[tales of berseria]Tales of Arise： Why Mystic Artes Are Iconic in the Franchise
Tales of Arise is bringing back Mystic Artes, which have remained an iconic part of the Tales action RPG series’ gameplay for a long time.
By Liam Ferguson
Published Jun 17, 2021
The?Tales action RPG franchise remains as strong as it ever was, with the latest entry Tales of Arise coming out in the next few months. This game marks the largest leap forward in Tales graphics and gameplay seen in quite some time. Tales of Arise is actually the first mainline game in the Tales series to move beyond the PlayStation 3 entirely and upgrade to Unreal Engine 4, and this has allowed Namco to take some very obvious steps towards making a more ambitious Tales game. The environments are more detailed, often wider, and even have vertical elements like small ledges that the player can interact with. That alone has breathed new life into the old series.
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That’s not all that’s different. Tales has been known to have a standout fighting system among action RPGs. That part is still intact in Tales of Arise, but there is now a dedicated aerial element as well. Perhaps to accommodate for all the high-flying action that will no doubt ensue, the staple multiplayer system is sadly skipping this entry. However, other things like Artes are still very much around, and Mystic Artes are back once again.
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Mystic Artes were introduced all the way back in Tales of Phantasia’s PlayStation 1 remake. When it was re-released in 1998, three years after its original Super Famicom version, Phantasia sported a completely redesigned battle system with new movesets and animations. Among a few other extras added on top of that was the first mystic arte of the series, Dark Blade.
This is intended to be a “last resort” sort of attack, usable only if?the lead hero Cress’?HP is at critical levels, and if the player knows the button combination they need to press to use it. Later re-releases gave other characters Mystic Artes as well and gave Cress more of them, but the trend was set: a Mystic Arte was a special super-powerful attack set apart from other Artes.
At least one version of every subsequent game in the series had Mystic Artes or an equivalent going by a different name. The PlayStation 2 remake of the second Tales game, Tales of Destiny, was what really codified them, however. While they weren’t called Mystic Artes, the three-tiered Blast Calibers were the template for Tales’ memorable super moves.
The Destiny remake also introduced another Mystic Arte attribute, namely that bosses can have them as well. The final boss has three counter Blast Calibers, and one that is automatically used at low health. The protagonist, Stahn, can then follow that desperation Caliber up with a unique one of his own, giving the game a uniquely cinematic ending.
The ability for party members and key bosses to have Mystic Artes, as well as those Artes sometimes having special circumstances or effects, add a ton of personality to the Tales series. The actions characters take in their Mystics, as well as what they say, can reflect a lot about them. A fight against a party member’s personal rival is always more engaging when they suddenly jump into the boss’ abrupt Mystic Arte cutscene and counter with a Mystic of their own, like what Rokurou can do with Shigure in Tales of Berseria. Dual Mystics also started showing up in later games, allowing party members to demonstrate their relationships with one another through combat.
When it comes down to it, Mystic Artes are iconic and memorable because they fulfill the same role as super attacks in the fighting games that inspired Tales. They’re flashy, personalized moves that aren’t around all the time, but when they do show up, they can inspire a huge shift in the flow of battle. Even when they’re not serving much of a story function, they perform their mechanical function admirably. With Dual Mystics already playing a prominent role in Tales of Arise’ trailers, it looks like Mystic Artes, like Tales itself, are here to stay.
Tales of Arise will come to PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox X/S on September 10th, 2021.
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Tales of Arise
About The Author
(131 Articles Published)
Liam is a Features writer for Game Rant. He has been a passionate game enthusiast since a young age, and graduated from Brock University with a BA in Interactive Arts and Sciences. He has a preference for melee-focused action games, and loves to analyze mechanics. He combines that with his interest in writing, and uses his broad industry knowledge to talk about a wide variety of games.
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