Announced during a Tales event livestream celebrating the franchise's 20th anniversary on 12/12/2013, Tales of Zestiria is the latest in the long running action-JRPG Tales series. Ufotable Inc, the company known for handling many of prior Tales games animated cutscenes, returned for Zestiria. Dragons play a significant part in the game and Zestiria overall focuses more so on pure fantasy, rather than the sci-fi fantasy hybrid of the latter few Tales games.
The game was released on January 22nd, 2015 in Japan on PS3. The US release is October 20th, 2015. The game has been ported to PS4 for the US/EU release.
Tales of Zestiria features the newest iteration of the Tales fighting system, the Linear Motion Battle System. As usual to the Tales formula the player takes control of up to four party members at once and can fight enemies using various combinations of normal attacks, Arte special attacks as well as the powerful super moves known as Mystic Artes.
A new feature called Armatization, allows human characters (excluding Alisha) to fuse with the Seraphim characters. Armatization adds the characters' stats together and unlocks new attacks, Artes and Mystic Artes as well as special Burst attacks. Armatization can also be used to heal characters and even revive human characters upon occurring.
A gauge, called the Blast Gauge, has to at least be at 1 point for Armatization to be possible. The Gauge is filled over time and through various battle actions.
Seraphim characters can be switched on the fly and heal as well as revive while they are not participating in active combat. Only one Seraphim can be present for every human present, so if there's only one human in the party the party size is only two.
The level up system in Zestiria is very different to other games in the series, and that it doesn't affect stat points or HP at all, and only levels up titles (used to unlock various passive abilities and Artes) and gain AP. AP are used to unlock different actions in combat, eg. stronger blocking, automated dodges or a once a battle auto-revive.
The only way to actually strengthen characters in the game is through the equipment. Every piece of equipment has certain stat increases attached to it as well as different skills. Equipment of the same name can be fused together to strengthen the items' stats, give it new skills in open slots or overwrite old skills with alternates.
The system is flexible and features a lot ways to get bonus skills, eg. by fusing items in a way so that the same skill will appear on the same item multiple times. Fusion can either be done by paying Gald at a shopkeeper or through the fusion support skill.
HP is handled in another way and can only be raised by collecting orbs, that are either dropped from certain enemies or gotten from completing sidequests.
Support skills also make a return in Zestiria, but they are also handled in a new way. The skills can be set to different characters (not every character can use every skill) and will level up by being used, getting more effective and occurring more frequently along the way.
Support skills include cooking, fusion, finding discoveries/treasures/Gald/spirits, luring enemies into battle, windstepping (dashing), stealthy feet (sneaking) and an outside of combat healing ability.
Another set of skills, based on the four elements the Seraphim wield, is used in the field to clear obstacles and solve puzzles in dungeons.
After completing certain tasks in the story, the so called Lord of the Land bonus is activated in various regions of the games' world and depending on Grade level (Grade is achieved through performing well in battles) different passive skills can be activated.
There are also tiny spirits to be found all over the world, which can be set in the Lord of the Land menu, to up equipment drops tied to certain skills. This act also raises the level of all the enemies in the region, thus can also be used to gain more experience from otherwise weak and low level foes.
As always in the the Tales series skits (animated and voiced dialogue between the characters) make a return in Zestiria. Skits occur either at save points, when resting at inns or at certain story moments.
There are multiple difficulty settings, an optional post game dungeon and a new game plus function.
The continent of Glenwood had to deal with calamities brought on by the forces of choas, led by The Lord of Calamity, Heldalf, and his minions, the Hellions, (evil monsters and plants/animals/humans/Seraphim that got corrupted by malevolence and became monsters) for centuries past.
Every time they got saved by the appearance of someone called the Shepherd, a being that posses the ability to see and communicate with the Seraphim, a race of spirit people, otherwise invisible to humans.
The Shepherd also can form a contract with a Seraphim, which gives him access to special abilities, an ability which made them revered and feared at the same time. Over the years the power of the Seraphim dwindled and most of them died out.
Now, once again, darkness and chaos has come over the world. For years humanity battles with sickness, famine, dwindling resources which might lead to war and the monstrous Hellions, among them the Hellions' strongest form, dragons, but no Shepherd has appeared this time to save humanity.
More years pass. Then a human boy named Sorey appears, who was found as a baby (along with his later best friend, Mikleo) by one of the last remaining Seraphim and raised as one of their own in their hidden village. Sorey thus gained the ability to see and interact with them and later meets a girl named, Alisha, while searching an old ruin.
He quickly makes friends with Alisha, the first other human he has ever seen, and she tells him of the peril the world was currently in, of which Sorey was completely unaware off. After she leaves him to get back home, he decides to go after her, accompanied by Mikleo, and see if he has the potential to become the Shepherd and save humanity from certain doom.
Sorey and Mikleo soon meet a view other Seraphim, Lailah, Edna and Dezel, as well as another human who also has the potential to be the Shepherd, Rose. They eventually form a party to accomplish their common goal of ridding humanity of Hellions and the malevolence.
Sorey is a happy go lucky, do gooder type guy, who loves exploring old ruins more than anything else. He can see Serpahim because he was brought up by them and is pure of heart.
