Tales of Arise not great. Overall, I actually think that this entry in the series does a lot of things much more poorly than the older ones instead of functioning as an improvement. I want to like it, but the animation lock really hurts the game imo, especially when you’re playing someone that isn’t the MC. The enemy attacks are also really slow and telegraphed as a result of the animation lock + the implementation of perfect dodging with animation lock. It just… doesn’t make sense to me. If they wanted to do perfect dodging, they shouldn’t have animation lock. It feels a lot clunkier than previous entries, especially Berseria, where it felt like you were tearing things apart and moving around a lot more actively. Perhaps not replaying Berseria right before playing Arise would’ve helped my impression, but the combat portion of Arise really does feel like a massive step backwards.
Another thing that bothers me a lot is the art. The semi-photorealistic lighting they use courtesy of unreal contrasts with the style imo and it doesn’t really look as great, especially because they tried to go with a more western style for the environments while maintaining an eastern style for the characters, as if to partially follow in the footsteps of games like FF15. I personally hate the contrast. It bothers the hell out of me, especially since it feels like they missed out on a bunch of lighting tricks, so the lighting looks kind of terrible? Facial animations bother the hell out of me too. They’re in uncanny valley territory, and I cringe every single time I see them. It doesn’t look like they were mocapped at all. Either that, or the skeletal meshes are missing a few parts. In some instances, especially Shion’s, it almost looks like they’re just moving and scaling the face’s components instead of actually making her talk. It’s disgusting.
I also want to complain about something really weird, Shion’s skin tone. She has lighter skin in the opening, and it looks fine. The darker skin on her in game model feels like it’s either too dark or too light. I feel like they should’ve made her tan a little darker to contrast with her outfits and the environment if they wanted to go the tanned route, and the lighter skin in the opening seems to suggest that it was a last minute change.
I will finish the game eventually, but I’m playing it a little bit at a time now because I can’t really sit down with it for a long time without getting mad. Might play Deathloop then come back to it afterwards, even.