Tales of Arise review: between racism and fat owls!

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Steven L. Ken
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Welcome to what should have been a quick review, but which ultimately came too verbose: let's see together why you absolutely must play Tales of Arise, especially if you are a fan of the series. 

A full 25 years after the start of the series, Bandai Namco Entertainment recently put the beautiful machine of Tales of Arise in motion. Yes, because we tell you right away: we are facing the best episode of the series, in our opinion. And certainly in front of a new starting point, a new incipit for what will come to “Tales of”, especially in the perspective of a completely next-gen title. Maybe it's too early and we're speeding up the pace, so let's get back on track.



Tales of Arise is available from September 10 on PC and consoles of the current and last generation. Arriving four years after the previous chapter of the series, Tales of Berseria, Arise certainly had a longer and more complex gestation by decision of the same Bandai Namco, which from the beginning had claimed to wanting to renew the series from its foundations, while not wanting to distort its origins. We have already told you at the beginning that they have succeeded, we just have to go gradually into ours review of Tales of Arise.

Floral Ornament 

The worlds of Rena and Dahna are as physically close as they are terribly distant in terms of ideals, nature and development. The technological strength of Rena has meant that, 300 years before the adventure began of Alphen and Shionne, Dahna became subject to it and divided into five different kingdoms, each captained by a Lord Renian despot and tyrant. Dahnians are used as slaves for the extraction of raw materials and astral energy, in different ways for each kingdom, and they are devoid of any human right.



Alphen is a Dahnian engaged in a mining camp. In reality, in the first hours of the game, we don't even know his name: the boy is in fact suffering from amnesia and his face is covered with one Iron mask, hence the nickname with which he is called by all his companions. He remembers nothing of his past, if not the last year, since when Doc, the camp doctor, found and saved him. He does not remember his name, his face and even less his past. All he knows is that he has an immovable helmet on his head and a complete one refractoriness to pain. Although, although he is unable to sense painful stimuli, his body still reacts in the same way. A double-edged sword, therefore, because he often finds himself unconscious or in poor health due to trauma that he doesn't even remember having suffered.

Shionne is a Renian, of unknown origin in the early stages of the game (and so it will remain for you, as we will avoid any form of spoiler), considered a traitor for having stolen a certain artifact from Lord Balseph. Captured by the Renian soldiers who were bringing her back in the presence of the lord, Shionne is "saved" by Zephyr, member of the resistance, who together with her soldiers intercepts the convoy in which she was held prisoner. However, the girl is not the classic DID (Donzella in Difficulty!), And immediately shows off her fearsome ability. Anyone who touches it, in fact, will be hit by a discharge of stings (so called in the Spanish localization of the title), something like an electric shock. Its only purpose? Kill the five Renian Lords who reign over Dahna.


Paranoia - Tales of Arise Review 

A winning combination, if you think about it: a boy who does not perceive pain and a girl who emits electric shocks as soon as she is touched. Alphen and Shionne's adventure will keep you busy for about one fifty hours, if you will also take into account the secondary quests, plus any additional hours if you aim for 100% completion of the title. The narration proceeds relentlessly from the first hours of the game, with many screenplay flashes and a good characterization of the main characters. Although in fact in the first moments Alphen and Shionne may seem two stereotypes with legs, it will take you very little time with them to understand that there is much more under the surface.


Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for antagonists main of the game that, both for screen-time and for real characterization, turn out to be simple barrel bags to beat. But the writers managed to make them hateful enough to make it quite addicting. The way the Lords behave, in fact, will reflect in all respects the message that Bandai Namco explicitly wanted to send to the players.

Tales of Arise is not a game for everyone, certainly not for the youngest. From the very beginning, the title will beat a lot on the concepts of racism, inequality, cruelty and racial segregation. The strength and power of some scenes, some even quite cruel, "pleasantly" impressed us, in the course of a narration that is not always rhythmically right, but with very high peaks of impact. Tales of Arise is not a game for everyone, not least because the concept of death e regret permeate the title from start to finish. Tales of Arise is not a game for everyone, and this only honors a Bandai Namco who was able to dare and focus a lot on captivating and current themes.


Breakdown – Recensione Tales of Arise 

Let's move away from the narrative, because we would risk making spoilers inadvertently, and let's get into the core of our review of Tales of Arise: the gameplay. For Arise Bandai Namco has decided to resurrect the excellent Style-Shift Linear Motion Battle System of Tales of Graces f, updating it and implementing new features that have made it even more quick and fast. First of all, the historical function of "Guard”, Replacing it with one Dodging rather reactive and precise and that, if used at the right time, allows you to perform quite powerful counterattacks.


Interacting with the enemies on the screen will allow us to enter the battle phase, perhaps still a little too old, but also quite quickly, especially on next-gen. Too bad they were removed special interactions with enemies and therefore we will not be able, for example, to go around them and take them from behind to do something preemptive attack. In the battle phase we will be able to control only one of the six protagonists who will gradually be available in the party, while the management of the others will be left to one IA particularly interesting.

Similarly to Gambit di Final Fantasy XII (even if in a much less detailed and articulated way) we will in fact be able to manage the reactions and tactics of our teammates within the appropriate menu. This is apart from some "innate" peculiarities of each character, with for example a Shionne, equipped with rifles, which will attack flying enemies more frequently, who are weaker to her ranged attacks. There tactics management is, as we said, rather complex and will allow you to detail different aspects of the Artificial Intelligence of allies, from how and how much to use our healing resources (based on CP, special points that can only be restored while sleeping or with more than expensive objects), to whom attack and so on.

