76 hours of gameplay later, I completed Tales of Arise last Winter and I enjoyed playing the game for what it’s worth. For a series that has always caught my attention since Tales of Symphonia, Tales of Arise had a lot to live up to. I already knew most of the series from amazing titles such as Xillia, Berseria, Zestiria and Symphonia, of course.
The game has a lot of potential and was a great introduction into playing the series. While the good and bad have already been said, I want to share a few thoughts of what it was like playing Tales of Arise.
Compared to RPGs like Dark Cloud, Pokémon, Final Fantasy, Dragon Age and Persona, Tales of Arise’s gameplay is strikingly familiar yet requires more strategy as enemies are always a few levels higher, can be faster at hitting you and your teammates may distract you constantly by shouting about what more they are going to do next.
Levelling up is rigged. Upon the mission, Farewell, Mage, I saved Torin from level 66 flying Zeugles at level 36 and I didn’t go up any levels on normal difficulty and any food I ate beforehand didn’t boost me enough EXP to level up faster. Alphen is the saving grace of the party as I prefer characters with spears and swords. The other characters like Dohalim and Rinwell are slower to react to button combos than Alphen so he is still the best player for every battle.
The start was very gripping, and went in a different route for me. I’m used to games starting off in a grass, ice or water area but it was refreshing to be in a fire region like Calaglia first. For me, defeating the first two Renan lords and exploring the regions of Calaglia and Cyslodia was where it really showcased the essence of what a Tales series is — an enticing quest through the perils of identity, racism and prejudice. I playing hours into the beginning wanting to know more to free the people from their restricted fates.