With every new Tales game comes a crazy new acronym for the trademark linear motion battle system and some sort of gimmick to tie it all together. Tales of Xillia introduced switching party members on the fly and linking together combos creating a long chain of attacks. Its sequel switched out changing party members for changing weapons and gave Ludger his chromatus ability, making him a powerful force to be reckoned with once unleashed. In Tales of Zestiria, your party is made up of two human characters and four seraphim characters. Each seraphim corresponds to different element and must be partnered with a human character to be taken in battle. Sorey has the ability to fuse with the seraphim in a process called armatization.
Now where I think armatization makes itself unique, is that it’s not some all powerful, over the top force you end up saving for taking on the game’s boss battles, though it certainly is useful in those situations. For example, it also provides a way to heal and revive party members. But before I go any further, I’ll need to explain a few of the basics at play in Zestiria’s battle system.
At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see a character’s health, their spirit chain (shown by the blue bar) and a little number representing the blast gauge. Now the spirit chain is essentially how many moves you can perform in a single burst of attacks, a concept that will be familiar to Tales fans. Now the difference from previous games is that the lower your spirit chain, the more powerful attacks will become. This can leave you in a vulnerable position however, as a low spirit chain also means that you receive more damage than you normally would. You can recover the blast gauge by simply moving away (though free running doesn’t count), remaining idle or guarding against enemy attacks.
Now the blast gauge provides a way to continue long combos by replenishing your spirit chain. By holding R2 after performing a three hit combo, you’ll regain half of your spirit chain and be able to attack again. You build up your blast gauge by defending or avoiding enemy attacks, though it does slowly regenerate by it’s own accord. The blast gauge also acts as a sort of currency for your more powerful attacks. You need three of them to perform a mystic arte and one is required by a human party member to perform armatization.
When you armatize with a seraph, the two character’s stats fuse together and gain access to a powerful set of artes. Armatization also gives you access to some useful healing abilities. You’ll be able to perform a healing spell which slightly varies by seraph and can heal the whole party at once, at the cost of one blast gauge. Also, if a human character falls in battle but has at least one blast gauge point, you’ll be able to armatize, reviving them instantly without using any items. While you’re armatized, you can no longer generate any blast gauges, and you’ll have to seperate them to be able to generate more. It’s worth noting that if you cancel the armatization, the character’s current health and blast gauge is halved and shared between the two characters, no matter what their current status was before the fusion.
The final attack in the armitsation arsenal is the banish blast. Again, performing this move will cost you the use of one blast gauge but it provides an incredibly powerful attack. It requires a long time to cast however so make sure you’re in a safe position to cast it. Something else worth noting, is that you can switch your partnered seraphim at any time in battle and any seraphim not currently being used will heal themselves and start to generate blast gauges which is extremely useful in some of the game’s longer battles.