Tales of Arise - Proven

We tried the Tales of Arise demo, available on the PlayStation and Xbox stores for free starting the day before yesterday. Here are our considerations!

The videogame September, as per a long tradition, is a fundamental hub for the entire videogame season. Many releases, even important ones, often focus in this direction, putting both players and professionals in a mixed situation between anxiety, excitement and waiting, often very sweet but unnerving. And, if sports games aren't for you, also for this 2021 the releases of the month of September promise products that are as important as they are expected in the homes of all players.

Among these, both objectively and for a purely personal speech of the writer, there is certainly Tales of Arise, the last chapter of one of the most long-lived and appreciated JRPG sagas, now also in our country. The title, in fact, represents that necessary and long-awaited turning point for a saga that has always been able to cheer its fans, even though it was approaching too dangerously to that “more of the same” status from chapter to chapter.

With Tales of Arise Bandai Namco wanted to go big, giving the production a new and splendid look, jealously built with the same threads, to use a metaphor, which have made the fortune of a saga that has become a real cult for all lovers of Japanese productions.

Tales of Arise: The most ambitious Tales of ever?

Tales of Arise brings with it a baggage full of novelties, therefore, but perfectly mixed with the solid and peculiar identity of the brand, starting from the most important: the narrative.

While underlining the fact that the demo we tested does not give almost any information on what we are going to experience at a narrative level, it is necessary to make a small recap of what we know about the new chapter of the saga. Following the lines of the excellent Tales of Berseria, Bandai Namco has decided to focus again on more mature and less fantasy themes, bringing to the screen a story in which the sense of oppression, fear, pain and the specter of failure are always around the corner.

The two protagonists (but in reality the whole cast seems to have a fundamental role in the story) Shionne and especially Alphen they represent the last bulwark against the Empire of Rena, which for several generations has held the kingdom of Dahna under its dark yoke, splendid and welcoming but at the same time inhospitable and dark, due to the influence of the forces of evil.

Although it may seem obvious and already seen (and in some ways it is also so) the narrative inception seems to work properly, thanks also to the choice of the developers to offer a story even more focused on the main story, in which even the supporting actors themselves they seem to play a fundamental role both on a playful and thematic level, so much so that the adjective "supporting actors" seems to be questioned.

The journey of Alphen, Shionne, Rinwell, Kisare, Law and Dohalim it will therefore be long and full of difficulties, but it will be precisely the latter to furrow an indissoluble bond between the young heroes, whose implications, however, we will be able to deepen and explore in the most complete way once we have the complete copy of the game in our hands.

A special JRGP Action, but for all tastes

Let's face it, the main focus of this demo was definitely on one aspect of the game in particular: the gameplay. Historically speaking, in fact, the Tales of saga has always made the combat system its workhorse, and of course Tales of Arise does not deviate from this essential dogma of the brand.

Once we got on the pitch (after overcoming the shock of the graphic impact, but we'll talk about it later) we immediately set off in search of an opponent, useful precisely to let us test firsthand the playful feats on which we were ready to bet since. from the beginning, and with reason. According to our tests, in fact, Tale of Arise is a practically perfect game in terms of the combat system and playful opportunities, and it took us a few minutes to understand it.

A little while ago we told you about the great care given to the cast and not by chance, also because this care extends and indeed reveals itself in an overbearing and preponderant way precisely by analyzing the gameplay and the structure of the game's combat system. At the start of the game, the demo allows you to select which hero to use to try out the Bandai Namco adventure, which, believe us, will heavily (and every time) change your approach to the game.

Each character is in fact unique in the movements and in the type of attacks, dodges and combined skills, all historical elements of the saga and which come back with force here, expanding dramatically in a simple but at the same time satisfying and damn layered combat system.

In this context, elements such as Arts and Assaults, already seen in the old Tales but which here take on a decidedly superior aesthetic and practical value. Each character therefore has unique abilities and by selecting the directional keys it is also possible to recall them for a special attack, mainly useful for exhausting the opponent and exposing him to assaults, which often end the battle in the most spectacular and "painful" way (for enemies) possible.

If we really wanted to nitpick in all this, well, that could be linked to the excessive chaos that these techniques, especially if used simultaneously with the allies moved. dall'IA (in this regard it seems to us that a good job has been done overall), they can bring to the screen, making some passages of the clashes less clear.

