|Developer(s)||Gust Co. Ltd.|
|Platform(s)||PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita|
Ar Nosurge[a] is a role-playing video game for the PlayStation 3 developed by Gust released on March 6, 2014. It is a continuation of Gust's Japan-only 2012 release Ciel Nosurge, and a prequel to their Ar tonelico trilogy of games. The game was released in North America on September 23, 2014, and in Europe on September 26, 2014, under the title Ar nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star. A PlayStation Vita version, Ar Nosurge Plus, was released on October 2, 2014, in Japan, and July 2015 in North America and Europe.
In 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. 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.
During 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 groups 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 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 L1 and R1 buttons can reduce the Harmo Level, so the player must be careful. Additionally, 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 depends on how high the player has the Harmo Level and the type of Song Magic she is charging. 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 Circle 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. 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, and if she falls during battle, the game will count it as a defeat and it'll be a Game Over for 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, as well as indicating the percentage of damage the current Burst charge will deal to the wave that follows the leftmost one highlighted in red with a small notice below the wave indicator: when the percentage reaches 100% and begins blinking, that means that the Song Magic can annihilate all enemies in the field. Additionally, 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; as well as killing enemies that don't have the previously mentioned mark. Additionally, event and boss battles are exempt from the turn limit.
When the player has reached the max Harmo Level (Lv. 4) and completed the Heroine's Genometrics up to the point of the Completion Ceremony, 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, after a while of using the HarmoBurst, though it should be mentioned that using the super move or letting the Harmo Level gauge run out will result in the automatic activation of the Song Magic and the end of the battle.
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. Both pairs have each four possible Friend Skills, all different from each other.
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.
To acquire new recipes, the player must trigger events at the synthesis shops, which is done by talking to the shopkeeper and leaving the shop menu.
Carrying over the Dive system from the Ar tonelico series, the player can also Dive into the Soulspace (mental world) 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. Unlike the Ar tonelico series, however, this isn't limited to the heroines: 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 is also the only way in which the Heroines can gain new Song Magic for use in battle.
Each of the events of the Genometrics can be repeated after they have been completed in order to make different choices, as obtaining Genometrica Crystals and CGs is entirely dependent on the choices the player makes, being possible to miss out on obtaining several of them if the appropriate options aren't chosen while advancing.
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 deeply. Additionally, during the Purification, the player can Install Genometrica Crystals they have received from the Genometrics in order to increase their powers. It's possible to Install them into any one of the playable party members (Earthes, Ion, Cas, and Delta), and while there are five possible spots where the crystals can be Installed (legs, torso, abdomen, 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.
Players that have a PlayStation Vita and a copy of Ciel Nosurge or Ciel Nosurge RE:incarnation can connect them to Ar nosurge on the PS3 to unlock the following features:
- Exchange GP they have obtained through surveys in the official site or other ways for Experience, CT (money) and DP.
- Send energy to the Micro-Quasar in order to feed HP to a special boss, which will give unique rewards upon being defeated. This function was deprecated by Gust on 6 January 2015, so the special boss now has a set HP amount instead of basing it on the Micro Quasar's current energy level.
- Send to Ar nosurge the Plugins the player and Ion have crafted in Ciel Nosurge, allowing the party to gain extra power from the beginning.
Additionally, this will change the conversations with Ion in Ar nosurge, making her talk about the events from Ciel Nosurge depending on how many of its chapters the player has cleared, and the responses the player gave to Ion's questions.
None of these functions are available in the localized version, as the menu that gave access to them was completely removed, while the scenes that allowed to fight the special boss can't be triggered even after fulfilling the conditions for it. The special boss, however, is available in the PlayStation Vita port Ar nosurge Plus using the set HP amount model the Japanese versions currently use.
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, but after the planet was destroyed, humans began to travel through space in a colony ship called Soreil, searching for other planets they could inhabit. After 5000 years of travel, they were suddenly attacked by a hostile life-form known as the Sharls, which abducted the people living in the residential areas of Soreil, Orei; and the human was powerless to stop the Sharls due to them possessing the power of Song Magic. However, the Felion Wall suddenly opened and from inside emerged the Ancients, people with the ability to use the same Song Magic as the Sharl and knowledge about technologies that were long lost, as they lived from the time Ra Ciela was destroyed.
