Tales of Arise: How Alphen and Shionne Complement One Another
Tales of Arise released to plenty of fan praise and record-setting sales for the Tales franchise. This is thanks to its efforts in reinventing the Tales experience for both fans and newcomers alike. The combat system has been totally revamped, as have the environments and the player’s abilities when moving through them. Even the graphics have evolved, thanks in no small part to Unreal Engine 4. Between all this and the typically strong Tales character writing, Arise appears to have set the Tales series on the path of growth after years of stagnation.
That character writing is on particular display this time around. Skits in Tales of Arise have been revamped, and a whole lot of them have been hidden in the new camping system for players to unlock and enjoy at their leisure. Thanks to that, the main party spends plenty of time interacting and getting to know each other and the world around them. They all gradually conform to different relationships, but probably the most compelling of these is between the game’s main protagonists, Alphen and Shionne. Thanks to these two, an emotional core for the party is formed, and many of their highlighted character traits are tied back into gameplay.
Alphen and Shionne’s Complementary Personalities
The dual protagonists of Tales of Arise are introduced to players in the first few minutes of the game, and they both make striking impressions. Alphen, initially known as Iron Mask, is an amnesiac slave from the conquered planet of Dahna. Even though his face is hidden for the first few hours of the game, he bares his kindness and sense of justice for all to see, with his first act being to take a strike meant for a child. He ends up partnering with Shionne Vymer Imeris Daymore, a surly Renan noblewoman who is rebelling against her oppressive nation. These two treat each other with suspicion at first, but gradually warm up to one another due to their shared goals.
They turn out to have a surprising number of similarities and comparable traits. Shionne may come off more rude and secretive than Alphen, but turns out to be willing to spend her limited healing magic on total strangers. Alphen matches this by always being willing to help other people, and they encourage their better natures. Shionne is used to being alone and tormented by the Curse of Thorns that inflicts pain on any who touch her, but since Alphen is immune to it, she is gradually introduced to more people and perspectives to become a nicer and more open person. The two are dead ringers for a healthy romantic couple, constantly supporting one another, and even the other party members start to notice.
Tales of Arise’s Mechanics Tie Alphen and Shionne Together
Alphen and Shionne’s many complementary traits are used throughout Tales of Arise to inform both the gameplay and the pair’s deepening relationship. More combat mechanics open up as the duo learn to better work together, culminating in Shionne entrusting Alphen with the Blazing Sword. Alphen is able to use it thanks to his inability to feel pain, but relies on Shionne to heal the wounds it causes. This is reflected in gameplay, where Shionne is the primary means of healing Artes and is encouraged to keep watch over Alphen, whose up-close brawling and HP-fueled special attacks necessitate frequent patching up.
The two also have various quirks that play into Arise‘s gameplay mechanics. Shionne has a huge appetite and Alphen likes weapons and weapon-crafting, leading to frequent banter whenever cooking or blacksmithing comes up. Shionne’s interest in fashion indirectly points the player toward Tales of Arise‘s costume system, and both characters end up going through a few appearances over the course of the game. In general, there’s very little that doesn’t allow Alphen and Shionne to bounce off each other in some way. This approach to writing characters is one of Tales of Arise‘s many strong suits, and will go a long way toward endearing interested players to its unfolding story.
Tales of Arise is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.