Never-Ending Story: Tales Of Zestiria Released

Bandai Namco have become pretty good about PC releases lately. The Japanese publisher’s ports are still usually a bit wonky, but they’re bringing more and more games our way. And coo, look at this: the PC release of RPG Tales of Zestiria [official site] is on the same day as its console versions. Today. It’s out today. Now. It’s out now. And yes, it is a bit wonky.

I’m even more delighted by the fashion of its protagonists. Look at them ↑ – they’re like the Steps to the Final Fantasy XV’s Son of Dork.

Tales of Zestiria is a big ole sprawling tale about kids saving the day, natch, with real-time battles and some swish anime cutscenes. Bandai Namco’s Tales series may not as well-known as Final Fantasy round these parts, but I hear it’s pretty good. I hear good things. I have not heard anything specific about Zestiria. This is as specific and helpful as I can be. Sorry. Perhaps this launch trailer is helpful?

But, of course, there are problems. A forum post lists known issues like crashes, a black screen, silent voiceovers, distorted text, stuttering, and more – though it does offer solutions and workarounds for a few of those problems. Supposedly a patch is coming, though it’s not clear how much it’ll fix.

Tales of Zestiria is £40 on Steam. Looking forward, 2003’s Tales of Symphonia is coming to PC next year too.

I feel bad about making that Son of Dork comparison; I really do think FFXV’s anime boyband fashion is amazing. Please announce a PC version, Squeenix. Ta.

37 Comments

  1. RuySan says:

    I had Tales of Symphonia on the Gamecube. While the combat was enjoyable, the story was plain ridiculous. Or it was a game for children that I had no business being with.

    • Mintcake says:

      First time I played Symphonia, in the first few hours I was thinking ‘oh god, this is for kids’. But the story quickly got much darker – the dorky, sweet girl who is going to safe the world has to undergo something awful; and the perpetual struggle between two worlds, both deliberately understanding that they’ve got to screw the other over really was in opposition to the saccharine look of the game.

      Looking forward to revisiting that one next year!

      • SomeDuder says:

        You might wanna check the cartoon of the same name, it gets surprisingly grimdark as well, pretty colors and bright setting and all. People get slaughtered yo

        But yea, ToS on ye olde NGC was fun. Combat was something new, it offered a fun replay mechanic and it was pretty damn lengthy. Characters are a typical mishmash of how Japan thinks a fantasy world works, but the advantage for us westerners is that some of them are fantastically bizarre (Whoever the guy was with the bound hands and fought with his feet – the cutscene where he actually used his hands to escape from somewhere was fantastic)

        As for ToZ, I’m a bit wary – if I’m going to play this stuff, I want the voice-acting to be in original Japanese and the subtitles to reflect the Japanese phrasing, not a copy-paste of the dubbed version (goddamn you, Agarest! Never again!). So I’m waiting till it’s heavily discounted

  2. Premium User Badge

    Lexx87 says:

    Tales of Vesperia, which I played on the 360, is one of the finest JRPGs i’ve ever played.

    Up there with Lost Odyssey as the best JRPGs have to offer, even if I remember absolutely fuck all about it :D

    • Zelos says:

      Then I have some great news for you, bubby. Tales of Vesperia is one of the worst tales games in the franchise. (it’s still great)

      Unfortunately, I say “one of the worst” because it seems like Zesteria steals that title.

  3. DrWayward says:

    Tales is a really interesting series. I think Vesperia is right up with one of my favourite RPGs ever, even with the hilarious JRPG tropes, like the character everyone refers to as an ‘old man’ being not a day over 25.

    Tales stands out for me because the combat isn’t random, is over quickly abut is also quite deep if you want it to be, and the writing and character dialogue (of which there is always a lot) is always very good, and backed up by very solid translations and nice artwork.

    Even though Zestiria is a tarted up PS3 game rather than a true ‘next gen’ Tales title, I’m looking forward to giving it a go, but they haven’t all gelled with me before. I thought Xillia and Graces were good games, but Abyss had this ‘spoiled rich kid’ main character who I wanted to punch every moment of the five hours I spent with it before giving up, and Xillia 2 had a lot of grind and a lot of really dull characters.