- Delta Lanthanoir (デルタ・ランタノイル) - The male protagonist from within the Felion Wall, and one of the original members of PLASMA, an elite organization. Voiced by: Kousuke Miyoshi (Japanese); Johnny Yong Bosch (English).
- Earthes (アーシェス) - A humanoid robot of unknown origin.
- Casty Riernoit (キャスティ・リアノイト) - A woman living in the city of Felion, and a master of Song Magic. Nicknamed "Cass", she was the main character in Ciel Nosurge. Voiced by: Inori Minase (Japanese); Stephanie Sheh (English).
- Ion (イオン) - A woman who is able to create tools and machinery. Her full name is Ionasal.kkll.Preciel. She also was the main character of the previous game, Ciel Nosurge. Voiced by: Ai Kakuma (Japanese); Cristina Vee (English).
- Zill (ジル) - The bishop of the Genomirai Church, who advocates for the worshiping of the Sharls as divine beings. Her full name is "Zillillium Rimonite", and served an important role in Ciel Nosurge. Voiced by: Meiko Kawasaki (Japanese); Wendee Lee (English).
- Kanon (カノン) - She was Ion's rival for the throne of the Empress during the events of Ciel Nosurge, but both were also very close friends despite their rivalry in the Imperial Trials. Her full name is Kanoyeel.kkll.Preciel. Voiced by: Nana Inoue (Japanese); Carrie Keranen (English).
- Sarly (サーリ) - A friend of Delta and Casty that works as a mechanic for the PLASMA organization. Her full name is "Sarly Planck", and she is an expert in machinery and knows quite a bit about song magic. Appeared previously in Ciel Nosurge. Voiced by: Yumi Shimura (Japanese); Cherami Leigh (English).
- Prim (プリム) - A young "Incarnate" Genom girl. Voiced by: Sayuri Hara (Japanese); Sandy Fox (English).
- Divine Empress (天統姫) - The ruler of Felion and manager of Plasma. Her face is covered by a mask and her body is almost entirely covered by armor, so everything about her is a complete mystery.
- Tatoria (タットリア) - A young Sharl boy that makes a living out of selling medicine in a small shop in the village of Honokano, which is located on the surface of the artificial land created on top of Soreil called Sharlanoia. Voiced by: Rie Takahashi (Japanese); Erica Mendez (English).
- Shurelia (シュレリア) - Administrator of the First Tower of Ar tonelico located in the Sol Ciel region of the planet Ar Ciel. She meets Delta and Casty after they are sent to the Sol Ciel of the faraway past during an incident with a teleporter. Was one of the main heroines in Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia. Voiced by: Kanako Sakai (Japanese); Janice Kawaye (English).
- Nay (ネイ) - A friend of Delta and Casty who always shows up to help people that are being attacked by the Sharls. Her full name is "Nayaflask", and due to her personality, she's quite popular among the people. Was also a friend of Ion in Ciel Nosurge. Voiced by: Maaya Uchida (Japanese); Kira Buckland (English).
- Nelico (ねりこ) - A mysterious shopkeeper that has established her shop near Ion's house in the sealed space known as Ion's World. She is basically a hedonist and prefers to leave boring matters to other people, as well as liking to bother Ion quite a bit. Voiced by: MAKO (Japanese); Michelle Ruff (English).
- Renall (レナルル) - Full name, "Renall Tatalca". In the past, she used to be part of the Tenmon, which was the faction that nominated Ion as their candidate to Empress during Ciel Nosurge's story. She also was part of the upper brass of Plasma and considered Ion like a little sister to herself. Her current whereabouts are unknown. Voiced by: You Taichi (Japanese); Karen Strassman (English).
