With Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest being the top dogs of the JRPG genre, the Tales series has always played second fiddle in this proverbial race.It’s notIt’s not as as obscure as the Ys series nor is it nor is it a a cult hit likelike the Mana games.Needless to say, the myriad of Tales JRPGs have always been a staple of any console generation, whether it is Tales of Symphonia on the Gamecube or Tales of Berseria on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.It’s been about five years since the last entry, and Tales of Arise has finally arrived on PS4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S.
Acting as a great entry point for newcomers and a soft reboot of sorts, Tales of Arise is one of the most definitive games in the series yet.
Not only is it a solid action RPG, but it also threads a lot of the same grounds as previous games in the genre and reinvigorates them for a new generation.Renegades on the Run The story begins with a meeting between the Dahnan slave Alphen and the Renan escapee Shionne.The Renans are the ruling class of this world who keep the Dahnans as slaves to harness their innate ‘astral energy’ that powers the world.
Shionne and Alphen seek to destroy this societal imbalance by defeating the five lords that govern the realm.Along the way, they meet up with like–minded individuals who join their party: Rinwell the runaway mage, Law the repentant martial artist, Kisara the ex-bodyguard of one of the ruling lords, and Dohalim, a resigned lord that Kisara once served.Since they are basically fugitives on the run from the Renans, the party members are always wary of their surroundings, making sure to never get caught.While the party contains both members of the slaves and ruling class, there is also a lot of tension between them as they struggle to trust each other.This on-the-run narrative and heavy friction between the characters is what reminds us of Final Fantasy XIII.But Tales of Arise introduces each character gradually instead of dumping us with the entire party from the get-go.There’s also a believable amount of time spent on getting the characters to learn and trust one another.Reignited Battle System Traditionally, the Tales games are action RPGs that take heavy inspiration from fighting games.
As such, the characters are usually locked into a 2D plane, and players are encouraged to rack up massive combos against enemies.For the most part, Tales of Arise keeps this tradition alive except this time, players can move freely within a 3D space, just like in Final Fantasy VII Remake.Each of the six playable characters have their own specialities; Shionne and Dohalim are able to heal, while Law and Alphen are the hard-hitters of the crew.Players are incentivised to rack up combos by mixing up attacks between each party member while doing their best not to break the chain of attack.
This is similar to Final Fantasy XIII’s stagger meter but in Tales of Arise, combos usually end with a flashy finisher.Beyond that, players get to explore a semi-open world, with many open areas linked to each other.Characters bond as they make camp together, cook meals together, and talk through the optional Skit mechanic, which is a hallmark of the Tales games.Replicating Mistakes One factor that might make or break a player’s experience is the CP meter.
Since special abilities do not use MP as they all have their own cooldowns, the CP meter is used only for healing spells.And from the start, players do not have a lot of CP to use.What’s more, CP is also needed to access certain areas, with certain characters being able to break shields or extinguish fire while exploring.Players can rely on items to heal up, but that is also limited by how players can only carry 15 pieces of each healing item, which can also be quite costly.
That is, unless you play the Ultimate Edition, which gives players access to a ton of money.This eliminates the need to save up for healing items.On top of that, each special costume included in this edition also gives each playable character a new move that can make the first 10 hours of the game seem trivial.So, if you’re not getting the Ultimate Edition, Tales of Arise can be quite a challenging JRPG, with its fast-paced combat and unrelenting enemies.But if you do pick up the most expensive version of the game, you’ll get a significant boost.It is definitely up to you, and we hope that it won’t deter you from picking up Tales of Arise.Aside from its flaws, it is still a worthwhile JRPG experience, one of Bandai Namco’s best yet in terms of story, atmosphere, and gameplay.
There hasn’t been this sort of triple-A JRPG experience since Dragon Quest XI and it is highly recommended for fans of the genre.
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