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Author Topic: Gust making a spiritual successor to Ar Tonelico: Ar no Surge  (Read 17174 times)
Kevadu
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« Reply #105 on: March 12, 2014, 03:13:35 AM »

Ha, I just got an email from Play-Asia saying it was shipped.  Clearly they're reading the forums here ;)

Still don't know what the hold-up was...
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Cyril
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« Reply #106 on: March 12, 2014, 09:15:16 AM »

I stuck mine into my monthly Amiami order.  I'm not going to be playing it for another few weeks.

Ugh.
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Kevadu
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« Reply #107 on: March 18, 2014, 05:11:44 AM »

So I got my copy and played a few hours today.  Some early impressions:

  • Damn this game is easy.  I mean, none of the Ar Tonelico games ever felt particularly hard to me, but this takes the cake.  I'm still in the early parts of the game so that could change but at least so far it's hard to tell what was even supposed to be the challenge here...combat feels more you're just going through the motions but can't possibly lose...
  • Easiness aside, it's an interesting battle system.  A lot like AT2's, the biggest change being that in the attacking phase you get a limited number of attacks rather than a limited time window in which to make attacks.  That let's you take it more leisurely and adds to the easiness above, because if you just make sure to target the enemies with (!) symbols you keep getting break bonuses and basically never stop attacking, and it's easy to figure out who to target when you have as much time as you want...
  • Battles are fast, though.  Everything is quite smooth, and I haven't noticed any load times.
  • So far I've only ever had a two-person party and based on the position of the menus and stuff I don't think that's going to change.  It's an odd design choice...I mean, I guess it still plays OK but it feels kind of limited compared to the Ar Tonelico games.
  • The fact that you can build up your song magic to the point where you can wipe out all the enemies in an area in a single battle is really cool in theory, but in practice is just means you don't fight many battles at all.  That may sound like a good thing, as we've all had experiences with games throwing constant tedious encounters at you.  But so far I'm feeling like this game shows you can actually go too far in the other direction...especially with all the dialogue and stuff you expect from a game like this.  Having more battles or more substantive dungeon crawls between all the talking would actually help the pacing, I think...
  • Speaking of dungeons...heh...'dungeons'.  I can't seriously call the maps in this game that.  They're so small.  Again, I'm still in the early parts of the game so this could change, but so far it's basically been walk 5 feet to the left, encounter an enemy, wipe out all the regular enemies on the map, walk another 5 feet to the left, cut scene, boss.  Rinse, wash, repeat.
  • They really like their new conversations-in-the-field thing.  There are a ton of them.
  • It runs smoother than a lot of earlier Gust games, but in a way that just makes the graphical failings more obvious.  Low polygon counts, flat textures, etc.  It's functional but not a terribly attractive game...
  • Soundtrack is still awesome.  I bought the soundtrack as well as the game and boy am I loving some of these tracks.  Of course there's the requisite goofy stuff too, but there are definitely some standouts.
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Ranadiel
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« Reply #108 on: March 19, 2014, 06:49:49 AM »

Glad you guys reminded me about this. I just ordered the Concert CDs for this game. Woot!
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Zendervai
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« Reply #109 on: March 19, 2014, 10:28:53 AM »

I just looked this up on Youtube, and I found this song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQGeEYqrNFU&list=PLfseE3JLZwXxX79bmmzxb-C66CvaxcQIk&index=22

It's gorgeous!
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Kevadu
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« Reply #110 on: March 20, 2014, 07:55:12 PM »

Ever wonder what these names like Ar Nosurge and Ciel Nosurge actually mean?  Well it was all explained in-game with this handy diagram:



That explains everything!

(Sorry for the crappy pic-of-TV thing, it's not like I have a video capture setup...)
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Dice
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« Reply #111 on: March 20, 2014, 07:58:58 PM »

Oh.  :V
Super magic power does sound wonderful.

So...is it good?
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Cyril
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« Reply #112 on: March 20, 2014, 08:06:37 PM »

Haha, wow.

