Tales of Arise has built up quite the excitement over the past year, and with its release date scheduled for later this year the excitement continues to rise. I must preface this with the note that I have not had the opportunity to play any of the games in the series, and this was my first taste of a Tales game. After seeing the trailer of the game, I was already pretty intrigued and was really excited when we got the opportunity to play a demo of Tales of Arise from Bandai. While the demo was short, it was also definitely a good time as well and all I can say is…. WOW! What an experience! I was pulled right into the fast paced flashy combat, the unique characters, the beautiful environment. I got more excited in the first 10 minutes than I have for a game in a long time.
What is Tales of Arise?
Tales of Arise is a upcoming Action RPG developed and published by Bandai Namco and its the seventeenth entry into the tales series. Arise takes place in a setting divided between the medieval world of Dahna and the advanced world of Rena. The main story follows two characters each from one place, who end up travelling together.
Again, just as a heads up, everything in this demo was basically carved out for this exact purpose. There’s definitely a lot still being worked on, and some details that haven’t been announced yet.
I did get the chance to see the gameplay, combat, environment, and a few other details within the game. There is also a character selection screen that you see here that is not included in the main game; it was just a way for us to decide which character to start the demo with. Even with that being said, I was able to switch characters with ease within the game, however I was left wondering if there would be different endings throughout the game depending on the characters you choose to play.
Jumping in: Which Path to take?
I decided to start my first playthrough as Alphen who is from Dahna since he seemed like the typical cool guy main character, that screams “I’d rather kill bad guys in style with swords, than cast spells from a far“.
Getting into the game and running around the first time, I instantly fell in love with the environment and art style of the game, and once I had my first taste of combat, I was hooked. Although it took some getting used to controlling Alphen, as well as managing the party, popping off with abilities called Artes, triggering combos, and executing flashy finishers with the team. Still, it was super fun, and I began to really enjoy the combat system and get a glimpse at how deep it can be after some time of playing.
The environment is somewhat a semi open world, where there is lots to explore, but it’s not entirely “open”. Even so, I spent time running around taking in the sights and enjoying the views. There also seems to be multiple ways to approach objectives or the next area with lots of exploration to be had. The encounters are an instance type system where you can run around the world, see the enemies, and once you aggro them, your party is sent into a battle instance with a certain amount of space given to you to win the battle. Once the enemies are defeated, you’re sent back into the world to roam around.
One thing that I really had to get used to as a new player to the games, was weaving Artes with ground and aerial combos. It took me a little bit to get used to knocking an enemy into the air, stringing together combos to win the fight, but once I got that down, I got to see just how beautiful the combat was. this is definitely one of the exciting things about combat as it allows for experimentation and flashy combat, and that’s just the Artes! Throw in “boost attacks’ which allow members of your party to trigger a single support attack, each party member also has some type of combat perk that makes their playstyles feel unique. Alphens is a perk that allowed him to hold down an Arte after casting it, to allow him to use special Artes using his blazing sword.
Visually, one of the most enjoyable aspects of combat was “boost strikes” which you can trigger once a certain condition is met to either instantly kill an enemy or deal massive damage to bosses. This usually had some type of short animation cut scene as your whole team does one big flashy attack at once. Only a few variations were available during the demo, but there was mention that there would be more once the game was released.
One thing I also enjoyed about the combat, especially as a newer player, was the ability to set how your character and aiming behaved in battle. Manual setting gave you complete control over your character, semi auto will move you to an enemy and align you with them, and auto allows the AI to pretty much do everything.
Into the World We Go | adventuring, camping, and cooking
One thing I noticed throughout my playthrough was the amount of interactions between the characters. A lot of dialogue on the surroundings, and things going on within the world were really entertaining. This made it really enjoyable to just be out exploring the world and hearing the characters interact. There is apparently something called skits in the game, but it was not available to us for testing, I believe that’ll be something they announce in the future. Skits are short, optional chats that help to explore each game’s cast, the world they live in. I’m sure these will add a lot of depth to the characters and the story overall.
Throughout the world, you can also camp and cook within the game. Setting up camp out allowed your party to have a rest, heal up and cook a meal providing a certain buff to your party depending on who cooked what.
There is also a crafting system in the game, although I was only able to craft two items. You can craft by collecting resources throughout the world. Crafting small accessories and items provided different stat boosts and possible new armor upgrades for your team.
To wrap up the demo, I wen on a quest to go off and fight a big boss who had been messing with the city before heading into this fight. I felt like I had a greater understanding of the system before undertaking this last quest, but boy did I learn quickly that I did not have a complete understanding. I actually needed to learn to properly evade and block to finish the fight, not to mention provide support and healing from the proper characters. Initiating proper combos and defeating the boss actually felt really rewarding when I finally did it, and got me excited to see what else is to come for the boss fights in the game.
Tales of Arise Preview – Initial Verdict
All I can say is that I had an absolute blast with the demo, and I might have played it more than once, or twice – long story short, I wanted more. Mystery and exploration are big things for me when it comes to games I don’t know much about, and Tales of Arise definitely got me interested. I can’t wait to further explore the beautiful environment and entire story of the game. Not to mention dig further into the characters. I loved playing Alphen, but was also really into Law, and his martial arts type of combat and look. Each Character seems to come with a very fun and unique playstyle for anyone to enjoy, and switching it up is done very well. I guess I’ll just have to wait for it to officially release on September 10th of this year.