Connect with us

Gaming

Tales Of Zestiria Review – When In Doubt, Armatize

blank

Published

on

Tales Of Zestiria

If there’s something that fans of the Tales Of series love in these games, it’s that they feel instantly familiar. Each of the main entries of the series comes with staples that have only been slightly altered since the original Tales of Phantasia, and long time fans of the series have learned not to expect radical changes in new entries. The latest Tales Of games released in the West, Tales of Xillia 2 and Tales of Hearts R, have maybe played it too safe and this is probably why the team tried to do things differently with the 20th Anniversary entry of the series, Tales Of Zestiria. The new game comes with a few features that finally make it feel like a true new entry of the series.

Tales Of Zestiria’s story is a return to the roots of the series, with a high fantasy setting heavily inspired by the Arthurian legend. The game stars Sorey, a young man who has lived all his life in the village of Elysia together with Seraphim, divine beings that can only be seen by humans possessing strong resonance. Sorey’s peaceful life is changed forever by the fateful meeting with a young knight called Alisha. Interacting with another human being is a new experience for Sorey and this meeting allows him to learn about the horrible state of the world, plagued by famine, war and hellions, creatures corrupted by malevolence, stimulating his curiosity. Following Alisha’s departure from Elysia, a mysterious fox man appears in the village area, attacking one of its residents while searching for the young knight. As a man who cannot run his back on those in need, Sorey sets out together with his Seraphim friend Mikleo to find Alisha and warn her of the danger she might face, a journey that will eventually lead Sorey to become the legendary Shepherd who will purify the world of malevolence.

TOZ 2 Fields

Tales Of Zestiria’s story is a fantasy story that doesn’t try to break any new ground. It starts very nicely but unfortunately falls flat later in the game, with the final sequences feeling rushed. The story has its ups and downs but it’s salvaged by the main characters who are all extremely enjoyable, from the kind-hearted  Sorey, to the more suspicious Seraphim Mikleo, to the charming Lady of the Lake Lailah and others. As in other Tales Of games, interactions between characters are excellent and made even better by Skits, short dialogues between characters that can be triggered on Save Points, Inns or when finding Discoveries, unique landmarks located all over the world.

With the story feeling familiar to fans of high-fantasy settings and role playing games in general, it’s the gameplay experience that elevates Tales Of Zestiria and makes it feel different than anything else the series has done. Gone are the days of dedicated battle arenas, as the Tales Of Zestiria battle system, called Fusionic Chain Linear Motion Battle System, allows players to fight all enemies, included bosses, right where they are encountered. This feature generally works well in open areas, not so well in dungeons due to camera issues. The day one patch addresses some of these camera issues but I haven’t noticed a huge improvement over the Japanese PlayStation 3 release.

ToZ 3 Battle System

The Fusionic Chain Linear Motion Battle System has been heavily inspired by the Tales Of Graces F battle system, with players having the ability to side-step to avoid enemy attacks. Side stepping at the right time allows players to quickly restore Spirit Chain, which is used to execute Martial Artes, Hidden Artes and Seraphic Artes for Seraphims. All the other features included in the Fusionic Chain Linear Motion Battle System are inspired by previous entries of the series, creating a unique mix that can feel a bit confusing in the beginning. Other than being used for Artes execution, the Spirit Chain bar also affects battle performance, forcing players to not go all out at once but to adapt to the situation. The Fusionic Chain Linear Motion Battle System also includes a new rock – paper – scissor system which allows players to use one artes type to interrupt another as well as the Blast Gauge, which is used to execute special moves such as Partner Blast, Blow Blast and Chain Blast, techniques that can be used to break the basic 4 chain limit for combos and string together more artes, and activate Armatization, a unique technique which allows human characters to combine with Seraphim to unleash powerful elemental artes. While Armatization is a very cool feature, it leads to some issues and limitations that some will find hard to overlook, such as balancing issues in later parts which force players to constantly be in Armatization to even just avoid dying with a single hit or being forced to only have two humans and two Seraphim in the battle party at the same time.

