Tales of Arise's Beyond the Dawn features a new character with a depressing backstory with nothing much else to back up.

User Rating: 7 | Tales of Arise: Beyond the Dawn PS4

Please Note: This review will contain spoilers for those who have not played Tales of Arise's base game content and the whole storyline.

Tales of Arise was a turning point in the long running Tales of video game franchise where it needed to make some huge changes in order to keep the series afloat and avoid getting stagnant. The jump to the Unreal Engine 4 was a great way for the series to abandon the outdated engine that the series had been using for a long time and the way the Unreal Engine 4 was utilized was incredible. The directions they took with this game like making the skit sequences 3D alongside the changing field menu background depending on where you are in the story showed off possibilities of what Bandai Namco could do for the future of the Tales of franchise. Of course Tales of Arise had one of the most satisfying combat systems for a Tales of game where you can Freely Roam the battle arena, take advantage of Counter Attacks, special character perks that can be used on certain types of enemies which help a lot and lastly Boost Attacks that allow the party members to do some really incredible team based attacks with my personal favourite being the one with Alphen and Rinwell. So overall Tales of Arise was an outstanding Tales of game that truly felt like it was taken some really good steps forward and it was well loved by both critics and fans alike, plus it became one of the highest selling games in the entire franchise selling over 3 million copies worldwide.

So the big question is that where does Bandai Namco go from there? Well two years after the release of the base game the developers decide to take the fans back to the world of Tales of Arise with a DLC expansion with Tales of Arise Beyond the Dawn. Yes, that's right a DLC expansion that acts as something of an epilogue chapter to the main game because this game surely deserved that right? Yeah it sure did aright, especially when it costs a whopping £24.99 price tag.

However before you play the DLC the game reminds you that you should play the base game first and have a save data before you play it. Having a save data with a cleared progress will allow you to have some benefits like more Gald, Items and some more powerful gear which can make the playthrough easier. So it's a good enough reason to play the main game first before starting the Beyond the Dawn storyline DLC.

It is an expansion that's supposed to have a new storyline following a new character and alongside that new sidequests, events and also maybe a few new areas to explore right? Yeah it does have some new areas alongside bringing back old and familiar areas to explore from the main game. The few new areas are pretty decent and look really nice in design but you spend the majority of the time exploring around areas you already went through in the base game. Despite that this DLC is supposed to take place in the merged world of Rena and Dahna there are surprisingly less areas to explore, some of the field areas like roads leading from Calaglia to Cyslodia are missing while some of dungeons and other field areas are blocked off by other Renans and Dahnans standing in front of the entrance telling you that you can't go this way limiting the amount of areas you can go. All of the new areas in the DLC involve going to the mausoleums when you find out their locations in which there are two of them you get to do. The final dungeon in the DLC however is by far the worst part of the DLC as it is just nothing more than reused assets like they just took parts and interiors of other dungeons and just shoved them all together into a single dungeon which is just very lazy design. It's a shame that Bandai Namco didn't come up with more ideas to come up with new areas for the DLC and this is a similar situation that also suffered in Tales of Xillia 2, at least Tales of Graces F's epilogue chapter came up with really cool new dungeons not seen in the base game that felt original and were designed well and that was done back on the PlayStation 3 console more than over a decade ago so Tales of Arise Beyond the Dawn has no excuse to reusing dungeon assets.

You do start the DLC with powered up characters and even the enemies are also shot up in level as well to make up for you start out all powerful. The DLC does have some all new boss fights including some of the new Elite enemies which your skills to the test. The Training Ground fights in Elde Menancia are more challenging than they were in the base game, most notably the single fights which will have you failing a couple of times because of the higher levelled enemies and some of the characters will have to face against a tough boss. You'll likely struggle a fair bit in the single character fights but you'll get through every group fight without much issue as long you are using your allies best skills, dodging and healing.

There are some positives to the Tales of Arise Beyond the Dawn DLC, firstly it does give you a set of new outfits for all of the available party members for you to outfit your characters and they actually look pretty good plus the DLC allows you to put all of your attachments you have on your characters. The few new areas you do get to go are decent enough and the new boss fights are really good and are very tense especially the final boss at the end which is incredibly epic. I also liked the new music tracks that played when exploring and also the new battle themes are incredible which I'll say are better than the standard battle theme tracks in the main game.

