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    Tales of Arise

    Game » consists of 7 releases. Released Sep 09, 2021

    Tales of Arise is the seventeenth title in Bandai Namco's long-running Tales of... RPG series.

    Tales of Arise Impressions

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    MindBullet

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    So the latest Tales game released to pretty favorable reviews and record breaking (at least for Tales) sales. Did anyone else here pick it up? What do you think about it?

    For my part, I'm still fairly early on but I'm kind of finding myself struggling to get into it.

    The combat system takes some getting used to, and even now that I've gotten to a point where I've gotten a handle on it I still feel like it hasn't really "clicked". I feel like I'm either steamrolling encounters or getting steamrolled and I haven't quite figured out how to find the middle ground. Boss encounters are also new and interesting, but the difficulty spike is wild. Bosses are grander than ever, but they also seem to play by a different set of rules from the rest of the game that makes them feel difficult in a way that sometimes doesn't feel great.

    The writing is probably where my biggest concerns are, though. The overall plot is interesting, but I found the introduction and set-up of the world and it's characters to be incredibly clunky. Alphen showed some promise but is pretty much your standard JRPG protag with amnesia, which is fine if a bit predictable. Shionne is where I started to lose it. There's just something about the way she's so blatantly offered up as "the waifu" from the moment she's introduced that really rubs me the wrong way. I'm usually down for, or at least willing to go along with, tropey nonsense to a certain degree but something about how Shionne is handled makes me feel like maybe I'm just getting too old for this shit. Maybe a part of it is because the plot is directly dealing with some pretty heavy stuff like slavery and late-stage capitalism that the ways it defaults to tropes and pandering stands out more, I dunno. There's also some weird little issues, like incidental dialogue not knowing what part of the plot you're at. For instance, the relationship between Alphen and Shionne early on can be pretty antagonistic, but then that gets muddied by victory quotes or random quips while exploring that make them sound like they're already BFFs.

    I am enjoying it for the most part and intend to keep going with it, but I'm finding myself kind of disappointed in how many little things are bothering me and keeping me from getting fully hooked.

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    Efesell

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    #2  Edited By Efesell

    As a very long time Tales player I love it, I feel like this game is the first actual bit of rejuvenation this series has seen in like...decades now? Since Symphonia probably?

    I'll play the whole thing though not always remembering that attacking is on R1 but if I change it now then I'll keep doing it anyway.

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    fugoy

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    Berseria was a course correct from the disaster of Zesteria, but this one feels like a full new direction that I'm really appreciating. Only started but I already like this loads better and the combat feels great.

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    donchipotle

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    I don't think the game makes a strong first impression. The first areas are bland and dull with a heavy amount of back tracking and standing around talking in circles - which isn't exactly new to the genre but even so it feels especially bad here just because other areas are so much more appealing to look at. The combat felt rough at first but that was probably because of some combination of me playing on moderate and also the starting sword being just awful but I like the change in how artes are done so there's no more MP but that also makes orange gels way, way more valuable with their change in how healing is done.

    I don't really like Alphen, though, but Tales protagonists and I have a troubled history anyway.

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    Racian720

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    I've played most of the Tales of series and in my opinion this game has been pretty fantastic. It tackles some dark themes without being edgy. The combat is a step above the previous generation, but one problem is they time-gate the ability to equip more than 6 artes (your skills 3 on land 3 airborne) when one of the main healers for your party has heal + resurrection taking up two of the land ones right off the bat (granted you can go into the menus and manually use it from there, but it stops the flow a bit).

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    FacelessVixen

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    #6 FacelessVixen  Online

    I don't have the game yet, but I watched Matt ply it; not that I wasn't interested before his video, though. It is on my wish list, but I rather finish Berseria first.

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    Efesell

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    @racian720: Yeah not immediately having additional pages for artes is a bummer but I am glad to hear that it's just gated and not weirdly absent.

    That said it does prevent me from wanting to directly control anyone other than Alphen until I unlock it. Which is a shame since I think Rinwell feels really fun to play as a mage for once but it's not very practical when you can only slot in 3 spells. For as strong as this game is on quality of life in almost every direction it's a pretty glaring misstep.

