A Tales game isn’t a Tales game if it doesn’t have a comically ridiculous wardrobe. In that regard, Tales of Arise, the latest entry in Bandai Namco’s long-running series of JRPGs, does not disappoint. (See: screenshot above, screenshots below.) But heed this warning: Downloading the game’s optional cosmetic options makes the game easier.
Tales of Arise, officially out now for PlayStation, Xbox, and PC, features a whole bunch of optional content. If you pick up any of the non-standard versions of the game—that would be the digital deluxe, digital ultimate, or collector’s editions—you’ll get four costume packs: Premium, Warring States, School Life, and, in keeping with the series’ affinity for dressing fantasy characters up in modern swimwear, Beach Time.
All three editions of the game also come with the Premium Item Pack and the Premium Travel Pack, both of which give you instant access to a ton of—for lack of a better term—extremely helpful shit. We’re talking stuff like XP boosts; broad discounts on vendors; dozens of herbs like Lavender and Sage (which can permanently boost your party’s stats); hundreds of in-game cooking ingredients; and half a million Gald, the game’s currency. (For perspective, I’m several dozen hours in and have never had more than 30,000 Gald on hand.)
You can download all of the bonus items piecemeal or in bulk at any of the game’s campsites. And if you’re in dire need of getting five life bottles this very second, yeah, sure, you can see the full offerings via the game’s “System” menu.
I’d suggest at the very most picking up a few essentials piecemeal, since nabbing the entire haul can seriously throw the game’s balance out of whack. But here’s the other catch: Even the costumes can make your characters more powerful. See, each costume gives your character a new title. That might sound innocuous enough, but Tales of Arise’s skill tree is dictated by the titles you unlock for each party member.
If you complete certain actions—say, “forge four accessories” or “meet four out of every five owls”—you’ll earn a new title for one of your six party members. If a character earns a new title, you unlock a new branch on that character’s skill tree. If you unlock all five skills related to that title (the first one’s free), the character gets a permanent stat boost.
Yes, you could just totally ignore all of the bonus skill trees. But, again, the first skill for each tree comes free. Keeping things somewhat vague out of concern for spoilers, that largely means scoring instant access to combat moves as soon as you choose to add a DLC costume to your wardrobe.
Take the martial artist character Law, for instance. By downloading all three costume packs, you’ll automatically add three honestly pretty decent Artes (Tales-speak for “special attacks”) to his repertoire. Same goes for protagonist Alphen and obligatorily mousy mage sidekick Rinwell. To the best of my knowledge, these characters would otherwise not be able to learn these moves. Two of Alphen’s have significantly changed how I play the game.
And then there’s the beast of temptation, which has, like, a 100–0 record with humans. Some of the available skills, like KO Prevention—a passive ability that keeps a character alive with 1HP in the event of a knockout blow—are truly game-changing. You can unlock KO Prevention later on, but accessing the costume DLC gives you an instant avenue for some characters. (Rinwell’s, for instance, opens up when you earn the Serious Swimmer Girl title, which you get with the Beach Time pack.) Take it from me: KO Prevention is arguably one of the most helpful passive abilities in the game. Were I able to grab it from the jump, I don’t think I’d be able to ignore the option.
By all means, if you picked up an upgraded edition, dress up your team in the game’s bonus threads. Just know that doing so will make Tales of Arise somewhat easier. Of course, if the game becomes a cakewalk, no one’s stopping you from kicking up the difficulty.
Anyway, here’s a gallery of some patently ridiculous Tales of Arise outfits: