Tales of Zestiria is an enjoyable role-playing game despite its flaws. The cast is interestingly developed in animated short stories and the main quest; while the game has some of the best English voice acting for a Japanese role-playing game, despite its cliched narrative. The combat is fluid and entertaining, encouraging the player to chain attacks with fluid animation. The animated cutscenes produced by the Japanese animation studio behind the Fate series, Ufotable are beautifully polished with crisp visuals and animation.Tales of Zestiria’s story is cliched despite its fleshed out characters. The game follows a group of heroes destined to defeat the bestial Lord of Calamity in an attempt to be rid the world of malevolence. The Shepherd acts as a bridge between the human and seraphic communities, being one of the few people in the world who can see and interact with seraphim. Players take control of the chosen Shepherd, Sorey, and his party of seraphim and human allies. Without spoiling the events of the narrative, the game slowly begins to evolve into a grander tale as the group becomes torn in the middle of a war between the Hyldian and Rolance kingdoms; although, some may be deterred by the game’s poorly paced introduction.
Tales of Zestiria’s cast is surprisingly original and well-developed. Each character grows by their own narrative arcs that intertwine with the main quest. Edna is a playful earth spirit seraphim searching for a cure to save her brother from his dragon curse; Rose is the kindhearted leader of an assassins guild seeking justice for crimes against humanity; and Alisha is the princess of the Hyliad Kingdom and Sorey’s squire, facing conflicting loyalties between her oath and her country. Sorey himself is an earnest but goofy human raised by seraphim, enthusiastic towards adventure and archaeology; and tasked with being the shepherd that must lead humanity away from a path of malevolence.
Characters are gradually developed in the main story but come to life in the animated short story panels. Players can access these scenes at save points, providing commentary on a recent development in the narrative, a gameplay mechanic or a joke between two or more characters; adding a greater sense of unity between party members often overlooked in Japanese Role Playing Games – where the only well-developed characters are the antagonist, and main male and female protagonist.Despite being the first game in the Tales series to release on the PlayStation 4, the game’s graphics feel slightly outdated. Visual effects in battle are spectacular as streams of light fly around the screen and characters slash and throw at or leap towards enemies; but the game’s overall environments feel like they belong on the PlayStation 3 – which isn’t much of a surprise considering the game was a PlayStation 3 exclusive in Japan and ported to the PlayStation 4 in the West.