Developer: BANDAI NAMCO
Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO
Platforms: PS4, PS5, XBox One, XBox Serise X, PC
Reviewed On: PS4
Release Date: 10/09/2021
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code
Tales of Arise, another standalone installment of the long running Tales franchise. A JRPG that is always around be has never really reached the highs of Final Fantasy, even with a couple of excellent games. Here is BANDAI NAMCO’s next attempt to make Tales a household name.
Tales of Arise is a tale of two worlds, the medieval world of Dahna and the vastly advanced world of Rena. 300 years ago, the Renans invaded Dahna from their artificial moon, Lenegis. The Renan’s subdued the populus and enslaved the Dahan’s. Now Dahna is split into five lands and a ruthless Lord rules each. The Lords periodically take place in the Crown Contest to see which of the five Lords will become the new ruler of Renan. In order to win the Lord with the most astral energy and is stored in a master core will ascend. They harvest astral energy from the Dahnas.
You play as one such Dahna, a man who has lost all his memories and wears a mask of iron. He gets entangled with a small resistance group called the Crimson Crows after he saves Shionne, a woman from Renan. Shionne has a curse upon her, she called Thorns. These Thorns will hurt anyone that touch her. However, the Dahna man Cannot feel pain and the Thorns do not hurt him.
The slave and Shionne team up with the Crimson Crows to take down the Lord of Calaglia Balseph. Shionne has a master core within her body that houses the flaming sword. A weapon that has immeasurable power but burns anyone who touches it. The slave is the only person who can wield the sword. Together, the pair defeat Balseph. In the fight, the slave’s mask is broken, and he remembers his name, it is Alphen. Together, Alphen and Shionne carry on their partnership to take down the rest of the lords.
The stories overall arc, defeating the Lords is nothing exciting. It has been done over and over. The actual story is in the characters, relationships and their growths as the adventure continues. These stories are done as skits that show the tension between Alphen and Shionne and the interactions between the group. There is also on screen dialog. This, unfortunately, can be interrupted if we start a battle. The party’s skits are the most engaging part of the story.
Out of battle
The world of Tales of Arise is not an open world. It keeps with the more traditional JRPGs with areas to openly explore. I will not bash on this. I like both types of exploration. Even with the world being broken in to areas, there is still a good amount of exploration to do in each area. With hidden items to find some optional bosses to fight and all that good stuff.
While you explore, there are plenty of items to pick up for cooking and upgrading weapons, for instance. When it comes to farming for materials, the map will be your best friend as once you have found a resource node, it is display it on the map. There was never a time I felt lost or got lost while playing, because of the level design and the map that helps.
Battles begin when your party interacts with the enemies in the world. I like this slightly more than random battles. Because if you are low on health or items or just in a rush, it allows you to bypass the fights and get on with whatever you are doing.
When a fight starts, you are transported to a circle arena. This is a Tales staple. Here is where the game not only gets good, but it will blow you away. I was taken aback with how flashy the battles look and all the things that can happen at one time. One character can drop fireballs, while Alphen sets the ground alight and set off a massive fire slash, hurricanes flaying about the screen and so on. The graphical improvements are on a different level compared to the previous outings.
The battles them self are better than the previous games as well. One massive improvements that’s been added to Tales of Arise and also a franchise first, is dodging. It is not also a first, but it is one of the most important abilities you must master. If you time a dodge right, you will slow down time and can perform a counter dealing massive damage.
Artes are back, each being different depending on the character. These Artes all have a cost that will deplete a diamond meter next to the HP bar. The bar will fill its self. With the Artes we can now do boost attacks. These are high-powered attacks that can be done once the character has dished out enough damage. Artes usefulness does not end there. When an enemy is close to death and we meet the conditions, you can start a Boost Strike. Here, two-party members combine their Artes to create different attacks. (They are also super flashy).
Tales of Arise also has mystic artes, these are like limit brakes. Once the Overdrive meter is available, we can use mystic arts. To do this, we must enter Overdrive mode. It is done by attacking and building up the meter. Once activated for a short period, Artes are free. Pressing two Artes at the same time will active the Mystic Artes a super powerful finishing move that is super flashy.
The battle system has seen some massive improvements since the last outing. The team is always improving and refining how it works, all the while keeping the battles core intact. An Action RPG style battle system, where you can freely control each party member (if you like). All the while making it fun and engaging, I never once felt bored fighting.
It’s all so pretty
Now anyone who plays the Tales games will tell you they are not the best looking games out there. Here the team has gone to great lengths to make the worlds in Arise look beautiful. With five different biomes to explore, each differing totally from the last, the game is simply beautiful. From character models to the world, it easy to see BANDAI NAMCO have improved the budget and are pushing to make Tales of Arise stand out. (It’s about time)
Is this the best Tales game? I am going to say yes, yes it is. Fro, a technical point all the way to the art style Tales of Arise stand above the rest. I really enjoyed my time with Arise. It’s amazing to see what the dev’s can do when they have the time and resources. The only real let down was the over all story.
I was given the Ultimate Ed to review. This gives you the base game and some extra DLC being costume packs and items to make the game easier. I didn’t use any of them, if I am honest. And if I’m honest, they are not worth the extra money and I have not taken them in to consideration for the review it’s self. As if this was the only option, I couldn’t justify the price.