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|Ar nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star|
|Release Date||March 6th, 2014 (JP)|
September 23rd, 2014 (US)
September 26th, 2014 (EU)
October 1th, Plus version (October 2th)
Ar nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star (アルノサージュ ～生まれいずる星へ祈る詩～, Arunosaaju ~Umareizuru Hoshi e Inoru Uta~?, lit. "Ar nosurge -A Song that Prays for A Planet Being Born-") is a 2014 role-playing video game for the PlayStation 3 developed by Gust. It is a continuation of Ciel nosurge released in 2012, and also a prequel to the Ar tonelico Series.
Field ExplorationIn the fields, the players can explore the areas and collect items in a way akin to that of Gust's Atelier series, as well as talking with other characters, interacting with some elements of the scenery and activating events. They can also talk with the other characters that form their party in order to get their viewpoints on the current area or the objective they have to accomplish. If there is more than one character accompanying the main party, they can be switched for conversation with the and buttons, and the conversation scrolled by pressing the button. The player will have a bar that constantly changes colors, alerting them to the possibility of entering a battle the closer it gets to a red color and the faster it flashes. The bar will have at its side the number of enemy waves that can be encountered in that area.
As the player is given control over two pairs of characters: Delta & Casty, and Earthes and Ion, the player is given the ability of changing which party they are in control at any point in the game after a certain point in Phase 1, which is done by examining a Save Point and selecting the Zapping option. However, there are certain points in which the Zapping is forced by story reasons, while in others the player will be barred of Zapping and will be limited to controlling only one party.
Additionally, if the player advances too much with one of the two parties, at a point they won't be able to proceed any further with the storyline despite being free to do anything else they want. They will be notified of this by either a large Episode Reached! or Episode Locked! notice displayed at the top of the screen, and the Episode Online mark on the main menu will be replaced by either of these notices, depending on which one appears on the screen. When this happens, they will have to Zap to the other party and proceed further in their side of the story in order to continue advancing in the game.
BattlesDuring battles, the player will control two characters: the protagonist and his corresponding heroine, while they battle multiple enemy waves, so once an enemy group is defeated, other group will take their place until the player defeats them all, they run away, are defeated, or the turn limit is reached. The protagonist has the purpose of actively attacking the enemies and protecting the heroine, while the heroine stands behind the protagonist singing a Song Magic chosen by the player.
Turns are divided in Player's Turn and Enemy's Turn, of which the Player's Turn is used for the protagonist to attack the enemies a set number of times while the heroine charges up her Song Magic. For attacking, the player can use four attacks that are mapped to the four face buttons in the PlayStation 3's controller, as well as also being able to bring up a menu by pressing where they can use items, activate Friend Skills, run away from the battle or activate the Heroine's Song Magic whenever they wish to.
The better the player battles, the faster their Harmo Level will rise, which in turn will speed up the Burst Gauge, which is the representation of the strength for the heroine's Song Magic. However, received attacks as well as the usage of the bonus actions triggered with the and buttons can reduce the Harmo Level, so the player must be careful.
The heroine may use weaker Song Magic blasts of variable intensity against the enemies to support the protagonist during the Player's Turn, which also depend on how high the player has the Harmo Level and the type of Song Magic she is charging, with the likelihood of this happening increasing the more hits the player accumulates by attacking the enemies continuously (performing and maintaining a Chain).
Once the player has used up all the attacks the protagonist can use during that turn, the battle will move over to the Enemy's Turn, during which the player will have to watch for the timing of the enemies' attacks and press the button in order to block them and protect the heroine. Successful guards reduce damage taken and increase the Burst Gauge, while failed guards result in a loss of Burst and greater damage to the Heroine. The number of times the player can guard during the enemy's turn is limited, so they should be wise about which attacks to block during boss battles, as many bosses summon minions that don't deal much damage while the boss itself can easily defeat the pair if their attacks aren't blocked.
It must be mentioned that the protagonist can't die, as he doesn't even have an HP bar, but the heroine does have an HP bar at the side of her portrait, which is segmented into four parts. Each of these four parts corresponds to a Barrier, and if her HP falls below the threshold for a specific part, the Barrier corresponding to it will get destroyed and it won't be possible to heal her HP beyond that point unless an item with the Barrier Repair property is used. If all of the four Barriers are destroyed, the Heroine will fall and the game will count it as a defeat, giving a Game Over to the player.
