Games that are set in a fantasy world and that let us meet magical creatures while carrying out a quest have been popular for decades. The release of the new Tales of Arise brings us another version of this much-loved theme, so what is it about and how has the genre changed over the years?
The Full Story on Tales of Arise
This is a fantasy role-playing game that has been created by Bandai Namco Entertainment for a variety of different formats, such as PlayStation 4 and 5, Microsoft Windows and the Xbox One and Series X/S consoles. The release of this game in September 2021 has been long-awaited, as it was delayed from the original planned date in 2020.
The setting is a place called Dahna, in a time long before it was invaded by the Renans who would go on to enslave the locals. One of the main characters is Alphen, who is a Dahnan that has lost his memory and also can’t feel any sensations of pain for some reason. The other important character is Shionne, who is a Renan and she has a curse that can cause harm to anyone who comes into contact with her.
While this is the 17th title in the Tales series, which began back in 1995 with Tales of Phantasia, you can play Tales of Arise even if you know nothing about the previous titles, as it isn’t connected to any of them. You will find out more about each character if you choose to view the skits that are occasionally prompted on the screen, as these are short sequences that let you see more about their backstories.
Apart from exploring the world and collecting useful items, you can also hunt for food and then cook with it, choosing which person you want to prepare each meal using their unique cooking skills. The combat sequences let you fight with one member of the group at a time, although you can switch between during fights to make the best use of their differing abilities.
The History of Fantasy Games
We can trace the evolution of fantasy role-playing games (RPGs) back to board games like 1974’s Dungeons & Dragons. Even before that, there are examples in different cultures around the world of people playing in war games in fictitious lands while playing the parts of diverse characters. But it was in the 1970s and 80s that this type of game exploded in popularity around the planet.
1975’s dnd was arguably the first video game to let us explore a fantasy world on our computers. Based loosely on the Dungeons & Dragons board game that had been released the year before, dnd was written for the PLATO system by South Illinois University students Gary Whisenhunt and Ray Wood and looks very simple to modern games. Yet, it introduced some of the key elements that would become staples of this genre, such as bosses that had to be defeated and non-linear progression through the levels.
This led to a wave of fantasy RPGs, many of which carried on with the basic themes from Dungeons & Dragons while others took the idea and added to it with new settings and gameplay mechanisms. Top of this list of the top 100 RPGs ever released is 1995’s Chrono Trigger by Square, followed by Final Fantasy VI, which was brought out by the same developer the year before. However, plenty of other much-loved fantasy games have been released over the years.
The idea of a fantasy setting has also reached other genres. If we look at some of the top casino sites for slot games in South Africa, we see names such as Punt Casino, Casino Dome and Springbok Casino. The slots games on these sites have titles like Dragon Orb by Realtime Gaming, Crystal Ball by Gamomat and Dragon’s Fire Megaways by Red Tiger, alongside traditional casino games like roulette and blackjack. These games add the slots gameplay to a fantasy setting with some of the typical RPG images and characters.
Mobile games have helped to add flexibility to the lives of RPG fans, with games such as Genshin Impact by miHoYo and Raid: Shadow Legends from Plarium Games bringing the open-world and engrossing stories we are used to in a convenient package so that they can be played anywhere. As mobile technology has improved, these games have become almost as visually impressive as PC and console versions, giving a new way of playing that has attracted many players.
What Does the Future Hold?
Tales of Arise should prove to be successful, as it contains many of the elements of RPGs that people love and follows on from a long line of popular games in the Arise series. As for the genre, it is clear that these games remain as widely played as ever, with Salt and Sacrifice another RPG many people are already looking forward to playing.
As the market diversifies and new ways of playing emerge, we can expect more people to discover the pleasure of playing in fantasy worlds, while existing fans can choose from an ever-greater list of options.