Tales of Arise is one of 2021’s best RPGs, and Bandai Namco really stepped up its game when it came to one of its longest-running franchises. However, while a heartfelt story and frenetic combat is everything that a JRPG needs, what really helps the game stand out is how visually striking it is–something that even extends to its menu. Slight Tales of Arise spoilers ahead.
Compared to previous games in the Tales series, Tales of Arise is a cut above, taking the best parts from its predecessors while developing a style all its own. Not only do the 3D character models look more proportionate and the environments shine vibrantly, the game still retains its beautiful 2D artwork as well. In particular, the base menu in Tales of Arise features an absolutely gorgeous watercolor painting of all of the playable characters in the party. However, the special part of the menu is that it ultimately changes depending on where the player is during the story.
At the very beginning of the game, the first two characters you meet are Iron Mask and Shionne. Rather than showing them side-by-side, the menu shows both of them facing away from each other, a reflection of how the pair feel about one another. They don’t exactly get off on the right foot, and the fact that the background is dark and fiery just adds to the tension. This menu art represents the animosity and friction between them when they first meet.