Tales of Zestiria

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  • One thing I didn't realise until 20 hours in was that you could speak to the party member running behind you to check up on side quests - it's not just for meaningless conversation. This is quite useful as the game doesn't offer a quest log elsewhere.
  • Do not be afraid of the main plot (gold star quests) in fear of missing content. While the game has sidequests (purple star), they are few and your travelling companion can always alert you to them, even ones in other cities. I suggest at least progressing the main plot until you unlock all four contextual elemental world map powers. They allow you to access new parts of the maps you travel through.
  • Levels do not give you more max HP. You get more HP from Blessed Orbs (which also increases monster max HP, but you gain relatively more than they do) and Anomalous Orbs (which only increases your max HP). Blessed Orbs are gained from story boss fights. Anomalous Orbs are gained from optional bosses, found on the world map or at the end of side quests (they glow purple). The optional world map bosses are usually too hard to beat when you first meet them, so come back later. Just having the Orbs in your inventory is enough, they do not have to be used. You can also gain max HP and other stats from Herbs, but only small amounts.
  • Herbs are permanent stat boosts. A character with Remedy Preparation on has a chance to produce any consumable you have ever found, including herbs. A single herb is never enough of a boost to notice, but they add up over the course of the game.
  • The game makes a big deal about bonus skills, but at least for the non-endgame, the obtuse fusing system makes it impractical to try to go for specific combos. Use whatever gives you the best base stats, and simply consider any combos it happens to unlock a nice side bonus.
  • Fusing is never explained properly. The short version is: More + on an item gives better stats. If you are using something and can fuse something into it, do it. If a fused item has a blue skill (sealed), you need to increase the equipment level by fighting a few battles to unlock it. If you fuse something with a blue skill, that skill will be removed (the stat bonus may still be worth it. You can always fuse another thing afterwards to get a new skill). The order you pick the two items to fuse doesn't matter.
  • Some titles have a Max level (usually the red ones as far as I can tell). Pay attention to when you hit it, and switch to something else. That gives you several upgraded titles to choose from for later, if you need some specific buffs for a section.
  • Leveling/mastering (As opposed to fusing) equipment only does three things: Unlock any blue skills it may have, make fusing it cheaper and make it sell for a bit more. It does nothing for your stats.
  • Battle Actions are nearly always something you want to turn on. Notable exceptions are the Auto skills (the computer tries to dodge, block etc for you) that you may want to handle yourself, and Aggressive Guard/Harmless Guard which are basically taunt/anti-taunt, so pick one. If you are diligent about reading monoliths, you should have plenty of AP.
  • The keys to open Bronze/Silver chests are found by following the main plot. The key to open Gold chests is found in an optional dungeon in the Plitzerback Wetland, north of the abandoned village.