Tales of Arise marks the spectacular return of the longtime JRPG Tales series after a long absence. This re-export also comes with many major changes, from moving the homegrown game engine to Unreal 4 to a more action-packed combat system. Although the plot is a bit predictable if you are a hardcore player of the JRPG series, the remaining aspects from the cast of characters, gameplay, graphics to the remarkable message all contribute significantly to bringing a sense of infinite experience. Excited from start to finish.
Impressive graphics are undisputed. This aspect catches the eye of the writer right from the first moments of the game experience. In fact, the development team has a huge investment in each Tales of Arise context with a different theme. Even saying that this is the most beautiful and detailed Tales game I have ever played is not wrong. The diverse environment design, from barren desert to lush forest or flooded cave is extremely impressive. Each scene looks like a ravishing painting, causing a strong visual impact.
Notably, whether you experience it on an old or new console generation, the level of detail is amazing. The new consoles only have the advantage of high resolution settings and more stable frame rates, but the feeling is quite similar and not too different. In fact, Tales of Arise has a lot of visual details crammed into the landscapes by the development team. From the snow-covered forest that limits visibility, to the waterfalls where the green grasslands in the vast plains stretch.
That is, I have not mentioned that the cities that you discover in the game experience have their very own architecture. Especially the particle effect in the scenes when the character launches an attack is very eye-catching, providing a very exciting and dramatic combat experience. Smooth character movement is also an indispensable plus point of Tales of Arise. Create beautiful anime-style main characters. However, every character has an overly serious attitude, sometimes making me feel a bit heavy.
Like the Final Fantasy series, Tales games often have no plot connection and Tales of Arise is no exception. Therefore, new players can easily access the game experience. The game puts you in the role of “hard youth” Alphen with amnesia from the Dahnan people, who had to live as a slave to the Renan people who possess outstanding modern technology. Although they come from two opposite worlds, they share a common goal, working side by side on that mission with new friends along the way.
If you hear a somewhat familiar motif, that’s exactly it! Although the plot has a lot of unexpected twists and turns, it’s pretty predictable since I’ve experienced so many stories like that from games to anime. The Tales of Arise scripting team chose a rather bold topic, conveying a strong message. However, the character interaction and the narrative rhythm have many classic to boring details often found in anime. From a player’s perspective, if those “grains” are reduced, this aspect of the game will be more perfect.
That is not to say that the Tales of Arise plot is not good, but the opposite is different. It’s a cleverly crafted narrative with many ambiguous moral twists. The script is very well written, giving plenty of time for the characters to mature and develop. Although some segments were not convincing enough, the development team created a lot of space for the characters to interact. Each character has a very unique personality, going from mutual distrust to becoming a comrade-in-arms that is very natural, not forced.
The Linear Motion combat system continues to be the plus point of the game like other Tales games, with some welcome improvements. However, the combat experience in Tales of Arise is faster and more dramatic, requiring players to have specific tactics against different types of enemies similar to Final Fantasy 7 Remake . The key to victory is the dodge skill with many advantages, which not only gives you a chance to counter your enemies but also fills up faster than the Boost Attack bar that opens the door for the party to cast their super moves.
The problem is that due to the design characteristics, dodging is not easy with the combat experience in Tales of Arise. The pace of the battle is very fast, while the lightning attacks of enemies and teammates often accidentally obscure vision for a split second. Not only that, the enemy often has fake movements before attacking, so it is difficult for players to avoid clicking the wrong time to dodge. Personally, the writer often clicks dodges according to the ancestor’s advice rather than from observing the battle. Part of it is probably due to good accommodation, so it is not so inhibited.
The combat system in Tales of Arise delicately blends taking advantage of each character and deliberately countering solutions. The game uses the same push-button combat setup as Scarlet Nexus , requiring the player to be calculated when using different attacks to deal damage and finish off enemies. Each character in the party has its own skills that make it better to counter certain enemies and vice versa. The ability to coordinate in the face of different enemies is satisfying in most cases.
For example, when you are facing enemies who use spells that cause trouble for the party, players can use Rinwell’s Boost Attack to disable, even steal on the rigs of skills they are casting and his back-smashing stick. he enemy. This design makes the combat experience very exciting in most cases, rarely causing the feeling of repetition that is often found in JRPGs. Called most cases because the boss is another story, often causing nostalgia for the writer because the battle takes longer and is more challenging.
Bosses in Tales of Arise are mostly “buffaloes” in every sense. Not only do they have a HP of ten times the player’s character, but they also need good coordination and rhythm between party characters even at default difficulty. Although the writer worked very hard to make enemies with enemies to level up the party, every time he went to a new area, he often lost a few levels to them. If you follow the pace of the game like that, confidently fight the boss, your character is not only inferior to the opponent by many levels but also very weak, making the boss battle very easy to inhibit.
In fact, the combat experience in Tales of Arise is much more challenging than Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition or Final Fantasy 7 Remake at the same Normal difficulty setting. Even the Gald money used to upgrade weapons and buy battle support items is quite limited, especially at the beginning of the experience. Players are almost forced to do side quests to receive rewards to have enough money to upgrade equipment. Depending on one’s point of view, this can be a minus or a plus so I don’t see it as a game problem.
Notably, Tales of Arise’s combat system uses Cure Points for both healing spells and item usage. This stat can only be restored by… using certain items or resting the party at Inn and Camp. From a player perspective, although Cure Point makes boss battles more challenging, it also aims to encourage players to regularly camp so that the party can cook delicious meals together, creating interaction through the ‘skits’ that have been the highlight of the Tales series so far.
Tales of Arise also has an upgrade to the aforementioned skit system. There are no more 2D character portraits, but all are rendered using the game’s game engine. Nostalgic players may not like this change, but it actually brings new life and more subtle expressions to the interactions between the characters in the party. That is not to mention the number of skits a lot, instead of words to help you better understand the mind of each character as well as integrate many explanations about everything and the context in the game world.
The replay value is another plus point of Tales of Arise. Specifically, the game experience has a lot of healthy entertainment activities such as mini-games that you can participate in alternating between exciting explorations and battles. The most interesting are the fan service rewards similar to Scarlet Nexus, bringing a new style of fashion to the main characters through the “collectibles” aspect. NG+ is also very interesting when many game details are confusing at first play, but make sense the next time you play.
In particular, through the ‘haptic feedback’ feature on the DualSense controller, PS5 players can feel the power of the skills that the characters perform in the combat experience. New generation console players are also favored with the Framerate/Graphics Priority setting, which allows you to prioritize between stable frame rates and high resolutions. This setting is not available on PS4 Pro or Xbox One X. Not only that, these two many-year-old systems also have a drop in frame rate in many cases but not seriously.
After all, Tales of Arise offers a great action role-playing experience with many welcome improvements in nearly every aspect. If you love this genre in general and the Tales game series in particular, this is definitely an indispensable name in your game library.