- Shirotaka (白鷹) - An old friend of Sarly and Casty, whose current whereabouts are unknown. While he once was the owner of a BIOS-Shop (establishments dedicated to programming and selling TxBIOS packs for enhancing the capabilities of devices called Cielnotrons), he always went out of his way to help Casty and her friends during Ciel Nosurge. He has a geek-ish personality that likes moe things and idols a lot, but he also is known as one of the most skilled hackers of the group Quantize, an honor he shares with Sarly. Voiced by: Tarusuke Shingaki (Japanese); Todd Haberkorn (English).
- Ayatane (絢胤(アヤタネ)) - The chief of the Ayatane clan, which serve as the protectors of the First Tower of Ar tonelico. However, the "Ayatane" name is no more than a title, and his actual name is Karyou Kirinami (香陵霧浪). Voiced by: Naoki Koshida (Japanese); Kaiji Tang (English).
- Nelo (ネロ) - A mysterious girl that is an acquaintance of Cas and Delta. Has a personality that seems to find pretty much everything that isn't related to her goal as bothersome, and had a very important role in Ciel Nosurge's story. She states her goal is "to go back home". Voiced by: Hisako Toujou (Japanese); Mela Lee (English).
The story of the game is told through the viewpoints of two character pairs: Cass and Delta, and Earthes and Ion. Initially, Cass and Delta are tasked to rescuing their friend Sarly after she disappeared during a mission in enemy territory. After the rescue, they discover she had in her possession a powerful Song called Ciel N Protecta, but it was stolen and it supposedly is the cause for the ship's guardian robots attacking Felion, as their enemy, the Archbishop of the Genomirai Church, Zill is controlling them through it. During their searches for it, they are captured by the Genomirai Church, and as they escape from them, they discover Zill is planning to set up and sing a very dangerous kind of Song Magic called Class::CIEL_NOSURGE;. On the other hand, Ion is trapped in the sealed world through which the player interacted with her in Ciel Nosurge, and having recovered her memories 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 will feature 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- (詩無き丘へ-Harmonics Pre=Ciel-).
During the initial development phase, various gameplay ideas were conceived however were later omitted from the game plans; these include a type of enemy capable of deleting the player's save data, and enemies that can never be defeated unless the player followed a specific rule. These ideas were removed, citing concerns that they would cause significant frustration amongst players.
The game's music is composed by Daisuke Achiwa and Kazuki Yanagawa, and it also features several pieces from Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia that was originally composed by Ken Nakagawa. 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 games. 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.
Ar Nosurge launched on March 6, 2014 in Japan. The teaser for the game was released on January 20, 2014. The game was released in North America on September 23, 2014 and in Europe on September 26, 2014, under the title Ar nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star. A limited edition was available, exclusively on NIS America's online store. The limited edition included a copy of the game, the soundtrack, a hardcover art book, and a poster, and sold out before the game released. Additionally, some of the game's Downloadable content (DLC) was given out by various retails as a bonus for reserving a copy.
A series of music CDs featuring tracks from the game have been released. The original soundtrack was released in March 2014 and features 81 individual tracks, three of them being rearrangement from Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia pieces. The same day, two mini-albums titled Ar nosurge Genometric Concert side. Blue Tokikagura and Ar nosurge Genometric Concert side. Red Tentōki was released, containing the game's vocal songs. The game's numerous vocal tracks are performed by Origa, Akiko Shikata, Yoshino Nanjō, Haruka Shimotsuki and Noriko Mitose.
So far, Gust has given additional support to the game with the following downloadable content packs:
- Purification Pack Kanon - Makes Kanon available as a conversation partner for Delta and Earthes during the Purifications. Has her own set of unlockable talk topics.
- Purification Pack Nay - Makes Nay available as a conversation partner for Delta and Earthes during the Purifications. Has her own set of unlockable talk topics.
- Genopack Shirotaka - Opens up two new Genometrics during the last third of the game: a pseudo-romantic visual novel for Cass, and a retelling of Ion's own life for Ion; both of which are gotten from Diving into the character Shirotaka.