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    Alucitary

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    Haven't played much of the recent Tales games, but the combat of this one seems really good, only have the first 4 party members right now but each one has a very unique playstyle and feels strong. A lot has been simplified very much for the better since Symphonia, upgrades come often and all feel impactful. Playing on Moderate since the start and feels like the perfect level of difficulty. Overall gamplay is a huge selling point, almost as good as FF7 remake in my book.

    Story so far is pretty stock standard, but there have been some interesting developments here and there. Definitely have to be in the mood for an "anime" style storyline to enjoy it, but I just happened to be and it's doing the job just fine for me. Feels like they are actually committing to the darker tone as well, which is nice, in comparison to Berseria which, at least in the small bit I played of it, just felt more trying to be edgy then actually dealing with dark subject matter.

    Overall I'd say don't rush out and play it just for the sake of it, make sure you are in the right mood. It's a Tales game so you probably know what the game is going to generally be like, but in that vein, so far I'd say it's one of the best.

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    Strathy

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    I'd never played a Tales game before so I only had the extremely good reviews to go on, but I couldn't get into it at all. The combat system (and the way it arbitrarily switches into it's battle mode) just felt super tacky, and I wasn't sticking around for the anime.

    These games seem to have a legion of people who absolutely love them, so there must be something there. I think as a primarily PC player I just grew up in the wrong gaming neighborhood to appreciate this one.

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    TheRealTurk

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    So as someone who has only played two Tales games and am batting .500 (Vesperia is one of my favorite JRPGs ever. Zesteria . . . not so much), where does this one fall?

    The previews make me a little sad that they went in-engine for the cut-ins because I don't think they look very good, but I've heard good things about the gameplay.

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    MindBullet

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    @therealturk: For what it's worth, Zestiria is pretty widely considered to be a huge misstep for the series that prompted an entire sequel just to make up for it's existence, so I wouldn't base your expectations of Tales game since around that specific experience.

    As negative as I may have sounded in the OP, I do think Arise has a lot going for it. They've ditched the 2D/3D movement of previous games in favor of a full 3D combat arena. Battles are still something you load into from bumping into enemy symbols, but the transition is pretty quick and seamless. The combat focuses on timing a lot more, both in dodging and chaining combos together. There are a bunch of different types of attacks and resources at your disposal during combat, and once you get the hang of it all you can pull off some crazy stunts. Boss fights are big events now, with special HP bars and sometimes multiple arenas and stages. Acquiring skills and crafting equipment is way less of a hassle than it has been, and sidequests have been streamlined a bit.

    I think it looks... Fine. The art direction is as solid as it's ever been, and it's certainly flashy when it wants to be. It's pretty much what you'd expect from a new Tales game, but not really much more than that. There is a lot of the "talking head" style of dialogue, which is maybe the real source of my negativity as well. I will say that in this specific case, I think that Arise has some thematic and tonal similarities to Vesperia that might work for you.

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    Efesell

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    The combat feels really good when you start distancing yourself from previous entries and focus on the changes they've made. The only resource you have to manage now is from support spells so you're free to just go on a pretty relentless offense for every fight and that's a lot of fun.

    Honestly from what I've played so far if there's anything that would keep it from beating out other fan favorites in the series it would just be the cast and I don't think the cast of this game is bad or anything it's just games like Abyss and Vesperia made the casts carry a lot of weight on their shoulders they end up being super memorable.

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    doctordonkey

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    It starts pretty slow, but I enjoy the combat a whole lot. The last Tales I played was Symphonia on the Gamecube back when that came out so it's been awhile. The combat has a really good flow to it and I like 2 out of the 3 characters I've tried so far (really don't like Shion's playstyle, feels clunky). It looks gorgeous on my LG C1 and runs at between 90-120 fps at 4k on PC, so the port is really good.

    This game also has two of my favourite voice actors in the lead role (Ray Chase and Erica Lindbeck), so that's carrying the story for me right now.

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    Dareitus

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    I about 20 hours in and I really like it. The first 6-10 can be a slog while you unlock all the different combat tools, and downright hard if you're on a higher difficulty without those tools. Do yourself a favor and be willing to skip side content until like the second town then go back for it if it feels too hard or damage spongey.

