Tales of Arise Review - JRPG Next-Gen with Classical Elements

Not a few JRPG series only last for some time. Except for the Tales series, which still survives today. Success in every time makes Bandai Namco not dampen her enthusiasm in developing the latest entries, for the satisfaction of fans and communities of various parts of the world. After waiting which could be said for a long time after the release of Tales of Berseria in 2016, right on September 9, 2021, Bandai Namco finally turned this franchise again by releasing Tales of Arise.

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Developed and released by Bandai Namco, Tales of Arise has now been present at the PS4 platform, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, and PC via Steam. Before launching the full version, they released the demo version. At least the demo version has given an overview of what mechanisms are in the game, including the battle system. Tales of Arise is one of the current Tales series that is present on the next-gen platform. By maintaining the typical characteristics of Tales before, the latest series also showed newer innovations and appearance of course.

Welcome to Planet Dahna

Tales of Arise has a storyline that is not related to the previous Tales series. It is said that two planets live side by side, namely Dahna and Rena. One day, the drenched army invaded Dahna suddenly with sophisticated technology. As a result of life in Dahna worse. Many residents on the planet became slaves and did not get longer and more calm life than before. They have invaded Dahna for 300 years and divided the territory of power into five regions.

One of the Dahna slaves nicknamed Iron Mask was present in the game, without having a clear memory and did not experience any pain. His fate and life changed after meeting with a long pink-haired woman, the name known was Shionne. Strange bin magical, everyone who tries to touch Shionne's body will feel pain or even fainting. Uniquely, Iron Mask didn't feel it all. Shionne who was being hunted by the Renan army tried to escape with Iron Mask and Zephyr.

Because it cannot feel pain, an iron mask, as a result, can activate the Master Core in Shionne's body. From there he can use a fiery sword during the fight, which is named Blazing Sword. The task of both is the same, which beat Lords spread across various regions in Dahna. Lords are known to have made havoc and caused a war between planets. 

After Iron Mask with Shionne successfully beat one of the Lord, then the iron mask split in half. Since then, he began to remember who he was and the purpose of his life. The iron mask that was known named Alphen returned with a new person and with his colleague to continue his adventure.

Who is Alphen and Shionne? What is their true purpose in this game? To avoid spoilers, it would be nice to find the answer when playing Tales of Arise of course.

Exciting and classic fighting mechanisms

Tales of Arise's fighting mechanism can be said to be still similar to the Tales series in general. For Loyal Fans, Tales is likely to be familiar with the battle system in it, because it still applies the action hack and slash model without a random encounter that often annoys in several game titles.

Players are free to activate special skills, attack with Artes, and avoid enemies as much as possible. The coverage of the Battle area in Tales of Arise is quite extensive, making it easier for players when they want to avoid enemy attacks. Thanks to the minimalist battle layout display, players can see that at the end of the battle there is no special scene. The result of the fight is displayed simply in the left corner when the character has returned outside the city.

Tired of using a protagonist? Players don't need to worry. Because this game allows you to change characters in fighting and party leaders during exploration. For example, we use Shionne because it can attack from afar and have a faster and more agile movement. All depend on the tastes of the player. If you prefer to use magical attacks, Rinwell is the answer. Not just that reason, changing characters also makes players experiment with how they attack, to activate Artes freely. In addition, each character also has a specialty of each who is named after a kind of perks.

As mentioned above, Perk each character varies depending on their type of attack. We give an example like Alphen who can sacrifice a little cellphone to launch his attack with his fire sword. Or for example, Kisara which is somewhat difficult to avoid enemies with evading, but can fend off enemy attacks with the shield. The opposite, Dohalim can evade until it can launch a critical attack with his long stick. It will be easier to understand the attack of each character, including pe them if the player changes character. Even also becomes more understanding like what the strategy is used, given the AI each party is also not as bad as it is thought.

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As for one of the combat mechanisms displayed in Tales of Arise, namely Boost Attack. As the name implies, Boost Attack is one type of special attack that can be launched by one character, by producing different effects and greater damage. To activate Boost Attack, the player needs to fill the Boost Gauge first, which can be obtained through a normal attack. After filling, the icon of each character will appear to be on and be a sign for players to activate it. But keep in mind that the cooldown to launch this type of attack is not fast. So the player needs to rearrange when the right time to activate Boost Attack.

Besides Boost Attack, there is also Boost Strike, which allows between characters to synergize with each other in exploring extraordinary attacks. This type of attack is arguably a combo attack, which can certainly reduce the enemy cellphone drastically or even instant K.o. But we recommend activating Boost Strike when the enemy cellphone is near the end. To activate it, players will receive a kind of warning that says Strike or when it has a high number of combo count. Like Boost Attack, increasing the number of combo counts is by carrying out normal attacks and the use of Artes and Boost Attack continuously.

Then there is Mystic Artes, which in our opinion is the most powerful special attack when compared to the two types of attacks above. Faithful Tales fans are certainly no stranger to Mystic Artes, which are thick with characteristic cutscene characters when they show the strongest movement. In some Tales series, there are certain conditions to activate Mystic Artes.

Different in Tales of Arise, which allows players to open it by activating over-limit mode. To enter into this mode, the player must do the perfect Evade (Perfect Evasion). When using Mystic Artes, then the mode over the limit will also end. We recommend players activate Normal Artes first before launching Mystic Artes.

To activate attacks or skills of Artes, Artes Gauge is needed which is filled with enough. Artes Gauge or AG is a blue resource, which allows each character to activate Artes in the fight. Every Artes owned by a character also has a different amount of consumption of AG. If you want to fill AG back, one of the tricks is to stop attacking while, avoid enemy attacks, and wait until the Ag is filled to taste. If the level and character are stronger, the player can get the chance to open stronger Artes too.

