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Tales of Zestiria - PlayStation 4 Standard Edition
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- A Whole New World - Explore a medieval fantasy world with cues taken from classic literature and wide and expansive environments
- Instant Aggression Seamless transitions from exploration to the trademark Tales of real-time battle system skirmishes
- Fusion Battle System - Strategically fuse two characters together in battle into a more powerful form to achieve victory against vicious enemies
- The Echoes of Lore - Follow the exploits of Sorey on his mission as the Shepherd told through real-time and animated cut-scenes with the original Japanese voice overs or newly added English voices
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ENGAGE YOUR PASSION AND FIGHT TO SAVE THE WORLD!A brand new adventure awaits in a fantasy world filled with magic, knights, dragons and mystery in Tales of Zestiria. Two nations fight for supremacy and the fate of the realm lies in the hands of Sorey, an inquisitive young adventurer who takes on the burden of becoming the Shepherd, the one the legends foretold would become the savior of all. Together with Lailah, the Lady of the Lake, who guards the Sacred Blade, and his best friend Mikleo, Sorey soon discovers a powerful force rising in the shadows.
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- Characters are interesting...to an extent
- Voice acting quality is high
- Game mechanics are engaging. One of the unique things about each Tales game is the way the developers fabricate an almost entirely unique system for each game, and Zestiria is no exception. It has some similarities with other games but generally follows the same trend.
- Character models are aesthetically pleasing (including costumes)
- Armatization system is pretty cool
- Herbs are less rare and they also regenerate, which means that you can go collect a bunch and use them to raise your characters' stats without having to rely solely on grinding.
- Some of the skills are really cool, especially later in the game
- Other mechanics like Lords of the Land, equipment fusing, and support talents are all pluses
- Graphics are fine but nothing remarkable, especially for the PS4 version. This could easily pass as a PS3 game (which it technically is; this is likely just a port and not a game truly designed for current-gen)
- Story is engaging enough but nothing really outstanding. I never really felt emotionally invested in the events or characters like other titles.
- Those typical obnoxious characters. Some people can tolerate them, but they're present in almost every game and almost always a minor drawback for me.
- Battle system is similar to Graces, which varies from others by having the camera positioned primarily behind the character instead of to their side. Also like Graces is the artes system, which completely removes TP and has martial and hidden artes. I got used to it after a while in Graces but in both games I never really felt as "in control" as usual. I prefer the standard style quite a bit.
- The big problem stems from the encounter system, in which battles begin immediately after you run into an enemy without the usual transition. This might have sounded like a good idea on paper but it was a considerable misfire for several reasons. First, you end up battling wherever you are, even if it's a corner of a hall or a doorway, and you can imagine how that would make things difficult. Second, the camera angles are atrocious. There were moments when I'd completely lose track of where my character was because the camera was stuck or because an enemy or effect was "blocking" it. In one battle, I got stuck on a corner and couldn't attack because the enemy (which was big) had boxed me in and the animation wouldn't allow for any attacks without staggering. None of the other games had this kind of issue, and I know it's because of the encounter thing, which I sincerely hope doesn't become a permanent feature. As far as I can tell, there's no benefit to it over the traditional encounter system.
- Also on the topic of artes: when I was at a good 9+ hours into the game, I had only just unlocked four hidden artes total. It really limits what you're able to do in battle and makes fights mainly button-mashing over strategy.
- The main villain is pretty boring. Everything he says is a cliche and I'm still not quite sure what his deal is other that he's, well, bad.
= The fusion system is kind of interesting, but mixed with the skill sheet, it's too complex for my tastes, even for a Tales game. Luckily, you aren't required to use it and can complete the game without it, so I'm not considering it a con.
= Sorey is one of the least memorable protagonists in the series, but it's nice that he isn't completely dead-serious all the time. The actor voicing him did really well but his voice and personality are more suitable for a minor character than the main one.
= I'm a little disappointed that there isn't a romantic subplot, which is always one of my favorite things (but isn't always present in other titles). Some people don't like them, at least when they seem forced, so it may be good or bad depending on who you ask.
The bottom line for me is this: Zestiria may not exactly measure up to other Tales games, but it kept me interested the entire time and I don't regret playing it at all. But at the same time, this was supposed to be a title that celebrated the series' 20-year anniversary, and it certainly doesn't play like that much attention went into it. I would describe it as good but not great, and my impression is that several parts of it simply aren't as polished as they should be. Still, once you really get a feel for how things work and are able to use the different systems to your advantage, the games really start to click. In the meantime, I suggest anyone trying to decide whether to try Zestiria for themselves take a look at some gameplay videos and ignore some of the more highly critical reviews.
(...actually, I know why but ;) I'll keep my rebuttal against that to myself)
Sure, the legitimate reasons how there are plot holes, and the god awful camera, but it was still a really enjoyable game. One of my favorite Tales games, if not my favorite. The ending still grasps my heartstrings to this day, and it's lesson (especially in connection to Berseria) rings true and is so relevant to our lives today.
Do yourself a favor if you're thinking about playing it because you saw the anime: DO IT. The game is 1000000000000 times better.
The only two negative aspects are the graphics (too conservative for the ps4 generation, it almost looks like a ps3 game remastered on HD) and the maps, too small and depending on the level, not so interesting.