With the recent release of the Tales of Arise demo, I figured I’d give it a whirl and see what to expect once the game is released. To be honest, I’m still new to the series and haven’t experienced much, so don’t expect this post as impressions from a series veteran, but rather as someone with no real prior expectations.
So, first things first: the game is drop-dead gorgeous and although that isn’t necessary for the game to be good, it is a plus that does make me just want to roam the world in the full release. The character designs are also on point here, giving the aesthetic-obsessed part of my brain something to gush about. Honestly, this may be one of the best looking games I’ve ever experienced so far, and this is just a demo.
Also, note that I didn’t say “most realistic”, just in case you were about to roll your eyes. The visuals ooze style and I am always down for an experience like this one.
With all of that being said, I was playing on an original model PS4, so there was some very noticeable pop-in which, while I expect it, I hope it’s polished a little more upon release so it’s less drastic. If you have a pro or a PS5, this shouldn’t be an issue.
How about the combat?
Playing what I have, I think it’s a really fun combat system and the game gives the player plenty of options on what character to control, so you’ll have plenty of playstyles on your hand. I tried out the mage character, Rinwell, first. Her style seems valid for those who don’t want to get too down and dirty and like to see some nice visual feedback on the potency of spellcasting. However, it was when I switched to the paladin, Kisara, that I really got into the groove and started to explore my combos more. As a fan of tank classes, I felt right at home with her and in the main game, I’ll probably be primarily playing her.
That being said, I think the game will be at its best when the player switches characters here and there, allowing for some nice variety, which keeps the game from becoming too stale in its combat.
On the original model PS4, there was some very minor lag with the flashier moves that have heavier particle effects, but it didn’t hamper the experience and really just hickuped for a couple frames.
I also want to add that the encounters thrown at me in the demo were handled very easily and I hope to see some real challenge in the full release, which should be no problem since they have four difficulties to choose from: Story, Normal, Moderate, and Hard. I was playing on the default normal setting, so if you want a challenge, I’d beef up the difficulty setting for your playthrough.
The last thing I’d like to touch on is the characters. The demo doesn’t shy away from showing some interactions that pop up for you to experience, in the form of an option by pressing R1 while roaming the overworld. So, traveling banter seems like it’s going to be very prominent in this title, and as long as it doesn’t happen too much, I think these moments add a lot of likeability to the cast. I already like this party of heroes and I’m going to love seeing more.
There was also plenty of dialogue in the demo, as this is still an RPG and they always love their conversations. They definitely weren’t too much, either, which is good for a demo. I’d expect more dialogue-heavy interactions in the full release, since you’ll be in more situations than just overworld questing.
One thing to note is that they do throw a lot of tutorials at you in the demo and I found those a little annoying, as I usually do. However, given that the mechanics are pretty easy to follow, I imagine you won’t see them much past the opening hours of the game upon full release.
Overall, playing this demo has made me very excited to play Tales of Arise in the future. If you’re a fan of Action RPGs, I’d recommend you give this title a proper go, because I don’t think it’ll disappoint. Do I think it’s worth $60? To be honest, I don’t think new games should be that price, but if you’re just itching for this game and have the money, I think you’ll get your money’s worth.
The game is set to release September 10 on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Microsoft Windows.