It’s always interesting writing up a preview for a Tales of game. This is a series which doesn’t really change much with each title that is released yearly. I played a very short demo of the latest game, Tales of Zestiria at E3 and once again, didn’t find much different from what I’ve experienced before.
In the demo, I was placed in the middle of a forest and had to make my way to the nearest town. Along the way, I got into some battles with the roaming creatures. Combat is the usual mix of real time with a bit of turn based elements. While you can freely attack whenever you want, you will have to wait for your Artes meter to fill up to perform certain actions. I was able to link my attacks with members of my team and also become one with another member in order to perform more powerful attacks.
In-between battles, I searched around for items of interest. There were scattered treasure chests and food to gather all across the map. Creating recipes is a series staple and collecting food to create certain meals which boost your stats is essential. Treasure chests had the usual stuff like money or equipment.
I entered the town and interacted with NPCs who told me about how aggressive the monsters have become lately. It was at this time that I noticed how big the town was. I thought about the forest I had navigated through and realized it was very sizable itself. It appears that the breadth and scope of the game has been expanded as it certainly didn’t feel like I was going down tight corridors or small roads. A change for sure, and that was a pleasant surprise.
The demo ended with us fighting a huge monster, the main one that was terrorizing the town. The battles I had beforehand were very simple so it was nice to have one that challenged me. At one point, all of my characters but one were killed and I was forced to use potions in order to revive and heal them. I used my main character’s special ability whenever I could and this, coupled with smart use of healing items, helped me defeat the beast.
Interestingly enough, I played this on the PlayStation 3 even though there is a PS4 version coming out. While the game still looked nice with its anime inspired art-style, I have to admit that it looked a bit rough in places. Perhaps this being more of a larger world took its toll on the graphics. I won’t hold this against the game however as I’m sure the PS4 version will look great.
If you like Tales games then there’s no doubt that Tales of Zestiria will satisfy you. This series knows what its fans wants and gives it to them on a consistent basis. While the world is larger than before, this is still standard fare for the series. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.