Personal note; This is one I’ve been keeping my eye on and am certainly excited to present to readers; proceeding Tales of Berseria, the latest instalment to the Tales franchise: Tales of Arise. Without further ado let’s get into it.
Or so that’s what I thought until my first load insta-crashed with a “something went wrong”
Right, so after starting Tales of Arise’s Demo, players are greeted with an options screen. The usual stuff like subtitles, camera speed, and tips are there – as well as some modern goodies. Players may prioritize frames or graphics on Series X/S [I’m going to presume it’s similar on PlayStation 5, given the upgrades in specs we’ve seen for this generation of consoles]. The last thing worth mentioning, with regards to settings, would be the difficulty, those being Story, Normal, Moderate and Hard.
I went with Moderate ’cause I ain’t no bitch, but I also find milk spicy.
After the settings segment, players are offered their choice of playable character (though I figured out you could switch anyways). Choices are as follows: The main protagonists are Alphen and Shionne (Swordfighter and Gunfighter/healer), accompanied by Rinwell (mage/artes [for the uninitiated, artes is Tales‘ version of magic – I suppose would be the easiest way to describe it]). We also have Law (punchy martial arts), Kisara (mace and shield tank), and Dohalim (well-rounded staff guy).
Cool, so that’s a cast and one of the most defining factors in a Tales game. So the question remains: do they mesh well? As far as I can tell, this party has good chemistry and bounce off each other quite rather pleasantly. I suppose we won’t know much more until the full release, but so far so good.
Oh, and it notifies players that each character gets a unique preview after completion of the demo.
Great, Let’s Get To Weebing
You’re then dropped into the “Land of the Green, Elde Menancia” with your chosen character & friends.
A funny detail I noticed is; if you turn around and immediately go into the next “zone”, you are teleported back to where it starts. This then takes you into a terrifyingly nightmarish loop that never ends dear god someone help m…
Anyways it’s all really…Tales-y. Fans will know what I mean.
Much of the core Tales gameplay is here – the formula has not been radically altered. Players run around on connected open maps with invisible walls, loot, NPCs, and enemies. You’ll engage with these enemies in an “arena” form of combat. If I’m not selling it, it’s better than it sounds. Additionally, players can now swim while traversing the world, so that’s cool.
After playing the Arise demo, I must admit there isn’t much story pitched here. Well, aside from the end-of-run preview for each character. Instead, what’s available here is more of a mechanical gameplay showcase. And honestly, the latest iteration of Tales feels pretty familiar, yet simultaneously sharp and fluid.
Combat initially feels chaotic until players begin to get a grip on the controls and mechanics. Then, you start to see an order in that very chaos. I keep mentioning mechanics, as Tales games tend to be fairly mechanically complex. This remains true here too as far as I can tell.
The ‘arte’ system and combo customization also remain in place. However, it feels throttled in the demo. I hope there is a further expansion on this in the full release. I understand simplifying systems to appeal to a larger audience. However, its depth in that aspect has always been a major asset.
Would You Just Look at Them? Perfect
Regardless, there’s a lot to get through here so let’s get through it. As per every other Tales game, this one is only partially voice acted. Which makes sense when considering the textbook amounts of dialogue that takes place.
Character models look far more refined than previous titles with much more detailed textures and more natural animations.
While the anime aesthetic holds it back from looking as good as today’s best ray-traced games, it still looks aesthetically pleasing. Especially when watching some of the sick looking combos such as “obelisk blade”.
We’ll Show those FFXV Dweebs What S’Mores are Really Like
There was also the inclusion of a campfire system. This allows for resting and cooking to buff the party, accompanied by a shopkeeper to buy, sell, and craft goods. This didn’t appear, however, to act as a checkpoint system.
Instead, that role seemed filled with a ‘CP’, or “Cure Points”, system. These are a metered amount of points that players can use to heal in battle and restore hp when defeated. Players seem to respawn with health according to the CP remaining. This will be clarified further upon launch.
Last note on the campfire: players can initiate conversations between party members. These are not only entertaining but sometimes informational. They also help to establish lore, world-building, or character backgrounds.
Overall, it feels like a general improvement on most, if not all fronts for the Tales series. Combat, visuals, and audio all feel, sound, and look good. While I had higher hopes for the open-world traversal, I am happy to see swimming added to widen the range, as well as more thoughtful verticle world design.
And before I forget, they added jumping too! I hope to see it utilized more in the open world. From early impressions, it seems primarily used for combat (as it opens a second menu of skills). Nonetheless, it’s a nice addition.
Controls have been positively changed up to feel more “actiony”. Additionally, the camera and movement seem less restricted to the central-lock on angle from previous titles. Accumulatively, there is a tonne of minor changes and additions here that we’re looking forward to talking more about in the future.
While we could rattle on about Tales of Arise’s demo for pages, you can play it for yourself on Playstation 4, 5, Xbox One, Series X & S. Stick around ABG for more follow-up content and a full review regarding Tales of Arise. Will you be playing on launch?
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Just a Canadian dude who’s passionate about gaming, and the industry as a whole.