Tales of Arise review - character and combat make this an RPG epic to savour
Bandai Namco's latest anime-aesthetic adventure starts out in the 'serious' section of the anime universe. Tales of Arise is a story about an enslaved race of people, who slowly learn to pick up arms and fight back against the oppressors who've held a vice-like grip around their throats for over three centuries. The Dahnans have been made to suffer unimaginable horrors under the rule of the Renans, who hail from a technologically-advanced world and will stop at nothing to drain this planet's resources and its people for all they're worth, and the action-RPG isn't shying away from studying the exploitation and loss of self that takes hold under slavery.
Tales of Arise rides the high of a brilliant battle system and a charismatic supporting cast. It's not always the smoothest ride, especially when the back half of Bandai Namco's game stumbles into interplanetary affairs and storytelling that goes for something a little more grandiose, but the combination of compelling characters and a plot that'll genuinely get you rooting for everyone involved is a sublime match.