Tales of Zestiria

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Tales of Zestiria Game Poster Image
Combat-focused role-playing game average in gameplay, story.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Positive message of defeating an evil lord, but focus on violence, mature content restricts this.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Not much known about main character, an orphan-turned-warrior who explores, battles, befriends characters along the way. He seems kind, friendly to humans, creatures in his village, has a positive outlook on life.

Ease of Play

Some controls, camera angles take some getting used to, complicate gameplay.

Violence

Focuses heavily on combat; players fight enemies -- both human and creature -- with swords, lances, pistols, elemental attacks. Enemies often cry out in pain when defeated. Some cut scenes show violence, blood, such as soldiers stabbed, impaled.

Sex

Female characters wear suggestive outfits, showing cleavage, short skirts and shorts; camera angles zoom in on these areas.

Language

"Bastard," "ass," "hell" in dialogue. "Perv."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Two characters smoke pipes. At least two instances of alcohol references, both of which promote alcohol consumption.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tales of Zestiria is an action-based fantasy role-playing game (RPG), with plenty of (mostly) nongraphic combat against human and nonhuman enemies. Players can use swords, guns, and magic to defeat creatures that cry out in pain when hit, but some cut scenes show death on the battlefield, as well. Women are often suggestively dressed, and dialogue contains references to sexual perversion, alcohol consumption, and some mild profanity. Two characters smoke pipes in the game. Some of the controls and the camera angles can complicate play at times as well.

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What's it about?

TALES OF ZESTIRIA is a single-player adventure where you play as Sorey, a young warrior who sets out with his best friend Mikleo to bring peace to the war-torn land of Glenwood. As he explores huge and diverse environments, interacts with dozens of characters, and battles enemies, Sorey has a goal to uproot a mysterious, malevolent lord and reunite humans and Seraphim, a race of peace-loving beings who raised him from birth in an idyllic village. Can Sorey become the fabled savior and uniter, known as the Shepherd?

Is it any good?

This RPG manages to keep battles fun and engaging, but the rest of the story is so plain that this is simply an average, yet lengthy, adventure. RPG lovers will enjoy the real-time battle flourishes, along with the strategic decisions players have to make to be successful in combat. You can't rely on button mashing to defeat the well-balanced enemies -- especially bosses. You have to time your attacks and plan which strikes will cause the most damage in the middle of battle. Well-timed elemental conjuring and the option to fuse two characters together from critical strikes also add new layers to gameplay; character fusion should help you achieve victory.

It's also very nice that there aren't any load times or transition sequences, which helps keep the action moving. But the largest problem is that everything else about the game isn't worth writing home about: The story line and locations are trite and uninteresting. The graphics and music look and sound incredibly outdated, especially on a newer system. And the game has lots of finicky controls and camera angles that seem designed to frustrate players rather than entertain them. Tales of Zestiria isn't awful, but it's not awfully great either.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in games such as Tales of Zestiria. Are parents OK with this game's violence because it's clearly fantasy-based? Or is it a problem because violence is violence and it doesn't matter whether it's realistic or not?

  • Discuss the portrayal of women in the game. Are women portrayed as strong characters in the game or merely eye candy? Why do you think the designers portray female characters that way?

Game details

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