I completed Tales of Arise 100%. The combat, the core gameplay, is so much fun. If that's all you need to hear from a gamer who enjoys fighting games for their impact and intricate mechanics, its all here. Tales of Arise excels in offering the player numerous options to mix up the gameplay. Considering the length of this game, having the ability to diversify your experience is just so liberating in this action-rpg genre. Generally, you don't come into this kind of game expecting to experience fluidity in combat along with enough options to make every character viable and customized to your play style, with respect to elements and weaknesses in combat.
The feel of the combat is executed well enough for me to say this game is good off of that.
The story is a toss up. The characters are decent. I'm not really a story gamer, but I appreciated that I could skip over the dialogue in a line-by-line fashion over skipping cut-scenes entirely. I could pick exactly what i'm skipping which helped make side quests go by faster. That's another great thing about this game. Its snappy and doing the usual rpg rotation of functions is seamless because of quality of life game decisions that really push one to think that they really leaned on the combat for this game. Like everything you do in the game is ultimately to make your core experience better in some way, and thats super cool as a design philosophy.
The story is all there and there's plenty of good character moments and story twists to keep things interesting.
My major gripe with the game is that the first 65% of the game feels like a different game, narrative-wise, to the finale of the game. It feels like in Dragon Quest 11, part 3 of that game is essentially the final act of this game. This can be a cool thing cause it was interesting what unfolds for the heroes. The ratio of gameplay to cinematic just leaned to far to the latter at some point in the game. I just wanted to play the game, but cinematic after cinematic reminded me of Xenoblade 2's terrible final act.
My personal thoughts is that at some point in the game the story became very weak and stopped me from finishing it. It's a good 2 hours of meh story, imo.
The game can definitely be amazing sometimes and just great overall, despite some shortcomings and my own feelings of the story pace at some point. I really enjoyed my time with Tales of Arise. I am definitely looking forward to their next installment. To me, this game is a 9, but I will give it an 8.4. There's just too many options in the core experience for someone to not get something out of this game.