    That said, the plot is.... basic. Everything is very surface level and rushed and tropey. Maybe it'll get better but 4 towns in I'm kinda like "good enough, but this ain't no Cold Steel"

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    Efesell

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    The one thing about the combat that is starting to get a little troubling is the number of times they expect you to hard counter something with a Burst skill and do not give you nearly enough opportunity to recharge it before you are expected to do so again.

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    theonewhoplays

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    #16  Edited By theonewhoplays

    I only played the demo so I have a question. Do you get access to more regular attacks later on? I remember having access to a lot more regular attacks by pressing various directions during attacks in Xillia, while it felt like I had to spam artes in the demo to do anything interesting. I had more fun with Jude than any of the characters in the demo, at least.

    My initial impression apart from the combat is that the game felt OLD despite its shiny new surface. The lack of voice acting during conversations that weren't skits, the incredibly bad skit animations (the old-school 2D illustrations would be preferable - they looked cheap, but the new skits look BAD), not being able to jump over low fences (even though you could walk on the other side), the tropey dialogue that would feel outdated ten years ago and lack of facial animations... The abrupt battle-to-map transitions also made that aspect feel almost unfinished. That said, I had a decent time with the demo, and will probably pick it up during a sale. But I failed to see what was better/innovative/refreshing when compared to the older games, except the shiny graphics and better loading times. Also, on my LGC9 Shionne's white dress and the owl were so intensely bright that it hurt to look at them. I don't have that issue with other games so it was pretty surprising.

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    Efesell

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    #17  Edited By Efesell

    @theonewhoplays: Normal attacks are just filler, the combat is built around spamming chains of artes. I doubt you get more of them.

    The rest I just don’t see. There’s plenty of voice acting and I don’t see how the skits look all that bad. It’s a stylistic choice but it’s ultimately serving the same purpose the old 2d art did.

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    MindBullet

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    #19  Edited By MindBullet

    @theonewhoplays: Arise feels like it's trying to marry the combat system of Berseria with the more traditional Tales combat of ending 'normal' combos with Arte attacks. Berseria was interesting in that every attack you had was some form of Arte, and then every character had their own special skill they could pepper in to punctuate combos. Here, you have all that plus a 'normal' combo you can essentially use as a resource along with your Artes, Boost Strikes, and character skills.

    As for your second point... It's hard for me to differentiate between what is part of the series' personality/what people expect from it and what is just dated design, but.... I do kind of agree. I avoided a lot of the press for this game aside from early announcements and character reveals, and I was assuming that Arise would be a bit more of a departure from the series norm. This is, for better or worse, a better looking and more technically impressive Tales game. A lot of the quirks and design from previous games are still present, they just look and play better now. Part of why I said the game looks fine is that, yeah it can be pretty and grandiose, but it does feel to me like the overall approach is still struggling to take the next step forward. I was maybe hoping for a bit more with the jump to next gen.

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    Nillock

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    #20  Edited By Nillock

    I'm about 13 hours in and I like it, although it's not the greatest jrpg ever made.

    The combat really keeps on getting better and better as you unlock more party members and arts.

    A lot of people say the story is basic, but I disagree. The reason why the protagonists are in the situation they are in, and the motivations of the bad guys is pretty interesting. What the bad guys are doing to the people of the planet is a standard trope, but the why is a pretty wild concept.

    It also doesn't waste your time, it's pretty streamlined and optional quests and items are clearly marked don the map.

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    Efesell

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    Honestly as of the third region now I’m really enjoying the things the story is trying to tackle so far. One would never accuse them of subtlety but I dunno this ragtag group of misfits combatting myriad forms of occupying oppression has just been kind of nice.

    Now there’s never been a Tales game to hold together in its final act but I’m having a good experience with the narrative as of now.

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    someoneproud

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    I've been a fan of Tales games for a long time and I'm really enjoying Arise. It's almost certainly my favourite combat of the series, it looks gorgeous and the story's been pretty good so far (end of 3rd region)

    Tales has never been a series I'd recommend to everyone but this is a great entry in it for those who want a pretty traditionally structured JRPG with a modern look and conveniences.

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    Big_Denim

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    I've never played a Tales game before, but the reviews and demo footage caught my eye on this so I decided to give it a shot. And I gotta say, I'm surprised how much I'm digging it. It admittedly started a bit slow, but they do a good job of layering on more and more to the combat, and it continued to grow on me. Same goes for the story and characters as well.

