I’m a huge Tales fan, I’ve played a good majority of the mothership titles and even some of the side games and generally loved them with a few exceptions and some are even in my mental top ever JRPG list. Tales of Arise has been one that I just have not been able to care about though beyond maybe the original announcement about it. The delays and lack of any information after that already dropped my interest in the game, but then once they started pumping out content to get people interested and excited…it had the opposite effect on me.
Normally, Tales games have really amazing opening videos and great lead-up trailers. A hard and heavy focus on the story and how the world and characters take part in that story with a little bit of personality and lore/story hints being displayed to get you amped up. Berseria was the best about this of all Tales games with some of the best trailers for the series, and of course one of the best trailers of all time belongs to Xillia 2 (albeit the game was abysmal shit). Arise’s opening video was released on youtube a bit ago and it is the absolute first time I’ve ever not been able to handle a simple 2 minute opening to a JRPG, but I could not help but skip forward through it constantly, as if it was some requirement to pass a class a decade ago and I just wanted to get it over with. Nothing about the opening excites me or hooks me or makes me give a fuck at all.
Prior to that, and still now really, they have also released a load of other videos that they claim are trailers. These ‘trailers’ have done nothing but focus on showing off gameplay of various lifeless characters. Who fucking cares? Who is this game FOR? It’s clearly not for Tales fans or JRPG fans because all we’re getting are these little 5 minute videos showing off character movesets like this is a fighting game or the fucking chinese botnet ‘game’ Genshin Impact. They don’t give you a reason to care about the character they’re showing off, they don’t dive into any of the character’s story or personality, they all focus on LOOK AT THIS MOVESET!!!!
I noticed another trend that has not happened with Tales before too; if you simply youtube search for it almost all the results – aside the “muh moveset” videos – are fucking youtube “influencers” who hate and/or don’t really care about JRPGs and Japanese stuff in general who were paid to give early reviews with early copies of the game. Yes, I truly care about “this is my first time with a Tales game” opinions and “I’m not a big fan of JRPGs usually” views of a game where the bottom line is “but I was paid several hundred dollars to say this is amazing and boy howdy it sure is!”.
This is all especially jarring for me, coming off of things like the Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker trailer which is one of the best I’ve ever seen and every single SECOND of it is made to hook you in and make you NEED to play the game and get you extremely excited for it even if you don’t play and have no clue what is going on given it’s the 4th expansion to something else.
Let’s just take a quick glance at the videos you’re given if you simply search youtube for “tales of arise trailer” with default filters/sorting on 9/8, a few days before release.
First up is the newest trailer, something to get everyone super hyped and hungering for more, waiting in huge anticipation of the release day not even half a week away. It’s probably some awesome crazy cool showcase of huge story moments and some characters saying lines you’ll want to know the story behind or something and bits and pieces of things that will make you confused and needing to figure out what the fuck is going on with it. No. It’s some awful showcase of, you guessed it, the gameplay and movesets along with some obnoxious british(?) guy talking over it about it as a video game because it’s a video game so lets remind you it’s a video game and here is how it works as a video game FORGUNG THE PAWTH FO-WUHD. Truly the voice itself is enough to not want to play this game if this guy does any work in it.
They also literally namedrop the game. “Thees is their stuhree…this is tales of arise!” and after only about 60 seconds of real trailer it becomes a breakdown of the game full with descriptive pop-up text telling you “this is about the environments” “this is about the combat system” “this is about THE FUCKING SHADERS” etc. This is not a trailer, this is a behind the scenes explanatory video. This is what they drop 3 days before it comes out? Some fucking annoying cunt who sounds like he’s trying to do an impersonation of Cary Elwes telling me what a video game is without even the slightest attempt to make it immersive at least? It literally is this guy telling you “Tales of Arise uses this and that to be this type of video game”. What the fuck? WHO CARES? LITERALLY “LOOK IT USES BETTER SHADERS THAN THE LAST GAME!”
ARE YOU SHITTING ME? THIS IS BASICALLY THE LAUNCH TRAILER?
THEY ARE ADVERTISING A FUCKING SHADER TO ME AS A REASON TO PLAY? The last 3 minutes of that video are just showing combat while the guy continues to TOLK OVAH EET ABOHT HOW YOU WILL FAHGT THE BADDIES WITH YOUR NEW ATMOSPHERIC SHADUH.
