Tales of Zestiria launched today in the UK, and launches on the 20th in North America. So in honor of that, I'll cover what we currently know about the game without spoilers. In this slideshow, I'll take a brief look at the story, art, battle system, and other things associated with Tales of Zestiria.
That's right, a Tales Of game is coming to Steam. This will be the first official Steam release of a Tales game. Tales of Symphonia is listed in the Steam store with a date of 2016, but is not purchasable. However, you can pre-order Tales of Zestiria now. The game will officially launch on Steam at 6:00 PM EST tonight. Pre-ordering Tales of Zestiria on Steam also adds Tales of Symphonia to your library, which will download when the Steam version launches in 2016.
Without going into spoilers, here's a bit of interesting information. In the game you play as Sorey, who is tasked with taking on Hellions created by the Malevolence. The overall goal is peace for humans and Seraphim. The story seems to be derived from the King Arthur myths. It's got the Lady of the Lake, a sword in stone, and the concept of "the one to pull the sword shall be the savior".
It's a Tales spin on a very common myth. If done right, it could be very enjoyable. However, it has very big shoes to fill, in both the Tales series and in terms of other takes on the King Arthur myths.
As with all Tales games, the art is an integral factor. Tales games have always gone for a strong anime influenced look. Many even have anime openings and cutscenes. Not to mention all the anime adaptations of the games, including a one episode special for Zestiria itself.
From the trailers, it's clear that a lot of time was spent on designing this world. If I had to describe it in one word, only beautiful comes to mind.
Tales games focus on ability based combat. These abilities are called Artes. It looks to be a similar system in Zestiria, but with one big difference. In Zestiria's combat, the main character Sorey appears to be able to fuse with other characters to perform special abilities. I'd suspect this is integral to taking down some of the tougher enemies in the game. From the videos, it looks like combining with different characters affects the element and weapon type of the combination attack.
While having an open-world style isn't new to RPGs as a whole, it's new to Tales of Zestiria. Zestiria is the first game in the franchise to add in an open-world style of exploration and gameplay. Previous installments were very linear, making progression straightforward. For once, we finally get to explore the world, and see it as more than just a sliver of road to traverse down on our way to plot points.
It's been mentioned on Twitter that content sharing seems to be blocked within Zestiria. This could just be due to the staggered release between the UK and NA versions, or it could just be Bandai blocking the game from being shared. However, I do know that my source was not at all happy about this.
@gkellauthor You can't take screenshots or video clips of Zestiria. It's all blocked from that.— Something (@somethingreview) October 18, 2015
If you've been following the news on Tales of Zestiria at all, you've probably seen the negative response from the fans. This negativity mostly involves a controversy linked to the character Alisha. The issue is that in Japan, many media releases point to Alisha being the main female character of Zestiria. The actual gameplay contradicts this apparently, as it seems Alisha isn't playable for most of the game.
Whether this is an issue with Bandai falsely advertising her as the female lead, or a misinterpretation of the facts is a bit unclear. I do know that Alisha got the collectibles treatment with figures and other assorted items in Japan. That doesn't necessarily denote that she was intended as the female lead, just that Bandai believed she was a marketable character.
Let me know in the comments below what you're looking forward to with this new entry to the Tales series. I'm excited for the story based on what little I know of it.