Sorey becomes the Shepherd and thus gains the power to achieve Armatization with his Seraphim friends, giving him the power to wield the four different elements. As the Shepherd he is both feared and loved by other humans.
Sorey fights using a sword and the elemental powers gained through Armatization.
Mikleo is a water Seraph and Sorey's best friend. Just like him he loves exploring old ruins, but he is a more serious person and constantly worries about Sorey.
He becomes Lailah's first Sub-Lord.
Mikleo fights using a magic staff and water type Artes. When armatized he uses a bow.
Lailah is a wise, old, but cheeky fire Seraph. She is the Prime-Lord, who can make a human into the Shepherd and soon forms a pact with Sorey.
She tries to guide Sorey and the others on their journey, but does so without pushing them into a certain direction. She keeps her pacts with former Shepherds a close knit secret.
Lailah fights using paper as a throwing weapon and fire type Artes. When armatized she uses a giant sword.
Alisha is a strong willed, young princess and knight of the kingdom. She is pure of heart and soon gains the ability to hear and see Seraphim.
She forms a pact with Sorey to become his squire, thus gaining some of his power.
Alisha fights using a spear.
Edna is tough earth Seraph, who likes to give others a hard time with her attitude, but overall means well and cares for the group a whole lot.
Edna forms a pact with Leilah and becomes her and Sorey's second Sub-Lord. She wants to heal her brother, who become corrupted and turned into a dragon.
She fights using an umbrella and earth type Artes. When armatized she uses flying stones as a weapon.
Rose is an easy-going and earnest girl, who against all odds, is the leader of a merchant's guild which is really a front for an assassin's guild. Nevertheless she is pure of heart and eventually gains the Shepherd's power, just like Sorey.
She decides to help Sorey and the rest out on their journey.
Rose fights using twin daggers and the elemental powers gained through Armatization.
Dezel is a silent and anger filled wind Seraph. He wants revenge on the Hellions, who killed his friends and turned the Windriders guild into an assassin's guild.
He follows Rose around, because she is a pure vessel and is the only thing preventing him from getting turned into a Hellion himself from his hatred. Nevertheless he comes to care a great deal about Rose and the others.
Dezel fights using a pendulum like a whip and wind type Artes. When armatized he fights using flying swords as a weapon.
Zaveid is a tough, strong and sarcastic wind Seraph. He is travelling the world to kill Hellions and settle a score with two corrupted Seraphim.
Zaveid clashes with Sorey's group on multiple occasions, but eventually joins forces with them, because he thinks the group can help him accomplish his goals. He is wielding a special weapon, the gun named Siegfried, who lets him kill Hellions by firing pure energy at them, but eventually runs out of ammunition.
Zaveid was Dezel's master and so uses a very similar fighting style to him. He fights using a pendulum like a whip and wind type Artes. When armatized he fights using flying swords as a weapon.
Various DLC packs, featuring Mystic Artes and costumes were available to people that pre-ordered the game and others come with the Day 1 Edition of the game. Most of them are also available on the PSN store along with a variety of other DLC packs.
A story pack, featuring a playable episode about the character Alisha is also available.
Tales of Zestiria was designed as the 20th anniversary Tales game and thus is returning to the series thematic roots from a story perspective, featuring a more robust fantasy over a sci-fi/fantasy hybrid setting.
Various producers of the previous game made a return on the development team, among them Hideo Baba, Tatsuro Udo, Kōsuke Fujishima, Mutsumi Inomata, Motoi Sakuraba and Go Shiina.
A Day 1 edition as well as a collector's edition of the game have been released. The collector's edition contains the following:
- Tales of Zestiria (the game)
- Steelbook Case
- Dawn of the Shepherd Anime Blu-Ray
- Hardcover Artbook
- Collector's Edition DLC Pack
- Chibi Kyun Chara Figure Set
- 8-Bit Retro Keychains
- Special Selection Music CD
- Limited Edition Packaging
A Prima Guide strategy guide book is also available for the game.
Tie-in TV Special
Zestiria got an Anime movie called Tales of Zestiria: Dawn of the Shepherd and is to get a series too, which will also be produced by Ufotable Inc.
Release On PC
Tales of Zestiria is the first game in the "Tales Of" series to come to PC with a release to the PC platform Steam. People who preorder or pre-purchase the game receive a free download of a PC port of the HD re-release of the GameCube classic Tales of Symphonia.
- OS: Windows Vista, 7, 8, 10
- Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4Ghz / AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+, 2.6GHz
- Memory: 2 GB RAM
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 8800GT / ATI Radeon HD 4830 or equivalent
- DirectX: Version 9.0c
- Hard Drive: 12 GB available space
- Additional Notes: Gamepad support
- OS: Windows 7 (x64) / Windows 8 (x64) / Windows 10 (x64)
- Processor: Intel Core i3-530, 2.93 GHz / AMD Phenom II X4 940, 3.0GHz
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti / AMD Radeon HD 7850 or equivalent
- DirectX: Version 9.0c
- Hard Drive: 12 GB available space
- Additional Notes: Gamepad support