Game Review: Tales of Arise

Available on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox X, PC

This was the first JRPG I bought after getting my PS5. The Tales games have typically been games that I enjoyed on other generations of consoles so with a new console and needing something to play, I excitedly snapped up this title.

The artwork and character models looked nice on the PS5 system and the colors really popped on my TV. It was a very attractive looking game from the start. The cutscenes were beautifully done and music seemed fitting.

I’m not usually one who plays RPGs for the story. I tend to skip lengthy cutscenes or speed through sections heavy with dialogue but the story, animation, and quality of the game captured my attention so I found myself drawn into letting the scenes play out.

The character growth was typical RPG. You fight monsters and complete quests to earn experience and at predetermined quantities of exp, the character would level up, gaining increases to stats and potentially unlocking new abilities/skills. There wasn’t anything groundbreaking or unique that stood out to me in regards to character building. 

Similarly, like with many RPGs, as you progress through the game additional characters are unlocked that you can choose to add to your party. Likewise, the party can only consist of a maximum of 3 characters at a time so as you unlock more and more characters you have to make an effort to balance the party’s makeup to give the team the best combination of skills, stats, and abilities to take on whatever challenge you may encounter next.

The world was decent in size with some interesting environments populated with a cornucopia of enemies. Like other modern RPG games like Xenoblade, Final Fantasy 15, and even The Legend of Zelda, the enemies are visible on the map which allows for players to choose when to fight and who to fight. Gone are the days of random encounters in most games like this now which is both a good thing but also a sad end to the unknown aspect of older RPGs that preferred to surprise the player with their opponents.

Unlike Xenoblade, players do not get to the see the level of the monsters on the map in Tales of Arise. There are some visual indicators that help you to identify a potentially difficult enemy from the average ones. And there are some monsters roaming around in areas where they are significantly higher level than anything around them and you may run across them early in the game. Only when the combat actually starts can you see just how much higher level than you the enemy is.

The combat system is a very real-time active 3-D battle system. You can freely move your character around during combat and choose from the mapped attacks/spells relatively easily. Other members in your party act in accordance to the AI settings the player sets and can adjust largely on the fly. It all makes for some flexible control in the fights but regardless of that flexibility, there is still a big need to use the right party makeup depending on which enemy you’re fighting.

There is a fast travel system as you unlock more of the world map which comes in handy as there are a number of side quests that have you traversing back and forth between the different zones. There are also bounty quests where players can earn some big rewards for killing specific creatures, usually the big creatures lurking in areas where they are undoubtedly the top predator there. Think of these fights as sub-bosses because they tend to be stronger and with more health than normal enemies.

Overall, this is a JRPG that I would recommend to any fan of the genre. Tales of Arise was released on multiple platforms (PS4, PS5, Windows (PC), Xbox One, and Xbox X). Pretty much the game can be found on this generation of consoles, last generation of consoles, and PC. The only major console the game didn’t seem to make its way to was the Nintendo Switch.

The story along with the bevy of side quests means this game can occupy many hours of play time, which is always a good thing when game prices are steady creeping closer and closer to the $70 mark for basic/standard editions. But beyond just being a lengthy game, Tales of Arise is a good game which makes it well worth the money for the hours of quality play you can expect from it.

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