Tales of Arise: Beyond the Dawn (PlayStation 5) Review

By Eric Ace 15.11.2023

Review for Tales of Arise: Beyond the Dawn on PlayStation 5

Tales of Arise was the most recent entry into the fairly long-running 'Tales Of' series that is a staple in the JPRG world. Following a typical formula of traveling around, getting new characters, fighting monsters and eventually saving the world, the series was known for its real-time fighting combat system and short interactions between characters known as 'skits' that were generally beloved by fans. This is the first instalment to have an entire story DLC, taking place after the main game. Cubed3 dives in to see if it's worth it at its half of a full game price.

Beyond the Dawn is an interesting experiment in the JRPG world, especially for the 'Tales' series. JRPGs by their nature tend to be very complete packages, and unless the game spills over into sequels, the genre does not really lend itself to short one-off episodes. There are many problems with this, ranging from how stats are carried over, how it fits into the main plot and so on. In some regard, what comes with this DLC is what might be expected of the very idea: some things work okay and some not well at all.

The game takes place after the story of the main game, as it follows the two main characters who find a young girl who is the daughter of an evil lord. Being the good guys, they decide to help her; they get their old crew back and go on an adventure. One thing both this game and the base game attempted was to tackle some tougher questions, such as slavery and class differences. The opening of Tales of Arise especially blew a lot of people away with how different it was, and how dark the plot was. This DLC starts much the same, where the new character is an outcast based on birth and cannot fit into any part of society.

Screenshot for Tales of Arise: Beyond the Dawn on PlayStation 5

Unfortunately, much like the base game, it feels like Namco is scared to go deep into the narrative. Instead of any sort of nuance, or asking tough questions, it kind of brings up a tough topic, then ends up with some platitudes about how we should all just be nice to each other. It feels so similar, in the bad way, to the height the first game sets up a 'whoa, are they really going here?', followed by a big let-down. Especially in the video game industry with so many options, if games pull their punches, they don't stand out; in a lot of ways it comes off worse than if they never brought it up at all.

The game starts players with a pre-set level, experience, gear, and the need to re-learn all the skills. This is going to be a major turn off for a lot of players, as this side story is self-contained and, other than some very minor bonuses, everyone starts exactly the same with zero carry over. A majority of this DLC is recycled assets, so same places, same monsters, same stuff all around. While there are some very minor additions, such as new costumes, do not go in expecting much new stuff at all.

Screenshot for Tales of Arise: Beyond the Dawn on PlayStation 5

One of the biggest problems and missed opportunities was not addressing many of the criticisms of the first game. Two come to mind. The first one is how much of punching bags the enemies are, where a typical battle is going to take 30-60 seconds each, and boss fights take much longer. Often these aren't very intense in terms of skills, it's mostly just whacking until dead.

The other was the change of how skits are done. Up until this game, skits were short vignettes that switch to visual novel-esque sequences that were often poignant or humorous. Especially Beseria had tremendous entertainment value out of the funny skits that really played to the characters. Here, they just feel randomly tacked on, and the comic-book panel style just feels off. Unfortunately they kept the meandering skits that feel more tacked on than value.

Screenshot for Tales of Arise: Beyond the Dawn on PlayStation 5

The value here is going to be for the story, but as stated earlier, they kind of dodge around anything interesting. It is mostly a babysitting plot of an ungrateful young girl, complete with a load of fetch quests through stuff players have mostly already seen or done. Those that want to see more of their favourite characters will be glad for it, but it's not bringing anything new to the table. It is really nice seeing DLC for games, but all too often they feel like cash grabs. It doesn't offer anything too new, and the price point is very steep. Something like this released for free would be met with positive reactions, but asking for it at nearly half price of a brand new game is simply too steep.

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

This is really going to come down to how much you liked the base game. There are some severe things to be made aware of, such as no new characters, not using your save data, and so on. The content is a little thin, and a hefty price tag is going to make a lot of people look away. DLC is met with anger more often than not, and something like this with its price tag doesn't help repair that relationship. Those who really cannot get enough of the first game will probably be happy, but anyone else will feel like there is a lot missing.

Developer

Bandai Namco

Publisher

Bandai Namco

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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