Tales Games always have a small print run due to their niche following in the UK and US and the variance in the markets they hit, this usually means that, unless people are willing to pay very high prices, after the initial retail period has passed, they are very hard for new players to get into. The game itself is now available on Xbox Live Games on demand for a much lower price, and if you don't know what this game is and why it's so expensive, I'd probably recommend buying it from there.
Tales is a series of slow burning and very much traditional action RPG's that Namco have been producing for a number of years. Rather than going for high impact graphical flourishes and particle effects, they concentrate on long, interwoven stories spanning 40-70 hours of play with a traditional path through the narrative, closer to games like the secret of mana for the super nintendo, rather than a more exploratory, free roam approach like Zelda or Fable.
Shying away from some more modern conventions and fashions in the medium has allowed Tales series to become a unique experience in it's own right, the length of the games and their focus on character development seems to be much closer to that of a long running Anime series than that of a 20 hour blockbuster RPG, it works well for fans of character development, and Tales of Vesparia is a particularly good example and a great starting point for fans of long running Mangas and Anime's looking for a new way to experience that type of story, there are a few purchases available on xbox live to make the experience easier and remove some of the grinding elements to the game for those players who don't have the time to invest in the odd hour of grinding when your character needs it.
The characters, although appearing archetypal at first expand to show some true depth and complex reasoning for their behaviours, the story allows for a slow steady expanding of the world, and, although 20 hours in starts to become quite dense the effect all these different elements and guilds has on the characters should be enough to keep you interested.
For fans of the series who haven't played this yet, in comparison to symphonia it is just as good, if not better for all the right reasons, and has another 70 hours of gameplay for those rainy days of revelations and discovery.
If your a fan of the series, you will probably already have this game, and you'll already know whether you want the disc version or not, if your a newcomer to the series who likes the sound of it, go for the xbox live version. If you have the choice between the Xbox and the PS3 version, go for PS3, with extra characters and other additions, it's the delux box set.