It's like they realized that Ar tonelico's lore was ridiculous if you were just playing casually, or had only played one of the games, and they tried to simplify it with a picture.
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raisel
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« Reply #113 on: March 21, 2014, 12:19:26 AM »

It isn't that simple: that method for using Song Magic only works in the spaceship where everyone lives after Ra Ciela was destroyed, and it requires the execution of a song called Class::CIEL_NOSURGE;, as the old Cielnotrons (devices that use a type of vacuum tube called the Ciel nosurge Tubes that work as artificial Genoms) and Genoms (creatures that could synchronize with the humans to allow them to use Song Magic) stopped existing alongside that planet. In fact, using that song itself is incredibly dangerous because it turns the entire spaceship into a source of Song Magic, so it can be used for Songs that have potentially devastating effects, or drain up the very existence of the ship if many Songs are sung through it and cause it to break down in the literal middle of nowhere, leading to the death of the thousands of people in board.

And furthermore, neither that diagram or any part of the explanations above applies to Ar tonelico: Ar Ciel's Song Magic is at its core just a rudimentary H-Wave (feelings) to D-Wave (energy) conversion, while Ra Ciela's Song Magic can manipulate D-Waves, H-Waves, U-Waves (ultra thin feelings), Tz-Waves (distortions created by the orbit of celestial bodies) and R-Waves (energy that gives shape to the time-space continuum). In fact, one song in Ciel nosurge even went to the point of manipulating all wave types at once to create a portal between dimensions.
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Ma ki ga exec aulla ganna dand oz ee ciel. mAtyAy aje lyuma/.
N waw W an-pu kiu-wa-fen-ne miriu-du ahih=yeta-a;
QuelI-> { EXwI[cez]->{ic-p ciel}->{ic-b ciol};}->ExeC->{DW};
Kevadu
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« Reply #114 on: March 21, 2014, 12:30:08 AM »

I just thought it was a funny picture, raisel.  Though I am curious where you even get all of this information...it's certainly not explained well in-game.


Aaaanyway, about the game itself.  If a normal JPRG is like this:

|--------------talking---------------||-----------------------------------------------------battles-------------------------------------------------|

And something really wordy like, say, the Kiseki games is more like this:

|------------------------------talking------------------------------||---------------------------------battles--------------------------------------|

Ar Nosurge is like this:

|-------------------------------------------------------------talking--------------------------------------------------------------------------||--b--|


At first I thought maybe that was just because I was early in the game and there was a lot of exposition (OK, a lot of chattering...it explained very little...), but I've put some more time into it and this fact really doesn't seem to be changing.  Mind you, there's not really anything here we haven't seen before in Gust games.  The Dive sequences are pretty similar to the Ar Tonelico games and the shop conversations are certainly nothing new.  But there's just so many of them...the balance is out of whack.  I literally spent a couple hours doing nothing but watching a shop conversation, getting a new recipe, making that new recipe, watching the resulting conversation about the recipe, triggering a new shop event, watching that even, getting another new recipe, etc. etc. etc.  For hours.  Without even leaving the shop to do anything else.  Usually these things are spaced out more, you know?  Like, you would have actually do something to trigger the next set of shop events...

And then add in the fact that the battles, even when they do exist, are over so quickly the might as well not exist.  I turned up the difficulty because 'normal' is a ridiculous joke (I seriously don't think you can even die on normal, like even if you tried.  That sounds like is has to be an exaggeration but I really mean it.  There's no 'pass' option and even your regular attacks will wipe out the enemies long before they have chance of doing any significant damage to you.) and it's slightly more interesting but it's still way too easy to wipe out all the enemies on a map in a single battle.  Then you just waltz up to wherever the boss fight is triggered, listen to some more talking more a while, then tromp the boss in another easy fight that takes less time than the pre and post-fight conversations.  Throw in the in-field conversations and you quickly realize that even in 'dungeons' (they're still way too small an insubstantial to be called that, really, but I don't have a better name) you spend more time talking than fighting.

