Tales of Arise represents the biggest step forward Bandai Namco’s long-running action RPG series has taken in a long while, and newcomers and fans alike will be jumping in with both feet to see how it fares. Like with any JRPG, Tales of Arise is a pretty big game with plenty to wrap your head around, so as you prepare to dive into the game, here, we’ll be going over a few handy pointers that you should keep in mind.
Tales of Arise’s combat starts out simple, but over several hours, introduces new layers and elements at a regular clip. All said, there’s a lot going on here, and while we’ll be getting to some of the more advanced tips in a bit, let’s first talk about the fundamentals. For instance, spamming attacks- in a fast, action-oriented combat system such as this one, it’s all to easy to begin resorting to constantly spamming one or two attacks that you like. Tales of Arise, however, actually penalizes you for that, because if you use the same move four or more times in a row, it will become less effective and deal less damage. Make sure to properly use your whole move set, including standard attacks, artes, and aerial attacks.
Something else to keep in mind is your enemies’ break gauges. Keep attacking enemies and deal enough damage, and they’ll enter a Break state, in which they’ll be rendered completely immobile and defenseless for a few seconds, allowing you a healthy window in which to deal more damage. Enemies can be tricky in different ways, from being too fast too flying around erratically to having thick armour, so getting them into a Break state has obvious benefits.
Smaller enemies or the kind that you encounter more frequently don’t present any significant threat in combat, but you will still cross paths with more than a few challenging foes in Tales of Arise. Many of these bosses and minibosses will have specific weak points that may not be very well hidden, but the enemies do try to move around and keep them inaccessible. Every chance you get though, make sure you attack those weak points to deal greater damage and have a better chance of temporarily downing the enemy.
Boost strikes are some of the strongest and most useful attacks you can make use of in Tales of Arise. Two characters come together to perform a special move that can instantly kill most enemies, and chip way a healthy chunk of even a boss’ health. Best of all, Tales of Arise encourages to use Boost strikes often, and activating them isn’t terribly hard. Chaining multiple hits using your attacks and artes in combo will give you the chance to trigger a Boost strike. As such, it’s best to keep attacking enemies without too many pauses and executing dodges properly so that you don’t lose your attack chain by getting hit.
A few hours into Tales of Arise, you’ll be introduced to Over Limits, which is, functionally speaking, a rage mode. Either by taking enough damage from enemies or by executing multiple perfect dodges, whatever character you’re controlling will activate their Over Limit. Over Limits are, of course, temporary, but in this state, you have an unlimited artes gauge, which means you can use as many artes as you want pretty much constantly until the Over Limit is deactivated. So yeah, it’s pretty useful, which means nailing the perfect dodge is key (unless you just want to keep taking damage, which isn’t exactly advisable).
Another thing that makes Over Limits extremely useful is that you get to use Mystic Artes, which, as their name implies, are special, extremely powerful artes that deal a lot of damage to foes. Of course, the catch is that as soon as you use a Mystic Arte, your Over Limit is deactivated. The trick here is to save your Mystic Arte until you’re seconds away from exiting the Over Limit state- especially during boss fights, where dealing constant damage throughout long fights is key.
We’ve spoken quite a bit about Tales of Arise’s combat, but there’s plenty else going on in the game as well. When you’re exploring the world, every so often you’ll come across campsites, where you can rest and heal up, purchase weapons and items, and have conversations with characters. That last bit is important to keep in mind though. Every time you camp, make sure you talk to one of your party members to increase your bond with them. You can only speak to one character every time you camp though, so if you get the chance to increase your bond with several, make sure you think about which character you want to increase your bond with.
Another crucial activity tied to camps (and even inns) is cooking. Collecting ingredients, finding recipes, and cooking meals is a pretty important part of Tales of Arise’s loop. Every time you camp or stay at an inn, you can cook one of several meals (depending on which recipes and ingredients you have), each of which provide unique buffs. From boosting how much XP you gain to increasing your attack power to increasing how much loot enemies drop, meals can be very useful while their effects are still activated. Every time you camp or rest, then, make sure to cook a new meal if the effects of your previous one are about to run out. Basically, you should have the effects of a meal activated non-stop.
Collectibles in Tales of Arise take a pretty unusual form. Scattered throughout its world are owls, and finding them yields various rewards, from cosmetic items to useful items and equipment (once you trigger a specific side quest a few hours into the game). That, of course, means that you should always be on the lookout for owls. They’re often hidden very cleverly in the environments, which means you have to look carefully, though they do make a very distinctly audible (and frankly, a little weird) hooting sound that grows louder the closer you get to them. Also, a few hours into the game, you also get access to an owl companion of your own than alerts you anytime there are owls nearby, so make sure to keep an eye on him while exploring as well.
This goes without saying for anyone who’s familiar with the Tales franchise, so newcomers, pay attention- Tales of Arise, like its predecessors, is full of skits, or conversations between its main cast of characters with quite a bit of character and plot development, exposition, and new tidbits of lore and backstory being dropped. These are scattered throughout the game and regularly pop up, and each time they do, you’ll see a prompt on the bottom right of your screen. Keep an eye out for that, because they’re honestly quite easy to miss. They serve an important purpose where the storytelling is concerned, so you don’t want to be missing these.