Battles have a time limit, as if they aren't finished in a certain number of turns, the game will consider the battle as finished and send the player to the results screen, where they will receive experience, Dive Points, money and dropped items depending on the types and number of enemies defeated. After this, they will be taken back to the field and the encounter gauge will be reduced depending on the number of encounters for the area and the number of waves the player managed to defeat.
However, if the player manages to defeat all the waves before the turn limit expires, the encounter gauge will be emptied upon returning to the field, allowing the player to explore the field without worrying about enemies. This gives more importance to Song Magic due to the fact that once it has reached a certain Burst threshold, it can deal damage to all of the enemy waves currently present in battle at once, allowing the player to clear the area of enemies with a single attack. This is denoted in the wave indicator at the top of the screen by marking in red the waves that the currently charged Burst level can destroy at the moment.
The player can gain additional turns by attacking the enemies marked with a enough to fill a yellow bar below their HP, which when it gets filled, it will Break that enemy and leave it stunned, reducing their number of possible actions next turn or even leaving them unable to move at all; as well as killing enemies that don't have the previously mentioned mark. Additionally, event and boss battles are exempt from the turn limit, so the player doesn't have to worry about it for particularly hard battles.
When the player has reached the max Harmo Level (Lv. 4), the option for activating the Song Magic is replaced by other called the HarmoBurst, in which the protagonist will be able to attack enemies continuously until the Harmo Level gauge gets completely emptied. Additionally, this will allow the protagonist and heroine to activate a more powerful attack, in which the protagonist launches a super move followed by the Song Magic of the Heroine with amplified power. This action can only be used on the player has completely cleared the Genometrics for the Heroine of the party they are controlling at the moment.
The player can also call upon the characters that have established a friendship with the party in order to attack the enemies or provide support to the pair after certain conditions are met. However, only one of these skills can be used per battle.
At shops, the player has the option of using the items and recipes they have collected to make newer items, always with the assistance of the shopkeeper of the place they are at. Aside of this allowing the player to gain items they wouldn't be able to in any other way, this also triggers scenes in which the characters involved in the creation of the item discuss it and give it a name the first time a specific item is made, as well as also having humorous sequences of dancing and singing at the end of the synthesis process. It's in this way that the items for strengthening specific parts of equipment of the party can be made: TxBIOS increase the power of Song Magic, Cathodes increase the power of weapons, and RNAs increase the power of armors.
Carrying over the Dive system from the Ar tonelico series, the player can also Dive into the Soulspace of the characters, which receives the name Genometrics here, and have adventures through them. During this time, the gameplay changes to be more like that of a visual novel, where the player only has to read through the events taking place, move the protagonist through the Genometrics map and take decisions when prompted. Entering each point in the map requires the player to spend a set amount of the DP they have gained from battles, as well as taking some of the decisions in the events, so if the player doesn't have enough DP, they will fail to complete the events and get expelled from the Genometrics they are exploring.
Once the player has completed all the events necessary to finish the scenario for that particular Genometrics, they will trigger an phenomenon called the Embrace Role, through which they will increase their Dive Level and will be able to proceed further inside the heroine's mind. They will also obtain a Song Magic corresponding to the Genometrics map they just completed, and this is the only way the heroines can receive new Song Magic for use in battle.
Unlike the Ar tonelico series, however, the events in the Genometrics can be repeated as much as the player can pay the DP cost for them in order to take other choices, as taking different choices can lead the player to view new CG illustrations, and obtain more Genometrica Crystals. The rewards each event point yields are visible right after choosing it but before confirming that one will enter it. And the Dives aren't limited only to the heroines in Ar nosurge: the player can instead Dive into the Genometrics of several of the characters they meet, and the decisions taken in each individual Genometrics will have some impact in the other, by changing the friendly disposition of these characters towards the current party as well as their introverted, extroverted, masochistic and sadistic tendencies.
This gameplay element consists of the heroines and the protagonists taking a bath in a hot spring together. During this, they will change from their normal clothes to swimsuits and have conversations to know each other more in-deeply. Additionally, during the Purification, the player can Install Genometrica Crystals they have received from Dives to increase the abilities of the party. It's possible to Install them into anyone of the playable party members (Earthes, Ion, Cas and Delta), and while there are five possible spots where the crystals can be Installed (legs, abdomen, chest, arms and head), not all of these will be available from the beginning: the player will be allowed to Install on them when both the protagonist and the heroine have gotten a deep enough relationship.
