First Impressions - Tales of Zestiria

*Disclaimer: I meant to have this post up last week but I had a death in the family. Anyway, here is the post with a discussion vid to come later.

Available on PS4, PS3, and Steam

The Game
Ten hours in and I am enjoying this game. The Tales series of JRPGs are some of my favorite role playing games. Each game in the series is a standalone game so you don't have to own all of them or even have played previous games in the series. This game is released for the 20th anniversary of the series. The game's story revolves around Sorey, a human living among Seraphim in a village called Elysia. At the game's opening Sorey is investigating some ancient ruins with his childhood friend Mikleo when they stumble upon another human, Alisha a knight from the Kingdom of Hyland. After there chance meeting Sorey heads out to the world of humans and the game begins. If you know anything about the Tales games you know that they are heavily influenced by anime and have a cel-shade look in their games. Graphically this game is beautiful. The environments are huge and look vibrant, the artists did a real good job on the character models as well. Tales games always have a distinct anime feel to them and this one is no different.

The Game Play
Tales games belong to the action-rpg side of the rpg genre. Each and every game has a different element added to the game in question. For this game it really feels like a mix of Vesperia, Graces, and Symphonia. The new element added to this game is Armatorization. This allows Sorey to basically fuse with one of his Seraphim allies and take on and use their fighting style. Its a very interesting mechanic and it adds a pretty interesting layer of strategy to the gameplay. If you are a Tales fan don't worry the Mystic Artes are back and pretty easy to use. It reminds me of how they were handled in Tales of Graces. In essence the gameplay is easy to pick up hard to master and even harder to explain. The game is very easy to jump in to but you will need to take your time in order to master the fight engine. Just being honest with you. Veterans of Tales games will be able to jump in to this game with relative ease but will need to pay attention to the Armortization element of the game.

The Soundtrack
Musically I still think that Tales of Vesperia had the best soundtrack. I will say that in my opinion Tales of Zestiria is still in my top five soundtracks for Tales games. As far as the voice actors go, I have to admit that they are not bad. I don't get annoyed by any of the characters voices at the point that I am at now. I just finished the first Act of the game and I am still having a great time with this game.

The Wrap Up
I am enjoying this game but I do have a couple of issues with it as well. One is the camera. There are points in the game where you are fighting a group of enemies and if you are pushed to the corner the camera cannot readjust. This can be problematic in Boss encounters where the boss summons lesser minions to attack you. Another thing and this is just something I found annoying with the controller layout. For some reason the team assigned the configuration button to L3 (pressing down on the left stick) this causes your mode to go from Manual to Semi-Auto, and Auto by pressing it. Now in a Tales fight sometimes you press L3 by accident and me, personally, I like going Manual. I just wish there was a way to turn that off as I have died a couple of times because it went Semi-Auto in the middle of a boss fight. All in all, this is a fun ride so far, the story is picking up and I am looking forward to completing this title.

Game Play Video

Images are from PS4 Playthrough
Gameplay from Jay's Game Cafe Gameplay Channel

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