Tales of Zestiria is the 15th title in the main Tales timeline, and my sixth in the franchise. While the 2015 Japanese role-playing game follows many of the same tropes as others in the line, it differs in key areas of gameplay. The title also garnered a two-cours anime series, Tales of Zestiria the X, that loosely followed the same events (read my review here) as the original. Avoid the anime if you are at all interested in playing Tales of Zestiria, or even its prequel, Tales of Berseria. Enough of the same events are presented in Zestiria the X to spoil some of the more dramatic scenes in either game.
The Tales of franchise is a Japanese role-playing game with a history dating back to 1995. It will soon release its newest title in 2017. I stumbled across the series late in college, but never fully took part in playing until I purchased Tales of Vesperia for the Xbox 360. Vesperia was probably the best place I could have started, with its memorable cast, script, and story. It would be many years before I tried another title, particularly since Vesperia was the only game in the series ported to the 360, my only console for many years.
What brought me back to the franchise was a desire to find more co-op games to play with KWoo. That’s when I remembered that the Tales of games provide battle co-op–while most of the game is single player, battle mode allows up to four. It has been incredibly fun experiencing these stories together over the past year. Sharing in the same story and fighting side-by-side really makes it feel like we’re on this adventure together. We both want to play more Tales games, and have individually played some Final Fantasy (KWoo prefers 7 and 8, while I like 4 and 6; we both enjoyed 13). If anyone knows of any other Japanese RPGs like these, please let us know!
Now that Sword Art Online is finished, I wanted to take a bit of time to talk about one of my favorite elements about the anime. If you follow me on Twitter, you likely already know about my passion for the Guild Wars franchise. Since Guild Wars 2 didn’t come out until a month after Sword Art Online, the anime helped hype me up for my upcoming re-immersion into the online gaming world. I had of course participated in the beta, but knowing that my characters and progression would be completely wiped before the official release made it was hard to take it seriously.
But then the game came out, and with my head start access, I rush leveled my first character, a Sylvari ranger, to the max 80 within the week. It wasn’t until that point that I took a breath and looked more carefully at all the possibilities around me, like jumping puzzles, explorer achievements, and crafting. I opted for Leatherworking (armor for medium class rangers, engineers, and thieves) and set out again on hitting the cap at 400. I found the progression in crafting to be just as enthralling and rewarding as pushing my character through the storyline and maps, since it was the very first time I had ever experimented in that area. When SAO episodes featuring “Liz” the smith and Asuna’s cooking abilities aired, very early in the series, I was extremely excited as a “fellow” craftsman and more appreciative of the anime’s authentic gaming environment.Read More »