It reminded us a bit of a rose, the combat system of Tales of Arise, beautiful and "simple" to see but in reality more complex and layered than it may seem, and has fully convinced us, making us on more than one occasion bestow a warm smile, a mixture of childish emotion and objective appreciation for a job that seems to have been done with maniacal care.

Password: exploration

We repeated the demo several times, just to test the gameplay differences between a character and the other, and for this reason we have also had the opportunity to try the exploration and see how the game world is majestically populated (not only by monsters, clearly visible on the screen), pulsating, full of things to discover and, apparently, to do, although not revolutionary but still functional to the gaming experience.

The demo, precisely in this regard, has been able to exploit the portion of the game (located in a central phase of the story) to present some mechanics, such as the cooking, resting at the camps and crafting of objects.

By resting at the campers, indicated on the game map with the symbol of a bonfire, it is possible to “recharge the batteries” before the next battles but not only. Once camped it is in fact possible to cook, using the raw materials found by exploring the game world or defeating enemies, with the possibility of unlocking very useful bonuses in battle for one or another character, depending on the dish, which could be more appreciated. from Shionne to Law and so on.

Not only that: at the camps it is also possible to relive some cutscenes, a very useful choice designed especially for those who want to experience the story in the most intimate way possible, letting themselves be carried away by what is, potentially, one of the most impressive cast in the history of the saga and in general. one of the most ambitious stories in the JRPG panorama, a splendid tribute to the genre by a brand that, for the occasion, will once again celebrate the twenty five years of life.

As for the crafting and management of equipment, however, we have been able to do and see very little. The game explained that through some specifics NPC it is possible to work some materials such as gems and various metals to produce new solutions and new items in battle, but for now we have not yet been able to test this feature well, which we can't wait to explore in the review phase with the complete copy of the game in our hands.

New dress, same (gorgeous) Tales

Another focal aspect of the demo is undoubtedly that linked to the graphic and technical sector, also under the spotlight due to the great (and necessary) news announced by Bandai Namco.

Tales of Arise is in fact the first title in the saga to shake off that aesthetic identity that has now become obsolete and limiting, thanks in particular to the transition to a new graphics engine that marks a strong break with the past and that makes the experience very intriguing and of strong impact even on a purely visual level.

The portion of the game we tried put us in front of a series of breathtaking scenarios, which highlight a whole new and never so central care for the representation of the game environments, largely represented by splendid green lands and panoramas so much beautiful that look like they are printed on a postcard. This is a non-accidental allegory, since the technical devices used, namely theHDR is a motion blur rather marked, combined with the stylistic choice that marries some of the dogmas of cel-shaded, offer an overall image almost halfway between the cartoonish and “realism”, in a chromatic blaze that is difficult to ignore.

This can also be seen by analyzing more closely the silhouettes of the characters and enemies, characterized by a very strong line and a strong, almost "excessive" pigmentation, which make the whole a small picture typical of the fauvist movement.

Even the few indoor environments that we have had the opportunity to scrutinize have given us a very positive and similar feeling, although it is undeniable that the game gives its best in outdoor environments. All this is combined with a certainly sumptuous realization also in technical terms, represented by the usual "numbers" certainly very comforting.

On Xbox Series X the title runs perfectly in 4K and with 60fps overall very solid, which makes the experience even more rewarding, although in some cases we have seen some small slowdowns during some clashes. We then also tried to test the title on a resolution monitor 2K e un refresh a 120fps, actually obtaining a more or less similar and always super positive result.

We also liked the original dubbing, although the English one has also shown that it can do its part well without disfiguring, but we will talk about this in due course.

The first contact with Tales of Arise was incredibly positive. The new title of the more than twenty-year-old Bandai Namco saga seems to have all the credentials to be one of the most precious titles of this 2021 and certainly a great starting point for one of the most loved sagas by Japanese role-playing games. And, if we have no doubts about the quality of the gameplay and the combat system, to raise it to the status of one of the best Tales of ever, we can't wait to test the quality of the story, which still seems to have a lot of potential even from the first information. In short, even this September videogame will be magical and Tales of Arise wants to be one of the undisputed protagonists. Will he succeed? We will find out in the coming weeks, when we have the full game in our hands. In the meantime, however, the premises are all there. Believe it!

► Tales of Arise is an Adventure-RPG-type game developed and published by Bandai Namco for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the video game was released on 31/12/2020

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