Sorry Tales of Symphonia I have to say that after all these years, you are no longer my favorite Tales game. Tales of Arise is not just the best Tales game, it is one of the best RPGs that I have played in a very long time. This game is truly incredible and the best RPG of 2021 for me by quite some margin.
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The Game Review
I want to start by talking about the story that is being told here, spoiler-free of course. While there is a great cast of characters, we have two leads. Alphen is a slave and he cannot feel pain and he has a rather mysterious past. He is a fantastic protagonist who has a lot of charm and a real heart of a hero.
The other lead is called Shionne and she is part of the race that is in charge of the slaves! She has this strange thing where she cannot be touched as thorns will sprout from her body. The way that Shionne and Alphen start out kind of frosty to each other and learn to trust and like each other is done incredibly well.
The core story has so much going on and it has some pretty deep themes. Slavery, eradication of an indigenous population, and coming to terms with your privilege are just a few of the themes in the story of Tales of Arise. Now, this makes it sound like the story is all serious and heavy.
To be fair, it is, however, due to the writing and the voice acting, Tales of Arise also has a lot of charm, humor, and heart to its story as well. These humorous sections do not take away from the massive stakes of the story, instead, it helps you see the characters as real people with their own needs, troubles, and motivations.
The presentation here is just out of this world. I would rank Tales of Arise pretty high in terms of the best-looking games of 2021. It has a kind of painted look to the world and it is like you are playing through a fantasy storybook. The only little gripe I have is that the lip syncing is clearly not done to go with the English voice acting.
That is a bit of a shame as the voice acting in this game is great. There is legit not a character that I found off-putting in regards to the voice acting in this game. The music here is also fantastic, the battle music which is a mixture of classical and rock really does make you feel like you are in an epic battle.
Gameplay-wise, this is an action RPG and one of the best the genre has to offer. It is a pretty long game; you are probably looking at 50 plus hours to see it all through. You will be going on many different quests and the game does encourage you to go off and explore as well.
The combat in this game is just so satisfying. It has the typical Tales thing where you are in a kind of arena when a battle takes place. The combat has a kind of Bayonetta feel to it. The reason I say this is that it is very quick-paced and you have a dodge mechanic that slows down time a second when you pull it off.
Bosses offer more of a challenge, but overall, combat is very rewarding and I never once felt myself getting frustrated or bored with the combat. You also have to craft in the game to get new and better equipment. You can cook to give yourself various buffs and you can even find new costumes that are purely cosmetic, but they are so much fun to play around with.
I have to be honest; I have only touched the surface of what Tales of Arise offers! Epic is a term that is way overused, but that honestly is the best word to describe this game. I have played the majority of these games, dating all the way back to the GameCube! I can hand on heart say that in my opinion, this is the best the series has to offer. A contender for
- The cast of characters is fantastic
- I loved the presentation of the game
- It has some of the most satisfying combat I have experienced in an RPG
- The English lip syncing is a tad off
- I cannot think of another complaint I have with this game!