Like the JRPG game and Action Adventure in general, Tales of Arise also presents the Skill Tree system, which is named after a panel skill. To open various skills, Skill Point (SP) is needed that can be obtained from the end of the battle and complete the mission. Not only Artes, but the skill panel also includes other abilities such as opening buff for characters, increasing the number of Artes Gauge, and others. Increasing the amount of AG is one of the more recommended skills to open in panel skills. So that the character can activate Artes continuously, and do cool down in a time shortly to achieve over-limit mode.

Varied and fun side features

Interesting features available at Tales of Arise are Camp. As the name implies, players can camp to rest while chatting with each other to improve relations. Not just chatting, some things can be done in the camp. For example, players who want to see the previous scene to understand the storyline in the game can be done in the camp. Or want to restore stamina by cooking? Yes, players can cook food during camping to obtain a beneficial buff in battle. Foodstuffs can be obtained from crops, plants, and animals. Players can also buy materials in stores in the city. While recipes can be found in a blue chest spread in various areas.

Who would have thought in addition to cooking and resting at Camp, apparently players could also carry out other side activities. One of them is fishing with Kisara, to obtain additional food stocks. That way, players can collect various types of fish so that foods cooked when the camp is also relatively varied. Next to fishing, players can also train fighting capabilities at the Training Grounds. Reminds us of some JRPG in general, here players will face the type of monsters to high levels. If the player is a typical pursuit of reward and raising the level, the Training Grounds can be the answer to testing fighting skills.

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During exploration, players will certainly get a lot of resources scattered in various regions. The collected resource is useful for crafting accessories and weapons as a battle support item. The crafting system displayed is fairly simple. Players can visit Metal Engraver to make accessories from the material that has been collected. Or you can also craft weapons through merchants outside the city. Accessories that can be crafted consist of 3 categories, namely Attack, Defense, and Support. What's more, players can also see the monsters catalog to find out what material is dropped by certain monsters.

Still not enough? Calm down, Tales of Arise has other activities that players can do, namely adorable ghost hunting. These animals can be found in various locations and will provide gift players if they proclaim all. Interestingly, if the player has recruited Rinwell, then Hootle can help the character to find out the location of the nearest owl. After collecting more owls, players can visit the Owl Forest, which is the place of their stopover to get a prize.

For players who don't want to play too fast, run the sub-quest into the best solution other than grinding. Usually, the side mission offered includes resource search for various things to hunt zeugle. Players can search for sub-quests from the NPCs in every city. There is also a time when the player must complete the side mission first to continue the main mission that has an impact on the game flow. It would be nice we suggest taking as many sub-quests as possible while running the main mission. And most importantly is a gift that the player will get after finishing it.

Pretty visuals with a voiceover that inspires

We don't need to comment much about visuals, because Bandai Namco has worked well in presenting a visual at Tales of Arise. Equipped with Unreal Engine 4, Tales of Arise presents a landscape of very beautiful and stunning scenery. Especially coupled with the area of the area, which often makes our character look small when surrounded by large cliffs. The visual art display here is more emphasizing in detail not with a soft style like the Breath of the Wild game and Tales of Vesperia, so players can see that the objects shown to be sharper.

Not left behind with how beautiful the scenery of each region is controlled by each lord. If at the beginning of the player's game exploring the mining area, then opened a snowy new area, and much more. Every region is unsightly and the design is beautiful. Besides visual natural scenery, we are also interested in the cosmetic modification of each character. It's fun to unpack the costume or cosmetic character according to our wishes. Not to mention the design of each cosmetics also looks attractive.

Striking new changes in Tales of Arise that do not yet exist in the previous Tales series are skit skit-style comic panels. The skit model that is applied here reminds us of a scene dialogue in Scarlet Nexus, where each character looks more expressive to dialogue and no longer just a tangible facial expression in the frame. Unfortunately, if the player doesn't want too long to dissolve in a long dialogue, the skit model like this will look boring. Because the player must wait for the skit to appear full to move to the next or finished dialog. In addition, we also had time to find lip-sync or lip motion that was less suitable for its original voice in several scenes.

Tales of Arise can describe the characteristics of each character well, so it doesn't look stiff. Each of them has different characteristics. For example, Alphen, who seemed a vigorous protagonist like the main character of the anime "Shounen" after the mask opened. Or Shionne is often "tsundere" and fond of eating. Moreover, everything is good thanks to the support of voice fillers that are very animating and according to character characteristics. In addition to the sound and character that attracts attention, Tales of Arise also shows not a few scenes in the form of animation. Although the cinematic is still not under expectations, at least Bandai Namco does not leave the characteristic of anime for this newest tale.

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In our opinion, Tales of Arise became the latest Tales project that had been worked on by Bandai Namco. Good gameplay, layouts, battle, this game looks simple. The developer team works well in maintaining the characteristics of the classic JRPG element to Tales of Arise, which includes new JRPG games on the next-gen platform. Visualization displayed successfully made us amazed, especially visual landscapes on the World-Map. Not forgetting, the rhythm of Battle music that is typical of Motoi Sakuraba-style again made us reminiscent of the classic Tales series.

In addition to the appearance and minimalist mechanism, Bandai Namco also shows the latest innovation for Tales of Arise. Like a skit display that is designed like a Scarlet Nexus, Detailing its visuals, to UI or menu layout and battle. But this game cannot be said perfectly 100%. There are still many things that seem to be considered back in Tales of Arise for the next Tales game so that there is no similar error. Starting from a cinematic, skit that appears too often in a row, until the Lip-Sync is still not appropriate. Even so, Tales of Arise became one of Bandai Namco's masterpieces with a classic JRPG touch that must be played at this time.