Tales of Arise is the latest in the long-running series and it aimed to make the game a bit more accessible this time around. That being said, there are still a ton of mechanics to get down and get familiar with quickly before you can really play the game the way it is meant to be played. Not only is the combat system complex, but there are multiple characters who all play completely differently that you’ll want to master as well. You also have to get to know the cooking system, the crafting system, and the side quest system too. Below we will detail everything you need to know when starting out on this epic journey.
One of the most important parts of Tales of Arise is figuring out just which of the six characters you are going to use. You only start out with one, but soon enough you’ll find yourself amassing quite the party to deal with, and with each one playing completely differently than the next, you’ll see there is quite a bit to juggle with. While some playing will want to mainly play as certain characters, the best way to dominate your enemies in this game is by switching characters constantly mid-fight.
For example, you might find yourself playing as Alphen, but realize you don’t have any Fire Artes to use against an opponent who is weak to it, from there you switch to Shionne who lights up the opponent with a Fire Arte, and then you quickly switch back to Alphen for the final array of attacks. This tag-team format is not only suggested but heavily encouraged. This brings us to the combat.
Learning How to Fight
Although Tales of Arise might seem like a hack and slash game from the outset, the combat quickly shows itself to be a bit more sophisticated than that and it becomes very important to pay attention to the various tutorials. Combat is broken down into several different mechanics.
Blocking has long been a part of the Tales series, but that is no longer the case as Tales of Arise decided to forgo that ability and instead focus on a timed dodge for your main form of defense. How this works is you now need to time your button press according to the enemy’s attack. What makes this unique is this isn’t just for physical attacks, but enemy’s Arte attacks too. By getting your timing down and learning your enemy’s moves, you can essentially make it so that you are untouchable as the dodge ability does not run out. Dodging on time also opens up your opponents to offensive attacks as well.
Counters and Counter Edge
When you execute a perfectly timed dodge, you can attack with something called Counter edge and you will be rewarded with a slick, slow-mo effect that gives you a second to process your next button input. From here, using basic attack will zip you across the battlefield to whoever’s attack you dodged and lay into them with a powerful counter-attack. This is only the base ability though. as progression through your skill tree will unlock further counter moves such as being able to immediately use a counterattack following your defeat of an enemy on the next available enemy on the battlefield. Countering is pretty important on the lower difficulties and absolutely vital on the harder ones.
Early on in Tales of Arise, you will only have a few different Artes to choose from, regardless of that though, you will start out with at least two Artes, and with that comes the ability to create combos. Combos are when you use one Arte after the other, often setting up a long chain of strikes that can deal some impressive damage in a short period of time. Each Arte takes up a certain amount of the Soul Gauge, so you can’t use them infinitely, although basic attacks will build this gauge up in a short amount of time if you run low. The thing to keep in mind is that combos are most effective when switching up your Arte’s from attack to attack. If you choose to just spam one Arte attack though, the damage will go down each time you use it, so it’s best to experiment with different Artes that lead into each other. For example, several Artes allow you to launch your enemy into the air. Once in the air, you get access to 3 completely different Artes that can juggle your opponents or smash them into the earth for huge damage. Just starting out, you should definitely be looking for combos that start on the ground, go into the air, and then end back on the ground to get the best damage. Figuring out which ones lead best into each other is part of the fun.
The Tales series has always emphasized multiple playable characters and here with Tales of Arise, not only can you switch between characters, but you can summon them to perform devastating attacks when the boost gauge is full. They could’ve just stopped here and said these attacks do massive damage and that’s all, but nope, Tales of Arise wants a bit more out of you here. See, with certain characters, the boost attack is a crucial part of taking down some of the game’s toughest bosses. The best example of this is Rinwell’s boost attack is to cancel out the Artes that are being cast by enemies. That means if an enemy is about to unleash some devastating spell on you as they tend to do if you have Rinwell’s boost attack ready to go, she will not only cancel the enemy’s Arte but absorb it for herself to be used later in the battle. Learning the intricacies of what each boost attack does is crucial and luckily a tutorial will pop up showing you exactly what they do when you gain a new character. Some are very creative, so I won’t spoil the fun for you here.
