Full disclosure – I completed the Tales of Zestiria game before watching the anime and really liked the story.
The good news is that it’s really pretty to watch – gorgeous animation and smooth fight scenes. The bad news is that it was somewhat disappointing. Setting aside the fact that there was a two-episode throwaway insert that was basically an ad for Tales of Berseria (yes, which I plan on buying), the biggest problem was that they didn’t properly build the plots, characters, and issues. While the Berseria elements may play a role later, it ended up thinning out the time to set up the payoffs. For example, characters would come to a realization that wasn’t set up as an issue, previously – it doesn’t help the viewer if the issue is purely internal and unspoken. That’s what makes it a little odd – in order for some of these issues to make sense you pretty much had to have played the game, but the story itself differs somewhat (which is neither good nor bad). Without that knowledge, the show seemed to need to jump from point to point without really setting up the “why” of it. I do get that 12 episodes may be a little tough to hit the finer points of the story (roughly half of it, actually). However, due to the failures in the storytelling, this season ends up under-performing and becomes rather forgettable.
Storytelling: Not Really Good