Don’t Look Back, Proceed – Recensione Tales of Arise 

At the command of our Leader, we will have several methods at our disposal to harm the enemies on the screen. In addition to the primary attack, the always eternals are obviously back Arti to be able to unleash, this time, at the cost of points of the barra BA, always viewable as a series of colored diamonds placed above the life bar of our character. A bar that it recharges pretty quickly or under certain conditions, which will be listed as the game continues, and which allows, if used carefully, to ring series of combos frighteningly long, also thanks to the precise and intuitive attacks of our allies.

Each ally will have a special at their disposal Boost attack, whose bar charges during the battle, and which if unleashed allows you to unleash different effects based on the character used. Alphen, for example, will have a devastating attack that will inflict massive damage on enemies, but other allies will be more prone to disturbing enemies or breaking the guard of armored ones. In short, you will discover in the course of construction.

Consequently to the Boost Attacks there are, in Tales of Arise, the Boost assaults, which can be performed by two allies in pairs when an enemy is weakened enough or has suffered a long series of attacks. The latter are devastating hits and, with the exception of bosses and mini-bosses (who all have unspeakable amounts of life at their disposal), deadly to most standard enemies. Also come back Mystical Arts, which in the case of Tales of Arise will however be usable only in the mode Beyond the Limit, which will be activated completely randomly, making the management of these attacks more casual and less purely tactical.

Just go on – Recensione Tales of Arise 

The characters, at the end of the fights, will get experience points e skill points (no money, unfortunately!). The former will obviously serve to level them up and increase their base stats. The skill points will instead be expendable within the appropriate skill tree, divided in this case into Titles which can be unlocked with the continuation of the events or after having satisfied particular conditions. Once you have unlocked all the skills or Arts associated with a Title, we will get bonuses of various kinds, such as new, more powerful Arts or major boosts to base stats.

Obviously, the equipment: each fighter will have only one type of weapon or armor available, but a disproportionate amount of Accessories, the real core of the upgrade through equip in Tales of Arise. The Accessories they can be forged and improved at the merchants and, to do so, we will have to use the various materials that we will find during the exploration of the various game maps, gradually more and more rare.

In fact, having abandoned the hypothesis of an Open World, in Tales of Arise Bandai Namco opted for one Open Map. The game will in fact be divided into various areas, all gradually getting wider and in which we will find secondary roads, hidden and collectible secrets of various kinds (fat owls!). Unlike the previous chapters, the maps have been expanded and enriched with secondary elements, in addition to the fact that, in Arise, you can jump on any occasion and not only in the presence of the classic colored dot. The secondary activities will be gradually more and more, with the fateful fishing that will be unlocked only in the most advanced stages of the game.

Flame of Hope – Recensione Tales of Arise 

Tales of Arise is therefore a world full of details and details and, allow us, terribly beautiful to look at (thanks Unreal Engine 4!). Of course, we are certainly not talking about a purely next-gen production, but the use of the fantastic Atmosferic Shader has allowed us to create natural and urban backdrops so beautiful and fascinating that they look like real watercolors. The same goes for the impressive polygonal models of the characters, created by the hand of the character designer Minoru Iwamoto (while the animated interlude scenes are made by Ufotable) and which, thanks to a excellent antialiasing, show the “cross-gen” edges only in the very close-ups.

An applause and a thousand points more to the colonna sonora composed by Motoi Sakuraba, which offers captivating and always perfect songs in the accompaniment of the events. The two classics are available instead dubbing, English and Japanese, both of which are pretty good. We recommend the latter, to those who want a much more experience purist, and the first, instead, to those who want to witness the welcome return of Ray Chase, the voice actor of Noctis in Final Fantasy XV, who in Tales of Arise presta la voce ad Alphen. The Spanish localization is good, even if in the first hours it seemed to be the victim of several inaccuracies that can be corrected with a simple patch.

On next-gen, Tales of Arise flows beautifully. There are two modes available, one devoted to improving the Performances which keeps the FPS stable at 60 (but really very stable), and one that improves the Graphics and that instead raises the resolution up to 4K at the expense of stability. We (almost obviously) preferred the Performance Mode e we have never faced any drop in performance. If we add gods virtually instant loading times even on Xbox consoles, which make the fights even more satisfying (there is no victory screen, everything is terribly fluid and fast) you will understand well that, if you have a next-gen machine, it is definitely advisable to buy it in this version.

Alphen 

What else to say to conclude this Tales of Arise review? Although the cross-gen nature of the title is still indisputable and some choices at the level of the Battle System may make long-time fans turn up their noses, the new chapter of the Bandai Namco series is undoubtedly the best of the series. Even more so if we consider it for what it actually will be: a starting point, a new rebirth for a franchise that definitely needed a refresh and a step forward. And what a step forward!

Tales of Arise is currently available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X | S. What do you think, are you playing with it? Write it to us below in the comments, we will continue to keep you updated with all the news, guides and reviews on gaming and tech themes! And if you are interested in game keys at affordable prices, we recommend that you take a look at the InstantGaming catalog! 

8.7 Fat owls!

Points in favor

  • Adult fiction and complex characters
  • Deep and addictive combat system
  • Impressive aesthetic look

Points against

  • Still too many "cross-gen" elements
  • Antagonists not exactly memorable
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