Much like the Boost Attack, the Boost Strike will utilize your teammates. Here, instead of directing one to unleash a powerful attack, you will team up and unleash a devastating blow straight out of an anime show. Usually, these attacks will end the battle outright, though some of the more powerful foes in the game can take multiple of these without breaking a sweat, so results may vary. In order to active the Boost Strike, the enemy needs to be near death and you will need at least two characters with a full Boost Attack gauge. Once these conditions are met, you will get a notification of your D-Pad appearing in bright glowing blue on top of the enemy, and pressing any direction at this point will activate the attack. Different combos of characters will have different attacks and effects to go along with them.
I don’t know about you, but I love me a good super attack in JRPGS, and Tales of Arise spares no expense as Mystic Artes are some of the most visually impressive and devastating attacks in the game. The way you build up the Mystic Arte attacks are by attacking and chaining combos together. Do this enough times and you’ll unlock the ability to go into Overdrive mode, at which point your Artes no longer have a limit to how many times they can be used and you can go completely nuts on your enemies. Pressing two of your Arte attacks at once during this time will activate your Mystic Arte attack which will do an insane amount of damage.
Similar to the Gambit system utilized in Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, Tales of Arise allows you to get a bit more hands-on with how your characters control than usual. In this menu both out of and during combat, you can change the behaviors of your characters for both attacking and healing. These menus give you the option to go general such as the “Go All Out” option, or they let you micromanage even further, creating a custom strategy and choosing which items the character can use depending on the percentage of health left or based on how many enemies are left. Considering your health doesn’t recover automatically after battles, these strategies can be awfully important when getting through a tough area and you definitely want to do a deep dive here to craft a strategy that supports your playstyle.
Cooking is shockingly useful and important in Tales of Arise. Throughout the open areas, you will often see glimmering blue items strewn about and while these items may vary, a lot of the time they include ingredients. With these ingredients, you can concoct a number of different meals at resting sites. These meals have an enormous impact on your party as they can cause a variety of different beneficial effects. One dish might give your party increased damage, while another is could severely increase your elemental defense. Because of this, it’s heavily recommended that you try and collect as many ingredients as you can as you never know when a big battle is around the corner. In addition to affecting the gameplay, there are also hilarious cutscenes involved with cooking such as one where Alphen cooks and the rest of the party thinks they’ve been poisoned.
Side Quests are available once again in Tales of Arise in the form of NPC’s that generally stand around in most of the many hub areas and ask for your help with various things. The quests vary as one might have you trying to save a soldier and another could have you judging someone based on their fashion choices or collecting a certain amount of a rare item. They are nothing to write home about, but some are clever and more importantly, they give you tons of money and items most of the time and those will be crucial to upping your survival chances against tough enemies early in the game.
Cure Points are probably the most important resource you’ll have during your time with Tales of Arise. Cure Points are the fuel to any and all of your support and healing Artes in the game. That means if you want to cast a healing spell, it will cause Cure Points and the same can be said for any of the buffing Artes as well. When the Cure Point pool runs dry, that is when your healing abilities run dry as well. An item called Orange Gel can refill this, but it’s very expensive, so the best thing to do is really learn to utilize dodging and Boost Attacks to keep battles running at a fast pace so you don’t have to worry about wasting all your Cure Points. Luckily, Cure Points can be refilled at any rest area, so you should never be without them for too long. The trick here is managing the Cure Points during the long boss fights as you’ll be out of luck if you run out early.
Tales of Arise utilizes a crafting system in order to get the newest and most powerful weapons. This is instead of the basic collect X amount of money to buy a weapon and although it still will cost you a pretty penny to purchase the better weapons, there is an extra element of collecting materials as well. The special materials you need to get to craft the most powerful weapons and armor often come from the most powerful enemies on the map. You can usually find these because they are about 10 times the size of your normal enemies and usually out-level you by quite a bit. Taking down these Zeugles as Tales of Arise calls them will net you some rare material needed for crafting the best weapons. With each new area you go to, you will find a vendor that will sell some new weapons and armor, so it is always worthwhile to check when discovering a new location.
It’s a lot to take in and despite being one of the more streamlined titles in the Tales series, Tales of Arise still demands you to pay attention to its myriad of systems if you want to master the game. Hopefully, this guide has given you a starting point for what to expect when setting out on your long adventure.
Tales of Arise is available September 10th, 2021 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.
- This article was updated on September 8th, 2021