What is Tales of Zestiria?
Tales of Zestiria is a colourful Japanese role-playing game that centres around the adventures of Sorey, a lone human raised by a village of spirits known as seraphims, on a quest to save the world. In a traditionally lucky coincidence, it turns out Sorey meets all the requirements to become the 'Shepherd' of legend, a being tasked with saving the world from a darkness known as the malevolence. This darkness has released hellions into the world - shadowy enemies under the guidance of the Lord of Calamity, a being who plans to bring about the end of the world - and it's up to Sorey and his friends to stop him before it's too late.
How do you play Tales of Zestiria?
As the Shephard, Sorey has the unique ability to see, converse and partner with the spirt-like Seraphim, beings which are generally unseen by human eyes. In battle, this means that Sorey can join with the elemental spirits to take down enemies in the button-mashing, real-time battles. By mixing up different types of attack, you can take down enemies with ease, as each type of enemy has a different set of strengths and weaknesses, and hot-swapping between spirits is the key to success. Outside of battles, your time will be spent exploring the sprawling fields, forests and caves, talking to key characters and completing various quests, whether it's slaying a particular beast or finding enough of a particular item - fairly standard role-playing adventure stuff.
How easy is Tales of Zestiria to pick up and play?
Generally speaking battles are fairly easy going, and you can turn the difficulty down if need-be, although the occasional boss can be a bit tougher, requiring a bit more strategy to beat, meaning this is one best suited to older players. Outside of battles, your time is spent exploring ruins, travelling from one place to another and talking with other characters - and while it's generally fairly easy to work out where you need to go and what you need to do next, much of the game does rely on at least a basic reading ability. The main story conversations between characters and cutscenes are fully voiced, but anything that happens outside of that, including tutorials and such, are done through text alone.
In terms of mature content, Tales of Zestiria is fairly average - it's not the worst game by a long shot, but it's not quite as sparkly clean as some. During battles players take on fantasy-style enemies, such as spiders, coloured blobs and werewolves in melee combat, with swords, pistols and elemental magic attacks, accompanied by flashes of light, impact sounds and cries of pain. The battles themselves generally don't show any blood, but the occasional cutscene does, whether it's soldiers stabbed in an army's clash or a man impaled by a sword, with blood on his chest. The slightly emo Earth spirit also flippantly talks about slitting her wrists on occasion.
There is the occasional innuendo or sex reference that crops up in conversations too, with dialogue that refers to some characters as 'gross pervs' or talks about some characters having large weapons and such - nothing is especially overt, although Zavied is a bit of a ladies man at times. In terms of bad language, utterances are fairly few and far between, although words such as b*stard and b*gger do make appearances.