Ar no Surge Plus: Ode to an Unborn Star
Ar nosurge Plus is a surprisingly unique experience that's bolstered by an interesting art style and a great soundtrack. An overbearing amount of dialogue can sometimes cause proceedings to drag, but an endearing cast of characters make the story worth sticking with – especially once you wrap your head around the game's strange world. And, while the title's RPG mechanics leave something to be desired, the satisfyingly pacey battle system is usually on hand to restore your faith. Although it doesn't quite reach the heights of a surging opera, this Vita re-release is still worth singing along to if you're a fan of Japanese RPGs.
An over-complicated story with pacing issues holds this RPG back from its full potential, especially since the prequel was not released in English first. Those who enjoy reading will no doubt have fun. A tedious magic leveling system can also scare away new fans embracing the series. Only RPG diehards and TK fans will immediately gravitate towards it.
Ar Nosurge features a unique battle system, a charming visual style, interesting settings and a winning soundtrack but is hampered by the utterly boring yet completely necessary Geometrics mechanics, super attacks that instantly end most fights and a story so inflated you’ll find it difficult to care one way or the other. I definitely do recommend Ar Nosurge, but only if you’re prepared to bear with the negatives.
If you can persevere through the first 5-10 or so confusing, trope-ridden hours, there are some great character relationships and an absurd/epic story to discover.
Technical issues aside, this is still a fantastic game worth your time.
Given the lack of Japanese RPG’s on the next-gen consoles, Ar nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star will keep most fans of this genre appeased from start to finish with a whopping 100 hours of gameplay. Sure, there are a few glitches in terms of graphics and grammar errors in the game but overall, it ticks all the right boxes for a fun JRPG.
The best JRPG this side of Atelier Rorona Plus.
Overall, Ar nosurge Plus: Ode to an Unborn Star is fantastic. There are a lot of things it does better than most others in the genre. The characterization is on a level rarely seen outside visual novels, and the models are extremely pretty. It isn’t without its flaws; the weird difficulty spike right after the first third of the game sabotages the rhythm of progression, and the fact that the final boss is little more than a massive time-consuming wall is very apparent. The careless way Gust has chosen to play with the fourth wall (mainly in the second part of the Cass and Delta section of the story) makes it all too transparent that this story device was used as nothing more than a cover-up to excuse plot holes that were already of the nature that people expect and to a certain degree forgive. When the leaning of the fourth wall is used well, it helps improve the experience, but when it’s not, it damages more than it helps, and hopefully this will serve as a lesson learned.
Ar nosurge has instantly become one of my favourite games of all, up there with the likes of Nier and Persona 4. Even when it's not at its best, it's still better than almost anything else. Emotional and poetic, deep and intelligent, it's the kind of game that will fly under most people's radars, but it's also one of those games that will hold a place of pride in the libraries of those that are lucky to discover it. This is a game you will hear me celebrating for many years to come.