Skills, abilities, levels, magic, gear — there’s always a ton of things you need to pay attention to and manage in modern JRPGs. The latest in one of the longer-running series, Tales of Arise, not only lets you fully spec out your entire team of heroes, but incentivizes it by allowing you to take direct control over your entire team, not just the main character Alphen. This is great for keeping combat fresh, but also means you need to spend time making sure your entire party is keeping up with each other.
All six of your characters have their own individualized skill tree to work through, plus their own Titles that can give them even more skills and abilities. As you play and earn SP by defeating enemies and completing main and side objectives, you can cash them in on unlocking new abilities. In the early days, you won’t have a ton of SP to throw around, so wasting it on skills that won’t pay off will hurt quite a bit. None are useless, mind you, but there are a few that will benefit you far more in the early game than others. Here’s a handful of the best abilities to unlock early for each character in Tales of Arise.
For any skills associated with a Title that must be unlocked, we will tell you what the requirements are to do so.
Alphen is your main character. He starts out like a generic JRPG protagonist, amnesia and all, but is a fantastic all-around character. He uses sword-type weapons and is a great DPS character. He begins with two Titles: Iron Mask and Rebellious Spark.
The first skill Alphen needs is Increased Max AG, which is in the Iron Mask Title. AG, if you’re unaware, is the meter you drain when using Artes. The more AG you have, the more Artes you can use in battle. You can actually stack this skill up three times early on, though you may want to save some for later on to get the other essentials first.
Increased Down Damage is part of the Blazing Sword Title, which you should get naturally early on. It is unlocked by downing 35 enemies using the Boost Attack. Once you’ve unlocked it, this ability makes Alphen’s Boost Attack a guaranteed down, allowing you to follow up with plenty of free hits for more damage.
Our next skill has a name as awesome as it looks, the Flaming Edge Burst. This skill is part of the Blazing Sword Title, which you will naturally unlock as you progress the game, specifically while completing the story mission titled “Taking Down Balseph.” This ability allows you to perform an Arte with Alphen, but instead of just tapping the button, you hold down whatever button you’re using for that Arte. This will charge up the Arte to deal even more damage but at the expense of some HP.
Going hand in hand with the first skill we covered, we come to Faster AG Recovery as part of the Emissary of Liberation Title. You’ll get this one basically at the same time as the last Title since it requires you to beat Balseph. This one does basically what it says on the tin. Your AG will come back at a faster rate, plain and simple. While not flashy in its own right, it will pay off by letting you do your Artes much more frequently.
Finally, unlocked in the Iron Mask Title again, is the Easier Perfect Evading/Guarding skill. Perfect evading and perfect guarding are fantastic skills to master mechanically, but they’re hard to get a feel for, especially just starting out. This skill gives you a little leeway in timing your dodges. As one of your core move sets, this skill will be useful all the way until the end of the game.
Shionne is essentially a main character right alongside Alphen, but instead of a sword she uses a long-range rifle as her primary weapon, and is also equipped to be the party’s healer. She only starts with one Title, Escape Artist, but gets more pretty quick.
Every character can benefit from more AG, so we’ll start off in the same place with Shionne in unlocking Increased Max AG. This is part of the Escape Artist Title and works exactly as it does with Alphen.
Moving on to her more unique skills, we have Increased Arte Casting Resilience in the Thorny Woman Title. This Title is also tied to the “Taking Down Balseph” main quest. What this skill does is prevent Shionne from getting staggered when an enemy hits her while she’s casting a spell. Instead of having to start the cast all over, she will just tank the hit and finish casting, which can mean the difference between winning a tough fight and your party getting wiped.
Here’s another duplicate with Faster AG Recovery, but hey, there’s no denying it’s a worthwhile skill. To access it, however, you need to get the Bottomless Stomach Title by cooking at least eight meals with Shionne.
KO Prevention is a literal lifesaver that you’ll be very happy to have on your party’s healer. What it does is similar to other last-chance-type abilities found in other JRPGs where any attack that would KO Shionne instead just brings her down to 1 HP. Combined with the Casting Resilience, Shionne can really come in the clutch to pull your party back from the brink of defeat. This is in your starting Title of Escape Artist.
Last up we round out our healer’s early skills with CP Restoration When Full. Locked inside the Bottomless Stomach Title, this skill makes it so that any time Shionne cooks a meal — and you should be cooking a meal every chance you get anyway — in addition to the meal’s specific buff, you will also restore some CP. Since CP is so hard to recover normally and required for casting any healing spells, getting a little back for every meal allows you to venture a bit farther than you otherwise would without having to head back to camp or use an expensive Orange Gel.
Next up we have Rinwell, but more importantly Hootie. In all seriousness, Rinwell is the mage of the group, even wielding a book rather than a traditional weapon. Don’t let that fool you, though, because she can be one of your biggest damage dealers.
To get this mage off the ground as fast as possible, start by unlocking the Strengthened Magic Charge skill in her default Dahnan Mage Title. What this skill does is basically allow you to stock a spell for later use instead of having to use it right away. Plus, the process of storing a spell for later also buffs it to be more powerful at the same time.
Moving on, we have the Arte Casting Mobility skill. This skill requires you to get the Silver Sword Title by completing the main story quest called “Finding Zephyr.” What this skill does is let you move while casting spells as Rinwell. This skill is especially essential while you’re directly controlling Rinwell so you don’t feel like you’re a sitting duck whenever you cast an Arte, but of course will also benefit her while controlled by A.I.
This next one is kind of a long play, but the earlier you can get it the better. Called Owl Astral Energy, this skill gives Rinwell a permanent elemental attack buff for each collectible owl you find in the game. You need to get the Birdie Bestie Title first, though, which is unlocked via a side quest called “The Owl Forest.” Thankfully you will automatically get this side quest while progressing through the story so you don’t have to worry about missing it.
