The prologue also features Velvet going into Unstoppable Rage after having her left arm cut off and watching Laphicet die. Even in that moment of pain and misery, Velvet is so enraged at Arthur/Artorious that she hardly seems to notice what's happened to her. She even effortlessly slaughters scores of daemons while trying to get to him, screaming in fury. It's thoroughly unnerving to watch this sweet village girl turn into a bloodthirsty, screaming maniac.Velvet: Arthur...! Arthuuuur! AAAAGGH! Why did you kill him!? His blood... on your hands...! Answer me! Answer me! WHY!? He was my brother! My Laphi! What did he ever do!? Get out of my way!
- The prologue also features Velvet going into Unstoppable Rage after having her left arm cut off and watching Laphicet die. Even in that moment of pain and misery, Velvet is so enraged at Arthur/Artorious that she hardly seems to notice what's happened to her. She even effortlessly slaughters scores of daemons while trying to get to him, screaming in fury. It's thoroughly unnerving to watch this sweet village girl turn into a bloodthirsty, screaming maniac.
- On a lighter note, Magilou's face◊ right before she officially joins the party, possibly her trying to outdo Muzet.
- A somewhat minor one, but Rokurou trying to attack Laphicet when he saves him from Kurogane's attack in one of his battle frenzies is just disturbing. Considering Rokurou is one of the most easygoing members of an otherwise band of cynical Anti-Heroes, and that he treated Laphicet quite well until that moment (to the point he previously call out Velvet for refering to him as "Number Two", as he found disrespectful calling him by that name), seeing him attacking the child malak without thinking it twice just looks wrong. Had Velvet and Eleanor not be quick enough to stop him, the consequences could have been fatal. Luckily, Rokurou gets better and later apologizes to Laphicet, but still.
- While he definitely deserved it, how Rokurou finished off the Rangetsu-style trained Praetor in Vortigern isn't very pleasant. From what little we see, he apparently dismembered the guy.
- Innominat. Take the delusions of thinking he's helping the world of Heldalf, the casual, callous manipulation and disregard for his own men of Alexei, the utter contempt for mortal life of Zilva, the sociopathy of Barbatos, and the arrogance and god-complex of Yggdrasil. Now put them all in the body of a young child with the power of a Top God.
- The effects of his domain deserve a mention too. Most caught it in are stripped of their emotions left with only reason and the area looks more dull. The nightmarish part is that the victims are stripped of their empathy by extension, causing everyone's logic to border on sociopathic behavior in some cases. Those who have committed even the slightest of crimes attempt to commit suicide, Non Player Characters discuss discarding their pets because they serve no use ("A pet cat... is meaningless and only wastes food. ... It must be eliminated... It must be eliminated... It must be eliminated..."), and people are lined up like soldiers. Also, the elderly consider themselves a burden on society because they are unable to work and thus unworthy of living. An old man NPC tells Violet this and then states he will find somewhere quiet and wait until he starves to death. For those who resisted or weren't affected, malakhim are sent to hunt them down and bring them to a place where Innominat directly eats their willpower, which is very reminiscent of real life secret police forces taking dissidents to be "re-educated".
- For fans of Shin Megami Tensei, Innominat's Domain is eerily similar to the worlds ruled by the Law Faction.
- The general treatment of Malakhim by the Abbey. They're reduced to mindless drones and forced to obey their exorcists' commands, including being used as meat shields and suicide bombers. Then of course there's the whole issue with Armitization.
- Case in point, Teresa refers to her Malak by number and verbally abuses Laphicet simply for speaking to Velvet when they first encounter the party. She even uses a shock collar in the boy and orders him to kill himself when he stands up to her to protect Velvet at Artorius' Throne. She has nothing on Melchior though.
- The final battle against Teresa. Her prim and proper Ice Queen persona completely shatters and she becomes an insane, shrieking mess who spends the entire battle screaming in mad fury and attacking like a rabid animal.
- In Zestiria, Armatization fuses both Malak and Human to give both the strengths of other as they fight in tandem. Here Armatizing forces the Malak to fuse with the Human exorcist, empowering them. However, the arte is considered incomplete and overloads the human with too much power. As a result they either become a dragon or they both outright disintegrate.
- Velvet's Sanity Slippage in the earthpulse after she discovers that Innominat is her brother and he ditches her without second thoughts after all the things she did for him. She accepts that she is a monster and that all she can do is to kill others, turning into an screaming ball of hate and anger who slashes everything who steps in her path (including the memories of Artorius and her family that Innominat shows to her through her walk in the earthpulse) and behaving really nasty even with Laphicet. By the time Innominat shows her the memory when it is revealed that her brother Laphicet was a willing sacriphice to awaken Innominat, she completely breaks. While Velvet wasn't exactly the nicest person before, she at least was calm and serious except in the instances when she was confronting Artorius. Seeing her turned into an emotional mess is both disturbing and heartbreaking.
- To say nothing about the scene preceding all of that above, wherein Innominat awakens, speaks in a Creepy Monotone, and despite one moment of Mood Whiplash of him calmly saying "Ow" as if he was stabbed every other day. He completely shrugs off everything thrown at them, snaps a blade of Orichalcum in half, attempts to devour EVERYBODY in front of him, even Eizen and Eleanor who he has no personal grudge against. Then the Hope Spot comes in when it seems that Magilou is the last one standing... but here comes Melchior, who decides to hit Magilou with an arte that makes her scream in pain.
- Turns out removing a therion from an earthpulse point comes with some nasty consequences. When the party exits Palamedes after rescuing Kamoana, it immediately becomes apparent when the background music becomes extremely ominous in place of the normally relaxing music and the clouds now look ready to turn into a storm. The nasty part comes when they finally get back to the village. The party watches before their eyes as all the villagers succumb to malevolence and transform into daemons. It turns out they have been near the breaking point for some time but never got that way because Kamoana was consuming the nearby malevolence. When the party heads to Titania, they learn a similar incident happened because Velvet escaped.
- The Therions themselves, when you consider that just about all of them are people who've been pushed past the Despair Event Horizon.
- A non-story example is Dire Foes. After killing the last of a monster, the screen doesn't cut to the End Game Results Screen like it normally would. A few seconds of silence later, a creature with appears out of nowhere, with a high-tempo, chaotic battle theme playing, and you're suddenly dealing with a creature with the power of a boss monster with the addition of several unkillable monsters in tow. The only saving grace is that these encounters are very rare, you can flee from them if you don't want to fight them, and their attacks are somewhat weak starting off. That and that you can to some degree predict when they're coming because they normally only happen once you've accumulated a lot of Grade in an area, particularly if your Grade multiplier is high.
Nightmare Fuel / Tales of Berseria
Berseria might just be the most Nightmare-Fuel heavy of the Tales series to date. note A darker story, more sinister characters and morally grey, and a fair bit of Body Horror to boot.