Visually the game can be a bit hit and miss and certain things I have felt can break the immersion occasionally. To start off the texture work on the ground and surrounding hills are a bit last-gen low resolution, same can be said to a lesser degree in towns (mind you engines like Unreal Engine 3 which is very popular is the same when looking at the ground etc up close). I am not saying they are just plain awful but it feels like little work has been done to bring up up to next gen PS4 and PC standards. Things like flags hanging in the Sanctuary at Ladylake as an example, they drape from ceiling to floor, they look nice enough but are completely solid static objects that you have to go around. There is also a similar thing with bushes dotted around towns and in the outer areas, imagine a + symbol textured up to look like said bush and again they are solid, finally there are a few invisible barriers which stop you just going off exploring until it is time!
On the flip side though the work on the characters is really nice, albeit there are no shaders/shadows really used on the characters which seems to be a standard for JRPG’s. The main character and NPCs (non-player characters) he is involved with all have nice sharp crisp visuals, townsfolk and town guards are better than the scenery detail but not quite as sharp as the main cast of characters. A final little gripe is whilst in towns you can only go in the Sanctuary or Inn and maybe another building like the Museum if it is quest dependant, there will be no sneaky stealing like in the Elder Scrolls games!!
Overall though the medieval setting is nice, there are nice long view distances and the slightly lacking visuals don’t detract from the overall experience. To top things off nicely though is some of the cutscenes are Anime (Japanese cartoon style), these are nicely done and quite fitting to complement what is going on and are fully voice acted.
The sound on Tales of Zestiria is absolutely astounding. When you first load the game you can either go for English or original Japanese audio (this option is presented every time you start). There are also English subtitles available which can be enabled from the options screen. Like I mentioned above all the cutscenes are voiced as are the skits between characters on certain things that happen within the world. The writing at times is hilarious with the crazy and fun Japanese humour injected into the dialogue, at times it is even goofy, as an example when you find the Folquen Squirrels there is a skit and one of the characters is told to be quiet or they won’t be taught the fluffy version of the squirrel dance! Looking around the net I can’t really find who has done the English voice acting, I did find a site but it was not an official announcement. Combat sounds are what you would expect with shouting commands and various clangs from hits and whooshing elemental effects.
What really stands out is the music, at times it is very stirring and almost dreamlike, during battles or doing something important the pace quickens and is very fitting. You also do get the heavy guitar Japanese rock on the opening Anime cutscene which sounds excellent (not to over bearing like say Dragons Dogma title music from Capcom).
Tales of Zestiria – The Shepherd’s Burden (English Trailer) – BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Europe
In conclusion, Tales of Zestiria is one of those games that draws you in with its charm and then doesn’t let go. Whether you like adventure games – or specifically JRPGs – there is something for everyone. The story is very well written, the characters are fun and there is so much to discover.
This is backed by stunning music and great voice acting.
Visually the game looks like it was initially developed with the PS3 in mind with the graphics (especially world textures and design) looking pretty dated. However it doesn’t detract from the overall experience.
If you are looking round the net you will see mention of a key character being used to advertise the game and then halfway through she leaves the party never to come back. She is part of the main story up until around the halfway point and quite literally just forgotten by your group once gone. Ignore stuff like this and just buy the game and enjoy what it has to offer, like I said at the start of this review, this is the first Tales of game I have played in many years, I am taking it for what it is as a standalone from the rest of the games and have thoroughly enjoyed playing this.
After 30+ hours over the past week I am still yet to finish this game, in all honesty even though the review is now done I will keep playing until I get through it.
What more is there to say, it’s a great game, fun to play so go buy it!!
All gaming footage featured is from the BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Europe Youtube channel.
Tales of Zestiria – PS4/PS3/PC Digital – UNITE. TRANSFORM. TRANSCEND. (English TGS Trailer)
– BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Europe
- Publisher: Bandai Namco
- Players: single player; 4-player local multi-player
Retro at heart and lover of all things ’80s, especially the computers, the music and the awesome movies and TV shows! Crazy huge retro gaming collection spanning the ’80s and ’90s with hundreds of tapes, discs and carts for various machines on top of a 600+ strong Steam library that is ever-growing. No I am not a serial hoarder, just a dedicated retro gamer!