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[PS3 JRPG Review] Ar Nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star

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Ar Nosurge is a Sci-fi, ‘7 Dimension’ RPG, that takes place in a world where music and song can create magic. It tells the compelling story of a civilization that lost their planet and has been roaming the edge of space for 2000 years in search of a new home.

In AR NOSURGE: ODE TO AN UNBORN STAR, the player follows two sets of characters: Delta and Casty, whose goal is to protect humanity and save the world, and Ion & Earthes, who are trying to find Ion a way home to Earth. The player can interchange between both pairs and soon discover a way to combine their storylines and strengths to eventually solve the mystery that shrouds their ongoing struggle.

Ar NoSurge: Ode to an Unborn Star is a Japanese-RPG, and the second installment in the NoSurge franchise (Ciel NoSurge being the first one). This game is also a prequel to Gust’s Ar Tonelico series.

Ar Nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star – Launch Trailer

The game is relatively slow to start and you will encounter only a few battles in the first hours of the game, but Ar NoSurge: Ode to an Unborn Star is built on solid mechanics. In its battle system, you have to fight your way through waves of monsters. Enemies can be fought with the action buttons (Square, Triangle, etc.), and special care must be done to enemies with a (!) right next to them because they’ll be attacking in the next round. However, if you hit the enemies enough, you can “break” them and they become unable to fight for the next turn. If you manage to break all the enemies in a round, not only will you get a nice bonus but you’ll also get the advantage of attacking again before they can act!

As soon as the battle starts, the supporting character of the party will start to sing (which is the ultimate attack of a fight). Once the battle begins, the Song isn’t strong at all and must be charged by fighting waves of monsters, doing critical hits, breaking enemies, essentially raising the “Burst Charge” meter. As the Burst Charge goes up, more incoming waves will be affected, and you can see the Song effect spread to the next waves (the upper bar progressively becomes red). You can fight all the enemies “manually” by defeating all the waves (there are typically more than 10 waves in each fight), or you can end it quickly when the Burst Charge is at his maximum level (the upper bar is totally red). You can then let the supporting character unleash her song and end the battle immediately.


Upgrade system
Ar NoSurge: Ode to an Unborn Star also features a pretty cool and original upgrade system called “Genometrics”. In order to have the supporting character learn more songs and become more efficient in battle, the Genometrics system has been creatd to offer a way to learn more about them by going into their minds and seeing their true feelings.

Each Genometrics moment has a lot of segments containing a ton of text to read and they all need to be conquered to unlock a new song. It’s not that easy because you are often asked questions by their subconscious, and presenting a false answer will expel you from their minds. I loved this system, and it’s a nice change from traditional character building, but I would’ve preferred if the sequences were shorter, because they sometimes feel like too much text.

Finally, completing some segments of the Genometrics will award you with gems that can be attached to the supporting characters to upgrade them. They can be attached to the arms, legs, and yes, there is even a gem placeholder on their breasts.


Graphics and Audio
In the graphical department, Ar NoSurge: Ode to an Unborn Star is a game that does not push the console to its limit. Each zone is small, and the locations can be changed by clicking on a different spot on a static map. Most of the characters are pretty well done (and expect to see a lot of fan service!), but strangely, Delta’s face is awkward, which is odd since he’s one of the main characters.

The soundtrack is okay, but apart from the battle theme, most themes aren’t that good. The game also features English voiceovers and can be switched to Japanese if you want to enjoy the game in its original language.


Final Thoughts
Like I said in my review, I liked Ar NoSurge: Ode to an Unborn Star. The game has very solid battle mechanics, and fighting waves of enemies was a blast! The Genometrics system is a great idea for character building, but I would’ve preferred if the game had a little less text, since it quickly becomes intense text scrolling in some story sequences.

[review pros=”Great and addictive battle system
Genometrics upgrade system
Inclusion of English and Japanese voice overs” cons=”Too much text to read in some story segments
” score=83]


Cost: $49.99

PSN Game size: 12.1GB

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This review is based on a digital copy provided by KOEI TECMO America.