Tales of Arise has one of the most fun and engaging combat systems out there. That being said, there is a ton to take into account during every single combat encounter. What starts off simple, quickly becomes a very complex combat system and if you miss the tutorials, you’re going to be out of luck, so make sure you pay attention as there are a bunch of moving parts here to keep. A good amount of the combat system is also unlocked through progression in the story and side events, so some of this might be considered spoilers. You’ve been warned, so let’s dive in.
How the Combat System Works in Tales of Arise
Tales of Arise introduces a dodging system that hasn’t been seen in the series before and it is incredibly important to get down in order to survive the toughest foes. How it works is you need to press the dodge button right before an enemy attack. If you time it right, you will slow down time and be able to counter attack, dealing a ton of damage. Not only are physical attacks dodgeable, but so are Astral Arte attacks. Dodging Astral Arte attacks is very tough to time, but you can often figure out the right moment by watching the meter on the enemies Astral Arte and timing your button press as it gets full. Dodging is the only way in the game to avoid all damage from an attack, so getting used to the timing is crucial to your success in the combat system.
In addition to all the flashy and special attacks you’ll be pulling off in Tales of Arise, there are also just the plain old basic ones. These are different for every character and vary greatly depending on if you are a ranged or melee character. For example, Alphen uses a sword, so his basic attacks are up close. Rinwell on the other hand uses Astral Artes, so her basic attacks are long-range magic attacks. These attacks can also be used mid-air as well, so comboing enemies into an insane amount of hits is very much commonplace in Tales of Arise. As you progress through your skill tree, you can upgrade your basic attacks to have more hits to them, further increasing your ability to rack up damage.
Your special attacks per character in Tales of Arise are called Artes. These come in many different forms and all revolve around the Soul Gauge. Your Soul Gauge is represented by diamonds above your character. These increase through your progression in the skill tree and the more you have, the more Artes you will be able to pull off. Some Artes take up only one diamond, while others may take up 3. There are two different kinds of Arte types. You have your melee and physical attacking Artes and you have your Astral Artes. Astral Artes are essentially the magic system in this game and characters like Shionne and Rinwell specialize in them. These attacks are always elemental-based, so they are important to use when taking on creatures that specialize in an element. Normal Artes can have elements attached to them as well though and which element they are using is detailed in the Arte selection screen. You can connect one Arte attack to the other which creates Arte combos and is the sole way you unlock Boost Attacks. Comboing your Artes is the best way to build up damage quickly and depending on how long your Soul Gauge is, you can keep this going for quite a while. If your Soul Gauge runs out, you will no longer be able to perform Artes of any kind. At this point, you need to use Basic Attacks to refill your gauge. Luckily, this happens pretty quickly, so you should never be without your Artes for too long.
Involving your teammates in your attacks in Tales of Arise makes up a huge part of the battle system and it all begins with Boost Attacks. You achieve a Boost Attack after performing Arte combos and when a character’s face lights up in the bottom left of the screen, you can select the direction on the D-Pad and they will perform a Boost Attack. Boost Attacks are unique because while they can deal a lot of damage, their prime use is to inflict an effect on the enemy. Law’s Boost Attack for example can break an enemy’s shield and leave them wide open for attack. Rinwell’s on the other hand can absorb an enemy spell that is being cast and use it against them. Each character has a unique effect to their Boost Attack and experimenting with different ones is part of the fun here.
When an enemy is near defeat, your Boost Attacks become Boost Strikes and raise the damage dealt considerably. During a Boost Strike you will combine with another party member to perform a flashy finishing move. Each character has different attacks depending on who you combine with, and all will deal different amounts of damage. When you have satisfied the conditions for a Boost Strike, a giant, Glowing D-Pad will appear on the screen and pressing any direction from there will unleash a Boost Strike. These are great weapons to finish off battles with, so it’s advisable that you wait until an enemy is about to be finished before using one. Boost Strikes don’t always end the battle, so be careful that you aren’t using one before you really need to.
Essentially the Limit Breaks of Tales of Arise, Mystic Artes are huge, over-the-top finishing moves that you can activate once you hit a certain point in the story. The way you unlock Mystic Artes is by entering Overdrive mode. You get to this state by attacking a lot which builds up the Overdrive meter. ONce in this mode, you will see your character glowing. This means that while the mode is active, you can use any Arte as much as you want with no Soul Gauge penalty. At any point during Overdrive, you can press two of your Arte buttons at the same time to activate a Mystic Arte. Mystic Artes are far more powerful than Boost Strikes and can turn the tide of the battle in a hurry. The trick here is that the Overdrive meter doesn’t last forever, so you need to be wary of how many Arte attacks you can fit in before you have to use the Mystic Arte. There isn’t just one either as characters have multiple ones they can unlock with each being stronger than the next.
Getting the hang of the various systems in play will make you far more likely to survive the challenging encounters thrown at you in Tales of Arise, so hopefully this guide has helped you out a bit.
Tales of Arise is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.