By far the best thing to come from this DLC is the new storyline. It follows after the events that happened in the main game where you know just like in Tales of Symphonia & Tales of Xillia the two worlds of Rena and Dahna have become one. The new storyline continues the ongoing troubling relationship between the Dahnans that have been freed from complete slavery and rebuilding their lives and the Renans that had their homes on Lenegis destroyed are are forced to live with the Dahnans. Tensions still raise between the two races where Dahnans will still give the Renans some bad treatment and yet you can't really blame them considering the treatment they had from the Renan oppressors but various group factions are doing what they can to try and ensure peace between both the Dahnans and Renans.

You get to see Renan technology like their ships appearing around the world now which is one of few things that's new.
You get to see Renan technology like their ships appearing around the world now which is one of few things that's new.

All the stuff happening between the Dahnans and Renans is really well written and towns have been updated to have both Dahnan and Renan NPCs going around their business as well as seeing some Renan technology like their terminals and their ships as well around a few places. The citizens of Calaglia have new outfits to go with their new found daily lives and Doc & Kohl have their own stool setup helping out other people. There are more sidequests that go into more backstory about the characters, NPCs and the world around that everyone is trying so hard to help and doing the reconstruction quests helps out with population of the towns you go back and forth to which is good enough. All of the sidequests in the DLC aren't much considering you'll be doing the same usual fetch a certain item and bring it to the NPC, talk to other NPCs, go to a location and fight a boss battle like you did in the main game.

Alongside helping the Dahnans and Renans through their troubles Alphen and Shionne go around the world sealing off the mausoleums holding the technology left by the Helganquill when they encounter a girl named Nazamil who was born and raised by both a Renan Lord and a Dahnan which makes her both Dehnan and Renan. Honestly Nazamil is what steals the show here in the Beyond the Dawn DLC, she is given is very tragic and depressing backstory where she was verbally abused her whole life, kept inside in secret and hated by everyone who even looks at her. Every time you see Nazamil on screen and having to hear more of her backstory you can't help but feel real sorry for her and want every opportunity to comfort her all from what she went through. When Nazamil meets Alphen, Shionne and the group get together and get everybody warms up to her and easily become friends and want to help her out.

Nazamil wants to be there for everyone and everyone wants to be with her.
Nazamil wants to be there for everyone and everyone wants to be with her.

Nazamil has some truly fantastic moments that show off the kind of person she is as she wanted to be of use to everyone and Alphen undergoes big character development. My favourite scene in the DLC is where the village of Niez gets attacked by zeugles and the party goes to help. Nazamil helps the people from the zeugles only for them to turn against her and attack which angers Alphen that he uses the Blazing Sword against the very same Dahnans he swore to protect. Alphen was always seen as the hero of the Dahnans and also the enemy by the Renans and for Alphen to turn his anger against his fellow Dahnans to protect Nazamil is very unnerving to witness as it shows that Alphen won't hesitate to strike at anyone who dares to harm an innocent. The best part for Alphen in this DLC is after being comforted by his allies including Shionne and his former mentor Doc and friend Kohl for guidance Alphen makes an announcement that he didn't save the people he cared about because everyone saw to him as a hero, it was because he chose to be when people couldn't fend for themselves. Alphen then believes that the he can't always be relied on and the best way for everyone to harness true freedom and move forward is for everyone to work together. These moments bring out the best of Alphen when he is there to protect the innocent and won't even hesitate to unleash his unpleasant rage when anyone dares to harm an innocent.

Alphen's outburst when anyone tries to harm Nazamil.
Alphen's outburst when anyone tries to harm Nazamil.

As for Nazamil she too wants to help protect those in need as a way of being some of use, she helps the party by luring out an invisible zeugle and then healing an injured farmer who got attacked. She has her first meal with the party and it is a blessing moment where she feels that she is accepted after after being hated and mistreated her whole life. It is a shame however that Nazamil never joins the party and her screentime is spent being an NPC that follows the party along but she will still appear in the skit sequences. Nazamil even did drawings of the party members showing her time with Alphen, Shionne and his other party members which highlighted not only their times together but also that she had friends that wanted to help her.

