So I guess this special is meant to serve as an introduction for the game. It doesn’t look like it gets too far in the story. So far, it possesses many of the common elements of Tales games. The separation of two “worlds” is common to pretty much every game, and in this game it manifests in a divide between humans and Devas (who cannot be seen by humans). The fact that only the Devas seem to be able to cast magic is similar to Tales of Symphonia (where only elves could cast). The crazy enemy that shows up early is pretty common too (Zagi from Tales of Vesperia and Agria from Tales of Xillia come to mind).
This special doesn’t get too far…it ends with the main character Sorey leaving on his journey, so it only really covers the first dungeon of the game. It introduces the major characters (most likely, they will be the more permanent members of the cast), Sorey, the human living among Devas (who is predictably the Shepherd of legend), Mikleo, Sorey’s Deva friend, and Alisha, Sorey’s first human contact. Most of the music…it’s probably great if you’ve never played a Tales game before, but all of the songs from all of the games are starting to sound the same to me now (which is a bit of a shame). Final side note about the special: the battle scenes could have used more Majinken.
I usually look forward to Tales games because I really like the gameplay systems. Still…based on some of the videos I’ve seen for Zestiria, it doesn’t look like gameplay has evolved all too much from Xillia in this one. The only difference I see so far is that it looks like the humans and Devas fight with some sort of pairing/fusion system. I’ll just have to see, I guess.