Game review: Tales of Zestiria

Good morning all.

A few days back I finished playing Tales of Zestiria, since I post book revies, I suddenly though, why don’t I post a game one too. I have been a fan of the Tales of series since Tales of Destiny, and have played every one. except Rebirth and Hearts. Although truth be told with the last few additions, which I really didn’t enjoy. These were Tales of Graces, and yes I know a lot of people liked that, and Tales of Xillia 2. Now with Xillia 2 it was more about the debt, it really spoilt the game for me. I have to worry about bills etc in real life, without needing to pay millions back throughout the game. I think to date, it is the only Tales of Game I haven’t completed, which is a shame because I loved the weapon switching and the plot seemed like it had potential. Anyway back to the game at hand.

Platform: PS3

Mode: Hard

Completion: – Total including post game dungeon and all side quests.

Finishing level (after post game): 97

Firstly, I really did enjoy this game, I enjoyed the story, the characters, the gameplay, the aromatization and thought the graphic style was gorgeous. As soon as my son was in bed, it would go on, and not be turned off again until I went to bed. So for me, I think it is a good game. I liked that across the world there were ‘Points of Interests’ and skits which told you a little about them thus expanding on either world or local knowledge. Oh and the skits were fun too. I even enjoyed gathering all the Normin and Lord of the Lands.

I liked the insertion of optional ruins, it fit with the main character’s wish to explore ruins, and there was no need to actually do them unless you wanted to. An optional extra that did have benefits.

Across the world there were really powerful enemies, they wouldn’t attack unless you attacked them. A nice touch when you’re a low level and see the first one. Near the end of the game, defeating them all is an optional side quest, though I think a little more story could have gone into them instead of, oh look there’s one. These battles were tough, and require strategy. Especially if you are determined to cull them when first you see them.

I liked the addition of the crucibles, however they seemed to come at the price of a battle arena, and again once the secret one is completed, I was expecting something a little more than it just being done.

However, in the interest of complete disclosure, there are also a number of things I didn’t like about the game. I will get this minor one out of the way first and then focus on the game experience affecting ones.

There has almost always been costume change in the Tales of games, you work hard to acquire titles, do side quests, some easy, some not, and unlock special titles that come with a change of the characters’ default costume, and yes there is a slight costume change available. But if you want something more than a change of colour, then you now have to buy them. Well forget that, I liked the costumes, and that they related to the completed side quests which you had to work to obtain. But paying for them and losing the side quests is a different matter all together, no thank you.

I understand what they were trying to do with the weapons and armour, but it did not work. The basic idea it that there are 50 Normin, each with their own attribute, attack, defence, hp recovery etc. These attributes are found on weapon drops, and the chance of finding them can be increased by having a Normin you have found, paired up with a Lord of the Land in the area you are in. The weapon attributes highlight areas on the five by ten grid, and creating a straight line of five vertically gives a specific boost. You can unlock new attributes by fusing equipment. skill + different skill = a new skill (sometimes locked so you need to get the gear to 1 star before it shows on the grid.) You can also stack the skills so you could have a lot on attack and the boost would stack. It sounds like it could be a lot of fun, but then you actually get started. 50 slots, lots of grinding, and in the end, after a few hours you think, why bother. It really doesn’t seem worth it. Sure if you get a line and boost by accident great. Otherwise equip your best stuff, and fuse it solely as a means of upgrading, or getting a skill you specifically want.

My next dislike was the end game camera angle. Maybe I was lucky, but until a certain part in the game it seemed fine, then suddenly, I couldn’t see my character, at one point it looked like I was controlling an enemy because there we no characters on screen. others I could see part of a mountain or a piece of the enemy and had to blindly guess what moves to use or if to defend. It may just be me, but I also don’t remember picking up an item which would allow my other characters to use healing items, which meant unless they had healing spells, the battle command ‘Focus on Defence’ or upping their defence actions to heal at 50 or even 75% hp served little purpose. Except when strategically battling tough enemies.

And finally. Zestiria was released on the 20th year of the Tales of series, I expected such great things from the post game, but I was sorely disappointed. A single small island, with a copy and paste map and the cameo appearance of two characters from past games. How disappointing. I could have done great things with this dungeon. It was 20 years, think of all the characters they had to draw on.  The end dungeon has 8 boss battles. Think of the possibilities. Just off the top of my head, how about defeating seven previous Tales of characters, then having them unite in an end of dungeon battle of epic proportions. The postgame, which really was not a post game, just a reload before final battle and access to extra dungeon. Had zero story, minimal character involvement and seemed to consist of nothing more than running a similar appearance map until you reached a boss battle at the end, go back, save, rinse and repeat. Plus the ending of the dungeon, actually made me look if something else had opened up, the conversation leading me to believe all was just a test prior to a big battle on this island. But no, they were referring to the final battle which you then have nothing left to do but it. All in all, extra dungeon – disappointing.

So there it is good and bad. I can’t really expand on the points as to why I enjoyed the game, doing so would contain multiple spoilers. I will however say this. After Graces, I wasn’t sure I would continue playing the series, then I was given Xillia2 and I really tried to like it. I had all but given up, then what should I get for my birthday but Zestiria, I enjoyed it so much that it rekindled my interest in the series.

So there you have it, and if you haven’t got it and want it, here’s the links
US Tales of Zestiria – PlayStation 3

UK Tales of Zestiria (PS3)



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