Next up Summer Game Fest; this trailer is at least more of a normal trailer…but it just isn’t a good one. It’s 90 seconds of “character says an uninteresting line, now other character in another scene says an uninteresting line, oh here’s some combat”. Nothing in it hooks you or gives you reason to care. Just boring and a waste. The voice acting also seems pretty bad, probably because it’s populated by a bunch of Youtubers again thanks to Funimation killing off the voice acting business as anything remotely legitimate a decade ago.
Then a review from some youtuber I’ve never heard of who got the game early and was paid for his review which is obvious BECAUSE THE GAME DIDN’T COME OUT YET. The review boils down to what it says in the description; the story sucks and is told horribly BUT MUH GAMEPLAY SO GOOD!!!! :O!!!!!! SOYYYYY!!!! It even goes into how “wildly inconsistent” the storytelling is and how bad it all is, yet still says the game is SUPER GOOD HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT MUH GAMEPLAY! PLEASE GIVE ME MONEY IN THE FUTURE TO REVIEW YOUR GAMES AGAIN! I LOVE IT ITS SHIT BUT WOW BUY THIS GAME GUYS!!!! #BROARMY!!!!
The worst part about all this gameplay focus is the gameplay seems pretty bland – it looks like an extremely generic action game made in unreal engine rather than anything unique or fun.
Release Date Trailer is another boring ~90 second nothing, this time focused on the long haired girl which is all I know about her is…she has long hair and a gun-thing. This trailer adds nothing to that and has nothing to hook you.
Then, yet again a long trailer, FUCK YES HERE WE GO BOYS…oh. It’s just gameplay shit again. Look, it’s even to the point they had to include a disclaimer that the story they do show isn’t even actually the story. What the FUCK? And the story ONLY EXISTS TO PROVIDE CONTEXT FOR GAMEPLAY which I’m sure is true with the full game too.
The official OP I already went over. This is one of the most lackluster and uninteresting openings to a JRPG in a very long time and I have nothing positive to say other than somehow it went from 2 minutes to about 40 seconds for me!
Skipped past 2 because it was another upload of the first trailer I went over just by Gamespot instead and another upload of the OP but by Playstation.
Now we get to some retard who looks to have no experience or interest in JRPGs telling me about a JRPG. And within 2 minutes he outright says he has barely played any JRPGs and only played a couple very old Tales games and didn’t complete any but Phantasia. He also loves Trails of Cold Steel somehow. I closed the video and won’t watch another of his uploads.
The 2021 Summer Fest trailer is another one that is 90 seconds long and focused on showing gameplay and like 30 seconds of a character saying boring uninteresting lines that don’t hook you. This time it’s this knight girl. Wait, is this the same as the other summer game fest trailer? I can’t even remember I don’t fucking care.
A fucking SONG trailer? And…wow, it’s the first and only video about this game that actually has some emotion and hook to it. It even has some weird shit that actually DID hook me and make me want to learn more; like a FUCKING SPACESHIP that looks straight out of Star Ocean.
However, aside the song trailer, Tales of Arise is a game that purely due to the marketing strategy I have lost ALL interest in even as a longtime huge fan of this series – in fact this was my #1 JRPG series for a long time when it came to long-running big names (so against things like Final Fantasy) and yet they’ve pushed me away from it. It’s like this game was created for people who don’t like these types of games rather than people who give a shit, and every bit of that feeling and the way the game is being sold to me has made me go from not being able to wait till release day, constantly rewatching the OP video and trailers…to “wait, that’s coming out Friday? lol I didn’t even know it had a release window yet” and planning to get it when it’s 20 dollars instead. Meanwhile there are a million uploads and written reviews from people who hate JRPGs/have no experience with JRPGs praising it and having the game early because they were paid to say it’s great. This is so fucking dumb.
This comes as only half the surprise it could have been though because from the moment they announced this they did talk about it as some new direction aimed at the western audience, and, well, it looks like they really did end up going for that. A lifeless open world game with a generic anti-slavery woke story with a woke guard who betrays his nazi allegiance to help the woke slave rebellion with a focus entirely on MUH GAMEPLAY MUH OPEN WORLD MUH MOVESETS PREASE BUY GAME AMELLICAN PREASSSEEE! DON’T WORRY AMELICANS THE STORY EXISTS ONREE TO GIVE CONTEXT TO GAMEPURAY! This is a game for exactly who is making early reviews of it; people who have no interest in JRPGs but want to claim they do – the same types who shat on Scarlet Nexus for being “too anime” while claiming to be huge anime and jrpg fans.
I still hope in some small part to be surprised when I do get around to this, but everything about how they’ve portrayed and pushed the game has done nothing but make me want to keep away from it until it’s discounted heavily.