Tales Of Zestiria

The series’ skill system has also been revamped for Tales Of Zestiria, with mixed results. Special actions that can be performed in battle are called Battle Acts and can only be unlocked by performing actions such as guarding and correctly avoiding attacks a certain number of times. Skills that improve characters’ performance and stats are attached to weapons and armor pieces and are represented by different types of runes. By arranging these runes properly on a dedicated grid, players can unlock even more special skills which can increase the characters’ chain count, maximum Blast Gauge capacity, reduce Seraphic Artes cast times and more. This system is unfortunately way too complicated, requiring a lot of time and tedious grinding to make a difference. In a series that’s usually known for the ease of use of its gameplay mechanics, the Tales of Zestiria’s system is needlessly convoluted.

Another feature that sets Tales Of Zestiria apart from the rest of the series is exploration. The features some open field in place of a world map that players will have to traverse to reach towns and dungeons. These fields are unfortunately way too bland and empty so they’re not a huge step up from the Tales Of Xillia and Tales Of Xillia 2 fields. Dungeon design, on the other hand, has been slightly improved from the more recent home console releases, with the inclusion of very simple puzzles that require players to use the Seraphim special elemental Field Actions. We’re not back to the glory days of Tales Of Destiny, Eternia and Symphonia, but it’s a step in the right direction.

ToZ 6 Field Action

Having been developed as a PlayStation 3 game, Tales of Zestiria isn’t exactly a looker. The PlayStation 4 version of the game improves the graphics considerably with better lighting and textures and better performance locked at 30 FPS even in battle. The PlayStation 3 version not only looks noticeably worse but also suffers from performance issues during battles and exploration, issues that impact the experience considerably. The soundtrack is the usual Tales Of series soundtrack composed by Motoi Sakuraba, with some really memorable pieces from Go Shiina. English voice acting is also serviceable, with players being able to choose original Japanese voice acting if they don’t like the English dub.

It’s clear how the team tried to bring the series to new heights with Tales Of Zestiria but it’s also clear how they didn’t know where to go at times, leading to questionable design choices which end up damaging the experience a bit. Despite its design shortcomings, weak story and camera issues in closed areas, Tales Of Zestiria is still an enjoyable experience that all Japanese role playing games fans will surely enjoy: it’s not the best Tales Of game but it’s far from being the worst.

As a long time gamer, Francesco has survived more zombie invasions, meteor strikes, magic spells than he can count. He still keeps fighting today to bring hope into countless gaming worlds. Or destruction, depending on his mood. Writing about video games was only the natural step for such a dangerous life.

Gaming

Frostpunk 2 offers a thrilling combination of post-apocalyptic survival strategy and intense political maneuvering

blank

Published

on

blank

Frostpunk 2 is the follow-up to a morally challenging strategy game that has captivated players, and it appears that even more difficult decisions await in the sequel. The game is set to release on PC and Xbox Series X|S on July 25th, with plans for a later release on PS5. Thanks to IGN, we were treated to an in-depth preview of 11 Bit Studios’ dark and gritty survival city builder.

Players are faced with the challenging task of making difficult decisions in order to endure the impending storm. They must carefully navigate through various ideological technology trees to reach their inevitable outcomes. Considering the shortage of manpower, are you planning to employ underage workers to fulfill the demand? What is the most efficient method for controlling a rebellious population: using brute force or employing religious manipulation?

In Frostpunk 2, players are transported to a world 30 years after the catastrophic global weather event that challenged their survival skills in the original game. The world remains frozen, with the most pressing danger now coming from fellow survivors vying for scarce resources and the growing democratic nature of your own people. Take a look at the trailer below to get a taste of what makes the series truly exceptional.

