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Tales of Arise - First Impressions / Review


Developer: Bandai Namco

Publisher: Bandai Namco

Reviewed on: PS5

Also available on: PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One

Release: 10th September 2021

Rating: M

Price: $99.95


There was an air of apprehension around Bandai-Namco‘s latest instalment into the beloved “Tales of” franchise. From the moment the teaser trailer dropped, it was apparent that Tales of Arise was going to take on a much darker tone than previous instalments, and I’m here to tell you… They have absolutely nailed it. I’m Aaron, and these are my first impressions of Tales of Arise.

I’m around 25 hours deep as I write this, and I am absolutely enthralled. From the fluid, exhilarating and deep combat system to the gripping and at times emotional story to

the likeable cast of characters and party members, Tales of Arise feels like the most complete and polished title the series has seen for some time.

The combat alone is something that immediately comes to mind when thinking about the game's polish, particularly compared to some of the previous titles in the franchise (looking at you Vesperia). It’s fast paced, exciting, addictive and there are a plethora of artes and other abilities to sink your teeth into, not to mention plenty of party members to experiment with to find the play style that best suits you.

Wherever you go, there are monsters to fight, treasures to find, NPC’s to talk to and help, and an abundance of side activities to get completely lost in (is it really a JRPG without fishing?!).

The music is something that also sticks in my mind. In short, it’s absolutely brilliant. From the main battle theme, to the boss themes to the overworld music and overall setting the tone for the game, it’s just superb.

Something else worth mentioning is the visual style here. The game is gorgeous with a variety of completely different locales from sand swept deserts to snow capped mountains. Everywhere you turn, the game is absolutely stunning to look at.

I am playing with Japanese voice acting, so I can not really talk about that, and again… it’s phenomenal, with actually very good lip sync.

Now, with all of this praise, you must be thinking, Yo, Aaron, does this game even do anything wrong? My answer…. Weeeell… the translation can be a little wonky at times, to go along with a few spelling errors here and there. I have also experienced a little bit of pop in and wonkiness with the textures loading in too late, plus a few small bugs here and there.

However, other than those very few nit-picks, they’re the only ones I have thus far.

In conclusion, Tales of Arise has not only met my lofty expectations, but it’s completely blown them out of the water. I would say that this is the best JRPG I have played in 2021, just edging out Ys IX. I have a lot to go to compete in this game, but all I can say is if you’re on the fence about whether or not you should get it, my advice: take the plunge, you won’t regret it.

Tales of Arise is so good in fact that we are shortlisting it for our GOTY awards coming in November... Who do you think could win? Let us know in the comments.


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