For most people the Tales series peaked two years ago with the release of Tales of Arise. This modern shake up to the formula of this action RPG series delighted fans and critics alike, thanks to its sensational combat and likeable cast of characters. I thought my time was over with Tales of Arise and I’d be waiting for a new Tales game for my next fix, but Bandai Namco had other ideas and surprised us all with the new Beyond the Dawn DLC.
It’s not particularly easy to talk about the story of Beyond the Dawn without spoiling the main game entirely, because it’s a direct sequel. After the events that concluded Tales of Arise the world was shaken up pretty substantially, and that has left the former enemy citizens of Dahna and Rena forced to live together and get on. This has gone about as smoothly as you’d imagine, and so Alphen has got the gang back together to try and help everyone get along and deal with some new threats.
For the most part you’ll be used to all the lively weirdos you travel with in Beyond the Dawn, with the exception of their new companion Nazamil. Born to both Dahnan and Renan, this young girl is pretty much shunned by everyone and is on the run from her past. Due to a pretty tragic backstory it takes her a while to warm up, but she soon learns the team are a pretty lovely bunch and fits right in. It would be a stretch to call her a particularly unique character, but I still enjoyed having her along for the ride as we cleared out mausoleums full of monsters and helped out the townsfolk with chores.
The story is probably the main draw of Beyond the Dawn, but it’s not exactly the most fast paced narrative out there. Between the meaningful moments you’ll be tasked with busywork like gathering ten monster pelts from some angry wolves or finding an ingredient for your next tasty meal, and it gets old fast.
Thankfully there are plenty of battles to keep you engaged as you adventure around the world. Anyone who remembers the combat in Tales of Arise will remember the character action level of satisfaction you get from every encounter. With a combination of basic attacks and special skills you can break and dispatch big eagles or angry plants with ease, and that’s still the case here. In fact not a single thing has changed in the combat of Beyond the Dawn, which I guess isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I was hoping for a bit of a shake up.
It’s not just the combat itself either, it’s almost everything about Beyond the Dawn. There are no new skills, no new enemies, no new mechanics – nothing. It’s so odd to go back to a game thanks to a new significant piece of paid content and be greeted by something that feels so intensely familiar. If you really enjoyed Tales of Arise you’ll obviously have a good time with Beyond the Dawn too, but it’s hard not to feel a little disappointed by the lack of new stuff away from the story.
Despite being a direct continuation of the story of Tales of Arise, the new content doesn’t actually start with the characters as you levelled them in the main game. Instead when you start Beyond the Dawn you’re given a set amount of skill points to put into their abilities from a menu full of tiny stat upgrades and new moves. It’s a ridiculously overwhelming task to be greeted with after not thinking about these characters for two years, but it does at least mean that you don’t start over or underpowered.
It might sound like I didn’t enjoy my time with Beyond the Dawn based on this review, but because it still includes everything that made Tales of Arise great it’s still some seriously enjoyable DLC. It’s definitely disappointing that Bandai Namco didn’t add in anything new to make it feel like an essential reason to come back and hang with Alphen and company, but if you loved Tales of Arise you’ll undeniably still love Beyond the Dawn.
Still has some of the best RPG combat around
Nice to hang with the characters again
Nazamil is a nice new addition
Very few new elements
Overwhelming to assign skills points all over again
Too many dull quests