Tales of Zestiria – Review
Follow Genre: JRPG
Developer: Bandai Namco
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4
Tested on: PS4

Tales of Zestiria – Review

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Good: Great story, cool elements, superb graphics and music
Bad: Co-op could have been better
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The Tales – franchise already exists 20 years and Bandai Namco wanted to release a new installment to celebrate this joyous event. If you’ve played the series, you might think you already know what to expect, but less is true. Both new and experienced gamers will find a lot of cool elements and mechanics, with a cool storyline as the icing on the cake.



Tales of Zestiria takes us to a world filled with peace, although this wasn’t always the case. During certain dark times, hope was lost and humanity was afloat until a Shepherd stood up and banished the evil from the world. These events seem to be recurring and a every time a savior rose to fulfil his task. To keep a record about the past, the Shepherds held some kind of diary called the ‘Celestial Record’. Will this be enough though?

It seems that this time, the darkness is coming back once more. Two grand nations are on the edge of war, while the malevolence is running rampant due to the darkness in the hearts of the people and to the lack of faith in the Seraphim. These magic beings aren’t visible for most of the population as only Shepherds can actually communicate with them.

We start the game with Sorey and Mikleo, two young guys that are investigating ancient ruins. Thanks to a rather weird dust cloud, the two end up into the heart of the ruins. After exploring for a while, they notice something strange. It seems that there is a human unconscious on the floor. Sorey, the knight in shining armor, wants to take a look but that might be a problem. A lot of vicious enemies or ‘Hellions’ have spawned and they’re not looking for a cookie. At last, they seem to escape with the girl, which takes us to the start of a big adventure.

Tales of Zestiria

As this is an JRPG, it is only natural that there is an excessive storyline and a lot of plot twists. The start of the game might seem a bit strange at the beginning, but it will get clear quite soon.


As expected from the Tales-franchise, the graphics are really great. We got the chance to test this game on the PS4 and it really shows of. You’ll probably get blown away by the intro, as it is a bit different than what we’re used from a Tales game.

You’ll be able to roam the world map in a nice 3D view, although there are 2D images as well during the skits. If you don’t know these small events, be ready to experience some funny and sometimes awkward moments, but you’ll giggle for sure.

Fighting baddies is also done in a nice 3D environment and it has to be said, the transition between fighting and exploring is a lot smoother than in previous instalments. You can now trigger fights without changing to another screen, which was the case before.

Tales of Zestiria


Venturing several different locations needs some fun tunes and guess what, that is exactly what you’ll receive. You’ll get the opportunity to hear some sweet tracks, combined with some darker tones when exploring caverns or hiking on a mountain.

Every time you start the game, you can choose if you want to have English or Japanese voice-overs. It’s great that you have the choice but it would have been nice if the game would remember which one you picked. At any rate, the voices are really nice and fit each character perfectly. The same goes for the sound effects. There are enough to keep you entertained and it isn’t an overkill either.


Tales of Zestiria is an JRPG that combines a lot of story with battling. You will need to find several key elements before you can actually continue. This also means that you have loads of freedom as you can run around freely (most of the time) and discover a lot of the area. Normally, you get a ‘star’ at a certain location so you know when you will advance in the narrative, giving you a heads up.

Tales of Zestiria

At certain times, you will be able to trigger skits. These small events give you a bit of extra insight about the characters and the story. If you got the chance to activate one, be sure to do it. Running around has another perk as well. You can set certain support talents that will trigger when finding items like herbs or treasure chests. The ‘Point of Interest Detection’ is very important as well, as you will find Monoliths and special locations faster. These Monoliths have some information for you, but it is also necessary to gain AP, which is important but will be explained later on.

Fighting wise, the game uses the Fusionic Chain Linear Motion Battle System. This way of fighting is an improved version of the Linear Motion Battle System which can be found in a  lot of Tales-games. You will trigger fights by running into enemies or trying to get the upper hand by slashing into them. Afterwards, you can fight into a special zone in which the opponents have spawned. Both enemies and allies run around freely and can attack whenever they want, giving you a lot of autonomy and possibilities. The improvement lies in the fact that the flow of the game isn’t interrupted by a loading screen, as stated before.

You can use several types of ‘artes’ during battle. Next to the Martial and Hidden artes, there are also Seraphic artes. The first type is similar to weapon attacks, while the hidden ones are capable of hurting an enemy in its weak spot before launching martial attacks. Seraphic artes can be used by Seraphim and are magic lookalikes. You can assign several artes to your buttons, giving you loads of possibilities. Combining them into a combo has a lot of perks as well, like increased damage and stagger. Although this sound quite sweet, you are bound to Spirit Chain or SC. This bar depletes when you use artes and when you’re out of juice, you need to wait idle until you have regenerated a bit. Might get tricky in certain battles.

Tales of Zestiria

If this isn’t enough, Sorey can also Armatize. This means he can merge with a Seraph, giving him loads of power and new artes. The health is also combined and shared, which means you have a lot of HP. During this stance, you can also use a Banish Blast at the cost of one Blast Gauge. It takes a while to cast, but it is a nice finisher.

Another aspect of battling is the ‘Battle Actions’. These elements can be activated, making battles a lot easier as the game activates certain things for you. For example, you will do a sidestep automatically or you auto-guard. Before you can activate these settings, you’ll need those hard-earned AP. It is a great idea to combine these actions with the strategy of your team members. You can choose the control mode (‘Semi-Auto’ for example) and you can give orders to the other ones. This means that they will consume items when their health drops below a certain threshold. It is necessary to check this out, especially when you’re stuck at a boss.

Killing enemies will gain items and experience, which will increase your level. This is quite important as your stats also change. Before you can actually go and be victorious in battle, you’ll need to have some decent equipment. Thank goodness for shops and enemies, as they tend to sell or drop this. The scattered treasure chests are a bonus as well of course. Next to improving the regular stats, equipment also has an influence on skills. These are necessary if you want to get new goodies. If you have some old armor, it might be a good idea to fuse them to gain new equipment with advanced stats. Next to armor, titles also have their effect on your settings as well.

Tales of Zestiria

Buying items at a shop will also increase their stock and they will sell items at a discounted price. It is a shame they don’t carry any ‘Fashion’ items. These garments are used to change the physical appearance of your characters, which is a rather cool and fun element.

You can also invite friends to play local co-op, but don’t be disappointed though as the camera isn’t that great and the other players can only actually do something when you trigger a battle.

This Tales-game has loads of elements and some new mechanics, which makes it a whole new experience. Although the mechanics might seem excessive, a lot of the battles can be won by random button bashing. At any rate, it is still a lot of fun. It would have been nice if there were more co-op possibilities, as it is quite dull to play a game together when only one can run around.


If you’re looking for a new JRPG with some cool mechanics, great storyline and superb graphics then this is the game you need. Be ready to go in an adventure in a world filled with magic and malevolence, led by some fun tunes. Even if you’re a fan of the franchise, it will offer you some new elements to give you a brand new experience.

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Faster than lightning

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