Can you handle the challenging decisions necessary for your survival? Are there any boundaries you refuse to cross? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Continue Reading

Gaming

Baldur’s Gate 3 had a more manageable development process compared to Larian Studios’ previous RPGs

blank

Published

on

blank

According to Swen Vincke, the founder and CEO of Larian Studios, the level of crunch on Baldur’s Gate 3 was lower compared to their previous games like Divinity: Original Sin 2. Crunch, also known as “crunch culture”, refers to the overtime that many developers are often expected to work when production deadlines are approaching.

According to GamesRadar+, Vincke was questioned about the challenges that emerged during the game’s extensive development and whether the studio had to work under intense pressure. Vincke mentioned that they are investing less in BG3 compared to their previous projects. We definitely did. We encountered unforeseen events.

Vincke highlights Larian’s global studio setup as a method through which the developer alleviated the pressure. This structure was established to guarantee round-the-clock coverage, specifically designed to prevent individuals from having to put in additional effort to resolve late-night issues. The Belgian developer has expanded its reach by opening a seventh office in Poland.

According to Vincke, employees who had to work long hours were compensated with overtime pay. He also mentioned that after 8pm, the offices would be nearly empty, and weekend work was a rare occurrence at the studio. Expanding on the topic, he clarifies: “We didn’t excessively push ourselves, but we did have to put in some extra effort.” And I believe, honestly, there will always be a sense of anticipation when you’re working towards completing a project, particularly when there are numerous intricate elements that need to be integrated.

Did you know that the development of Baldur’s Gate 3, with its immense size and scope, involved developers working tirelessly to meet the deadline? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Continue Reading

Gaming

Mad Max developer responds to comments made by Furioso director George Miller about Kojima

blank

Published

on

blank

Last Friday, we shared with you the news that George Miller, the director of the Mad Max franchise, mentioned Hideo Kojima as his top choice to develop another video game adaptation during the premiere of his latest film, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga. By doing so, it appears that he also criticized the previous game with the same name. The founder of Avalanche Software and creator of the Just Cause series, Christofer Sundberg, the developer behind the last Mad Max game, has responded with strong determination.

On Twitter (thanks, Eurogamer), Sundberg expressed his disagreement with Miller’s comments about Avalanche’s Mad Max game not meeting his expectations. The director stated: “I prefer to only engage in activities if they can be executed at the utmost level of excellence.” Sundberg strongly disagreed with Miller’s statements, describing them as baseless and arrogant. He then proceeded to provide insights into the game’s development, revealing some interesting details.

Sundberg believes that Hideo Kojima has the potential to create an incredible Mad Max game, but emphasizes that it would offer a unique and distinct experience. He adds: “The publisher made extensive efforts to transform this game into a strictly linear experience, despite partnering with a developer known for their open world games.” In a subsequent Tweet, Sundberg elaborated on the situation, revealing that after the initial year of development, the higher-ups came to the realization that they had inadvertently steered them towards creating a linear experience instead of the open world game they had originally proposed. He stated: “We wasted an entire year of effort and were informed that ‘players desire independence in the current era’.” Well, obviously…”

https://twitter.com/CHSundberg/status/1793611234249482268?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1793611234249482268%7Ctwgr%5E1638081a010fee12594464218218d72f6556b261%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pushsquare.com%2Fnews%2F2024%2F05%2Fmad-max-dev-fires-back-following-furioso-director-george-millers-kojima-comments

Larian Studios’ director of publishing, Michael Douse, expressed his opinion, stating that Avalanche faced challenges in capturing the spirit of the 2015 film due to limited access and legal restrictions on intellectual property. He suggests that there may be a subtle detail that Miller is unaware of.

Mad Max, developed by Avalanche and published by Warner Bros Games, was released in the same year as Miller’s previous Mad Max film, Fury Road. Drawn from the series, it presented a backstory for Max, where players were assigned the mission of collecting components for his legendary Magnum Opus.

What are your thoughts? Were Miller’s comments inappropriate? What are your thoughts on Avalanche’s Mad Max game? Additionally, would you be curious to see how a Kojima-led adaptation would bring a unique perspective to the game? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

Continue Reading

Trending