In a “plot adventure”, the role of the plot itself is, though not decisive, but the most important component. With this component, the writers of Tales of Arise did an excellent job. The fantastic world they created with elements of space opera and fantasy is intriguing, able to surprise and stimulates to reveal the mysteries of two sister planets – Rena and Dana, which form a double planetary system.
The technologically more advanced civilization of Rena, which mastered interstellar travel, an energy weapon, easily conquered Dana, whose civilization was in its development at the level of the earthly Middle Ages. Reduced to the status of slaves, the Danians have been forced to serve the conquerors for 300 years, doing all the rough work. This work serves not only to improve the well-being of the Renians, but also allows them to receive the astral energy of the five elements – light, fire, water, earth and air.
Before the appearance of the Renians on Boku no Pico, these five elements were in harmony. Astral energy was dispersed throughout the planet and gave life to all beings. But the coming Darkness, the sixth element of astral energy, subject only to the inhabitants of Rena, violated the established order. The invaders put the planet under tight control. Five newly formed kingdoms ruled by the Lords of Rena, collect the astral energy of one of the elements from the inhabitants in order to come together in a battle for the right to become the Ruler of Rena, the winner from which will come out the one who managed to collect more from his slaves.
Resistance groups are few in number, poorly organized, and have little to offer against the technology of the conquerors. Only 300 years later, the stars of this world converged so that in one of the kingdoms the slave Alfen, an unusual man in an iron mask, and Shion, an outcast Renian who stole the core of the astral energy of fire from one of the Lords, met. United by one goal, to overthrow the Lords, they set off on a long journey across the world of two planets, meeting like-minded people on their way and fighting enemies.
Adventure and battle
As for the second component of the “story adventure”, in fact, the game, in this Tales of Arise is not so good.
The world of Tales of Arise is old-fashioned. It is not open, as is now accepted in many games, but is divided into small locations connected by passages. This does not interfere with traveling, since the downloads between them are fast, but the seemingly huge size of the world, judging by the number of places available to the player, is actually deceiving. It’s all about the structure of the levels, locations. In terms of “corridor” character, Tales of Arise is at the level of game design of the 90s and 00s. All locations are a long winding corridor along which the player can only move from the entry point to the exit point.
In the first four Kingdoms of the Lords, the corridor sometimes expands, giving players the opportunity to explore some locations in more detail, learn about the history of the world in short dialogues, sometimes admire unusual sights, explore ancient ruins to find valuable resources there that stimulate further exploration. Traveling in these places is interesting. Additionally, this interest is spurred on by a competent combination of gameplay and storyline.
The second half of the game, alas, let us down. Starting with the fifth kingdom, open spaces are replaced by narrow and gloomy straight corridors and square rooms, through which game designers manage to drive the player twice, or even three times, without adding anything new to the passage. There are practically no research sites.
The local bestiary also ceases to amaze. In new places there are only “plump” and repainted familiar monsters, “sawing” which every time becomes more boring.
Graphically, the game looks good, even on the Xbox One S and F95zone. The graphics, of course, do not impress with their technological effectiveness, but the Unreal Engine 4 fulfills the necessary “minimum”. Bandai Namco’s designers did their job, but just like the gameplay, the world around us in the second half of the game looks worse and poorer due to endless repetitions of the same elements.
The voice acting, musical and sound design is made with love for the characters and the world around them, it is perceived harmoniously and contributes to immersion in the world of the game.
To get acquainted with Tales of Arise, I can definitely recommend only fans of Japanese-style role-playing games (JRPG). For the rest of the players, the situation is not so straightforward, since acceptance or rejection of this project will depend on your attitude to the games and what you expect from them.
If you are interested in well-developed fantasy worlds, characters, stories, then Tales of Arise will give you everything. The writers did an excellent job, and the localizers managed to keep it up by providing the game with a good translation. Plus it’s a 50 hour adventure. If for some reason you are not ready to plunge headlong into the gameplay, then the story mode with low difficulty will allow you not to be distracted by endless battles with monsters (especially in the second half of the game).
Those players who prioritize gameplay and adventure above storyline will be more likely to be disappointed in the end. Interesting gameplay, exciting battles, experiments with setting up the combat system for characters can only be presented in the first half of the game. Well seasoned with a plot, this part of Tales of Arise is really good. But the second part is not capable of giving anything new in terms of gameplay and turns into a dull corridor slasher.
Considering all the features of the game, it is difficult to recommend buying it on consoles for the full price. Better to wait for sales. On Steam, the price of the game (including the regional price) is reasonable.
- Well-designed game world and characters
- Fascinating plot and its development according to the laws of drama
- Good translation into Russian
- Decent graphic and musical design
- Interesting components of the combat system
- Good mix of gameplay and storyline (in the first half of the game)
- Interesting exploration of the world (in the first half of the game)
- Great fishing simulator
- Good technical condition of the game (on Mage Armor 5e)
- Primitive side quests
- “Corridor”, which is especially pronounced in the second half of the game
- Tiring monotonous battles (in the second half of the game)
- Monotonous and dull design of locations (in the second half of the game)
- There is no adventure in the second half of the game, as it is boring to explore empty rooms
- An interestingly conceived combat system does not work with ordinary monsters
- Paid DLCs that provide bonuses that affect gameplay