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.
Another Anime Expo has come and gone, and now it’s time to reflect back on the weekend in all its glory and despair. While I don’t regret going this year, there are several areas where I hope for improvement for the future. Below is the schedule I ended up following, a much shorter version than the one I created at the start of the convention. Feel free to also use the jump links to read the sections that most interest you.
Tales of Zestiria the X is finally finished after a five-week delay on the last episode, “The Legend.” The series was split into two parts with a season break in between. You can read my thoughts on the first part here, where my overall opinion of the beginning was one of dissatisfaction; the work felt disjointed in plot and flow. I still enjoyed the world and its idea of humans, seraphim, and Malevolence, but wish certain areas were expanded upon, cut, or rearranged. The second season of Zestiria the X improved upon the weaknesses of the first and I finally felt invested in the actions of Sorey, Alisha, and Rose.
As promised in my 12 Days post on playing Tales of Graces f and Symphonia, I picked up another Tales of game and finished it within a few weeks. Tales of Xillia is a 2011 title that came to America in 2013 on the PS3 and, like most of the titles in the series, includes combat co-op. The story runs along a clear line, battle allows for interesting combinations, and many dated and irritating qualities of older titles are removed. Long-time fans, however, will likely knock Xillia in several fields: story, setting, combat, and missing elements that are signatures of the franchise. On the whole, I enjoyed the game and would recommend it as a possible entrance point for new players to the franchise.
20 anime, only three of which are ongoing! Ackkkkk! Somehow I’ve overloaded myself again, despite my excitement for the year dimming at the winter’s less-than-groundbreaking offerings. The good news is that I have more time now to devote to analysis and blogging, so you can look forward to more frequent editorials and, hopefully, some recipes. While there are no food-centric anime this season, I have faith that delicious dishes will still make their appearance. This is anime, after all, where the Japanese devotion to the culinary arts reveals itself whether you’re looking for it or not.
I did try a handful of other winter shows and dropped accordingly. Most notable drops include Hand Shakers and Fuuka, each of which I kicked after only two minutes. Let me know what you’re excited for this season, and if you think I’m missing out on anything!
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!
This second and final wrap for the summer season turned out shorter than expected, as I resorted to reserving a few series for later viewing. There’s still a lot to read, though, and I encourage you to let me know what you thought of these shows. The summer season treated me very well with its wide range of genres. There are always the disappointments in shows that didn’t quite live up to my expectations, but there are also a handful of wonderful surprises.