Siliconera recently had the chance to play through the opening hours of Tales of Zestiria on a near final build of the PS4 version. While there’s no additional content added to the PS4 release (though you can move the map with the touchpad now!), instead the game has been given a new lick of paint and is much more visually rich when compared to the original PS3 version.
The boost in resolution gives Tales of Zestiria a clearer, crisper picture removing jagged edges and textures are more detailed, most notably on party characters and environments. One downside is it seems unimportant or one off characters haven’t received the upgrades and look a little worse for wear compared to the rest of the party.
Tales of Zestiria opens with Sorey and Mikleo exploring ruins, when they see someone unconscious on the floor and step in to help her out. The first thing that really stuck me about Zestiria is well how impressive the seamless cutscenes and battles are. It really makes the game feel more modern as well as just feeling more coherent. Party members also follow Sorey while in the overworld and aren’t reduced to only appearing in battles. The only thing that feels jarring now is that there’s a transition at the battle results screen and I think I would have preferred an approach similar to Xenoblade where the game continues on with the results quickly shown on screen. Something that seems to come and go in Tales games is how interactive the world is but in Zestiria, Sorey can cut down obstacles in his path such as webs or plants and his field abilities increase as the game goes on.
After leaving the ruins, Sorey and Mikleo return to their hometown of Elysia with the young women they found in the ruins. Mikleo notes that the young woman is a human, unlike Mikleo and the other inhabitants of Elysia. Elysia is the home of Seraphim, who have the physical appearance of humans but have mystical powers and are spoken of by humans in myths and legends. Humans cannot see Seraphim and while Sorey is able to, he has been raised in Elysia and has a natural affinity for sensing their presence.
While I’ve only seen four party members, I’ve found the cast to be very likable and well written. Sorey can be a bit goofy sometimes but he doesn’t come across as dumb. Mikleo can have a sharp tongue but you can tell it comes from a place of friendship rather than malice. It’s fun to hear them talk amongst themselves in skits, which now feature full portraits as well as fully voiced. You can also talk to your party members outside of the battle to hear their thoughts on recent events and what to do next.