There are times in games when you see a character’s mechanic or moveset and are struck by how useful it might be. As I went through a hands-on demo of Tales of Arise, I experienced exactly that with Captain Kisara. A newly announced party member for the game, she’s a warrior with a surprisingly helpful repertoire that made her invaluable during my experience.
When I headed into Tales of Arise, I initially didn’t have a clear goal. Instead, I was able to leisurely walk through the Elde Menaciq. Well, not too leisurely. As Shionne and Alphen pointed out at the start of my adventure, zeugles infested the area. These are different sorts of monsters that “follow” wherever Renans might settle themselves.
As is common with Tales of games, I picked one character to control in battle, while the other three would be handled by AI. Though again, as is common, you can set strategies to determine if they are aggressive, act in moderation, or focus on things like healing. And you can swap in fights or take charge. I decided to step into Kisara’s shoes for my Tales of Arise session, namely because her tank-like traits meant she wouldn’t function like the other people in the party.
See, Kisara wields a very large shield in Tales of Arise. While other characters can dodge if you press a certain button in a fight, she holds her ground. She’ll guard with her shield and take that hit. Which appealed to me immediately, because in Tales of games I sometimes dodge my way right into another opponent. As I headed down the road to the city of Viscint, it meant any time I was in a fight, she’d stand strong against any attack from any angle.
Even better is how Kisara handles Arte usage in Tales of Arise while defending. That is, she can still use them. Many of her special abilities are designed to be used while she’s holding up her shield and defending herself. While that in and of itself is handy, it gets even better when you factor in Artes that gain a special property if used while guarding. For example, take Rolling Thunder. This is an Arte Kisara can use while on the ground. Normally, it involves using her shield to attack a foe. If you are guarding, then it is stronger than usual.
So. Kisara’s whole gimmick revolves around dealing a lot of damage with her mace and shield and taking a lot of damage so ideally your other party members don’t have to. But what also impressed me about her is how good she is as a protector. That’s because in my hands on session, she also already knew the Arte Guardian Field. When I played, my party had both Shionne and Dohalim in roles where they’d be both attacking and healing and Alphen constantly attacking. But Kisara has the AOE Guardian Field skill that creates a brief circle on the ground where everyone inside, herself included, is healed. She has her shield out while it happens and stands like a staunch defender, offering another sort of protection.
Which I sorely needed, it turned out. See, Alphen, Shionne, and the crew couldn’t get into Viscint when I finally arrived. A massive zeugle happened to be in the area. To protect the city, the gates were closed. It then fell to the party to defeat it to get in. I then had to head to the Tietal Plains to face a giant Mantis. (Along the way, stopping to cook and watch the group chat at a camp before heading into the big fight.) I was playing on the Normal difficulty and decided to play around with my party, which meant I initially went in with Kisara, Dohalim, Alphen, and Rinwell. Against a big foe, you have to keep an eye out for Spirit Cores to exploit the weak point and attack. However, I didn’t expect it to summon friends. It wiped me out. But a second approach, with a more appropriate party that included Shionne instead of Rinwell, additional healing items, and Kisara more focused on defending and drawing the enemy’s aggression, was far more successful.
Knowing your party members’ roles in any Tales of entry is important. In Tales of Arise, I could already see what an asset Kisara can be. Throughout my experience attempting to reach, then enter, Viscint, she was a powerhouse. Not only was she able to deal admirable damage to foes with her hammer and shield, but she functioned as an ideal tank. Her guarding ability proved useful in ordinary and extraordinary encounters. And considering how it works with her Artes to allow you to both use them while guarding and add effects to some, it offered a glimpse at a character who seems to be especially well suited for situations.
Tales of Arise will release for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and PC on September 9, 2021 in Japan and on September 10, 2021 worldwide.