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Tales of Arise is a series of five novels that has been released in English by Yen Press. The five books follow the protagonist Kirito as he climbs the ranks of the Augma, a virtual reality game company. The series tell the story of Kirito’s experience with the dangers of the online world, as well as his hopes of one day being able to leave it behind.
Tales of Arise is a brand new game developed by developer NIS America . While the game is aimed at the North American market, both the game’s voice acting and its music were performed by Japanese voice actors, in an attempt to accurately represent the world in which the game takes place. This is a practice NIS America has been careful to follow regardless of the platform the game is being released on.
At the summit of a deformed stone castle built from the rocks by slave labor, a battle rages. An amnesiac hero shouts out his name triumphantly as he vanquishes his vile foe, and a ray of living fire blazes up to the heavens.
Big fights, forgetful heroes with pointed hair, countries based around the elements – seems like standard RPG stuff, right? That’s not even close. Tales of Arise is nothing like your average RPG, much alone a Tales game. It’s a powerful, even bold, reinvention of the franchise, and one of the finest RPGs of the year.
Review of Tales of Arise: Liberate Thyself
Tales of Arise is about revolt, or more precisely, many rebellions, as the title suggests. It’s not only the major political types, but they definitely play a part.
Rena and Dahna, the twin worlds, formerly lived in peace — or maybe their life wasn’t quite that peaceful, but that’s for you to discover later — until 300 years before Arise. The Renans built Lenegis, a satellite planet and military base from which they launched an assault on Dahna, conquering its people, wiping the planet’s history, and even bending the planet’s foundations to their whim.
However, no one can be oppressed indefinitely.
It’s not uncommon for people to rebel against corrupt regimes. However, in most RPGs, just killing the villain or establishing a good ruler is sufficient. Tales of Arise, on the other hand, responds to the question, “What if a historian, political theorist, and social scientist collaborated on a video game?”
It takes off where most RPGs end off, with the countries of Dahna serving as animated case studies on enslavement theory, revolt, and imperialism, with many obvious and unsettling real-world similarities.
One area is undeniably modeled on Stalin’s Soviet Union and the delusional self-destruction engendered by his repressive government. Another area seems to be a paradise, where benign Renans coexist peacefully with enslaved Dahnans in a society based on Enlightenment-era egalitarian ideals.
No amount of idealism, however, can mask the condescending paternalism that underpins those ideologies and the reluctant ruler who is responsible for putting them in place.
It doesn’t end there for Arise. With a few exceptions, it follows through on every topic, and it isn’t satisfied to settle for simple, black-and-white solutions to tough issues.
It also inverts RPG clichés at times — the reason why each area is defined by a distinct element sticks out in particular — but more importantly, Arise inverts Tales itself.
Tales creates complex worlds with more fancy fantasy names, battles, and official professions than most people can recall, but accomplishes nothing with them. That’s just fine! Despite the needless intricacy, Tales of the Abyss is one of the series’ best tales.
Arise peels away those layers to concentrate on the fundamental ideas it wishes to explore, which organically develop from there.
Characters are also subjected to a more focused emphasis. Almost any character could play the part of the feisty prodigy or the raunchy older guy in a tale with a few changes in the wording. That’s just good, too! There’s much to be said about tweaking the familiar, but Arise is evidence that Bandai was serious about a fresh start for the series.
It includes characters that fall into stereotypes at times, but who mainly create the narrative with their quirks, wants, and life experiences. They’re unhappy individuals, whether they’re children or adults. Tales of Arise comes close to being “if Yoko Taro wrote Tales.”
The series’ trademark levity can still be seen throughout, particularly in sketches and anything Hootle-related. However, it is mainly a serious tale, which is appropriate given the issues explored in Arise. It sometimes veers towards melodrama, as do most RPGs, but Arise deserves its sorrow.
It’s probable that your level of agreement with this will differ. One of the greatest risks Bandai made with Arise was pacing, and here is another no-fluff area. As a result, Arise leaves certain important aspects of its depth to the imagination, such as the aftermath of revolt, as Alphen and the party go on with their liberation objective.
Although some may view this as a more superficial approach to world-building, it fits in the context of Arise’s narrative. Bandai, on the other hand, will not be able to get away with it a second time. Tales of Arise establishes a new benchmark for the series’ narrative, and in the lack of DLC to build on it, future Tales volumes will have to exceed it, particularly in terms of character development.
