Tales of Arise First Impressions

Tales of Arise is the latest in the Tales series from Bandai Namco. I’m new to the Tales franchise, so don’t have a point of reference, but I am a JRPG fan, and given there’s a decent-sized demo available for free on PlayStation I thought I’d jump in to check it out. The good news is its fantastic fun, and we don’t have long to wait for the full game to release.

First of all this, this game is very anime, so if you like that kind of thing Tales of Arise will be right up your street. The battle system is also very good, and I understand they have streamlined things from previous games like Tales of Vesperia.

In regards to the story, you are an Iron Masked amnesiac slave. Details as to why or how you got there are a little thin on the ground, plus there’s the small matter of not being able to feel pain (which is certainly going to come in handy in the battles later on!). Iron Mask gets caught up with Shionne, a young woman who emits an electric charge when someone tries to get close to her.

Shionne is Renan, a person who enslaved Iron Mask’s people known as Dahnans. They certainly make quite the pairing, but they decide to head out on an adventure together with all the same. In true JRPG fashion there’s a good amount of cutscenes that allow the characters to explore each others story as they are on the road together. These can be pretty hefty but given I was new to the series I found them pretty helpful. If you don’t want to watch them and get straight into the action, then they are optional.

Arise gets you into battle fairly quickly. Before long Iron Mask is fighting and you get introduced to the battle system in the game. When a battle starts you get moved into a separate battle arena where you use a combination of attacks with skills (known as “artes”). Iron Mask wields a flaming blade, while Shionne using a rifle with an array of ammo types. You can head into battle solo and allow the computer AI to control your party, which is particularly smart here, keeping you healed combined with attacking foes at the same time.

Healing is focused around Cure Spells, which can be made from a shared repo of “Cure Points”. To replenish your points you can rest at an Inn to prepare for another battle or using CP restoring items like Orange Gels. It’s not only healing that is powered by Cure Points though, other skills use this resource too meaning you are going to have to carefully pick and choose when to use these. This can be somewhat of an annoyance, however, Arise offers up quite a few locations to replenish your stock of CP, so it works pretty well.

Enemies are pretty much everywhere on your adventures and the combat feels engaging and respectful of your time. I understand the battle process has been sped up since previous entries, and the battles feel snappy and just about right, especially considering this is a JRPG, and the genre does have a reputation for elongating certain things like the battle system.

Complimenting the battles are the environments, they are rich, colorful, and filled with detail. The whole game feels like it has an excellent flow to it and I was engaged enough to keep coming back. The demo is also free on PlayStation and PC, so if you are interested in the game then I’d recommend checking it out. I’m not a veteran of the Tales Series by any means, but I enjoyed my time with the demo and I’m looking forward to the full release coming in a few day’s time.

Tales of Arise comes out on 10th September 2021 on PlayStation consoles and PC.