Tales of Arise is the latest entry in the long-standing JRPG series. Aside from being a great game, it’s also a perfect entry point for newcomers, mainly because of its combat system. The Tales series has some of the best action RPG combat in the genre. Arise’s is the most accessible, yet it can still feel somewhat daunting. It’s easy to get lost in all of the systems it offers.
Fret not, though! With our ultimate Tales of Arise combat guide, you’ll become a master of the battlefield in no time.
Tales of Arise Combat Basics
Arise’s combat system is fundamentally an action-based one. It blends attack strings and combos with classic JRPG mechanics to form a unique system. It’s also incredibly flexible as the system allows you to experiment and come up with your own strategies. As such, we won’t be giving you any ideal ways to play. Instead, this guide will provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to develop your playstyle.
The basis of Tales of Arise’s battle system begins with setting your Battle Control. There are three options to choose from:
- Semi-auto – This is the default option of the game. When selected, pressing any attack causes your character to approach your current target and only attack when they’re in range.
- Auto – When selected, your character will behave autonomously, effectively making the entire battle play out automatically.
- Manual – When selected, pressing an attack will make it come out instantly, meaning you’ll need to approach your target manually in order to land hits.
We recommend setting your Battle Control to Manual as this gives you the most flexibility when it comes to movement. You’ll need to get used to ranges, but the hitboxes of attacks are far more generous than in pure action and fighting games.
Attacking and Recovery
In Tales of Arise – and every other Tales game for that matter – two rules govern every single attack:
- Every attack must play out entirely and cannot be canceled in most cases
- Every attack has some recovery
Both rules can be boiled down to a single idea: you must perform actions mindfully. If you’re in the middle of an attack animation, you’re vulnerable to attack. Therefore the choice of when you attack and with which action is a crucial one at all times during a battle.
These are your fastest attacks in terms of recovery and are going to be your bread-and-butter in a lot of situations. Melee-based characters can deliver a string of 3-5 hits in succession by continuously pressing the normal attack button. However, you don’t have to complete the entire series. On the other hand, Ranged characters can fire steady ranged shots and attacks though they don’t chain together.
Generally, you’ll want to use normal attacks when you’re expecting your enemy to hit you soon.
Artes are powerful abilities that make up the bulk of each Tales of Arise character’s playstyle. You start with three Ground Artes and three Aerial Artes slots but later in the game, you gain access to an additional three slots for each.
Over your character’s health meter, you’ll see a series of blue diamonds. This is the Artes gauge, and it essentially depicts how many of them you can perform before you enter a recovery state. Once in that state, you need to wait for at least one of your blue diamonds to recover before you can execute another Arte.
You can choose any Artes you want for each slot, which enables you to develop your own playstyle. As a starting point, though, we recommend you slot in one of each of the following types of Ground Artes:
- An Arte that juggles an enemy in the air – Allows you to extend your combo while keeping your target incapacitated
- An Arte that hits multiple times – Deals more damage during moments when you know you won’t be hit
- An Arte that has short recovery – Deals solid damage when you expect retaliation at any moment
Each Arte in Arise also carries its own elemental affinity. These elements work pretty much as you’d expect. When striking an enemy with an Arte that has their elemental weakness, they’ll take more damage. Consequently, they’ll take less damage from elements they resist. You can check enemy weaknesses by holding down L1 on a PS4 or PS5 and inspecting the various targets on the field. You can also learn what weaknesses and resistances the multiple mobs you’ve encountered have by visiting the in-game Field Guide.
Striking foes with their same element doesn’t completely gimp your damage, and resistances aren’t as potent. However, as you progress to more challenging parts of the game, you’ll want to make choices based on elemental weaknesses, which essentially boil down to the following:
- Fire and Water beat each other
- Earth and Wind beat each other
There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to the Artes you use, besides elemental weaknesses. As you acquire new ones, you can experiment and pick the ones that work best for you.
As we’ve said in our tips and tricks guide, your Dodge is your primary means of defense. Learning how to use it is crucial to improve your survivability in Tales of Arise. The first aspect to note is direction. Enemies in Arise will swing and attack in various arcs, and you’ll need to take note of them and use the right direction to dodge. For instance, back dodging a rush attack will still lead to you getting hit.
Rolling (or guarding with Kisara) just as an enemy attack is about to land on your character will result in a Perfect Dodge. You’ll know you’ve done this correctly because of the short slow-motion state you’ll enter. Getting multiple Perfect Dodges will cause your character to enter a state called Over Limit, which gives you access to Mystic Artes, some of the game’s most potent attacks.
