When I’m not writing, I’m usually playing video games, and my main game of the month has been Tales of Arise.
This is actually my second play-through (and my first experience with the Tales franchise in general). Initially, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Tales‘ combat system, but the good news is each character has a distinct playstyle, so by switching from the melee-focused protagonist (Alphen) to range-focused characters (Shionne and Rinwell), I was able to enjoy the game a whole lot more.
That said, the screen can become very chaotic at times, and one of Rinwell’s mechanics doesn’t help here. Since she can steal and then cast enemy spells, I often lost track of which spell animation was safe for my characters and which was a damage-dealing death zone. That and the charging enemies led to a lot of frustration. The window to utilize Kisara’s boost ability (to end charges and reduce future charge damage) is significantly smaller than those of other characters, leading to a lot of times where a charge would begin off screen and end with the enemy barreling through my characters for big damage.
In terms of story-telling and worldbuilding, I found the game a bit . . . hit or miss, but the main cast of characters is fun and likable, and some of the big reveals are very memorable. I guess the worldbuilding just didn’t click with me from the start for some reason. Maybe it’s because the locations and villains all felt very one-note to me. Also, the music is epic. So epic it began to wear on me. I think you could use the music in the tutorial area for “final dungeon” music in a different game. (From H.P. – This music is bomb and I will listen to it forever.)
But these are all minor gripes for what is – at its core – an excellent and meaty gaming experience. In many ways, Tales of Arise felt similar to Final Fantasy 7 Remake, except I enjoyed Tales significantly more.
From H.P. – I haven’t played Tales of Arise yet, but I’m going to solely because there’s a series of subquests in which you collect a bunch of owls, and I’ve been hearing their distinctly-voiced hoots enough that I need to collect them for myself. Forget the rest of the story.