Character depth is increased through skits, and the new camping function allows you to discover even more about your party members at certain moments. However, there isn’t much time for encounters that aren’t directly connected to the primary plot.
This may be seen as a disadvantage by some long-time supporters. One of the series’ distinguishing features is its ability to create a strong party dynamic via sequences that are frequently unrelated to the narrative. Alphen’s party, on the other hand, is a real motley band, and as with most such groups, devotion to their goal is what first brings them together.
It’s a unique method, but one that ultimately strengthens the party’s connections. You believe Alphen and feel the weight of his beliefs as he attempts to persuade one of them that they are really friends, not simply comrades working together. After all they’d been through up to that point, how could you not be?
Strong production values are often traded for excellent writing and a more comprehensive approach to narrative in RPGs, but Arise has both. Arise’s fundamental qualities, as well as its visuals, are enhanced with excellent voice acting, fluid and emotive character models, and an epic soundtrack.
There are a few of small snags. Texture pop-in occurs sometimes in Arise, particularly in places with many rock formations, although NPCs and non-voiced speech are the only notable issues.
It also extensively recycles NPC models. Sound bytes are used instead of complete voice acting in quest speech, which may result in some inadvertently humorous and sometimes slightly unsettling scenarios when the byte doesn’t fit the context at all. The uncontrolled laughing of the Village Man after Alphen solved his issue may haunt my nightmares for the rest of my life.
Every Tales game that is meant to be a milestone changes the fighting in some manner, and Arise is no exception, taking a more deliberate approach to narrative. Every party member has their own set of standard attacks and artes, as well as a perk that increases the effectiveness of regular attacks. Rinwell the mage, for example, may interrupt a spell, charge it, and then stack it with another spell to get access to high-tier magic before learning it.
Each character also has a boost gauge, which allows them to perform unique interrupt attacks that inflict massive damage to certain opponent kinds or aid in the containment of specific dangers.
There are also dodge counters, overlimits, and special artes associated with that condition, as well as showy techniques performed with a different character if you connect together enough hits in a combination.
Although enemy varieties are limited in Arise, the game’s balance of attacks, boosts, and combinations ensures that no fight is monotonous. Button spamming won’t get you very far in Arise, and this is especially true of the game’s stunning monsters. A new method to healing makes you reconsider your party’s tactics as well. Healing artes are linked to a point system that depletes with each recovery arte, therefore it’s crucial to prepare ahead.
The title system, which is a novelty for the series, will teach you new artes and passive skills. In Arise, the skill tree is called titles. Earning a new one gives five new powers, and purchasing them all in a title grants a permanent boost of some kind.
The skill tree also indicates what you’ll need to access neighboring panels. It’s a lot more easy way of looking for titles than normal, as well as a strong motivation to see as much of Arise as possible.
Dahna’s vast, gorgeous kingdoms are no exception. Outside of cities, there isn’t much to do, but exploring the countryside for ingredients, recipes, and equipment makes excursions worthwhile. With this and the stunning graphics, Bandai has regained control of its world design after losing it with Zestiria.
Agriculture is one of the victims of pace that must be overlooked. Despite the fact that farming is heavily featured in Arise’s marketing, it is a rather harsh footnote in your adventure. After obtaining a barn in the third realm, you’ll fill it with animals, and that’ll be the end of it. Raise, eat, and repeat.
You can’t even engage with the animals, much alone raise them for cuddles or protection. Perhaps Bandai was planning for a sequel in the vein of Animal Farm, but it’s an unusual addition.
Review of Tales of Arise — The Bottom Line
- A thoughtful tale that pushes the boundaries of how RPGs deal with politics.
- Approach to pace and narrative delivery that is new and effective
- The cast is strong and compassionate.
- Exceptional production values
- The battle is engrossing and clever.
- NPCs that have been recycled and irritating sound bytes
With Tales of Arise, Bandai sought a fresh start, and the team delivered. The risks of presenting a different type of tale — and in a different manner — were well worth it. It’s not just one of the greatest Tales games; it’s one of the best Tales games in general. Arise is without a doubt one of the best RPGs released in recent years.
[Note: The copy of Tales of Arise used for this review was supplied by Bandai Namco.]
Tales of Arise is a fantasy class and skill based MMORPG that is based on the culmination of the anime series Tales of Arise , which has been running since 1998. For those of you who don’t know, the series revolves around a group of teens who get transported to a world where magic and mythical creatures roam.. Read more about tales of arise ps5 review and let us know what you think.
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