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.
Best Alphen skills
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.
Best Shionne skills
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.
Best Rinwell skills
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.
Best Law skills
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 s