Tales of Arise – Review
Follow Genre: RPG, Action, Adventure
Developer: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Platform: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5
Tested on: PS5

Tales of Arise – Review

Site Score
8.5
Good: Atmosphere, Story, Character designs
Bad: Has a somewhat dated foundation, Questionable DLC, Menus
User Score
6.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.0/10 (1 vote cast)

It has been a while since the Tales series has had a new release. The last entry was Tales of Berseria, which received a 9.6 score on our site. Because of this, Tales of Arise has big shoes to fill now that it has finally been released. The game is available on PC, PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox One, and of course, the Series X and S models. We were thrown into yet another interesting tale, with more than enough memorable dialogues and battles. While Tales of Arise may be a very good entry in the series, its could-be perfect score was whittled down due to odd design choices and its fairly dated foundation.

Story

We are thrown into a strange land, where the medieval-like Dahnans are being oppressed by the Renans. The latter is a highly advanced civilization that is basically using the Dahnans as their slaves, but also to harvest the astral energy they carry inside their bodies. You’ll be playing as a mysterious character who is wearing a non-removable iron mask, who is doing his duty as a slave for the Renans. When the Renans are trying to capture a well-clad girl, you throw yourself in the conflict, eventually ending up with the Crimson Crows, who battle against the Renan oppressors. Before long, you discover you have hidden powers, which are unlocked thanks to the girl, Shionne, and you depart on your journey to topple the current regime.

The story trots along quite nicely, especially when you get past the somewhat lengthy introduction. The game will then alternate between classic dialogues, comic book-like panels, in-game cutscenes, and anime cutscenes. We very much enjoyed how the story progressed, and the overall plot was more than good enough to draw us in further.

Graphics

Tales of Arise has a lot of amazing character designs and beautiful backdrops to look at, but it’s also clear that this game was developed with the previous generation of consoles in mind. While everything looks crisp and detailed, many areas were empty and reused a lot of the same textures and assets over and over again. How these games are designed has not changed since the PS3 era, and those cracks are starting to show on the PS5. Again, the game looks amazing, but it also has a lot of invisible walls, clipping errors, static objects, generic NPCs, and so on. We would have loved the game to be a bit more vibrant on the PS5, rather than its current static appearance. That being said, the anime aesthetic works perfectly for this title and we did very much enjoy the anime-styled cutscenes. Very much like Scarlet Nexus, the game does struggle to find its own identity. We go from 3D models in-game to skits that are presented in a comic book-like format, to actual in-game cinematics with normal subtitles, to dialogue windows, to the aforementioned anime cutscenes. It’s a bit of everything, and most of the time it works quite well, even with some rough transitions in-between.

Sound

The sound design of Tales of Arise is absolutely phenomenal. The soundtrack is very adventurous in nature and truly makes it feel as if you’re on a once-in-a-lifetime quest to save the world. There’s enough variety to never get dull, and this is further complemented by the superb voice acting. Both Japanese and English voice acting provide a quality experience, making sure you don’t miss anything when picking one or the other. We did notice there wasn’t that much consistency in terms of what was voice acted and what was not. Some main quests received full voice acting, while other main quests could only count on a few spoken words here and there. The sound effects are decent and functional, and that’s more than enough for a title such as this.

Gameplay

Tales of Arise is a textbook example of an epic JRPG, with a lot of action embedded into its gameplay. From start to finish, you’ll explore the world around you, while going through many battles, completing main and side quests, and of course, customizing your party in the process. The game is fairly straightforward and doesn’t need that much extra explanation when it comes to its main mechanics.

Unlike most JRPG games, the combat in the Tales series always happens in real-time. When you initiate a battle, you’ll be thrown into a small circular arena, in which you’ll be able to attack at will, saving up energy for special moves, or even utilize boost attacks that are performed by your fellow party members. This makes the combat quite interesting, especially with the plethora of different moves you’re able to unlock and equip. You even have different move-sets for ground combat, or when you’re in the air. The combat system feels quite polished, even with the somewhat wonky button placement for your main attack and dodge. We very much enjoyed trying out different characters in battle, but we were saddened to see the local co-op function removed for combat. Past entries in the series (nearly) always allowed for cooperative play during the battles. This made it a lot of fun to play through these grand adventures with a sibling, a loved one, or a friend.

While most things are quite nice in Tales of Arise, we did notice a few questionable design choices. The UI is an absolute monstrosity, as there is an overabundance of different menus, each with different hotkeys, and each in different locations. In one menu you’ll have to navigate with the stick, while the other requires you to use the triggers, and so on. It feels as if most of the menus were made by different teams, and that they were quickly slapped together for the game’s release. We also missed proper quest tracking, and we find the amount of available DLC quite questionable. The current DLC content is not limited to cosmetic items, but you can actually buy in-game boosts, which is an odd thing to have for a single-player JRPG.

Conclusion

Even though Tales of Arise may not have scored as high as its predecessor, Tales of Berseria, it does provide you with another solid entry in the franchise. We did very much enjoy the story, the hectic battles, and the meaty package as a whole. We did encounter a few questionable menu designs and odd DLC releases along the way, but this did not take away from the overall fun to be had when exploring this new grim world in the Tales universe. We do hope that co-op multiplayer still gets added in a future update, but as a single-player JRPG, this one stands quite tall on its own.

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Rating: 6.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Tales of Arise - Review, 6.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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  1. […] has only been a few days since we reviewed Tales of Arise and we absolutely loved the game. To celebrate the occasion and the new fun release in the […]

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  2. […] news for all the million players of Tales of Arise. Today the developers released extra content for their top-selling title. Players will be able to […]

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