Tales of Arise Switching Characters explained: how to swap character & party members in combat

One of the most important features of combat in Tales of Arise, especially on higher difficulties, is also the one that is explained the worst. That's the act of Switching between the characters that you control, which is only briefly mentioned in a single tooltip. That tooltip doesn't even give the complete picture on how to switch characters. It's honestly one of the worse things in this otherwise excellent game.

Luckily, if you're lost thanks to that, this guide will help you to understand how it works so you're swapping between Alphen and the gang in no time. If you want some more Tales of Arise assistance, check out our Side Quests guide, Owl Locations, and our full Artifacts List. On this page, we explain three core concepts:


How to start battle Controlling a Different Character

This can only be done outside of combat from the main menu. Doing this will automatically start you off as a character besides Alphen.  

  1. Enter the main menu screen and go into the “Edit” screen 
  2. While on this screen, hit the Square (PS) or X (Xbox) button, or the respective key on PC that's listed at the bottom, to “Change Leader”.
  3. This allows you to move the control flag around to whichever character you currently have highlighted. This is also where you can adjust each character’s slot for their Boost Attacks.

How to change your player-controlled character mid-combat

The party formation tooltip states that you press either L1 or R1 during combat to change who you control, but I never found that to work. What did, though, was this.
Pressing L1 (or PC equivalent) to pause combat where you would typically change your targeted enemy if you instead use the D-pad that you change immediately the character you control after you release the L1 button.

How to Swap Characters out quickly mid-combat in Tales of Arise

Have a couple of characters down or need one of your standby party members to deal with a situation? You COULD go into the menu, go to the edit screen, yadda yadda, but that takes so much time! Instead, you can swap your active members out without having to go into a menu at all!

Hold down the L2 button  (or respective PC button) that you use when selecting your standby characters boost attacks. Instead of tapping their associated button, hold it down, and you will see a bar fill, and after a moment, a symbol appears over their portrait.
Release L2 and press and hold the button associated with the character you want to swap out. A similar bar will fill, and once it’s full and the symbol appears over their portrait, release the button, and your standby character should swap in, and your previously active member will now be in the standby pool!

These little tricks should allow you to easily adjust to situations without needing to halt the flow of combat. Happy fighting!