The Tales of series has slowly been growing in popularity over time, but the newest entry, Tales of Arise, has caught the eye of mainstream gamers. Thanks to a higher budget, this new JRPG from Bandai Namco has striking visuals, flashy combat, and a wealth of content and systems to sink your teeth into. Similar to the Final Fantasy games, most Tales games are stand-alone experiences. That makes Tales of Arise a perfect place for anyone interested in the series to jump in and see what makes this series so unique.
If this is your first Tales game, or even if you’ve been following the series for years, Tales of Arise has a lot of unique mechanics and systems that you need to learn, as well as tweaks on familiar ones from the series’ past. Learning a new JRPG can feel overwhelming, and knowing what to do in the early hours will pay off in a big way as you get further and further into the main story. Rather than fumble around with all the strange terms and vague mechanics, our beginner’s guide will make sure your quest starts out smoothly in Tales of Arise.
Thankfully combat is one of the areas in Tales of Arise that is tutorialized and explained pretty well in the game itself, so we don’t have to cover the most basic of concepts. At the same time, there are some easy tips that will make your battles much easier while exploring the world or diving into a dungeon.
Cure Points, or CP, are one area that you need to monitor more than you might think. In past Tales games, you typically had just one meter to manage for all your offensive, defensive, and healing artes. In Tales of Arise, there are two: The Soul Gauge for attacks and Cure Points for healing. Another change is that each character doesn’t have their own pool of CP, but rather the entire party shares one amount. CP don’t restore normally; that’s another area we’ll cover next, so be careful when spending them. If your party happens to be wiped during a fight, the game will automatically use up your CP to heal your party. If you have none, then you’ll still be brought back, but with a measly 1 HP.
When in the fight itself, it can be easy to forget that you have full control over your entire party, not just Alphen. Remember to swap between different characters on the fly depending on the situation by holding down the left trigger and pressing a direction on the D-pad to choose who you want to control. Even if a battle doesn’t call for it, just getting some variety in by playing as new characters will keep the game fresh.
On the note of controlling your party, you will probably hit situations where they’re not doing quite what you want them to. You don’t have to manually switch to them to get them back on track, though. By again holding down the left trigger, you can target an enemy with the left stick to make your team focus on the target you want. Each party member can also have their A.I. set to different behaviors while in Auto mode. You can get pretty granular, even dictating what item they will use at what health thresholds so you never see them waste a recovery item on anyone who only lost 5% HP.
Finally, don’t neglect your Artes. If you’re new to Tales, Artes are basically the skills or abilities your characters can use during battle that are unlocked by using them, as well as via leveling up. Just like CP, Artes use their own gauge called the Artes Gauge, or AG. Different Artes will cost different amounts of AG, but don’t be skimpy with them. They are meant to be used in combos and as a way to exploit different enemies’ weaknesses. Each Arte can be enhanced up to five times as well, represented by one to five stars, so they only get better the more you use them. The AG will slowly build back up over time, but more slowly if you’re attacking.
Weaknesses should be fairly obvious to any JRPG fan, and follow the normal elemental formula. Fire is weak to water, earth is weak to wind, and light weak to darkness. Standard stuff.
How to earn Combat Points
Cure Points, as briefly mentioned before, are a new system in Tales of Arise used for healing. Combat Points, not to be confused, are awarded after each battle you win. You don’t just get a set number of Combat Points for enemies defeated, though. Instead, there are a bunch of variables that you should pay attention to in order to maximize how many you’re earning per fight. There are also things you can do in a fight that will make you earn fewer Combat Points you’ll want to avoid.
The best thing for earning Combat Points is building up the Battle Chain streak up to the max level of six, which you can see as a diamond icon underneath your minimap. When the diamond is blue, it’s at the max level. You can do this most easily by winning fights, but again, what you do in the fight is the main area to pay attention to. To earn higher scores, and thus earn more Combat Points, you can do several things:
- Beat unique enemies
- Utilize Boost Strikes
- Beat Giant Zeugles
- Use Boost Attacks
- Down enemies using Boost Attacks
- Fight large numbers of enemies at once
- Exploit enemy weaknesses
- Reach a high combo
- Win fights quickly
Things that will lower your score include:
- Losing a fight
- Getting knocked out
- Using items during battle
- Taking a long time to win
Outside of fights, you can also use an item called a Happy Bottle to give a 2.5x multiplier to your Battle Chain automatically. Bear in mind that your Battle Chain gauge will automatically start to go down if you avoid fighting for too long, camp, or if you flee from battles.
