Tales of Arise, the 17th mainline entry in Bandai Namco’s series of JRPGs that’s basically as old as human history by now, was one of September’s biggest games. For one, it smashed in terms of sales, selling more than a million copies in less than a week. For another, the action-RPG really clicked with players, particularly with those on Steam.
Just compare Tales of Arise with Deathloop, one of the buzzier games of the year and certainly one of last month’s marquee releases. For a while there, it felt like everyone had eyes on Arkane Studios’ hotly anticipated immersive sim, which popped up with a new trailer at every gaming showcase for, like, six months running. But Steam players flocked to Tales of Arise by a massive margin. According to the inimitable data trove at SteamDB, Tales of Arise clocked a peak of 60,274 concurrent players on Valve’s storefront. Deathloop, meanwhile, registered roughly a third of that: 20,094. (Deathloop only came out for PlayStation 5 and PC.)
Tales of Arise currently holds a “very positive” rating; of 9,657 user reviews (as of this writing), a whopping 91 percent are positive. Players have heaped praise on nearly every aspect: the battle system, the characters, the music, the hilariously overwrought plot, the sheer length, the all-consuming nature of how the game is structured, and, mostly, the palpable romantic tension between its two leads. They also seem to get a kick out of comparing it to Game of Thrones. And, surprising no one, some players have resorted to crass instincts, saying they, “like Kisara ass.”
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On the other hand, those who seem sour on the game rightfully point out its shady DLC practices, in which you can pay real-world money to unlock tremendously helpful skills that would otherwise not be available. Some further dislike the fact that Bandai Namco advertises this DLC in the middle of the game—a self-contained single-player game that’s already sold at the standard $60 price tag. (Even some who’ve left positive reviews about the game point this stuff out.) There’s also no shortage of frustration about the game’s apparent lack of ultrawide support.
Here’s Tales of Arise, as told by the unpredictable morass known as Steam’s reviews section.