After witnessing Alphen's outburst in Neiz, Nazamil leaves the party and tries her method to stop all the tension between Dahna and Rena. Forming a group called the Cal Beisel she gets people wearing masks which are the same when Alphen where instead of wiping out their memories which happened before to Alphen the masks suppress their thoughts and make everyone say the same as each other. It is one of those moments where both characters are trying to do what they believe is right for and the party knows that Nazamil who went through so much cruelty in her life is tries to do things her way as a way of being accepted. The party confront Nazamil questioning her ideals and stand against the idea of masks suppress all of the negative thoughts which leads to them fighting each other which is both very saddening and depressing considering that the party only just made friends with her. The dialogue during the battle attempts to reason with Nazamil and it is really tense and fantastically well written as everyone tries to get through to her despite Nazamil shutting herself away from everyone.

Nazamil's character development is really great and is consistent throughout. She goes from running away from those chasing her to making friends with Alphen and the party only for them to square off in battle. Nazamil was not trying to be evil for any reason but she wanted to help Alphen do what she wanted to do what is right for the Dahnans and Renans while also having a purpose in her life. Nazamil is a fantastic new character with a very sad depressing backstory where she suffered a cruel life and Alphen and Shionne just only wanted to be there for her alongside the party.

While the storyline of the DLC may be about the continuing relationship between the Dahnans and Renans but it is the character development that happens between Alphen and Nazamil and them doing what is right. That is what makes the storyline so brilliant especially with how well done and the writing, dialogue and voice acting just like with the main game avoids the usual standard tropes like evil empires take over the world or evil overlord wanting to destroy the world for his own ends stuff which has been done to death.

My biggest issue with this DLC is that it didn't really need to happen, the main game storyline had a very happy and fulfilling conclusion where everything was fine and many people could rebuild their lives and it could have just ended there. The DLC is nothing more than a continuing struggle between the Dahnans and Renans and while it is cool to see how things are going on with them there I at least like the new character development and build-up between Alphen and the new character Nazamil who has had a very terrible and cruel life that I feel sorry for her and way things turn for her in the end. While the singles challenges in the Training Grounds Coliseum where more challenging and it does have some new fights the DLC has less areas to explore and the last dungeon just relies on recycled assets which is the example of lazy game design.

Now do I think the Tales of Arise Beyond the Dawn DLC storyline is worth the asking price of £24.99? Personally I say it should be selling for that price considering that the DLC has less things going for it aside from some new storyline stuff with Alphen and the new character Nazamil. Like with Tales of Xillia 2 it just doesn't do a whole lot of new things and it focuses too much treading back and forth between areas you already went through in the main game. If the DLC costed under £10 I wouldn't have too many issues with it but considering that it took two years for this game to get a DLC expansion selling for a steep price tag is inexcusable. Even as a long running Tales of Series fan I just can't recommend this DLC to everyone that loves Tales of Arise and still do. Those who have not played Tales of Arise definitely need to check out Tales of Arise because it is a truly fantastic Tales of game that takes the series forward and it is one of the best Action J-RPGs to come out but should hold on getting the DLC if it were bundled with the game or if the DLC was on a discount. If you do want more out of Tales of Arise wait for the price of the Beyond the Dawn Expansion DLC to drop down a fair bit before you pick it up instead of buying it at it's current asking price.


Game Score: 7.0/10


Game Title: Tales of Arise Beyond the Dawn

Platform: PlayStation 4

Developer: Bandai Namco

Genre: Role Playing

Age Rating: PEGI: 12+

Release Date: 8th November 2023


The Good Points:


New battle theme soundtrack is awesome

Nazamil is a very likeable character with a sad and depressing backstory

Alphen & Nazamil's character development

The Bad Points:


Very overpriced for what little content is on offer

Recycled Dungeon Assets

Doesn't do much new things and has less areas than the base game


Reviewed by: Anthony Hayball (AQWBlaZer91)