    I do find some of the voice acting and dialogue to be a bit spotty (particularly Rimwell's). Do folks recommend switching over to the Japanese VAs?

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    MindBullet

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    I've made progress into the third area now and I think I'm going to put this game down and come back to it at some point in the future. I still feel like I'm forcing myself to make progress, so I either am not in the right mindset for this thing or my issues with the game really are worse than I originally thought. I don't think it's bad, and I mean there are plenty of people out there singing it's praises, but I feel like it's so aggressively 'just okay' that it's eating away at me.

    The combat is certainly more open and fluid than ever, but the encounter/enemy design and the way combat is 'supposed' to work don't quite feel like they always match up. Enemy hitboxes and attack tells aren't always readable, and are often straight up hidden by the flashy effects popping off constantly. There are enemies that seems to be designed specifically around a certain character's Boost, and encounters where you have a lot of them and only so much Boost juice are either shockingly punishing or a straight up slog. Boss fights are big and flashy, but after two of them I don't know if they're really... Fun.

    The overall plot itself is fine, but the writing continues to be incredibly uneven and overly reliant on tried and true tropes. I got the feeling that with the attempt to make Arise a faster-paced JRPG, the writing team either struggled to keep up or had to cut a bunch of scenes for time. It felt like the dialogue is always in a rush to get from A to B, and while A and B themselves are fine on their own, the connective tissue that gets you there is really clumsy.

    Where I am now, Arise feels like more of a proof of concept than anything. I feel like what comes after this is the game I actually want to play. I'm curious to see what the consensus on Arise ends up being after the honeymoon period is over.

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    Efesell

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    #25  Edited By Efesell

    @big_denim: There certainly seem to be a lot familiar voices in the Japanese cast so it has that. I started with it and it’s fine but I kinda regret it due to all the banter going on. Feels too late to change now though.

    I think now I've assembled the full cast and I think only one of them (Law) feels genuinely bad to control. Maybe I gave up on him before learning some important artes that make his combo flow together right but I dunno.. feels really awkward for a brawler.

    Dohalim has been my favorite character to control now though. Speedy melee healer whips ass.

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    Big_Denim

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    @efesell: I really should start trying out all the characters more. I've admittedly just stuck to Alphen up to this point, and let the Auto AI handle the other party members.

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    Efesell

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    @big_denim: I think that's probably for the best until you unlock the second page of manual Artes anyway. Alphen can get by only having 3 since a lot of his moves are effectively 2-in-one anyway.

    But characters like Shionne and Rinwell are really hampered by not being able to draw from a bigger pool of moves.

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    Yesiamaduck

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    The Lord fights RUIN this game. They're tedious difficulty spikes and nothing more

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    Efesell

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    #29  Edited By Efesell

    @yesiamaduck: Really? None of them seemed particularly harsh to me.

    The EXP curve in this game is very tight, the game is pretty unforgiving to people who try to skip out on exploring and fighting everything in your path. So if any area boss is too tough or above your level it's probably a sign of that.

    Make good accessories too, it's pretty clear about what the Lords are gonna be throwing at you so it's best to make equipment that will counter them.

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    theonewhoplays

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    #30  Edited By theonewhoplays

    @mindbullet: Thanks for the fighting system breakdown. I really think Namco need to step it up and evolve, and hopefully the success of Arise will give them the confodence and budget to do so. Interesting that you brought up Berseria - I dropped it pretty quickly since I wasn't vibing with either the combat or the characters. Maybe Xillia 1 was lightning in a bottle to me. X2 felt like a massive step down in terms of writing and the main character was so OP it was ridiculous but I still enjoyed the characters enough to push through it.

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    Efesell

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    Clearing things out in the endgame now and I think that it's hands down the best playing game in the series for me. The combat is super engaging and while I main Shionne most of the time it often has me switching character to character to do specific combos and that's a really fun dynamic.

    I think the narrative is fun but awkwardly paced. I think a lot of maybe fairer weather JRPG fans will really appreciate how.. brisk.. it generally is but I think I could have done with a little more.. filler? The cast is fun and I would have appreciated spending more time with them as opposed to jogging from beat to beat.

    Kisara is the best and it bums me out that she's kinda shit in combat.

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