Tales of Zestiria Review

Join Sorey on his quest to rid the world of malevolence

The Verdict

This year will be the 20th year anniversary for the Tales franchise and for a newcomer like myself, it is a great place to start. The characters are fun, the animated flare to the game is interesting and the story is captivating.

Since this is my first Tales game, I do not know how past games played nor what they were about. On that note, it is easy for me to recommend this game to JRPG fans, ‘Tales’ enthusiasts, and newcomers to the franchise alike.

Not many games can capture the players attention as well as Tales of Zestiria managed to do for me. Yes, they’re a couple flaws that hold back the game, but in the grand scheme of things, Tales of Zestiria has to be one of the best JRPGs of 2015.

The Positives

  • I can’t go into detail about the story without spoiling it, but you can rest assure that Tales of Zestiria doesn’t take too much time for it to sink its teeth into you. The captivating and intriguing events surrounding Sorey will keep you playing until you unfold the whole story.
  • Tales of Zesteria has a beautiful anime style feel to the game. The characters, the world and very impressive hand-drawn cutscenes sometimes make the game feel like a full fledged anime TV show. 
  • Music is some of the best stuff in the game. While running large distances (and you will a lot) the fitting theme music in the background was always a joy to listen to.
  • The multiple AI companions that you will come across are all unique in their own ways. Some are friends from the start of your quest while others will join you at different times. All characters have their own characteristics traits that differ them from each other allowing for the dialogue between them to become entertaining.
  • Tales of Zestiria offers local co-op, this is a great feature for your friends to jump in as one of the companions in your group. Plus, if your friends are good at the game, it could be very helpful taking on stronger enemies. 

Tales of Zestiria Review

The Negatives

  • Dungeon clearing is pretty much a standard in JRPG’s, and the way Tales of Zestiria approached it wasn’t the best. The dungeons are very simplistic, not giving much depth to it. The majority of the time you will enter a dungeon, clear out a couple enemies, find the correct path and exit; this mechanic will rinse and repeat for the entire game.
  • Tales of Zestiria is the first in the “Tales” franchise to have an open world, but as great as it is to be completely free of tiny sandboxes, the world Bandai Namco created was very bland and dull. Similar to the dungeons, a lot of textures and dulled down environments leave you running through a land filled with pointless NPC’s and various enemy types.
  • The auto-save feature should be automatic in modern games, but when they aren't, it could be beyond infuriating! I haven’t experienced this kind of frustration since Skyrim. You go through hours of dungeon clearing and major story plots, only for an enemy who happens to get the better of you, kills you. If you haven’t saved for a while, you will have just lost 4-5 hours of gameplay. Make sure to save, this could instantly turn you off from the game.
  • While in combat, the camera angles happen to get caught in weird places. And with the already locked on fighting camera, it makes it a little irritating not knowing what's going on, especially when you’re getting pushed into a corner.
  • The writing for the game's dialogue sometimes doesn’t always make sense. There're a lot of times where it feels like the writers just wanted to add fluff dialogue between characters, which prolongs a conversation that ultimately leads to nothing. 
The Neutral
  • At the beginning of the game, the voice acting came off a little absurd. The actors felt like they were just reading off lines on a script; there was no enthusiasm behind the voice which made the voice acting a little cringeworthy to listen too. But the reason why this is placed in “Neutral” instead of the “Negatives” is, without spoiling anything, because of story plot points. After the story develops a little further, I could understand why the developers might have wanted some actors sound the way they do.

To be completely honest, I never played a Tales game before; I've heard plenty of great things about them, but up until now I have never tried one. And with Tales of Zestiria being my first one, I couldn’t be happier. JRPG’s take some sense of commitment, once you start, you know that the ride is going to be a long one.

This is true for Tales of Zestiria, the story, characters and world are beautifully crafted, which makes the game hard to put down, despite its long length. The enormous campaign will have you playing for quite some time, but what is the story around Tales of Zestiria even about you ask?

Without spoiling the story completely, it's about a young boy named Sorey. Earth is filled with malevolence and it is time for the “Shepard” to eradicate it from the world. Sorey and his friends must embark on this massive journey to rid the world of evil.

From the very beginning, Tales of Zestiria catches your attention from the beautiful animated graphics to the intriguing story. However, Zestiria isn't all perfect. Let’s take a deeper look at the positives and negatives.

The Positives / The Negatives

The Verdict