Tales of Arise was released last week, on September 10, as the 17th entry in the storied JRPG franchise. As the first entry on a new game engine, and an impressive array of environments with a revamped battle system to boot, is Tales of Arise worth all the hype it got pre-release? Let’s check out the reviews.

Tales of Arise Review Metacritic Score: 87

Currently, Tales of Arise sports a Metacritic score of 87, based on 60 different critic reviews. Its current user score is even higher, sitting at a 9.1/10 based on 108 ratings.

Game Rant

Game Rant gave Tales of Arise an impressive perfect score of 100 in their review, saying:

“Indeed, Tales of Arise is a game designed for long-term Tales franchise fans and those who have never picked up a franchise entry before, where story, combat, and various features come together to deliver a high-quality, highly-detailed JRPG. All of that makes it not just one of the best JRPGs on the market today, but one of the best games hands-down.”

You can read the full Game Rant review here.

Game Informer

Another favorable review comes from Game Informer, which rated the game with a 93. They state that:

“Tales of Arise harmoniously balances beloved systems like visual novel-inspired skits and upgradable titles with new-and-improved gameplay tweaks. Intricate world-building in sub-quests and even mundane discussions help with pacing and narrative cohesion. Campy JRPG-centric themes like the power of friendship and slow-burn romantic tension are prevalent throughout. Nevertheless, I found myself completely invested in the tragedies and achievements the cast faced, even when awkward pauses and stiff cutscene animations threatened to break immersion. Tales of Arise is a fantastic reinvention of Bandai Namco’s tried and true formula. It might even be the best installment in the franchise to date.”

The full Game Informer review can be accessed here.

Push Square

In the same vein, Push Square also rated the game quite highly, giving it a score of 90, praising it for its environments and characters:

“Tales of Arise went above and beyond our expectations. With its picturesque landscapes instilling a real sense of adventure, it’s easily one of the strongest, most cohesive Tales games to date. Dramatic cutscenes and memorable character moments help sell an intriguing story, while a satisfying combat system becomes more and more engaging as your party powers up. A fantastic, modernized journey with all the rewarding qualities of a classic JRPG.”

You may use this link to access the full Push Square review.

Easy Allies

Independent outlet Easy Allies gave Tales of Arise a 85, with a more balanced review stating some shortcomings when it comes to the game’s story:

“After previous attempts only achieved half-measures, Tales of Arise finally takes the series in a new direction. There are sure to be veterans who lament some of the changes in the name of expanding the audience, but the risks taken here pay off nicely. The visuals are a marked improvement from any previous entry, and the combat looks and feels better than ever, even if it comes at the cost of losing some depth. Arise’s narrative admirably tackles some ambitious themes, though not all beats hit their mark. However, despite a few flaws, Tales of Arise is a fantastic RPG that stands as one of the best the series has to offer.”

See the full Easy Allies Tales of Arise Review here.

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Meanwhile, GameSpot gave the game a more middling score of 70, criticizing it for its flaws – especially its “gameplay boosting” DLCs that offer permanent EXP and SP boosts:

“And then there’s the DLC problem. While Tales of Arise offers some paid cosmetic DLC–extra costumes and decorations, which don’t change gameplay–it also offers “gameplay boosting” packages that grant bonuses like permanent EXP and SP boosts, massive shop discounts, reducing all crafting and cooking materials needed to 1, and so on. While this is an optional purchase, the fact that it exists at all constantly made me second-guess the game’s design decisions: are healing items expensive to teach me to take less damage, or to get me to buy a shop discount DLC package? Are boss fights so much harder than standard fights because the designers really want to test my skills, or because I didn’t get that EXP boost DLC? I often felt like money and resources like SP were kept scarce, so instead of focusing completely on having fun and exploring Tales of Arise’s various gameplay systems, I was often wondering if I was being subtly pushed to buy gameplay advantages.

Taken as a whole, Tales of Arise is a very good RPG, boasting beautiful visuals, a wonderful cast of characters, and engaging combat mechanics–but its flaws (and that odious DLC) are also difficult to ignore. If you’re looking for a lengthy, charming, and engaging JRPG to play on your shiny new console or PC gaming rig, Tales of Arise is certainly a fine choice. Just don’t go into it expecting an all-time classic.”

Read the full GameSpot review here.

Tales of Arise Review Conclusion

It appears like Tales of Arise is a good experience for JRPG fans, and manages to cater to both existing fans, and players who will be playing Tales for the first time. There are still some flaws, as the reviews above have pointed out, but it probably won’t retract too much from the experience – especially if you ignore the DLCs.