If you’re new to the Tales series, Tales of Arise is a great way to introduce yourself to the series. These JRPGs are an institution unto themselves now — like Final Fantasy, each Tales game has a unique narrative, so you don’t need to play any other games in the series to understand the somber plot, featuring two characters from opposing worlds joining together. Tales of Arise is packed with features, systems, and gimmicks that you’ll only find in the Tales series, and as experiencing JRPG masters, we’ve put together 10 simple tips you really should keep in mind as you play. We’ve played deep into the game, but there won’t be any straight-up spoilers here.
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The AI Is Great, But You Can Still Order Specific Artes
Every once in awhile, the AI might need a little help. Mostly, your party members play themselves very well so there’s no need to take direct control, but if you’re in a really tough fight, you may want to cast healing Artes manually. To do that, open the [Artes] tab in the pause menu in battle and tab over to the character you want. Then you can select their specific healing arte to cast. This becomes much more important as you progress in the game. I’d say for about 75%, you really don’t need to bother with taking manual control and casting spells.
But, for that 25%, this is a lifesaver. This way, you also don’t need to waste time swapping to that character and using an arte. You can just command it from the pause menu, even if it is a little cumbersome. You can also do this to unleash specific elemental artes against enemy weaknesses.
Explore Every Side-Path For Valuable Red Chests
Red Chests are the valuable containers you really don’t want to miss while exploring in Tales of Arise. This isn’t exactly a non-linear game — most areas have a straightforward path you need to follow. But, these paths will have short splinter paths that usually lead to treasure. You might need to smash down a barrier or two, but these paths are absolutely worth exploring every single time. They never take too long, and that’s where you’ll often find Red Chests.
Red Chests contain unique gear pieces for your party to equip that almost always give you an instant stat boost. If you consistently hunt for red chests as you play, you’ll always be better equipped for the enemies ahead. You won’t find new weapons — you have to craft those — but you will make your characters better with gear. Save a little money, make more money by fighting a few extra monsters, and get more loot. It’s a win-win-win.
Check The Skill Panel For Unlock Conditions
Found in the Skill Panel on your menu, you can upgrade and unlock skills for each character. There are different sets of skills on the grid, and unlocking those grids is imperative for getting awesome new artes and other useful enhancements. But, if you don’t check the panel, you’ll never know how to actually unlock those extra sets. They don’t unlock naturally by leveling up. You have to complete little mini-objectives like cooking specific meals or completing solo battle arena challenges. You may be sitting on unlocked grids with easy unlock conditions, even late in the game! Just move the cursor over the locked grids to see what the unlock condition is.
Don’t Stress About Sub-Quests
Sub-Quests are this game’s version of side-quests — little mini-jobs you can complete for handy rewards. Sub-quests normally give you a little gold, XP, and some loot, so they’re all well-worth doing, but there’s also no rush. You’re never locked-out of completing sub-quests, and you can always fast-travel to previous regions to complete them. If a letter icon appears on the map menu, you can tell that there’s a sub-quest there to complete.
While clearing up sub-quests is easier later in the game, some you’ll want to complete right away. Certain sub-quests give you rare materials used for crafting weapons. You’ll never really know which sub-quests are worth doing, so you really should (eventually) do them all when you’ve got the time. But, like I said, if you’re really into the story, those sub-quests can wait.
Except For The Pharia Ranch Sub-Quest
There’s one sub-quest you need to do immediately. When you arrive in the Menancia Region, you can find a resting NPC on the Traslida Highway. Talk to him to begin the “Pharia Ranch” sub-quest, which is a very simple job. Doing it unlocks the Pharia Ranch, a facility you can use to raise animals for harvesting. It’s a great way to earn constant items, and you can manage the farm from literally any camp merchant. Each ranching slot takes time to cultivate — usually about 20+ minutes, so getting this ranch as early as possible makes life way easier.
Switching Party Members Mid-Battle
Your party formation is everything in Tales of Arise. When you enter battle, you’ll directly control one character while the other three are controlled by the AI. You can rapidly switch to different characters to exploit enemy weaknesses by using [L1 / LB]+[D-Pad] to select the character you want to swap to, or you can directly switch characters in the menu during battle. And there’s a good reason to do this.
After you gain more characters, you’ll have “support” characters that can rapidly swap into battle using their Boost Skills. That isn’t the only way to put these characters into a fight. They can also swap in by opening the pause menu and selecting [Edit]. With Edit, you can move your fully healed and ready support characters into your main party. This is great for late-game bosses. If you don’t or can’t waste time healing, you can always swap in your fully healthy party members and continue the fight.
Switching Up Your Artes
Artes are the main way you’ll attack enemies in Arise, and they’ll unlock constantly (and naturally) as you play. But, when these artes appear, they don’t automatically get added into your attack repertoire. You’ll have to manually add artes to your button-mapping. Just select [Artes] from the pause menu in combat or out of combat to swap them in. This can be important in higher-level play when you need to readjust your elemental attacks on the fly… or if you just unlocked an art mid-combat and want to add it.
Don’t Worry About The Dialogue Scenes
As you explore through the game, little pop-ups will appear for dialogue events between the characters. Usually these are light-hearted, silly, funny, heartfelt, or just character-building. They’re all totally optional, and sometimes I just want to keep playing the game without being interrupted. That’s totally a legit way to play, because you can always revisit these short dialogue scenes from the campfire. When you make camp, select [Reminisce] to replay any dialogue scenes you might’ve skipped over. You can watch them at any time. They don’t disappear forever!
Train Up For Rewards And Knowledge!
Once you reach the third region, you’ll unlock a Battle Arena — here, you can play as solo characters or as a team to take on monsters. If you’ve played other action-JRPGs like FF7R, you’ll already know that each character in your party is unique, with their own combat style and special gimmicks. Learning these gimmicks is very important for effectively using them in a fight, and sometimes it can mean the difference between life and death. Playing Solo (or Team) arena battles is a great way to test yourself, and learn more about how combat actually works in this game. Early on, all you really need to do is mash buttons. Things get a lot trickier eventually!
Craft Weapons & Cook Food For Bonuses
Instead of buying weapons, you’ll mostly want to craft them — by acquiring rare materials from sub-quests or hidden chests down optional paths, you can usually build powerful replacements for your current weapons. Just like with weapon crafting, cooking has other benefits to your party. Often, cooking specific meals will unlock new Skill grid sets for certain characters. Check often, and use Pharia Ranch to cook as many different recipes as possible. Even if they don’t seem useful, there’s no reason not to try and cook everything at least once.
That’s all the starter tips we’ve got for Tales of Arise. We’re still playing through the campaign, and we’ll share more guides in the coming days as we discover more about this beautifully-realized JPRG world.