Thursday, 19 November 2015

Tales of Zestiria

It's a series that has had an incredible history and although it hasn't changed massively over the years, there's a certain magic to the Tales of games. With its newest iteration, some things have changed, some things have improved but one thing is certain: It's so good to have a new Tales of game on this generation of consoles. 

Developed by Namco Bandai Studios and Tri-Crescendo and out now on PlayStation 4, Tales of Zestiria is an expected title in the series that only changes things slightly. This isn’t a bad thing however as the foundation the series is built on is still really strong. The game sees a Shepard named Sorey embark on an epic quest ,but is met with many obstacles including warring nations, monsters made out of pure evil and then the main antagonist himself: Heldaf. The narrative is fairly standard and it doesn't stray too far from the fantasy setup, but it also doesn't bore or disappoint. It's exactly what you want from a game like this.

I have to get this out of the way now: Tales of Zestiria is bloody gorgeous. Every screen-shot, every trailer, everything with its name attached is the reason why this game series is still so loved and so popular in Japan. It's colourful with incredibly art style and just walking around in the stunning environments was an absolute treat. I could watch someone play the game and just enjoy the visual treat that’s on display. 

The game is the first in the series to have an open world which leads to multiple multi-tiered linear dungeons. There aren’t too many linear dungeons to feel monotonous and a trudge to get through. It is a drastic change of pace to the great open world gameplay, but there is a fine balance between freedom and consistently pushing you one with varied and enjoyable environments. Even in the open world, there are plenty of off the beaten paths to take with plenty of chests with items and collectables to find.

One of the best things about any great JRPG game is the customisation. You can swap equipment and weapons as well as insert them with special slots that change the stats of the equipment. It’s deep without feeling distracting to the main game.

The combat though is possibly the most enjoyable part for any Tales of game. Each encounter brings you to a combat arena, and it gives you free run to move around, get the better position to take on enemies and give yourself the best chance to be successful. This still exists in Zestiria. There is also a more strategic element to Tales of Zestiria with its rock, paper, scissors, aspect to its magic known as Artes. You can also unleash a massive attack called Fuse which brings a huge attack filled with flair and damage.

Tales of Zestiria follows the series structure without changing too much. It’s visually stunning an even though the 40 hour campaign doesn’t feature the best story, it’s enough to see it through to its conclusion. The gameplay never gets dulls and always feels excellent. The music is so good that you will easily want you to just stand around, take in the scenery and just enjoy it all. It’s great to have excellent Japanese Role Playing Games on PlayStation 4 and Tales of Zestiria is pretty damn great!

Tales of Zestiria is a visual stunner with 4/5.


Jason Redmond

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