By: Uma Smith
Although North Americans are getting more exposure to Japanese video game content, not all titles make it over here. That being said, this can cause potential confusion on the players’ perspective. Take the recent PlayStation 3 JRPG, Ar Nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star. Its prequel, Ciel Nosurge never saw the light of day in the West. With this missing piece, can players still be able to enjoy the uniqueness and content offered by Ar Nosurge? Let’s find out.
In consideration of having a turn-based battle system, Ar Nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star plays out quite well with its effective controls. Movement with the d-pad is responsive and accurate. Meanwhile, there are three attack commands assigned to the face buttons while the remaining one is allocated for defending.
The latter function is important since the whole idea behind the battle involves determining how long your partner can unleash a magical song attack, which essentially wipes out several enemies. Hence, the more she’s protected, the more powerful her attacks. So while the control scheme is straightforward enough to learn, it is also intuitive enough to make the gameplay very enjoyable.
Filling the screen with cel-shaded characters and anime-style artwork, Ar Nosurge proves that the PlayStation 3 can still dish out some nice graphical presentation. Of course, there are occasional designs from enemies that could use some sprucing up. Nevertheless, the overall appearance produces a stellar impression, especially with the variety of solid and colorful backgrounds.
The musical score effectively blends the futuristic setting of this game. Additionally, the J-pop tunes keep the overall feel both exciting and upbeat. And whether you choose the original Japanese or English dubbing, the voice acting definitely hits the spot when it comes to delivery in audio excellence.
Ar Nosurge: Ode to an Unborn centers around our main character, Delta, who is defending against an alien invasion from a race known as the Sharl. To protect themselves, humans have built a city called Felion with an added barrier that is unbreakable on account of magic. Meanwhile, a religious faction known as the Genomirai Church is siding with the Sharl to take on humans living outside of Felion. As this is happening, Delta comes to the rescue to fight off these terrors.
Interestingly enough, Ode to an Unborn has elements from games usually found in separate genres. Specifically, you’ll come across action-packed battles against aliens, cooking up some alchemy recipes, and even engaging in dating simulations.
From what you create with alchemy, you can turn around and sell your products to stores. So it’s not just battling creatures, which is fun by itself, but there’s also other gaming elements that add variety. While this could be a risky path to take, it actually works out pretty well in terms of retaining players’ attention spans.
Expect the leveling system to be deep and complex. Particularly, the more battles and experience you engage in, the more upgrades and leveling up that you get to perform on Delta. Furthermore, he’ll be able to enter into his female teammate’s mind in hopes of unraveling her potential, which includes increasing HP and having more powerful magical powers.
This will take some trial and error since it is all dependent on your interactions and her following responses. But once you develop this trust from her, you will end up with a stronger connection, thereby allowing you to unlock your team’s full capabilities.
Each area has a fixed number of enemies ready to take you on. As such, you won’t have the regular occurrence of surprise encounters as you would in the Final Fantasy games. Within the battle itself, you’ll be attacking enemies and guarding your female partner. meaning you’ll have to incorporate both strategy and timing to your approach of attack. At the end of it all, there isn’t much difficulty most of the time when facing these enemies. This can have a detrimental effect since the game can be in danger of losing its appeal on account of its limited challenge.
Where the charm lies with Ar Nosurge: Ode to an Unborn is the dialogue. The interactions between characters can be enthralling, especially with the humor attached. But for players who want to quickly jump straight into the action, these conversations can drag on and, unfortunately, cannot be skipped. If you can look past this, the story will really have you hooked, especially when you end up needing to find out what’s going to happen next.
Ar Nosurge: Ode to an Unborn is pretty enjoyable even if you haven’t had the opportunity to experience its prequel. If JRPG’s fulfill your entertainment needs, then this title will not only quench your thirst, but it serve as an “ode” to your PlayStation 3.