You’ll be able to unlock Counter Edge for your character at some point. These are Tales of Arise’s version of counterattacks and can be performed by successfully executing Perfect Dodges. Tapping the normal attack button after a successful Perfect Dodge will immediately attack your foe, giving you an opening to unleash a full combo on them. Counter Edge also has a chance to stagger your target, which allows you to hit them with a Break Boost. On top of all this, Counter Edges also grant you more Boost gauge.
Everything You Need to Know About Boost Attacks
The above half of this guide takes you through Tales of Arise’s combat essentials. Once you’ve got that all under your belt, it’s time to unlock the system’s full potential by learning about Boost attacks. Each of your characters has their own Boost, which comes with its own benefits on top of common properties they all have. Using Boosts in tandem with other elements will allow you to take your combat capabilities to new heights.
Every Boost in the game can be used for the following:
- Extend combos – Landing a Boost will allow you to carry on attacking, especially if it has downed your target
- Replenish your Artes gauge – This functions in tandem with the above as a full Artes gauge allows you to continue striking your target with big hits and juggles
- Cause an enemy attack to miss – Evey Boost has a generous window of invincibility that you can take advantage of by executing it during an enemy’s attack animation
- Cancel the recovery of any attack – This works in tandem with the above. After hitting an attack with a long recovery, you can cancel it with a Boost to cause your enemy’s attack to miss and turn the tables on them
Multi-hitting Boosts such as Shionne’s also have the added benefit of giving you some time to recover from a prolonged attack animation.
When to Use Boosts
Every one of Arise’s characters has their own effects with their Boost. By executing each at the right time, you can down your target while granting certain boons.
- Alphen – His Boost can down almost any enemy at any time. It deals damage based on how much health he has sacrificed via the Flaming Sword.
- Shionne – Her Boost can down any flying target, as well as enemies that are mid-jump. It also strikes any enemy caught in its blast.
- Rinwell – Her Boost can down enemies that are in the middle of casting an Arte. It also silences them, effectively halting them from casting for a short period. Rinwell will also gain a magic charge upon successfully interrupting a target.
- Law – His Boost can down enemies with Shields and Shells. It also lowers their overall defense for a short period.
- Kisara – Her Boost can down enemies that are in the middle of a charge-type attack. It also raises both Physical and Elemental Defense for the entire party for a short period.
- Dohalim – His Boost enfeebles and downs highly mobile enemies, such as Wolves and Apes. It also causes them to be unable to evade attacks for a short period.
Mastering these Boosts allows you to control the battlefield and increases your survivability in conjunction with your dodge and other combat skills. But, there is another powerful piece of the Arise combat puzzle…
Character Switching Mid-Combat
The game’s tutorial goes to great lengths to teach you its secrets, all except one. You can switch your active character at any time. Not only that, but you can also use this while calling in a party member to perform a Boost. It’s a powerful tool that can lead to some insanely long combos.
To swap a character in during a Boost, you first need to command them to execute it on your target. Immediately after, you need to hold down L1 on PS4 or PS5 and press the direction of said party member. This will give you control of the Boosting character and set your current target as theirs, allowing you to continue attacking as them. Now, imagine doing this with multiple characters. Even your reserves can be used in the same way. If they have a full Boost gauge, calling them in to swap with an active party member will have them instantly execute their Boost. Then all you need to do is L1 and their direction to take control.
Combining all of these skills can lead to an intricate dance of using multiple characters to carry out insanely long and highly damaging combos.
Tales of Arise Combat Quick Tips
Now that we have all of the combat essentials of Tales of Arise under our belt, here are a few quick tips to help you stay in top form:
- Don’t mash attacks – Particularly, veterans of action games may be susceptible to pressing buttons repeatedly in Arise. Don’t do it. As we mentioned earlier in this guide, the game requires that an attack animation end before you can execute another. By mashing buttons, you’ll effectively make yourself open to attack.
- Alphen’s base Artes loadout – It serves as the perfect example of the three types of Artes we recommended to include in each of your characters’ slots. By learning Alphen’s base loadout, you’ll gain an understanding of how to use the rest of the abilities you’ll gain throughout your playthrough.
- Alter “Fight With Moderation” – This Strategy setup is pretty good overall but has one flaw. It prioritizes resurrection over healing. You can mitigate this by moving “Ally HP 50% or Less” to the top of the list.
- Dodge cancel – We said earlier that canceling recovery in most cases can’t happen. Boosts are one way to cancel them. Dodge is the other. Especially your normal attacks, you can cancel their attack recovery by performing a dodge. In a lot of instances, this will give you near-perfect timing to achieve a Perfect Dodge.