    • Cassius Clayman says:

      I agree with most of your sentiments. However! I wish you’d stuck with Tales of The Abyss; it’s easily in my top 5 favorite games of all time. The protagonist is most definitely a spoiled rich kid, mostly due to his environment and details that you learn about later on in the game. In fact, one of the best parts of the game is how the protagonist matures and develops as the game progresses! But even ignoring the whinyy bitchy phase of the protagonist, the other main characters more than make up for it with how amazing and likable they are. I would highly recommend a second go at Abyss!

      • Darkz0r says:

        QFT, Abyss was great, it was kinda like watching Breaking Bad, the main character starts to get interesting later…stick with it!

        Most tales games are VERY good, with some hidden stuff and optional boss fights/loot, so it’s very nice. But I didn’t play them all so…

        Vesperia was awesome as well, its one of the best RPGs along with FF7, Xenogears (epicness) and some other that had 2D fights which I can’t remember the name…

        • Cassius Clayman says:

          I’ve heard so many good things about Vesperia! Like it’s the spiritual successor to Abyss, more or less. I wish 360 emulation would progress faster so I can finally take a crack at the game.

      • DrWayward says:

        Yes, I really should at some point, I know! Other people have mentioned this to me in the past, and I probably would have stuck it out had it not been the 3DS version, and I really don’t get along with the 3DS as a system at all. Maybe one day they’ll do a PC remake, or I might pick it up on PS2 and emulate it to a respectable resolution.

        • Kitsunin says:

          Is there something about the 3DS version which particularly suckifies it (3D aside, I’ve heard it is atrocious)? Because I’ve been considering picking up a new 3DS game, and I find JRPGs to generally be much more suited to portable systems, so was considering it.

          • DrWayward says:

            No, not at all, this is entirely personal preference. I’d never really played a JRPG on a portable system before and found the lengthy playtimes and small screen hurt my hands and my eyes on longer sessions, but I’ve learned I’m just not a fan of small portable systems anyway (I’ve since sold my 3DS).

            Nothing wrong with the game itself beyond my earlier complaints, and as you mentioned the 3D being pretty much useless.

          • Zelos says:

            The 3DS version is arguably better than the PS2 version if you can handle playing on a handheld.

            That’s really the only downside.

          • Kitsunin says:

            Sounds like it’ll be my next RPG, then, because that’s no downside to me :)

        • Cassius Clayman says:

          I’ve never played the 3DS version but I can see how that might put you off of the game a bit. The second best part about Tales games is the combat, so using a handheld’s lackluster buttons and such to control it, instead of an actual gamepad, most likely greatly stunted your enjoyment of the game. Personally, I haven’t touched a handheld console in 5 years, so…

          On the bright side! I recently started replaying Abyss(through dubious means…) and I gotta say, the emulation is silky smooth! Definitely an option.

    • Eight Rooks says:

      the writing and character dialogue (of which there is always a lot) is always very good, and backed up by very solid translations

      No it’s not.

      I’m playing through Abyss, and the writing isn’t any such thing, nor is the localisation anything to write home about. Real people have never, do not and will never talk like this – everyone literally spells out exactly what’s on their mind at painfully tedious length. The skits feel interminable – sometimes there’s four or five in one go and on the PS2 version, at least, you can’t fast forward through them.

      On the other hand I freely admit I was wrong about it inasmuch as it is a much better story than it first appears to be. It’s just most of it is utter nonsense as told by an excitable 13-year-old (a basic knowledge of 3D geometry should tell you the big reveal about the world is absolutely laughable, there’s virtually no foreshadowing, it’s liberally peppered with tiresome anime nonsense…)

      But it’s a much better game than, say, Final Fantasy X (where every character finishes the story exactly the way they started out). It’s impressed me enough for all its flaws that I’m installing Zestiria right this second. Still, it’s not really “good writing”. Decent storytelling that’s surprisingly emotive and human in places, maybe. But not good writing.