I generally don't mind talky games so long as they have something interesting to say but so much of the dialogue here is completely banal.  It's not really plot-related, just chatter.  It certainly doesn't explain all the things raisel talks about ;)
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raisel
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« Reply #115 on: March 21, 2014, 12:38:51 AM »

Have you been checking the glossary? As far as I know, Ciel nosurge added the option of instantly loading up the terminology explanation for words that were marked as important, and Ar nosurge also keeps that feature.

Additionally, that is just a sample of how much you're missing out story and character-wise by not reading at least a plot summary of Ciel nosurge, not to mention the beastly amount of material that was packed in the liner notes of the CDs for that game: each song was given a diagram in the same style as that one alongside in-depth explanations of how they work and the specific effects they each trigger.
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Ma ki ga exec aulla ganna dand oz ee ciel. mAtyAy aje lyuma/.
N waw W an-pu kiu-wa-fen-ne miriu-du ahih=yeta-a;
QuelI-> { EXwI[cez]->{ic-p ciel}->{ic-b ciol};}->ExeC->{DW};
Bytor
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« Reply #116 on: March 24, 2014, 06:23:27 PM »

Kevadu, I loved the feel and story of the first two "Melody" games...so my question is, bottom line, in your opinion, worth getting when it gets in the $10 bin? And I know, one person's rose and stuff but I still value educated and informed opinions :)
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Everything's Eventual
Kevadu
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« Reply #117 on: March 24, 2014, 07:29:00 PM »

The game had a very slow start for me, but recently it's definitely picked up a bit and I've been enjoying it.  Dungeons are still completely insubstantial and you can still kill all the enemies in one battle, but that battle at least takes a little bit of effort now and tends to last a lot longer.  The battle system can actually be pretty fun once you've turned up the difficulty.  It's different from AT2's, more puzzle-like.  Successfully wiping out all the enemies depends on getting lots of break bonuses so you keep getting extra turns, but to do that you have to think about exactly how to spend your attacks, particularly if the enemies you want to target aren't in the front row.  What I really miss is having that connection between your forward's actions and the song evolution that AT2 had as well as variety in terms of song type (no defensive/stat-boosting songs here, everything is an attack-type...).

The story is picking up too.  I do genuinely enjoy the lore in these games despite giving raisel crap for his encyclopedic knowledge.  I just wish you didn't have to dig so much to get it.  One thing that's a bit of a departure for this game that I do like (not sure if this is really much of a spoiler because it's kind of obvious from all the promotional material, but I'll spoiler tag it just in case):
Code:
You're not really picking a heroine's route this time around.  There are two parallel storylines, the Casty+Delta storyline and the Ion+Earthes storyline that you switch between.  So you still get to do both heroine's [s]Cosmosphere[/s] Genometrics but it's from a different perspective.  And the way the story is written the bond between the two pairs of partners feels a lot stonger this way.
I think there are some definite pacing issues, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad game overall.

So I can't really give a final verdict on this game yet, but at the very least it's leagues better than AT3...
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raisel
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« Reply #118 on: March 24, 2014, 08:09:36 PM »

Yeah, it's a bit sad that they didn't find the chance to re-implement some of the ideas that were featured in AT2 such as the Synchronity Chains or the Emotion Indicator for deciding the song evolutions, but at least the battle system still accomplishes its role and gets closer to what AT2 was than to AT3 (which I still liked a lot despite its atrocious gameplay).

As for the Zapping mechanic, I've seen it compared to the dual-protagonist feature that was in Atelier Iris 2, as it worked in a very similar way. However, I have to add that it has a much better justification in Ar nosurge.
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Ma ki ga exec aulla ganna dand oz ee ciel. mAtyAy aje lyuma/.
N waw W an-pu kiu-wa-fen-ne miriu-du ahih=yeta-a;
QuelI-> { EXwI[cez]->{ic-p ciel}->{ic-b ciol};}->ExeC->{DW};
Arklight
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« Reply #119 on: March 26, 2014, 03:52:12 PM »

How's the "fanservice?" I know THAT was certainly a turn-off for me for AT3. Is it at least somewhat less blatant or does that usually fall to the localization?
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