Skip to main content

Tales of Arise: Beyond the Dawn is too little too late

Tales of Arise's DLC expansion Beyond the Dawn isn't substantial enough to be worth your time two years after the main game released

The Tales series lives and dies on its cast of characters. Every game has the overarching story of a local problem escalating into a quest to simultaneously save and remake the world itself, but the characters, their motivations, and their personal stories are always heartfelt and unique. Well, almost always – it’s been over two years since Arise first launched, and even after a quick YouTube recap of the story, I still can’t tell you why Law is with the gang. I vaguely remember him joining the crew, but why did he stick around? Same question goes to Rinwell, too, honestly.

As of the new Beyond the Dawn expansion, it’s been some time since Arise’s fantasy apartheid ended, but the people who used to be on top aren’t happy about having to suddenly be equals. Sounds like something the politically powerful party member Lord Dohalim should really be sorting out, but instead, the gang decided to get back together to do a bit of gallivanting and monster hunting, and he couldn’t resist.

While on one of their jovial camping trips, they run into a young child Nazamil. Nazamil’s story is pointlessly tragic, a mixed-race child with distinctive heterochromia and mysterious abilities, she’s shunned from both Renan and Dahnan societies. It feels needlessly cruel and unjustified, and likewise, the traumatized Nazamil’s outbursts seem to come out of nowhere. Nazamil is the “antagonist” here, taking us through a story we’ve all seen before in some form. It’s so incredibly predictable and rote.

tales of arise beyond the dawn glhf (1)

But it’s those character moments that people come for, right? The dual-protagonists have always had a will-they-won’t-they relationship, because there’s a section of the fanbase that loves that, and now Beyond the Dawn wants to take things one step further. It’s honestly cute in places, very sweet, but I personally just don’t feel any attachment to either Alphen or Shionne. Throughout the main game, Alphen is just a generic hero, after all.

Beyond the Dawn, to its credit, attempts to address exactly that. Early on, Alphen is bombarded with requests from the people he meets, each of which looking to have the Blazing Sword of Dahna assist with their issues. It culminates in Alphen eventually holding a tiny town hall meeting and stating that he’ll only step in to help when people actually need it, instead of acting as an errand boy. It’s hardly a moment of character affirmation, but it was nice to see something to set Alphen apart from every other JRPG protagonist.

tales of arise beyond the dawn glhf (4)

Then you see that most of Beyond the Dawn’s purported “20+-hour” story content is made up of side quests. There are so many side quests, and they almost all ask you to wipe out a few specific monsters in the open world, or to collect a handful of ingredients. It’s overbearing, especially considering that Beyond the Dawn – which is supposed to be an “expansion,” remember – doesn’t actually have any new areas. The only new locations are a small handful of dungeons with near-identical corridors.

Arise’s final dungeon felt like a boss rush of tough enemies, and almost every area in Beyond the Dawn is like that. Arise’s combat has always been decently satisfying, but that’s because the average monster encounter is over in a flash. When every encounter takes five or even up to 15 minutes for the tougher battles, you’ll find yourself avoiding them as often as possible. After all, with a decent item stock even incredibly tough fights are always doable, there’s no need to grind here.

Tales of Arise screenshot.

It’s been just long enough that I didn’t mind revisiting Arise’s world to see how things had changed, but it’s also been long enough for the characters to become entirely forgettable. Only Alphen and Shionne really have any time to shine here, and while their blossoming relationship is sweet, I don’t actually care, and the story is totally unable to make me.

Tales of Arise is a solid JRPG, if not the strongest Tales series entry. Beyond the Dawn is disappointing, even by the standards set by the main game. If, for some reason, you’ve read this review without playing the main game, rest assured that it’s decent fun. This DLC expansion, however, can be left out of your cart.

Score: 6/10

Version tested: PS5

  • Visuals: 7/10
  • Story: 5/10
  • Gameplay: 7/10
  • Performance: 9/10

Tales of Arise: Beyond the Dawn technical breakdown

As you’d expect, Beyond the Dawn performs just as Tales of Arise’s main game did on PS5. If you opt for the 60fps performance mode you’ll get an overall very stable experience throughout.