A few helpful suggestions for making overthrowing lords a little easier
Tales of Arise is officially out today, bringing the Tales series’ mix of action and skits to current and next-gen systems. And before you set off on the long, pretty great journey, I’ve got some Tales of Arise tips to make the quest ahead less daunting.
For newcomers, old-timers, those returning to the Tales fold, and everyone else, I thought I’d share some of the little tricks I learned over the course of my playthrough. This isn’t a guide to beating every boss or side quest, but rather a few helpful tidbits to help acclimate or guide you towards what keeps Alphen and co. forging ahead.
I’ll also do my best to keep it as light on spoilers as possible, so there won’t be any talk of any fun twists or anything. So here’s a few tips for those just starting out in Tales of Arise.
Learn your combos
Tales of Arise is an RPG, but it’s an action RPG, and honestly the Tales series skews closer to fighting games or action games than it does to usual RPG systems. A key part of this game’s combat is learning to combo, especially mixing basic attacks in with your artes.
If you’ve played an action game before, you probably have a good idea of what this should feel like—attack, attack, attack, special—but if you’re not as familiar, that’s fine. Tales games are good at teaching players daunting concepts, like combo strings and hit confirms.
Early on, you’ll probably want to stick to that rhythm I outlined: three attacks, followed by an arte. Once that feels good, trying mixing in your launcher arte (noted on the artes screen by an upward-pointing arrow), which takes action into the sky. You can resume another string of basic attacks here, and then execute some aerial artes or close out the combo with a landing arte. It might sound like a lot of inputs, but it will quickly start to feel like second nature; fiddling around with face button combinations that feel good helps, too. I tried to keep artes I could string together on two face buttons, and my launcher and lander on the top face button.
These will change from character to character, based on their range, arsenal, and archetype, but this is the most basic version. And it’s also why I recommend…
Start off playing as Alphen
If you’re new to Tales, the masked protagonist Alphen (a.k.a. “Iron Mask”) is going to be the easiest to pick up and learn. Like most Tales protagonists, his kit is fairly straightforward: he’s a melee swordfighter who can easily fight either on the ground or in the air.
Most of Alphen’s moves are also the standard protagonist fare. A few artes are quick flurries of jabs and stabs, others can launch or apply elemental damage, and there’s the ever-present staple of Demon Fang, a projectile that functions a lot like Terry Bogard’s Power Wave.
Alphen is a great character to learn the basics on, and even for returning Tales characters familiar with other playstyles and their quirks, Alphen provides a good foundational basis for what’s changed in Arise. Think of him like the Ryu of this game. And as your party grows, you can start to branch out and try out other characters, and those basics from Alphen will make it a bit easier to contextualize what makes, say, Dohalim a different kind of fighter altogether.
Fill out your titles
Titles are essentially your upgrade trees in Tales of Arise. They unlock after certain conditions, like clearing a side quest or cooking a certain meal, have been met. Each one has five nodes around its circumference; the first is a freebie, and the rest, you spend your SP on to unlock.
It might be tempting to hop around a bit and pick up whichever nodes interest you the most across titles, and there are definitely some nodes that are worth picking up ASAP (Artes Mobility, KO Prevention, and extra AG charges come to mind). But acquiring every node on a title will claim an additional bonus, found at the center of said tile.
These are usually just stat bonuses, but those can make a big difference. Picking up an extra +10 Attack or Penetration can suddenly make you hit that much harder, or Elemental Defense help you survive that extra hit. And late game, some of those can get up to some whopping numbers. Filling out the titles is very helpful in gaining an extra edge, on top of your base stats and equipment. My Tales of Arise tip is to find the titles that have a couple good options you want, get those first, and then fill the rest out for the boost.
Forge weapons, but don’t worry too much about armor
Speaking of equipment, every character has a few ways of getting more stats to tack on. Weapons are usually forged, and require various zeugle (monster) parts to put together. For most of the game, I tried to keep current with the top of the forgemaster’s lineup, and it worked out well.
Armor, though, is usually either bought or found in the world. In my experience, it’s more beneficial to find the armor than buy the armor; Gald can quickly become a precious resource, so it’s better to spend that cash on forging weapons or accessories, or picking up a few CP-restoring Gels, than dump it into armor. I was pretty thorough in my dungeon traversal, and found the game trickled out a steady supply of good armor. Spend that cash where it’s less easy to find something good just behind a closely guarded treasure chest.
Master the artes
Another Tales tip is that, with every usage, artes can become more powerful. It’s the same as learning to play an instrument, riding a bike, or learning to do that disappearing card trick. With every repetition, you gain a little bit of mastery.
This might manifest in various ways, and those ways vary from Tales to Tales. In Arise‘s case, I mostly noticed the move just getting a little bit more potent; maybe causing a little bit more stagger than I remember, or damaging opponents a bit more. The combo masters will delve into the deep numbers, but for more casual purposes, utilizing your artes will help unlock other ones. You don’t learn Double Demon Fang overnight, you know.
Some characters’ titles are even tied to artes usage within specific categories, so it helps to make use of your artes frequently and also switch them around a bit, to keep the variety high and build up proficiency.
Indulge in some outdoor cooking
Campsites are a big factor in Tales of Arise, and one of the best tips I can give you is “always be full.” Meals can give you some really good benefits, from temporary stat boosts to special effects, and even out-of-combat boosts that help your ore mining efforts.
One of my go-to meals is found somewhere between a third and halfway through the game, and it’s a fish dish that gives you an experience boost. (Fishing: also a great past-time to partake in.) It’s great for leveling up in a dungeon, and comes at a time where doing a little grinding will help in the long run.
Also, if you have a great meal already in play, don’t worry about eating again when you rest. Your party’s collective stomach will still be satiated, so you’re free to rest without worrying about losing the buff. Which is great for when you…
Chain a bunch of battles
Most of my dungeon runs in Tales of Arise were just one long chain of battle after battle, because the game incentivizes you for taking on fights in quick succession.
Linking together a bunch of battles makes it easy to quickly farm up resources and experience, and it increases the odds of good drops. Really, there’s no reason to not be linking battles together.
That said, if you’re having trouble with an area, there’s also no reason not to head back, rest up to restock your CP, and return. A few dungeons challenged me a bit, and so I took time to work away at the battles, until I could start chaining them together and move through the dungeon without massively depleting my Cure Points.
Don’t skip skits and side quests
The last of my Tales of Arise tips is pretty straightforward: don’t miss out on the side stuff. Skits are mostly optional side stories between party members, but they add a lot of characterization, and also help summarize some denser plot points as the game goes on.
Side quests are a huge boost to party strength, however. They can range from gathering certain ingredients or taking down particularly powerful optional bosses to just talking to a few people, but they always come with a reward; often, some combination of Gald, SP, and items.
These were a critical source of early SP and cash for me, helping me keep up with the game’s ramping difficulty. And they also contain some really great content. From reuniting lost lovers to tracking down the location of a special item using only a few riddles, Tales of Arise has some neat side stories. And by the time late game rolls around, there are some awesome and ferocious bosses hiding out in the side quests.