Our next skill to unlock is Increasing Boost Gauge at Battle Start. That mouthful of a name at least gives you a good idea of what it does, which is to let you use Rinwell’s Boost Attack to interrupt any enemy spells that are being cast, steal them, and use them against that same enemy. Having her Boost Attack up and ready is one of her most valuable skills.
Lastly, we recommend getting Reduced Arte Casting Time During Combos — another name that could’ve used some trimming. This time, the higher your combo count gets with Rinwell, the shorter time you have to wait to cast an Arte. Pair it with the other Arte-boosting skills we selected, and Rinwell can really get rolling in a fight.
The next companion to join your ragtag group is the Snake Eyes officer Law. Law likes to get up close and personal with his foes, using his fists as his primary weapons. That makes him a heavy hitter, but also in the line of fire to tank a lot of abuse as well.
To make the most out of Law’s aggressive playstyle, get yourself the Increased Awakening skill right away. This skill will trigger automatically after you land a series of attacks without getting staggered and put Law into an “Awakened” mode where all of his attack stats are buffed up. This is in his Mournful Son Title, which he comes with by default.
If we’re going to be buffing Law’s attack, we might as well make it as strong as we can, right? Awakening Burst gives Law even more strength after you reach his “Awakened” mode you unlocked with Increased Awakening. Just keep punching, and Law will get even stronger. This skill can be unlocked right away too, under the Snake Eye Turncoat Title that he starts with.
And hey, why not go for the trifecta with this build and unlock the Reduced Awakening Requirements skill? As you can probably guess, this skill lowers the amount of hits Law needs to land before triggering his “Awakened” state. Simple, but oh so useful. You’ll need the Armor Breaker Title to get this skill, which does take some work. You need to break an enemy’s armor using Law’s Boost Skill 40 times to unlock it.
Law’s Boost Skill allows him to smash through armored foes, leaving them vulnerable to attacks. You’ll know an enemy has armor when you attack them and a small blue shield icon pops up, meaning they will take less damage than normal until that armor is broken. The Increased BG at Battle Start will make sure you can break apart any armored enemy’s defenses right away to speed up otherwise tedious fights. This skill is under the Prince of Iron Fists Title, which you can easily get by performing three Boost Attacks.
Last up, let’s break some limits with the Easier Awakening Over Limit skill, also in the Armor Breaker Title. Once you have this skill, Law will be able to enter his Over Limit state far faster, allowing him to use his Mystic Artes more often. Considering these are the most powerful moves in the game, it’s easily worth investing in early.
A member of the Hahnan army, Kisara is not one to mess around with. She marches into battle with massive mace weapons and even larger, heavier shields. If there were ever a character to embody the role of a tank, it’s her.
Tanking is much easier when Kisara blocks to reduce the damage coming in, but is very uncomfortable to do by default since she can’t move and guard at the same time. Fix that right away with the Guard Mobility skill to allow her to hold up her shield and move simultaneously. You don’t have to wait on this one, either, since it’s in the Captain Kisara Title that she comes with automatically.
Sticking with the Captain Kisara Title, another skill worth grabbing early is her Increasing Guarding Effects ability. Once you’re able to guard and move, you’ll be guarding even more, which is where this skill comes into play. It is a basic buff to your guard, making you take even less damage when guarding an attack, but invaluable for a tank character.
Easier Over Limit should sound familiar to you by now. The last one we’ll cover in the Captain Kisara Title, this skill just makes Kisara go into her Over Limit more often. What more do you need?
The Recover skill is a nice skill to get as a bit of insurance. Whenever Kisara gets hit and knocked into the air, and would otherwise crumple, you can instead flip like a cat and land back on your feet. This avoids the sluggish downtime and any chance for the enemy to follow up on her, which you would otherwise be susceptible to. Find this skill in the Devout Sister Title, which is also available as soon as Kisara joins your party.
Last up is another old favorite, Increased BG at Battle Start. Her boost attack can do a number of things that are pretty useful, but not immediately essential. When used, she will charge at an enemy with her shield while simultaneously buffing her defense stats. It can also interrupt an enemy’s charge attack, but that’s much harder to pull off and very situational. Grab this one when you have points to spare.
Our final party member is the nobleman Dohalim, a support mage-style character who uses his staff in combat. Much like Rinwell, he’s not going to be up in the front lines, but rather is better suited to using his Artes from a distance.
No matter how much you plan, sometimes a battle won’t go your way and Dohalim will end up closer than you like to an enemy, or just be the target of some ranged attacks. In these instances, having Easier Perfect Evading is great. We covered this skill way back with Alphen, but Dohalim actually gets a secondary benefit from it. After a Perfect Evade, Dohalim’s rod extension ability is activated, which extends his attack range. Grab this one in two of his three starting Titles, Architect of Coexistence or Former Lord.
To get even more benefit out of your Perfect Evades, grab the AG Restored by Perfect Evading skill right away. Also in Architect of Coexistence, this skill will automatically recover some AG each time Dohalim hits a Perfect Evade. Again, as a spell caster, avoiding damage and recovering AG to throw out more Artes is extremely useful.
Another duplicate, Recovery is great for anyone you can give it to, so keep Dohalim on his feet with this one. This skill is in his third starting Title, Dilettante.
Ivy Master is the only Title you’ll need to work for early on with Dohalim. You can unlock it by hitting 10 enemies with Dohalim’s Boost Attack. Once you have it, spend your points on the Increased Arte Casting Resilience skill. It works just like it does for Shionne and will keep him from getting staggered while casting any spells.
To keep him as useful as possible in battle, grab the Faster AG Recovery skill in the Architect of Coexistence Title. Again, we already covered this one before, so you know the deal. More AG means more Artes.