As I posted in the Review thread, Arise starts off kinda basic and I didn't get the high scores this game gets but its actually extremely good the further I progressed. Right now its my favorite Tales game.
First of all, technically its kind of shit. You can obviously see this is a PS4 game, there are loading screens for entering inns for example. They are short, but they are there. You just know the PS5 can do far better here, it could load this entire thing into the memory.
But I love the visual style. The different realms have personality and great use of colors. Its standard fare; a rocky fire realm, an ice realm, a forest realm etc. But I love how it looks. The combat starts off really average as you can only do 3 artes in a row and you don't even have much more yet. The targeting is questionable and you seem to whiff a lot of attacks. Its kind of messy at first. But once you get more characters, skills, AG and other perks it gets much better. Actually this game is kind of tactical like FFX, random mobs are never challenging (even on Hard) but using the right moves does end battles quicker and nets you better rewards. So you have these Boost attacks, I love them. They basically call in any character including the one you control to do a one time special thats on cooldown. There are flying enemies or enemies who go airborne for a special, you can call in Shionne and she shoots them out of the air to briefly stun them and break them. After this you need to do proper arte combos to fill the gauge and you can use a finisher that kills weak mobs or severely damage stronger ones. Rinwell, the mage, you call her in when an enemy charges a spell. She cancels and reflects the spell with the same results. For every type of enemy there is an answer. You can also call in boost attacks if your AG is depleted and the enemy bar is nearly full in order to maintain the build up to a finisher.
MP or TP or w/e doesn't exist anymore. Instead there is a shared CP pool. This ensures everyone can cast heals and revives as long as its not depleted. This means there is no individual bar management anymore, but you need to fill it up at drawn out battles and those items can't be bought at first and don't come cheap. CP is the reason I sometimes struggle on Hard mode bosses. Ofcourse, since artes are on cooldown now this change makes sense. Otherwise you would heal and revive forever.
Crafting is better than Zestiria. Weapons are crafted by mats you find and win, and sometimes old weapons so don't sell them. Usually these mats for the best weapons are found in the latest area so I never had to grind so far. Accessories you have to create, and then put your perks on it FFX style. This is pretty good and some stones have rather good perks on them. For some bosses you want to put null poison or paralysis on, or elemental defense. And for random mobs you could make rare item drop up etc since they're almost never tough anyway.
As for the story, its the least cringe Tales game I have played. I like the cast and while the dialogues do lecture you about oppression, war and other cliches I don't mind it. I even enjoy some skits (esp. with Kisara who gets livid if you spend too much cash). The story is never something memorable and takes a weird turn eventually but it flows better than say Vesperia. I play with the dub, the VA is okay (esp. Kisara and Shionne) but the sync is pretty bad so beware. I love the fishing minigame btw. Its pretty fun to do and to catch them all. But Kisara is my goat character anyway.