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Tales of Zestiria for the PC review: this Tale is an experimental mix bag between greatness and crap.

Updated on December 31, 2015

My Youtube Review

my thumbnail and the tales of zestiria opening screen.
my thumbnail and the tales of zestiria opening screen.

All the pictures were taking by me using a screen capture device while playing the game.


The Tales series is a series of RPG’s I became a fan of several years ago one I bought on Zestiria on my new PC just to try it out and because the PC version did come with a few pleasant extras like some additional costumes. And a Bandai Namco was throwing in a free copy of Tales of Symphonia has well. Tales of Zestiria is one of those RPG’s where the series is experimenting and finding new ways to grow. The effects of this experiment give me things that I hope to see in later Tales games the aspect of strategy in the new battle system, and the large open world are definite improvements over past Tales games especially the extraordinary linear Tales of Graces F that was released just a few short years ago. Unfortunately the game is dragged down by a bad plot and some terrible character’s, has well has an equipment and character customization system that is has confusing has it is convoluted. Let’s dig into Tales of Zestiria.


Tales of Zestiria story critique.

The characters are bland.

While the characters in a tale series are usually humorous and memorable not in this game. Most of them are forgettable.
While the characters in a tale series are usually humorous and memorable not in this game. Most of them are forgettable.

Story

Yeah it’s an RPG so expect another video on the story with some more plot spoilers. But just know this the plot here is boring, following Sorey a young man who becomes his world chosen protector against malevolence called the Shepard, and it contradicts itself constantly (for example Sorey saying that there hasn’t been another Shepard in 200 years, only later to have a flash back scene involving a Shepard that could have only happen no more than 20 years ago at most). That said having weak and cliché plots is par for the course for the tales series. The saving graces has always been the excellent characters, yes we have gone through clichés before but when you’re with a cast of tales character’s you don’t notice because there making sure you’re having a good time. Not here you’re not, look I don’t hate Sorey in the same way I hate Emil from Tales of Symphonia 2, I dislike Sorey because he’s too good and doesn’t have much of a personality. Hide behind your downloadable Yuri Lowell costume all you want Sorey still doesn’t disguise the major difference between you and Yuri is he had a personality. Most of the rest of the cast is just has vanilla has Sorey, with the exception of Rose the happy go lucky Assassin who does have trauma in her backstory and an actual personality. Plus late in the game you do manage to get a character in your group that is Zelos on steroids both personality wise and look wise and he brings some humor to the rather dull cast. Anyways if you want me to break it down for you just follow the card I put up. And yes the story does matter a good amount of time is going to be use to listen to dialogue and when that dialogue is boring does bring down the game unfortunately.

Graphics

The story and character’s may be bland but one thing that is not is the world Sorey inhabits .It’s freaking huge with well-drawn vistas and a great color pallet. Just some of the places you just pass through on your journey are eye dropping. I wanted to explore a lot of the over world just to make sure I have seen everything, it’s one of those types of world where you just want to live in it and explore some more even after the game is over. And the cel shadding and art style just make it timeless.


The games not perfect there are camera problems in battle, and on the PC version at least I notice some screen tearing and a few graphical bugs.


The over world is huge

But it's beautiful in it's detail
But it's beautiful in it's detail

Sound

The music is just beautiful to listen too with cheery over world music when it’s needed and some haunting music for some of the dungeons. Never did I feel like my ears were being insulted. For the voice acting we have a pretty decent dub cast has well. Over all the music actually surpasses the graphics in enjoyment.

Yeah a fusion system in a video game that requires strategy on when to use it, who would have thunk.
Yeah a fusion system in a video game that requires strategy on when to use it, who would have thunk.

Gameplay

Alright Tales is a standard JRPG, your goal of the game is to usually clear dungeons and story events and get to the end. Doing side quests, bonus bosses and other things has they pop up if you want extra experience and items to help you clear the hurdles. Let’s start off with the good things the battle system. Tales has always had an action packed battle system, this one takes it a little bit slower but for its own good. Basically you have a blue bar on the bottom below your health which is your energy gage, use to much energy and Sorey will stop attacking until he replenishes it by catching his breath. Also most enemies have an elemental weakness that can be exploited either through Sorey arts or by selecting the right Searphim comrades. You see 4 out of the 6 character’s that will be tagging around with Sorey are beings called Seraphs that wield the 4 elemental powers. Finding the right Seraph for the situation is crucial to winning.



To another layer to this paper rock scissor game is Armitzation. Has Sorey blocks and dodges attacks he can fill up a blast gage which will be used for special attacks and mystic arts. He can also sacrifice a small part of it to aromatized to whatever Seraph he has connected to him. His attack power goes through the roof and he gains some strong elemental attacks. But there is a catch. His combos decrease, making filling the blast gage a lot harder, and if he is KO both he and the Seraph he is fused with go down for the count. So staying armatized the whole time is actually a bad idea, usually you want to armatize for the right situation and de-armatized when it’s not ideal. A game that actually makes you think about transforming that is new and I love the wrinkle.


Next to the battle system there is that huge open world to explore and the dungeons while not the greatest to make use of Sorey power to create some interesting puzzles, but damn that water temple and those freaking eyes I hate that one but there are enough enjoyable ones that I don’t find myself complaining to often.


Unfortunately let’s get to the bad the character customization options. You know when I complain that Symphonia was too simple now days; Zestiria is too convoluted to be any good. How convoluted am I talking about ok take Kingdom Hearts Chain of memories card system, throw in the Junction system from FF8, then take all the nonsense thrown at us in Kingdom Hearts RE:Coded Story cut scenes and combine them all together and you still wouldn’t be half has convoluted has this customization feature. And to make it worst is that it’s attach to items and equipment not to the character’s themselves. This means every time you switch armor, find a new sword or buy a piece of armor even if the stats are technically higher the way the bonuses in this system works you can actually screw up and lower your defense and tactics.


If I understand it right (and I don’t understand much) basically it goes like this every piece of armor has a special ability which lights up a square on said grid. Match a certain number of symbols going in one direction, or get enough symbols on top of them and you get bonuses. Little monsters can also be collected to add bonuses to the weapons. So basically every time you switch armor your moving piece on the grid and therefore lowering a bonus. If this sounds like it’s a confusing, unnecessary headache that’s because it is. For the most part just keep yourself well ground and make sure you are putting new equipment on your character’s every once in a while and you’ll find this game is pretty easy on the default difficulty setting. Still it’s never a good thing when the games own characters are falling asleep or getting confused during skits that are meant to help you understand these armor equipment screens.

Good luck trying to figure out this equipment screen

Good luck figuring this whole mess out and just switching equipment can really screw up your bonuses it's a mess.
Good luck figuring this whole mess out and just switching equipment can really screw up your bonuses it's a mess.

Final Recommendation.

I give Tales of Zestiria a 3 out of 5. It has a great battle system, a world that is just so fun to explore and play around in. Unfortunately it’s hamper by a really lousy story filled with mostly boring character’s, and a convoluted customization screen that really sucks the joy out of finding new equipment. I do recommend trying Zestiria if you’re a hard core fan of the Tales franchise there’s enough here for you to enjoy. But if your new or trying to get into it I recommend Vespiria for the 360 or Xillia for the PS3. PC users should wait a few months for Symphonia HD to be released on the PC before picking this up.


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