  4. Jokerme says:

    Damage has been done Alice, damage has been done. No FFXV for you.

    So Tales series is like FF and its games are unrelated right? Which means I can play any of them without worrying about backstory? Except the ones with number at the end of the name obviously, like Xillia 2.

    • DrWayward says:

      That’s right, they are different stories, but they all share common themes, like most (but not all) Tales games have a real time battle system, an optional character dialogue system that plays out in a comic book / manga style, high fantasy worlds, and a plot that’s often about different races of people trying to coexist.

      • Jokerme says:

        Thanks. That’s good to know. I like complete adventures. I’m looking at you Kojima.

  5. anHorse says:

    I get that it’s £40 to be equal with console prices but there’s no way I’m risking that much money on a port of japanese game

    • Zelos says:

      The japanese have been making far better PC ports than the west for the last couple years. It’s usually just a matter of the game being ported at all.

      • Baines says:

        Koei Tecmo would beg to differ with that opinion. As would Acquire. Possibly Mages. And various others that I haven’t mentioned.

        There are some good PC ports of Japanese games. There are also ports that are flat out broken, barely if at all playable on any PC released in the last five years. (Hardware and software released in the last several years seems to be a real issue for some of these companies.) Making the matter worse are the companies that are habitual offenders and don’t care to improve.

        Koei Tecmo is the current poster child. They continue to take baby steps in improving their ports, to a degree that by the time one of their PC ports meets the quality and features of its PS4 release (much less actually explores a PC’s ability to exceed those standards), consoles will already have moved to the PS5.

        But Koei Tecmo is hardly the only offender.

  6. int says:

    My name is Sorey; I am both Canadian and sorry.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    I kind of want to play this. I probably won’t, because I don’t have the time and there are so many other games, but it has been so long since I played a proper JRPG.

    Once again, I want to be a young adult whose village burned down. Who gathers a band of unlikely companions on their travels from city to city, at each of which they solve the problem of the people there by going into the nearby dungeon and defeating the local boss monster. Who, after a long and dramatic journey finally fights a vast cosmic evil that has to be defeated two times before it reveals its true form.

  8. Frings says:

    I will be honest that I jumped at the opportunity to go back to one of my most beloved series.
    It’s rare for me to spend this much money on a title nowadays, but this time I did it willingly (even knowing the odds with it being a PC port by Bandai).

    Tales of the Abyss is one of my favourite games in the world.
    I still have fond memories of beating Nebilim with my brother on Unknown mode back in the PS2; she’s a boss with 1 million HP that would only take 1HP per physical hit. (Not something i’d ever get up to again, due to how time consuming it was, but it’s still nice remembering the sheer satisfaction once we’d beat her hours later.)

    And I also really really love Tales of Vesperia – likely my two favourite games of the series. Even if I felt burned bad by the devs…
    I literally bought an XBOX360 purely because they had announced that they would stick with that console for the Tales series after developing ToV. I bought ToV, loved it, it was amazing…
    And then they released a version of the game for the PS3 with extra everything – characters, quests, etc.
    And then they proceeded to release every other game of the series for the Sony consoles, too.

    (In the list of reasons why I do not invest money in consoles anymore…)

    Regardless. I was too busy with the Life Is Strange finale yesterday, but I think I’m going to fire this one up tonight.

  9. Zankman says:

    Albeit it (visually and aesthetically) looks a bit generic, it also seems to feature a few more creative, diverse and tasteful designs.

  10. ScubaMonster says:

    I will never understand why Steam returns me to the front page of the store when I’m looking at a specific game on their site and I log in to add it to my wishlist. I always have to come back to the article to click the link again, or type in the name in their search box.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      I suppose that should read the Steam store page, not actually “Steam”.

  11. hemmer says:

    Really looking forward to trying it out, some of the recent Tales games have been really good.

    Personally I’m a bit fan of Tales of Graces f, the combat system was genuinely a lot of fun and the characters hilarious. (“We have to look for the butt! It’s the only way!”)

