Hello everyone, so I actually just beat the game yesterday but I have time to review it now, this game took a while to beat. So here I go.
So the Tales Games have always been like one of the top jrpg series right next to Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy. At least to me anyway, it's like if these three series were like brothers I feel like Tales would be the one brother that causes trouble sometimes, is wishy washy and smokes a ton of weed and the other two brothers are a bit embarrassed to be related to him. Tales has always been hit or miss like that story was great but the menus and skills were shit or the story was terrible but it had the best battle system. It's always been like that, I can't explain the whole series since I really want to focus on this one entry but I still recommend the games, in the end they are great and I suggest checking out some youtube videos about them.
Going back to this game, it kinda got alot of bad reviews.. I dunno why. It's not the best game in the world or one of the best Tales games ever made but it's not terrible either and it's actually one of my favorite games in the series. I'll explain why...
The story is pretty interesting for a Tales games. I'm not saying past Tales games had bad stories but this one had a nice change to things. It seemed more darker to me and dealt with emotions about people. Basically the game is about humans and beings called seraphs which are basically invisible to humans and they are magical beings. The character you play as is a hero that brings balance to the world and is called "The Shepard". The Shepard isn't reincarnated but more like someone every so often is born with the power to interact with seraphs every once in a while when the world pretty much gets into some deep shit.
The bad guys of the game are known as "Hellions" and they are beings created by malevolence in which if they carry a great burden or emotion or something negative through out their whole life they turn into pretty much a monster and you fight them. Like I said.. it's kinda different from last Tales games and it's pretty refreshing. I enjoyed it, it's nothing too deep but it's fun.
What is funny is remember.. the seraph are literally invisible to people, humans can't even hear them. The Shepard is the only human that can actually interact with them so to everyone else it looks like the Shepard is talking to himself and characters point that out a lot thinking you're crazy which is actually played out pretty well and is kinda funny. One character thought you were acting out a play while you talk to seraph while another thinks your possessed by ghosts. It's so stupid but its great.
So I feel the characters should have their own column because there's alot to discuss about them and it's an rpg so you're gonna have some party members.. I'll try to be as spoiler free as possible. To be honest I'm gonna really talk about my favorites or some important ones so I don't give away too much details.
Sorey - So Sorey is the Shepard, he's the main character and you know it since he's right on the cover of the game looking at you lol. He's pretty boring kinda, very nice and kind guy and nothing else to add really. Kinda sucky since he's the main character and you're stuck playing as him. Not like Cress was any better but Sorey isn't like Reid or Yuri, he's just really plain.
Mikleo - Mikleo is a seraph who specializes in the element of water. He is Sorey's best friend since birth and they are very close almost like brothers. I honestly felt this character should of been a woman for a lot of reasons. Sorey meets a few girls in this game and Mikleo seems very protective of Sorey, it would of been interesting to see how he would interact with other love interests or how the story would of been if he was a she, I think it would of added much more depth to the character and I really don't think anything would of been lost if he was a chick. I mean, I wouldn't be surprised if he was even originally meant to be gay, that would of been just as good. It's just like Sorey he's kinda boring and something, anything, would of been appreciated to make him more less boring.
So I just spoke about two characters and they are boring already.. so you can see where I am going with this. I would have to say there is a girl named Edna who joins you and she is by far one of my favorite characters in a Tales game by far and it's good she's in this game because this game needs interesting characters. She is pretty much a sarcastic asshole to everyone and it's just great.
So the previous entries, Tales of Xillia and Xillia 2 were very futuristic for a Tales game. Zestiria brings it back to his fantasy medieval roots, which is awesome. But at the same time kinda shitty, everything was like the same, all the towns and large cities were kinda the same with not a lot going on. Once you beat your mission you leave and there's no point in going back unless you are doing a side mission.
Okay so like in every other rpg you can do side quests and I have to say Tales of Zestiria did an amazing job at this. I don't care what anyone else thinks about this but they were all great. First off, none of the side quests were fetch quests which is a HUGE DEAL. Think of one jrpg that didn't have you do a fetch quest or any rpg for that matter. Yeah, didn't think so.
Each side quest felt unique and it had full voice acting and cut scenes. They are easy to find out about and good enough to do but even if you miss it you won't lose much story. It's just a nice thing to do. I did them without realizing they were side quests at first. They were enjoyable and it's great to play a game that doesn't have you running around for coffee or to get some assholes dvd (looking at you Dying Light)
So alot to talk about here, lets get started. The basic gameplay is real easy, not alot going on, pretty standard stuff. The battle system is amazing. This game probably has the best battle system in any Tales game ever. You have battle actions that allow you to turn on or off special skills in battles like running faster, free roaming, or defending boosts. The Tales game kinda acts like a real time action rpg in a battle, there's no waiting you can run around and swing your sword around whenever. Most Tales games have you run in a straight line in a 3D environment but in this game, you can set it up to free roam which is a god send for a tales game, it needed this.
Here's some examples:
Now you have:
See the difference? The free roaming is great. You can also fuse with a Seraph in battle to change it up a bit which is fun to do.
Those videos I'm sure gives you a clear view on how the battle works and looks and it looks great. I also like how the battle background is actually the map you are on not some generic background like in previous entries, it looks great. One thing I hate though is the skill system and how you get them. So you can fuse items like weapons to make them stronger which is okay and you can get new skills but only after finding them. And you don't find them through items.. you find them by collecting little cat people that give you a skill as a reward which is fucking stupid. I don't get it.. on top of that the skill system is kinda complicated and kinda shallow at the same time. I don't like it.
This is what I was talking about with Tales being that weird series. One game has a great story but a shitty battle system or vice versa, this one has a meh story a great battle system but a shitty skill and fusion system. Like what the heck, why couldn't they just use the skill system like in Xillia 1 that was fine or Tales of Eternia or Tales of Vesperia. No they had to switch it up and make this crap. I don't like it. But everything else is great lol
So there are some great stuff in this game. Some characters, Edna, are alot of fun. Some, everyone else, is kinda boring or stereotypical for jrpg standards. The story is different for a Tales game but somewhat lacking. The battle system is alot of fun and fast and great but the skill system is stupid.
I just want to say though that this game is not crap. It's seriously not, I know it's pretty close to generic to be honest but it's certainly not a shitty game that a lot of reviewers make it out to be. I hope that a sequel or an updated version comes out to fix it's mistakes like how Xillia 2 did for Xillia or how Eternia did for Destiny. But who knows.
If 1 was gollum and 5 was that busty anime chick that every weeaboo wants to bang then this would be a generic villager 3
I'm just sad because I wish it was better, it's a fun game I enjoyed it. But it's no Symphonia and Sorey is no Yuri. But it's not shit either. If you're looking for a jrpg try it out, especially if you have a ps4 it's out for the PS3 also but it looks better on the 4.