Connectivity with Ciel nosurge and the Gust Official Site
One of the features the game allows the players is to connect their MyGustID account from the Gust Social Site to Ar nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star, as well as linking up their account to Ciel nosurge: Ushinawareta Hoshi e Sasagu Uta in order to gain additional benefits, which are listed below:
- Obtain GP from doing activities in the Gust Social Site or by exchanging the HymP they obtained in Ciel nosurge. The GP can be spent to increase the multipliers for the experience, Carats and Dive Points obtained as rewards from battle.
- Copy the Plugin type items that were crafted in Ciel nosurge to Ar nosurge, allowing the party to gain extra power from the beginning. None of the Plugins obtained in this way can be obtained in Ar nosurge proper outside of using this method.
- Change the dialogues for the scenes where Ion appears, as well as the dialogue prompts for Earthes, depending on how far the player has progressed in Ciel nosurge's story and the status of their relationship with Ion. Likewise, the progress in Ar nosurge will unlock sequences in Ciel nosurge where Ion dreams about the events that will happen in the future, and will also open up access to the events gotten from the Ion Extend Talk Pack Vol. 3. This also unlocks special CGs and voicemails in the Ciel nosurge Console after clearing Ar nosurge.
The connection is done by associating a SEN account to a MyGustID account used in Gust's official site, and then logging into the SEN inside the game using them. However, all these features were dummied out from the localized version due to the removal of the game's connection features, as well as there not being an equivalent of the Gust Social Site and Ciel nosurge to the Western players.
Additionally, the game has a special challenge in the form of a boss that can be fought as much as the player wants near the end of the game in the depths of the Flask Sea, provided they have fulfilled a few conditions beforehand. What makes this boss peculiar is the stratospheric amount of HP it has, as it is equal to the amount of mag the Ciel nosurge players have sent to the Micro Quasar. Therefore, the game will always connect to Gust's servers to check the current HP amount the boss right before fighting it, as well as checking if the player can fight it at the moment, as players can only challenge the boss once per day, with the counter resetting at midnight (JST). However, the damage each individual Ar nosurge player causes to it during battle will be uploaded to Gust's servers, which pretty much makes it into a battle of Ciel nosurge players versus Ar nosurge players, as reducing its HP also reduces the Micro Quasar's community gauge, making it harder for the Ciel nosurge players to unlock the rewards gained from filling it.
After the HP amount of the boss has been depleted, each individual player can challenge it to a final battle, where upon defeating it, they will gain the ability to change the characters' costumes and also gain the ability to rotate vertically the character models in the Extras menu. However, it can still be fought again whenever the player wishes.
Like all other connection-based features, the special boss and the rewards it gave upon its final defeat were removed in the localized version, though the flag data, dialogues and routines for the rewards it gave are still present in the game's code. It was reinstated for battling in the localized versions of the PlayStation Vita port Ar nosurge Plus: Ode to an Unborn Star. Additionally, Gust removed the connection with the Micro Quasar for the JP region version for both the original version and the Plus port on January 6th 2015, so now the boss has a set HP of 1 million that won't be affected by the actions of the other players. However, it still requires having a SEN account linked with a MyGustID in order to access the battle.
The themes of the game are "human bonds" and "the inner surface of the heart". On a fictional planet named Ra Ciela, humans and a spiritual lifeform known as Genoms previously co-existed, however after Ra Ciela was destroyed in a failed ceremony that sought to convert it into energy for long-distance interstellar travel, humans began to travel in search of other planets to inhabit using a special spaceship called Soreil.
Following contact with a hostile life-form known as the Sharls, the people that lived in Orei, one of Soreil's areas, were abducted, as humankind was powerless against the Sharls due to them being able to use a power known as Song Magic. Thousands of years later, the Felion Wall, a structure located in the depths of Orei opens, and from inside emerge the Ancients, people with the ability to use the same Song Magic the Sharls possess. The Divine Empress then opened the wall and let part of the people reside in the city of Felion, but this split off the people on Orei in two factions: one led by the Divine Empress and her PLASMA squad, which sought to exterminate the Sharls in order to bring peace to the people, and other one led by the Archbishop of the Genomirai Church, Zillillium Rimonite, who sought to have humans and Sharls coexisting in promise of achieving a enlightened life. 