Ar nosurge Plus
Ar Nosurge Plus is an enhanced port of the game for the PlayStation Vita platform. Additional content added to the game include a greater number of costumes, touchscreen interaction compatibility for purification ceremonies, three additional characters available for purification ceremony with each having over 50 conversation events, a new tutorial mode, and all post-release DLC from the original PlayStation 3 version. It was released on October 2, 2014 in Japan, and July 2015 in North America and Europe.
The PlayStation 3 version of Ar nosurge sold 27,037 physical retail copies within the first week of release in Japan, placing fifth within the Japanese software sales rankings for that particular week. Famitsu gave the game a review score of 32/40. Lee Cooper of Hardcore Gamer gave the game 3.5/5, stating that while it was disjointed and confusing, it was also "brilliant, cavernously deep and emotionally charging."
- Koei Tecmo Europe (May 6, 2015). "Ar nosurge Plus release date". Twitter. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
- 2015-01-06, アルノサージュ～生まれいずる星へ祈る詩～, Gust
- 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
- 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
- 2013-09-29, Ar no Surge first details and screenshots, Gematsu
- "Ar no Surge RPG Linked to Ar Tonelico With Shurelia's Return". Crunchyroll. January 19, 2014. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
- 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
- 2014-02-03, The truth of the world is depicted by two different viewpoints: Ar nosurge's initial story and other new bits of information, 4gamer
- 2014-02-16, New Ar nosurge information. The Combined Skills in which the protagonists and their partners handle a powerful Song Magic, Music CDs related to the game, limited edition items and such others, are all revealed here today, 4gamer
- 2013-09-24, Ar no Surge announced for PlayStation 3, Gematsu
- 2014-05-05, 『シャリーのアトリエ』、『シェルノサージュ』の新情報も飛び出した！ 加隈亜衣さん出演“ガストトークショー”リポート【マチ★アソビ Vol.12】。, Famitsu
- ""Ar no Surge" Pushed Back to March 2014 in Japan". Crunchyroll. December 29, 2013. Retrieved December 29, 2019.
- "Ar no Surge RPG's Teaser Movie Posted". Anime News Network. January 20, 2014. Retrieved January 20, 2020.
- "VIDEO: Gust Teases "Ar no Surge" RPG with New Clip and Screens". Crunchyroll. January 22, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
- 2014-06-25, Ar nosurge coming to Europe on September 26, Gematsu
- 2014-07-01, Ar Nosurge Will Be Released In North America On September 23rd, Siliconera
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-09-28. Retrieved 2014-09-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Thomas Schulenberg. "Ar nosurge gets limited edition, GameStop pre-order incentives". Engadget. Archived from the original on 2014-09-22. Retrieved 2014-09-25.
- "Ar Nosurge: Ode To An Unborn Star Pre-Order DLC Bonuses Announced". EGMNOW.com.
- 2014-03-10, 「アルノサージュ」の音楽CD3作品がオリコンデイリーランキングにランクイン, 4gamer
- 2014-03-10, 『アルノサージュ ～生まれいずる星へ祈る詩～』関連CDが、オリコンCDアルバムデイリーランキング2位・3位・5位にランクイン, Famitsu
- 2014-03-06, 『アルノサージュ』登場キャラや世界観、システムなどを総まとめ！ 『アルトネリコ』とのつながりやキャンペーン情報も, Dengeki Online
- 2014-02-26, 「アルノサージュ」の漫画がニコニコ静画「水曜日のシリウス」で26日より連載開始, 4gamer
- 2014-06-29, Ar nosurge Plus debut screenshots, Gematsu
- 2014-06-23, Ar no Surge Plus announced for PS Vita, Gematsu
- 2014-06-23, Ar noSurge Headed To PS Vita As Ar noSurge Plus, Siliconera
- 2014-03-12, Media Create Sales: 3/3/14 – 3/9/14, Gematsu
- 2014-02-25, Famitsu Review Scores: Issue 1317, Gematsu
- "Review: Ar Nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star". hardcoregamer.com.
- Full name Surge Concerto: Ar nosurge ~A Song that Prays for a Planet Being Born~ (アルノサージュ ～生まれいずる星へ祈る詩～, Arunosaaju ~Umareizuru Hoshi e Inoru Uta~)