While you’re admiring the stunning visuals and landscapes in Tales of Arise, you’ll spot plenty of little sparkles drawing your attention. These are indicating some kind of re is available to collect, either as a raw material or even a chest. Most gamers will feel compelled to deviate from the path to grab these sparkles, but some may not see the value when they’ve picked up their 10th mushroom or rock, but it’s more than worth your time to loot every area as much as you can.
Two very important mechanics in Tales of Arise, which we will also be covering, depend on you having tons of res. All those ingredients will be very important for cooking, and crafting items have multiple uses. Even after you’ve made items that use the more rare items, the stuff you find lying around is still useful since they’re needed to unlock new skills associated with certain accessories.
Also, there are a few quests scattered around that ask you to collect x amount of certain things. If you’ve been diligent about scraping the areas, you may already have what is required and can finish the quest as soon as it starts.
Feed your party
Whip out your chef’s hat, because you’re going to be cooking a ton. Cooking mechanics have always been emphasized in the Tales series, and Tales of Arise doesn’t deviate from that tradition. If you’ve played Final Fantasy 15, then this system will be somewhat familiar to you, but maybe even more important here. Every time you go to camp, the option to whip up a meal for your team is offered, and you will almost always want to do so. Depending on the recipes you’ve found and unlocked up to that point, as well as what ingredients you’ve got in your inventory, you can make meals with various buffs.
Just like in FF 15, each meal will give different bonuses for a different duration of time. And there are a ton of different buffs you can get from each of the 38 total recipes, such as raw EXP boosts, attack buffs, defensive buffs, restoring HP after combat, increased drop rates, and more. You can only cook one meal each time you rest, and you can’t stack them by resting again, so you’ll want to plan your meals depending on what you predict you’ll need moving forward.
Not everyone is equally skilled in the kitchen, though, even when following the same recipe. Experiment with having different characters cook to see how they influence the buffs.
The meal’s effect is represented by a fork and knife icon below your minimap. Once the color fully drains and they disappear, the buff will be gone.
Break down those barriers
Circling back to those Combat Points, here’s where you’ll be glad to have them stored up. Various locations in Tales of Arise will be gated off and require Combat Points to open up. These can range from areas you need to go to progress the story, an area with high-value loot, or a more convenient path between areas. The most common barriers are blocking off treasures, but those are still worth dishing out your Combat Points to unlock. You can expect some high-level weapons, armor, and rare healing items inside. Sometimes they even have items that give characters permanent stat increases!
Forge your own weapons
You’ll be equipping and replacing weapons quite often in Tales of Arise, but the game never really tells you how best to go about managing your old gear and getting new stuff. Unlike some JRPGs, the economy in this game is actually pretty tight. Unless you do some serious grinding, you’re not going to find yourself with tons of cash to splash, which may tempt you into selling your old gear. Go ahead and sell off any old armor, but don’t pawn off those outdated weapons just yet.
Forging new weapons is very necessary to keep up with the game’s difficulty, which again goes back to always looting as much as possible. However, eventually new forging options will open up that let you upgrade existing weapons to be viable again. If you sold off those old weapons, though, then you’ll obviously not be able to upgrade them and will need to make new ones, wasting more res and money.
Hunt for Titles
Along with cooking, skits, and a few other staples from Tales games, Titles are also back in Tales of Arise. But unlike many other elements the series is known for, Titles aren’t as self-explanatory. Basically, Titles are rewards given for doing specific challenges in Tales of Arise and can be equipped to provide permanent buffs, or sometimes unlock a new skill, for your character. Titles can also be leveled up by spending SP, and if you max one out you get one final stat boost as a reward.
There are tons of Titles to unlock. Some will come through natural progression, while most are earned by going out of your way to do side quests, performing specific Artes, and cooking and crafting. Make sure to check the Skill Panel menu to see what the requirements are for any Titles you can unlock. These Title bonuses add up, so don’t sleep on them!
Fast travel is your friend
Finally, as inviting and fun as the world is in Tales of Arise, sometimes you just need to get to where you’re going without dealing with random encounters or taking the time to travel there on foot. That’s where the handy fast travel system comes in, and boy is it convenient. All you need to do to fast travel is pop open your map and select the nearest waypoint to where you’re going, and you’ll be there in a flash. You can fast travel from basically anywhere, but are limited to specific destinations, though they’re intelligently placed so you’ll never feel like you’re still forced to walk very far.
The fact that it can be done so easily, and for free, make it perfect for when you’re out collecting items, grinding, doing a side quest, or need to get back to town to stock up on supplies. Tales of Arise is already a massively long game, so don’t make it unnecessarily longer by walking all over when fast travel is just a few button presses away.