With an excellent story and cast and a reinvigorated combat system, Tales of Arise is the shot in the arm the long-running Tales RPG series needed to recapture its best moments.
Taken as a whole, Tales of Arise is a very good RPG, boasting beautiful visuals, a wonderful cast of characters, and engaging combat mechanics--but its flaws (and that odious DLC) are also difficult to ignore. If you're looking for a lengthy, charming, and engaging JRPG to play on your shiny new console or PC gaming rig, Tales of Arise is certainly a fine choice. Just don't go into it expecting an all-time classic.
Tales of Arise offers a superb blend of JRPG favourites, tight combat, and modern-day design choices. It's easily the best Tales game in years.
It’s going to be how Alphen, Shionne, Rinwell, Law, Kisara, and Dohalim came together as a party, grew closer, fought and struggled together, and saw it all through to the end, one hastily thrown-together outdoor meal at a time. Tales of Arise nails that, and so it feels like a strong step forward for a series with a bright future ahead of it.
Tales of Arise doesn’t exactly forge new ground in the JRPG genre, but a fast-paced battle system and a well-told story make it easy to pick up, and hard to put down.
With that said, there are still plenty of nagging issues. Alphen as a protagonist is dry and makes illogical decisions, there are plenty of JRPG tropes used in frustrating ways, and some of the combat flaws rear their head more than they should have. Fortunately, these pale in comparison to the sixty plus hours you’ll be investing in this newfound adventure. Tales of Arise maintains all the charisma of past Tales games, but wraps it neatly in an inspiring, fresh experience that will leave you wanting more.
Tales of Arise rides the high of a brilliant battle system and a charismatic supporting cast. It's not always the smoothest ride, especially when the back half of Bandai Namco's game stumbles into interplanetary affairs and storytelling that goes for something a little more grandiose, but the combination of compelling characters and a plot that'll genuinely get you rooting for everyone involved is a sublime match.
Tales of Arise is a masterpiece with a deep story and endearing cast that will keep you hooked as you fight for freedom from tyrants. Meanwhile, the action-intense battles are great fun as you plan your moves to take down enemies as efficiently as possible. Exploring the dungeons and overworld is a joy, too, especially with new map abilities that make traversal engaging. It's the best Tales yet!
I lack the qualifications to make a precision argument about whether Arise is worth the wait for long-suffering Tales fans - the last one, Tales Of Berseria, came out all the way back in 2016. Nevertheless, my instincts shrug and say, "Sure, why not?" Despite the tedious introduction of its two main characters, it's filled with strong character moments and ridiculous battles that remind us only nerds and squares bend to gravity's iron rules.