    If this measures up – and sells well, hopefully continuing the trend of Valkyrie Chronicles – we might get more and more jrpg goodness all up in this platform.

  12. MadTinkerer says:

    “Look at them ↑ – they’re like the Steps to the Final Fantasy XV’s Son of Dork.”

    I was going to object, but then I saw All The Belts.

    JRPG characters didn’t always go around wearing All The Belts, but ever since FFX (possibly sooner, but that’s when I noticed it), Japanese character designers of fantasy RPG characters tend to dress up their characters with all kinds of new and exciting belts.

    I’m not 100% sure, but it may have something to do with a lack of leather belts and cufflinks and such in traditional Japanese clothing. I’m pretty sure they had buttons and certainly cloth belts. But since fantasy RPGs are supposed to be more or less Western (actual European folklore -> Tolkienesque -> Original D&D -> pseudo-Medieval -> Renaissance Faire -> whatever, just make it look “exotic” -> Westerners like leather belts, right?), coming up with original-looking, Westernish, fantasyish, not-too-silly-ish designs is a bit of a challenge. The solution they seem to have settled on is characters wearing all of their belts all of the time.

    To be fair, I’m sure there have been plenty of times Western illustrators have tried to draw samurai and gotten it all wrong. But at least we’ve stopped putting ninjas in bright colorful outfits.

    • Eight Rooks says:

      Tetsuya Nomura, he of FF VII and Kingdom Hearts fame, is the designer who internet commenters usually blame for everyone in JRPGs dressing in MAXIMUM BELTS. I mean, while it doesn’t bother me, they do have a point – The World Ends With You is one of the best RPGs ever made (RPGs period, not just the Japanese kind), but the characters’ outfits border on self-parody.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        That’s exactly what I love about it all, though.

        I mean, I have no idea if any of these character designers are taking themselves super seriously or not, but when you look at the outfits they throw out there, it sure doesn’t SEEM like it. It’s almost become an arms race, but with belts. And zips. Oh do not forget the zips in places they have no good reason to be.

        That’s exactly what’s so appealing about it, to me. I love a little bit of the absurd in gaming, and in a genre where the characters so often take themselves overly seriously (a genre I love, don’t get me wrong), it’s nice that someone on the team still gets to shrug, throw their arms up theatrically and declare “MORE BELTS!”.

        • Eight Rooks says:

          You could argue it’s part of the point of TWEWY, I guess – not the best argument, maybe, but still a valid one, I think, with the emphasis on fashion and branding and general flamboyance – I mean, you even have a “bravery” stat to show whether you’ve got the stones to walk down the street with a particular garment on. (Boys or girls, mind, and boys wearing girls’ clothes and vice versa – another reason I rate the game so highly.)

  13. vorador says:

    The ridiculous clothing is a staple of the series. Seriously, look it up. It goes from reasonably acceptable (Symphonia) to borderline insane (Legendia).

    It looks like the PC port is selling rather well in Steam, and despite the couple bugs it seems to be a good port, with the game going very smoothly at 1440p on a 660 Ti. Hopefully it convinces Bamco to keep porting games.

    • Eight Rooks says:

      More a staple of JRPGs, period, than Tales itself, no? And bad ridiculous doesn’t get a pass because ho ho ho, oh, Japan. Much as I like what I’ve played of Abyss so far, Luke’s coat/midriff waistcoat combo is ridiculous; far sillier than Vaan’s outfit in FFXII. Most of the outfits up there aren’t much better.

      The port’s been mostly fine for me, too, mind you. The opening few minutes, anyway. R290 at 1080 and no problems bar some mild screen tearing, which is by no means a dealbreaker for me.

      • vorador says:

        The screen tearing has also appeared for me, but very rarely. Seeing how smooth is going, i’ve tried full 2160p (4k) with everything maxed out and behold, still running just fine. Not a single frame loss. Sure the game isn’t a beauty to look at but it runs like a dream, on my almost three years old 660 Ti.
        Coming from FF Type-0 that choked up badly on 1440p is quite an improvement.