Tales of Zestiria continues to take shape and unfold throughout its screenshots. A trailer might be nice, but we’ll just have to wait for one I suppose. So far, we have seen new areas, met new faces, and encountered some ferocious beasts. The most recent batch doesn’t prove too different.

We get to see the most recently introduced character, Lailah, and some new areas, both bright and dull.

I’ve enjoyed the new characters and the artwork behind them so far, but I’m still not convinced of the settings and environments that Bandai Namco has going on here. Huge areas, like the expansive hallway seen in these shots, are basically featureless besides the geometry of the scene. Anywhere dark and indoors comes off as just plain dull.

Once Tales of Zestiria comes out into the sunlight though, it brightens up and looks quite nice. Green grass, blue waters, lovely flowers. That castle and the area around it are convincing enough. Gematsu has the full description of the shots.

Doshi Contract

By forming a pact with a member of the Family of Heaven, a doshi is able to gain abilities that exceed that of a normal human being and use Heaven Echo Artes thanks to the weapon that houses the other party.

Forming a pact requires two things: a high aptitude for spiritual energy and a pure heart. This process of forming a pact and infusing a weapon with the body of a member in the Family of Heaven is referred to as a “Marriage.”

In a pact, the member of the Family of Heaven is considered to be the Contractor, while the doshi is the Contractee and can under no circumstances break it off. Doshis who are particularly good at their work can form multiple pacts and while it would be considered ideal to have pacts with members in the Family of Heaven belonging to all four elements, historically speaking, no doshi has been able to pull off such a feat.

Lake Pirow Plateau

Sitting at the foot of a tall mountain in Izuchi, Lake Pirow Plateau has a relatively chilly climate, but is rich in nature, playing host to waterfalls and conifer tree forests, among other things.

Rapid waters aplenty from the surrounding mountains run through the plateau, ultimately flowing into the lake over which Imperial Capital Lady Lake looms. Slay and Mikurio end up visiting it for the first time after setting out from Izuchi under the impression that the area is a sort of underworld.

The Virgin Lake Sanctuary

A shrine designed to protect the lake’s virgin girls, the Lake Sanctuary also houses the every important doshi’s sacred sword. Although it ostensibly holds a highly important position within Lady Lake when it comes to doshi worshiping and the belief in the Family of Heaven, in recent years, the influence of the outside world has become burdensome, resulting in the formation of the Holy Sword Festival, an occasion where so-called men of valor attempt to pull out the sacred sword.

Although chaos in recent years had resulted in the Holy Sword Festival being cancelled, it ends up resuming as a result of Alisia’s efforts. When Slay ends up splitting up from her, he gets a recommendation to pay a visit to the festival and goes sightseeing.

Vivia Aqueduct Ruins

Although they ostensibly sit underground below Imperial Capital Lady Lake, the culture on display in the Vivia Aqueduct Ruins differ from those observed in the contemporary city above it. With facilities that can control the complex currents running through it, they also serve as the medium for the city’s water and sewage systems.

The deeper parts of the ruins are said to house historic remains from a number of time periods and also come with hidden pathways and mysterious mechanisms. While the Highland royal family is thought to hold deep ties to the ruins’ establishment, the truth remains murky.

I can’t tell if this is because of the aging PlayStation 3 or just the speed at which Bandai Namco is making these games these days, but some of these environments can really use a dash of detail in them. We’ll have to see how Bandai Namco evolves the smaller details of its world.

Tales of Zestiria will be released for the PlayStation 3 worldwide before the end of 2014.

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