Tales of Arise, experience the early hours of Bandai Namco's expected and promising JRPG

Tales of Arise, experience the early hours of Bandai Namco's expected and promising JRPG

Tales of Arise

Tales of Arise made a lot more noise than we could expect. Yet, if you analyze it with an eye to the past, it all makes perfect sense: the first game in the series capable of making a real qualitative leap from a technical point of view, it was welcomed by the historical fanbase as a sort of messiah of the brand, plausibly capable of putting it on the same level as much more famous sagas after years of belonging to the niche of the JRPG "for great fans".

And it must be said, if there is a series capable of making that passage it is own of Tales of, given that - albeit with the necessary ups and downs - it boasts several memorable titles in its ranks and has practically always been praised for the well-calculated action gameplay as well as for the ability to know how to evolve from chapter to chapter. br>
Concentrating all the attention of the public on graphics and mechanical evolutions, however, could be a mistake. A JRPG is still a collection of many factors and the narrative and the game universe are fundamental elements to distinguish a masterpiece from a "simply" excellent title.

When they finally offered us the chance to try the first hours of Tales of Arise we immediately accepted, so as to get a better idea of ​​the narrative and characters. Here are our first impressions, after going through the entire prologue.

A plot already seen, but still epic

Tales of Arise: the extended maps have a completely different impact The narrative background of Tales of Arise is actually the victim of a strange duality: from one part of the premise is interesting and has enormous potential if well managed; on the other hand, everything revolves around some fairly common clichés, which could have original developments, but certainly cannot be gutted in the few hours we play. At the base of this JRPG, however, there is a gripping conflict between peoples, with the planet Dahna for decades now under the dominion of the powerful Rhenish who came from another world with advanced technologies and the ability to use powerful magic called artes.

You play Alphen, a mysterious boy who has lost his memory and finds himself in forced labor in one of the labor camps of Balseph, a powerful and violent Rhine general. Ours has no idea how he got there; he only knows that he has arrived there with an iron mask that he cannot stand up in any way (but through which he can see, for some strange reason), and that he does not feel any pain.

Amnesia is a narrative device abused to exhaustion, but as mentioned it can lead to really brilliant developments if managed properly. It's crystal clear after all how Alphen's identity is one of the most important elements of the game's storyline, and we're genuinely curious as to how any twists will be introduced. In addition, the identity of the protagonist is also accompanied by the story of Shionne: a mysterious girl capable of inflicting excruciating pain (involuntarily) on anyone who touches her, who suddenly enters Alphen's life and starts an inevitable chain. of events and catastrophes that lead him to escape from eternal slavery.

The two main characters, on the whole, seem well defined and the dialogues between them are often funny and well managed; in Tales the exchanges between characters have always been a mainstay of the story, and it's nice to see them reappear here too, both in classic form and with some additional cutscenes when camping. The prologue works from a story point of view, although there are no extraordinarily shocking moments nor do you find it more original than average. Overall, Tales seems to be a JRPG eager to tell his universe in detail, given the complexity of the conflict between the Rhenish and the Dahnani, and the will to characterize in detail multiple supporting actors (including villains). The prologue works from a story point of view, although there are no extraordinarily shocking moments nor do you find it more original than average. Overall, Tales seems to be a JRPG eager to tell his universe in detail, given the complexity of the conflict between the Rhenish and the Dahnani, and the desire to characterize in detail multiple supporting actors (including villains).

A snappy gameplay

Tales of Arise: Shionne lends its core to Alphen Gameplay and combat system instead, they don't take it as easy, given that we are faced with more frenetic and spectacular mechanics than in the past. That said, the progression in the first hours was gradual and well blended, perhaps precisely in the awareness that Arise could represent for many the very first Tales of.

The system is obviously always built around the same foundations as the original Linear Motion Battle System (so called because the movement in the previous Tales of was linked to imaginary lines between your character and the enemies), but in Arise the movement is freer and faster, with a system for targeting opponents similar to modern action and close to the last few chapters, and a greater emphasis on offensive and defensive maneuvers. The combos of normal hits have therefore remained - even if the presence of precise directional attacks seems less predominant - with the aim not only of doing damage but also of accumulating energy to use the aforementioned Artes: spells or abilities with variable effects, usually of elemental or positional nature.

However, there are three major innovations: a dodge capable of activating a slowdown in time and an instant counterattack if performed with the right timing, the presence of weak points on the bodies of some enemies that can be targeted and the unique abilities of each individual character that significantly modify the use in battle.

Let's be clear, said that Arise could seem a much more action title than in the past, but the truth is not exactly this: the impacts of the basic hits have however often limited effects on the enemies and the more powerful ones do not have great reactions to attacks and are only rarely stunned here ndo certain damage thresholds are exceeded or their weak points are broken. In fact, at the highest difficulties, the tactic remains a pillar of the battles, since the careful use of healing spells is central, while the best way to use the skills of your companions properly is to pause everything and actively select. the most useful artes for every situation.

Tales of Arise: the fight against a big stone golem Most of the time, it is even better to simply change characters, because the personal skills we were talking about before are usually usable only in real time, and for the moment there does not seem to be a way to activate them without the direct control of those involved. In the case of Alphen we are dealing with the ability to use powerful (but risky) fiery attacks, slow to start and with return damage, but really devastating when used properly; Shionne, on the other hand, has grenades with additional effects if you detonate them in midair, and is therefore specialized in inflicting elemental statuses as well as healing.

In the prologue we could not use other characters, yet theirs skills we had tested them in broad terms in the previous test and we confirm that the variety is really great. Only problem? The basic interface does not seem to allow you to use more than three artes at a time, so at the highest difficulties the pace of the fights could be slowed down a lot by the need to choose each action manually and reposition the protagonists at best. Nothing, however, that really spoils the gaming experience, and we believe that the mechanics will reach significant peaks in the advanced adventure. The aforementioned dodge, then, is added to a whole series of absolutely spectacular combined attacks, which often speed up the clashes with minor enemies a lot, or are fabulous to get out of a problematic situation against the bosses.

Technical sector

Tales of Arise: Shionne and Alphen The narrative is therefore promising and the gameplay seems more solid than ever, but there is still no need to forget the technical sector, because Tales of Arise is objectively the most evolved the series from this point of view, and you notice it from the first chapter. Of course, the anime style shouldn't make you think of who knows what extraordinary graphic detail, but it's still nice to see an infinitely superior care to that of the past chapters in the settings and animations, not to mention that the typical style of the series has really been taken to the limit. with maps often so beautiful that they look like a moving picture.

Too bad for a little pop in in the larger areas, which partly spoils the impact of the whole. Ah, there are several great animated cutscenes in addition to the introductory one, although we don't know if they are all animated by Ufotable or not. Another huge plus for Bandai Namco's game.

The more we try Tales of Arise, the more we like it. Of course, the structure of the game does not differ much from the best Tales of, but the renewed combat system, a really interesting and multifaceted universe, well-characterized characters and a finally evolved technical sector are more than enough elements to raise our expectations to excess. . It may not be a groundbreaking JRPG, but there is serious potential for it to be a top-quality title nonetheless. We'll see.


Technically very valid and truly remarkable art direction Layered and interesting narrative background Elaborate combat system with solid DOUBTS It is currently impossible to evaluate the validity of the narrative as a whole Have you noticed any errors?

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