For the longest time, I frequently played a variety of role-playing games. Often stuck inside, I liked the aspect of meeting a group of people and adventuring on some sort of world-defining quest.

“Tales of Arise,” an anime-themed RPG, delivers on many of those same themes. A strong cast, adequate story and visually-impressive art style and animation sequences help the game stand out despite some minor pacing issues near the end of the game.

In the beginning, the story revolved around Alphen and Shionne, a pair connected by the ability to use a flaming sword. Not to get too much into spoiler territory, but the couple learns to rely on each other as they recruit more party members along the way. Eventually, the band of six work together to foil the plot of the typical troupe of baddies.

It’s here where “Arise” shines. During battles, players can switch and play between any of the party members. So essentially, you can play every avatar in fights if you desire. Each plays mostly different. For instance, Shionne blasts foes away from long range with her rifle and can also heal teammates or resurrect them if they croak. Rinwell, on the other hand, strictly uses spells to whittle away at enemy health. By holding down the button she can increase the potency and damage dished out. Alphen, however, slashes foes with a flaming sword, with which he can sacrifice some of his own health to increase damage potential. After meeting specific conditions, the game allows party members to team up and pummel enemies together. For instance, Rinwell and shield-bearing paladin Kisara team up for one of these impressive animation sequences. When Kisara jumps into the air raising her shield, Rinwell launches higher behind her, painting her shield with a layer of ice. Kisara, the paladin, then follows up by slamming her shield down into the ground with astounding forced, often knocking foes back or off their feet.

Players can activate these small sequences often, which seem dependent on the proximity of the partner closest to the one gamers control. Surprisingly, the barrages never get old and I found myself attempting to mix and match different combinations throughout.

Overall, I liked most of the cast and kept playing to see how each adapted to a more dire set of situations. The banter between the two main protagonists — nice guy Alphen struggling at every turn to help out  distant, resistant Shionne who seems intent on running off alone at every opportunity — really moves the story forward. Additional buddies bring more complications. For instance, Rinwell displays extreme bias to a specific group of people, but through the story she grows and learns to accept some of these improper, preconceived notions. By the end of the game, players see real character development, to the point that group members show direct changes in behavior. This really adds to the enjoyment of the game because liking the cast is just so easy.

However, like many anime games, there’s an overwhelmingly, unnecessary amount of talking. That’s not to say that dialogue comes across as uninteresting or dull. No, characters share interesting, comical tidbits in their rantings – but that’s the issue – conversations go on and on for eternity. To make matters worse, discussions feel like they happen all the time. We don’t need to hold a committee meeting every single time you turn a corner or open a treasure inside an enormous palace decorated with unimpressive, bland hallways.

This incessant babbling gets even worse near the end of the game. The final 10 hours consists of a series of fetch quests and a never-ending stream of dialogue that just seems there for filler. The group chats have no bearing on the story. Furthermore, the absence of combat slows progress to a slog and makes playing the game feel more like a chore than an entertaining time. Instead of padding the game with filler conversations, designers should just have flung players into the final battle sequence.

Fortunately, all the pain and suffering leading up to the final boss sequence turned out to be worth it. Sure, the final boss felt like a pushover by this point, but that might be because I spent so much time lost in corridors trying to avoid chatter. And yes, the ending throws a few swerves from out of nowhere, but it will leave you satisfied if you put about 60 hours into the game like I did. Overall, I liked how they wrapped things up and left the future open for a possible sequel or downloadable content.

For the most part, I enjoyed my time with “Tales of Arise,” and would recommend it if you want to play a game with an engaging story about an interesting group of characters that love to banter. Just be wary they really enjoy those talks, even if you aren’t in the mood to listen.