Tales of Zestiria
It's got nothing on Final Fantasy at its best, but it's still an excellent example of the genre with some fun twists on RPG traditions.
Tales of Zestiria doesn't deviate too far from its competent predecessors, but it's not a carbon copy, either. It may have linear dungeons and a less-than-stellar story, but it's open-world exploration, enjoyable customization, and flashy new Armitization feature are enough for it to stand on its own.
The Tales franchise still feels like a great combat system in need of a much better game, especially given the banal script and dungeon design that mars this latest entry.
Tales of Zestiria has some good ideas, but the experience is underwhelming and disappointing
Unfortunately, having the camera closer to ground level exposes the sheer blandness of typical Tales environments.
The dungeons are boring, the open world is sparse, and the skill system is obtuse, but a great cast keeps Tales of Zestiria moving forward. Between the cast and the combo-heavy combat system, JRPG fans will find a good deal of fun here.
Tales of Zestiria desperately tries to retain its retro JRPG roots while also attempting to stay relevant. The stat-heavy nature of the game combined with numerous unimaginative dungeons slows it down to a crawl, which is unfortunate because the fast-paced combat is enjoyable. Sadly, this game tries to appeal to old and new gamers, but loses its identity in doing so.
Tales of Zestiria plays by the book in a lot of ways, particularly when it comes to its cast and narrative. But it's still a great entry into the series, and a welcome return for old fans, especially as far as the battle system is concerned. In fact, it's even inspired me to go back and finish both Xillia titles -- that's the magic of the Tales series at work.
Tales Of Zestiria is a highly enjoyable JRPG, with likeable characters, fun combat and an engaging plot, that's only mildly let down by a few technical hiccups and a lack of grandeur to the locations. For Tales fans, Zestiria is certainly amongst the best entry's in the franchise and one which deserves to finally enjoy success in the West.
Yet when the credits rolled, we didn't feel relief, but rather disappointment that the adventure was over. There's a lot to criticize in Tales of Zestiria, but the combat and characters make it enjoyable regardless. Like many good role-playing games, it's easy to get lost in, whether that means fine-tuning your strategies or watching the various character arcs unfold. At its best, Zestiria reminds us that the Tales series still has life left in it.