Tales of Arise has not only given us a modern take on the long-running franchise but has also given us the best all-around experience in the franchise. This is in no small part due to the fantastic combat that’s introduced. It’s free-flowing, fast-moving, and insane looking, all while maintaining all of the classic beats that Tales’ fans have loved for over two decades. As much as it pays homage to its past roots though, it does just as much to break from that mold and do its own thing. One of those things from the past is the inclusion of a blocking button. That is pretty much gone in Tales of Arise, so let’s figure out how to stop damage in other ways.
How To Guard in Tales of Arise
Well, you can’t, at least not in the way you traditionally think of blocking. At no point will you see the classic, sword horizontal to block damage stance coming from any of your characters. The reason for this is Bandai Namco wanted to make this combat system feel more modern and took a page out of the legendary book of Bloodborne in order to form its’ defense system. The result is the removal of the block button that has been a mainstay for over 25 years and the introduction of the dodge and roll button.
Dodging is the single most important factor in Tales of Arise’s complex combat system and becoming a master at this will ensure you take as little damage as possible. When pressed, your character will perform an evasive maneuver, and this maneuver can be used to dodge just about every single attack in the game.
Pressing the dodge button while standing still and away from harm will do a dodge in real-time, however, if you time it right before an enemy’s attack hits, then you enter a slow-motion phase where you can unleash a powerful counter-attack. Executing a perfect dodge is key to beating the toughest enemies in the game. The great thing here is that physical attacks and Astral Arte attacks can all be dodged if timed correctly.
If you press the dodge button while moving, you will instead perform a roll. Rolling is a fantastic way to escape enemies that use spread-style attacks and this is especially handy in some boss fights where you can’t afford to risk doing a perfect dodge. Rolling is a far less rewarding move to pull off, but it keeps you safer and when it comes to avoiding damage, this is your best bet by far.
Law’s Boost Attack
Although both Law and Alphen come with the ability to break an enemy’s defenses with their Boost Attacks, only Law’s hits fast enough to stop any damage from coming your way. If you time it right while having Law’s Boost Attack filled, you can stop any damage about to come to you from at least a physical attack perspective. The reason for this is that Law’s quick Boost Attack will knock an enemy out most of the time and therefore cancel whatever attack they had planned for you. This is a last-ditch effort way to guard against attacks though and is not recommended unless you get surprised by a move that you weren’t ready for.
The only true way to traditionally guard against attacks in the game is by playing as Kisara. See, Kisara carries a big freakin shield, and to have her dodge out of the way would seem dumb considering…she carries a big freakin shield. Thankfully, Kisara actually puts this shield to use as when you play as her, the dodge button simply raises the shield to defend from oncoming damage. This doesn’t exclude her from counterattacking either as timing her block properly will lead to her gaining the same slow-down effect as everyone else.
To make her even more valuable in battle, Kisara’s Boost Attack will straight up stop any charging enemy in their tracks and knock them out, opening them up for big-time damage. While not the most fun to play as, Kisara is vital to have in your party when you just can’t figure out how to get away from an enemy’s attack.
Generally, a singular enemy like a boss for instance will target the player’s character, so switching to Kisara to absorb some of the damage during a tough fight can completely turn the tides in your favor as your party chips away while you play the defensive side for a bit.
Dodging is one of the most fun parts in Tales of Arise surprisingly, so get that timing down and you’ll be dominating the Renan Lords in no time.
Tales of Arise is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC.
- This article was updated on September 13th, 2021