One year after the events of Tales of Arise, tensions between Renans and Dahnans still run high. The twin worlds merging is seen less as an entirely new world and more as Dahna simply absorbing Rena, with Alphen seen as the destroyer of Lenegis or the savior of Dahna. Alphen and Shionne continue their globetrotting travels when they come across a child of both Dahnan and Renan blood, the daughter of the late Lord Urwagil Hildris and hated by people from both worlds. Nazamil joins the pair as they meet up with the rest of the gang to seal off the mysterious Mausoleums, but the conflict between her crushing loneliness and newly found family might just tear the world apart in the process.
I loved Tales of Arise when it released back in 2021, and when I heard we were getting more of it though the Beyond the Dawn DLC I was ecstatic. Returning to a world and characters after saving the world is always a cool idea, and for Tales of Arise the prospect was especially interesting. I was a bit worried that things would be a bit too happy after the dissolution of Dahnan slavery, but it’s great to see this treated with the weight it deserves. It’s also part of how the game gets you to like Nazamil so quickly; she’s despised by Renans and Dahnans simply because she is a descendant of both races. She is the central pillar of the expansion’s story and themes, and I’m glad the game gives you the time to get to know her.
The story here does tend to drag its feet a bit, particularly right before the antagonist is revealed, but I still love to see all these characters interacting. In particular, Alphen and Shionne’s blossoming romance is great. In stories you mostly see the leadup to characters realizing they love each other then skip directly to the happily ever after, but here you get to see them support and encourage each other. There’s even a chain of side quests where Alphen does research on weddings that is so sweet. Dohalim and Kisara likewise make a great couple, but I’m still not sold on Rinwell and Law. Rinwell is just so mean to Law, I get that they’re going with the trope that young people in love show their affection though insults but it’s really over the top. Law still needs more character development too as, even though he gets a great side quest here, he remains the least complicated party member. Considering this is probably the last we’ll see of this party unless there’s a direct sequel, that’s disappointing.
Beyond the Dawn does feel like a sequel in its own right, however, alongside Tales of Xillia 2 and Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World (I’m beginning to notice a pattern in subtitles). It took me about 20 hours to finish, including all side quests and a few arena battles. You can import your save from the main game and receive a few bonuses based on total completion, but the party will start the expansion at level 60 with only a basic set of artes regardless. It would have been cool to keep my equipment and builds, but you can set things back up pretty easily after a few battles.
The game doesn’t play any differently from the main story. This is simply more Tales of Arise, and personally that’s good enough. The combat is still a ton of fun (though casters are still clunky to play), and the new dungeons are fantastic with amazing visual design and interesting gimmicks. Several areas from the base game have been revamped to show the progression of time as well, Niez has a much bigger population for example. These aren’t huge changes, but it’s still cool to see. I only wish you could earnestly explore the entire world, a lot of areas are simply skipped over or require fast travel to reach. It’s ultimately for the sake of expediency, but I always love to just exist in detailed RPG worlds.
Lastly, the music is just incredible. Motoi Sakuraba always goes hard, and that remains the case here. The new battle theme is fantastic, even if it’s difficult to hear over all the attack yelling, as are the rest of the new tracks including the returning arrangements from previous titles.
David is the kind of person to wear his heart on his sleeve. He can find positives in anything, like this is a person who loved Star Fox Zero to death. You’ll see him playing all kinds of games: AAAs, Indies, game jam games, games of all genres, and writing about them! Here. On this website. When not writing or playing games, you can find David making music, games, or enjoying a good book.
David’s favorite games include NieR: Automata, Mother 3, and Gravity Rush.
Tales of Arise - Beyond the Dawn
Tales of Arise - Beyond the Dawn might not be the most necessary followup ever made and you’ve seen this kind of story told in RPGs many times before, but it's still delightful nonetheless. Combat remains a blast, the story is thoughtful with a fantastic final boss, and the world feels like a realistic impression of what a year after global slavery would be like. Beyond the Dawn is exactly what it should be, nothing more and nothing less.