20/10/2021

⚔️ Tales of Arise | Review | PS5 | 8.5/10 | "A Tale As Old As Time" ⚔️ #TalesOfArise

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Tales of Arise is one of the games that I've been most excited about all year, finally getting to play a JRPG on the PS5 from a long-standing series that I deeply adore.

My expectations were sky high, I was counting down the days to play it; frothing at the mouth, staring at my watch, screaming at time to move more quickly… ok maybe that’s hyperbole - but I couldn’t wait to finally load the game and start my experience. 

I'm going to begin by saying how vivid and beautiful the worlds are, the game is a visual treat with bright, bombastic colours exploding in every area. Whether it was the fiery, rock-laden starting area to the luscious, green and bountiful kingdoms, later on, the game is visually stunning with diverse locations that I never felt bored exploring. 

The story is -  you play as Alphen, an amnesic slave who can't feel pain and who also has an iron mask covering his face (he still has luscious, well-kept hair as well because… come on, he is the main protagonist - his hair can't possibly be a mess!).

Alphen then meets Shionne, a woman who can't be touched without hurting the person who touches her, which - and I know what you're thinking - is rather convenient and definitely won't be a plot point in the future. Anyway, both end up joining a resistance group to overthrow the five Lords running each kingdom and take their master core.

Along the way, they meet other characters who join the group and their cause. The full story does maintain a high level of intrigue throughout, and I did want to finish the game to see how it ends. It took me about sixty hours to complete - as I also did most of the side quests, I didn’t feel the game was overly long and I was engaged throughout.

The characters in the game are mostly enjoyable, all have different character traits and beliefs. Law is young and naรฏve, Alphen is strong-headed, yet considerate and Shionne is cold with a harder edge due to her condition. These are typical characteristics for the genre, but they fit well here, and I enjoyed learning the character backstories, so it's not much of an issue. 

What is an issue is how much they bicker. It’s nonstop for multiple hours in every facet of the game, in battle they bicker with the same four or five tired lines, resting for the night? Nope, still bickering. In both un-skippable cut scenes and optional cut scenes? … yer darn tootin’ - they are still at each other's throats.

Now, I understand that some are former slaves and others are former slave owners so there are obviously going to be bad feelings for a while, so the content of the bickering doesn't bother me, it's just how it seeps into every part of the game, meaning at no point did I feel I had a respite from the constant arguing. Throwing snide, condescending remarks around for thirty hours just gets tiresome and instead of creating more intrigue, it started making me like some of the characters less. 

The gameplay is probably my favourite of the Tales series, fast and actioned packed, you have three buttons which are later expanded to six to assign specific attacks; heavy attacks, fast attacks or elemental attacks. You can also use big, signature attacks that charge up over time, each character has one of these and they all do specific things. For example, one will stop enemies charging at you, another will stop elemental attacks and hurts the opponent instead of you etc. it really makes everyone in the team feel necessary and even though you can only have four members in a party, you can still use the signature abilities of non-party members.

One slight knock is that - as you can all attack at once, your screen can fill up with a plethora of different elemental attacks and at times the screen can feel a bit too overwhelming, especially when spell-casters are involved.

Mini-game review time - farming and fishing sucked, they are no Triple Triad. I hated them, moving on.

We were kindly sent the deluxe edition of the game, which contains a lot of bonus content. You get extra costumes - some were really cool, but I'm not a fan of a lot of the skimpier outfits for the characters for two reasons.

Firstly, why would I want my heroes dressed like they are heading to the beach when they are trying to save the world fighting vicious monsters and evil dictators?

And secondly, the character Rinwell is fourteen years old, so I certainly don’t want her dressed that way for the reason that some people have the characters dress in skimpy clothes. Now, this isn't the first time I've felt this way - Persona games have gone down the same road and that’s specifically a game about kids in school. You can say I'm a stick in the mud and it's all lighthearted fan service, and that’s fine - but those costumes aren't for me. 

You also get weapons for each character in the deluxe edition and these are vastly superior to the ones you start with. the designs are cool and they lasted a nice amount of time, by about nine hours in you can craft better weapons, so you have them a good amount of time to appreciate but not too long, after all, changing weapons and gear is part of the fun with RPGs.

EXP boosts and starting Gald (the in-game currency) is included as well, these were definitely the best bits of the deluxe edition as it eased the grind that comes in pretty much every JRPG.

Even with the deluxe edition, I still had to grind to find Gald and level up to advance through the story - so without those initial bonuses, this game must be heavy on the grinding.

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