Gaming Review: Tales of Arise

Wow. What a slog that was.

I assure you, my delay in publishing another post was not intentional. The truth is, games suck nowadays. It's true. I might run into one, or maybe two, good games a year. Used to be so many solid games coming out every year back in the NES and SNES days that I couldn't keep up with the volume back when I didn't have a job.

Now that money is less of an issue, there's just nothing to play.

But when this came on the horizon, I figured it should at least have a chance to try and impress me.


What I Liked

✅ Tons of outstanding anime cutscenes. I mean there's a lot of them. I haven't seen it this good since the days of Working, Designs.

✅Decently good voice acting. I won't say it's flawless, but there's a lot of it and it's done fairly well considering.

✅ They at least tried to create a unique battle engine. The result is very similar to Arc Rise Fantasia crossed up with Grandia III, if you can picture that.

What I Didn't Like

🚫 The graphics are not good. The developers degraded the graphics for performance reasons, and the game is not optimized very well. It should look stellar, but instead looks like a muddy comic book. Applying basic Unreal Engine tweaks results in a significant hit to graphics cards that aren't the RTX 3000 series or high end AMD cards; that shouldn't be the case.

🚫 The game feels rushed. The story that you start with has nothing to do with the story that you end with. They tried to create an epic-sized story with a bunch of bite-sized side stories, but it just ended up a convoluted mess that by the end, results in just another deus ex machina. Meanwhile, all but one of the bosses means zero to the bigger story, and end up just being plot devices to recruit characters.

🚫 Character development was basic, but as the game progresses, much of the purpose of the characters gets left behind. Everyone except Alphen and Shionne become basically battle plot devices instead of critical members of the story.

🚫 Around 3/4ths the way into the game, you'll fight a boss that gives you some interim credits and changes the intro cutscene. After this you'll continue the game with a town motivation simulator (I don't know how else to describe this nonsense), then you're tossed into space and a bunch of exposition is rammed down your throat; it's extremely annoying when games do this. It's the same feeling I had with Final Fantasy XV's infamous Chapter 13. Just two-three hours of tedium that didn't need to be in the game.

🚫 The fetch quests are excessive padding that don't add to the story any. Obviously, fetch quests are a standard in games now, but this took it to another level.

🚫 I mentioned the interim credit scene? That comes after you beat that boss, but before that, you'll be subjected to a scene that will likely give you recollections of Lunar: Silver Star Story's actual ending sequence, with Alex trying to get to Luna. Because that's what it reminded me of, and I assumed it was just a one-off, but...

🚫 The most egregious sin of the game; the ending is almost a carbon copy, cut-and-paste, near plagiarized version of the ending of Lunar: Eternal Blue Complete - minus the travel to another planet.