The story of the game is told through the viewpoints of two character pairs: Cas & Delta, and Earthes & Ion. Initially, Cas and Delta are tasked to find out a song called Ciel N Protecta that their friend Sarly developed, but it was stolen and it supposedly has begun causing the machines in Felion to go haywire. During their searches for it, they are captured by the Genomirai Church led by Zill, and as they try to escape from them, they discover Zill is planning to set up and sing a very dangerous kind of Song Magic.
On the other hand, Ion is trapped in the sealed world through which the player interacted with her in Ciel nosurge, and having Earthes as her helper, she decides to escape from it. After escaping from the sealed world, they both reach the city of Tenryosara, where they meet with Tattoria and Kanon. And from there, both pairs continue their journey in search of the truth about this world.
The game is directed by Akira Tsuchiya, who previously served as the director of the Ciel nosurge life simulation game, as well as the entirety of the Ar tonelico series. The character design is by ntny, and the game models are produced by Flight Unit. The game features music by the singers Akiko Shikata, Haruka Shimotsuki, Noriko Mitose, Origa and Yoshino Nanjo. Shikata is also in charge of the opening theme, To the Songless Hill -Harmonics Pre=Ciel-.
According to character modeler ntny, this game was actually in development at the same time as Ciel nosurge, but they kept quiet about in order to surprise the players, despite the insistence of the players of them wanting the former Ar tonelico team to release another RPG.
The game also features a total of fifteen vocal songs sung by Akiko Shikata, Haruka Shimotsuki, Noriko Mitose, Origa and Yoshino Nanjo, several of which make use of the Emotional Song Pact and REON-4213 languages that were made for the Surge Concerto series games. It must be noted though that unlike the Ar tonelico series, the songs featured on this game don't receive the name Hymmnos: they are instead classified in two categories called Cielns and Hymmns. The music of the game was released as a three-disc original soundtrack, while the vocal themes were released in two separate albums as per the Ar tonelico tradition called the Genometric Concerts.
To the Songless Hill -Harmonics Pre=Ciel- by Akiko Shikata
This refers to the library control songs that are crafted through the server system of the Surge Concerto Terminal.
- Class::CIEL_N_PROTECTA; by Yoshino Nanjo
- Class::CIEL_NOSURGE; by Akiko Shikata
- Class::EXPAJA; by Yoshino Nanjo
- Class::XIO_PROCEED; by Akiko Shikata
- Class::AR_NOSURGE#Re-Incarnation; by Yoshino Nanjo
- Class::DISTLLISTA; by Haruka Shimotsuki
- Class::EXSPHERE_NOSURGE; by Noriko Mitose
This refers to the songs that are crafted without using the Surge Concerto Terminal, and are generally crafted by Incarnates and Genoms on their own.
- em-pyei-n vari-fen jang; by Origa
- yal fii-ne noh-iar; by Origa
- Hidra Heteromycin by Haruka Shimotsuki
- Lxa ti-cia by Akiko Shikata
- Ra Ciel Reincarnation by Akiko Shikata
- Ar-ciel Ar-manaf by Yoshino Nanjo
- With the You of this World, and to the You of That World by Akiko Shikata
Limited EditionIn addition to the normal edition and the multiple combo packs that have become customary to the Gust Shop, Ar nosurge also has a limited edition called the Agent Pack, which bundles a special music box called the "Seven-Dimensional Orgel" alongside the game. This music box plays the main melody of "To the Songless Hill".
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 2013-09-24, Ar no Surge announced for PlayStation 3, Gematsu
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2013-11-05, 「アルノサージュ ～生まれいずる星へ祈る詩～」，“詩魔法”がカギを握るバトルシステムや登場ヒロイン「キャスティ」「イオン」を紹介, 4gamer
- ↑ 2014-01-20, 「アルノサージュ」の最新情報が公開。「アルトネリコ」シリーズとの関連のほか，新キャラクターやバトルシステムなども明らかに, 4gamer
- ↑ 2013-11-06, 『アルノサージュ』イメージムービーが初公開された“ガスト創立20周年発表会”をリポート！ 岸田メルさんや加隈亜衣さんも出演, Famitsu
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 2013-09-29, Ar no Surge first details and screenshots, Gematsu