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10th February
2015
written by Splash

Title: Tales of Zestiria テイルズ オブ ゼスティリア
Platform: PS3, PC, PS4
Genre: Action RPG
Language: Japanese
Company: Namco Bandai
Summary: Bottom line is–This has 1 and a half star ratings out of 5 on AmazonJP and for legit reasons imo. Please, DO NOT make this your first Tales experience if you have the opportunity to play any of the other PS3 Tales instead. Forget the Alisha drama, my biggest beef with this series has everything to do with everything else about the game and THEN the lack of Alisha. That’s how bad it is.
Story:
Characters:
Graphics:
Sound: 6-9. It’s very unusual for me to give out a score range like this, but this score SERIOUSLY IS SITUATIONAL. Because well… Some of the beginning tracks and the 4 temples are the one and like… only redeeming part of this game. These tracks are EASILY HANDS DOWN THE BEST TALES HAS TO OFFER… (THANK YOU GO SHIINA) Sakuraba does have a few decent tracks in this one as well, but… The problem is the rest of the game is littered with repetitive dull stuff that Sakuraba curses all the other games with, and some ENTIRE LARGE AREAS have NOTHING BUT AMBIENCE… The stark contrast in the QUALITY (not even the variety) of the music makes the entire gaming experience extremely inconsistent.
Gameplay:
Replay Value:
Overall: 6/10. Remember, I don’t plan to even bother rating games I would give less than a 5, so think of this more on the a 5* scale where 6/10 translates to 3 stars out of 5, which is SERIOUSLY damn weak despite being the latest in the Tales PS3– I feel like it’s the absolute WEAKEST. Berseria will be both ps3/ps4 so I would probably still consider it in the PS3 realm… Just so many things that went backwards in this Tales title compared to the previous PS3 releases. Even Vesperia is way better than this title, and that isn’t even originally PS3.

Complaints:
– Camera angle SUCKS when things end up turning into 1st person and shit. Everyone has complained about this and I have to throw my complaint in as well. It’s even worse with multiplayer.
– Game does a TERRIBLE job at guiding you to the next location to go. You have to constantly switch in and out of the map screen + navigate through the map to find your next destination. A much better system would have been to add a general direction indicator on the in-game map, but nooooooo they never thought of that. Not only that, but if the next destination wasn’t on the same screen, there would be ZERO indication of which screen to go to. Some could argue that it’s “better” this way because then where to go isn’t hand-fed to you and you get the “freedom” to wander around aimlessly (“open world”…lulz), but… I don’t have time for that shit. It’s easy to ignore the indicators if you don’t want to follow them, but it’s much harder to figure out where the fuck to go next if you don’t have that help. Level-5 Inazuma games have probably spoiled me on this aspect because they’ve always done a beautiful job in telling you where to go. Still, I’ve NEVER had this much problem getting to the next destination in a Tales game before, and this is also in part due to the pointlessly large maps this game has, which take forever to walk through.
– GIANT MAPS WITH SO MUCH NOTHINGNESS. Unless you’re doing the PC version and abusing cheats like we ended up doing (all treasures shown on map, fast walking without windstep), be prepared for a world of dull repetition in exploring fields, dungeons, ruins, what have you. It’s like they expected the updated graphics to be enough to distract you for the extra hours upon hours you end up spending near-meaninglessly wandering around the “open world” compared to other Tales games. Xillia was nearly at a tipping point for my tolerance on these things already, and they just HAD to go the wrong direction with it on Zestiria…
– The music quiets down every time auto-scrolling town chat comes, THEY DON’T HAVE VOICES why would you. Constant volume changes in general make me very uncomfortable. Seriously you walk down one small street and the volume will change like 6 times because 3 different town chats come in.
– The music is AMAZING for the 4 elemental temples in the game, but then you go to the ruins and fields in the rest of the game and for the most part they are dull and uninspiring. Some of it is even just pure ambience that is just done in poor choice when a player should just have the option to turn off music if they wanted something as boring as ambience…
-WHO DECIDED to build in WALK SPEED INCREASES AFTER BATTLE/HEARING TOWN CHAT, these ideas are TERRIBLE and just add to the entire inconsistency of the gaming experience. Luckily, with the Steam version, you can implement mods that allow for consistent fast walking speed. I feel sorry for anyone who walked through this game without such convenient mods.
-30 fps battles, when previous PS3 Tales games were 60… D: This can be fixed in the PC Steam version with mods, but the fact that the fan community had to hack it out instead of having official development backing on it shows how lazy the devs were.
– Watered-down battle system dependent on micro-managing outside of battle– Initial SC losing strength as you grind, until you eat herbs, food, or rest at inn, is pointless.
– Watered-down battle system– only 4 mapable artes??…. What happened to the beautiful 16 from Xillia? WHY in the freaking world would they go back on this?? The fact that they let you put on Random as an Arte shows how freaking uncreative they want you to be while playing the game with just mashing the Random arte button.
– Watered-down battle system in terms of playable characters in general. *SPOILERLAND* You’d look at the cover and think HEY 8 PLAYABLE CHARACTERS!! Good for Tales standards, and expected for a newcomer to the series. But NOPE, IT’S A MERE 6. Not only is Alisha not a permanent (endgame) character in the game, but neither is Dezel who gets permanently replaced by Zaveid.

The only other similar situation I’ve encountered in a Tales game is in Graces F where Richard is only playable through the Future arc, but even then it is not so much of an issue because of the Narikiri costumes, where you can dress up any one of your other characters as Richard and have access to all of his play style (just that they keep the original character’s stats), or of course you can just stay in the Future arc. I just don’t like you don’t have the endgame dungeon accessible in Future arc so you have to keep switching back and forth otherwise.

To balance things out, some PLUS things about this title that the other PS3 games don’t have:
– Super awesome detailed customization on attachments. You can adjust size, color, angle, position… It’s crazy awesome. They better keep this for future titles.
– The graphics are the best thus far for Tales, but duh? I would’ve cared a million times more for more development time/funds to go into improving the gameplay and story progression rather than graphics…
– The music in the four Temples are just AMAZING and a world of a difference from the rest of Tales music.
– Uhhhhhh… nothing else…?!?!??

Down to the full gist–this game is ALMOST as bad as “Star Ocean: The Last Hope” was for me. There are a few smaller pluses that keep this above Star Ocean for the moment, one being better graphics (and my bias for Tales’s anime style– Star Ocean’s 3D models got damn scary sometimes) and more reliable healing system right from the start of the game (I absolutely HATED walking back and forth to a healing spot in Star Ocean). I could still easily give it a same rating as Star Ocean considering the point of time this game has been released–being a new Tales yet COMPLETELY backwards in terms of innovation.

CDJapan

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3DS, PC, PS3, PS4

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