Ar nosurge Plus: Ode to an Unborn Star Review

By Shawn Collier on October 4, 2015

Last year, Tecmo Koei released Gust's PS3 Japanese RPG Ar nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star. The game had some glitches and other minor issues, but overall we highly rated it for fans of Japanese RPGs or Gust's previous releases. As has been common for that developer's titles over the past few years, Temco Koei has released an enhanced port for the PlayStation Vita of the game as Ar nosurge Plus: Ode to an Unborn Star. For those who played the PS3 version, is this worth a re-purchase? Or for newcomers, is this the better version to pick?

Ar nosurge takes place inside a colony ship which is drifting amiss in search of a new planet to colonize due to the destruction of their home world, Ra Ciela, the events of which took place in Ciel nosurge. To add to this misery, a few years preceding the start of the game, a mysterious race named the Sharl appeared and began to abduct the citizens living on the ship.

Initially, your party consists of two people: a young man named Delta and a young woman named Cass. Both of them were members of a group called PLASMA that protects the people living inside the ship. A little bit before the game starts, Delta ends up getting captured by a neighboring city that co-exists with the Sharl. He returns to his home city of Felion months later, but ends up opening the gate and letting the Sharl inside, although he can't remember what happened to him when he was abducted or why he opened the gate in the first place. This of course ends up causing mistrust between Delta and the citizens of Felion.

In terms of mechanics and the overall gameplay, the PlayStation Vita version is almost identical to the original PS3 version, so for the remainder of this review we'll be focusing on the new additions and differences present in the PlayStation Vita version. So if you're needing a recap or didn't play the original PS3 version, head over to our review.

One of the noticeable issues early on in the PS3 version was a lack of a tutorial for the battle system, which led some players to get confused about the system's finer details. The developer added in a quick tutorial which explains the basics in the PlayStation Vita version, which should help newcomers and is a nice refresher for veterans who haven't played the original version in a while.

The Vita version also includes all of the purchase-able DLC from the PS3 version, including the extra character talks and the extra Genometrics, but new to the Vita version is more additional character talks with a few more characters and costumes, which were unavailable in the PS3 version due to an oversight as the bonus boss unlockable in the Japanese version was removed. Some of said new costumes are available from the outset, although there's a couple throwback costumes to the original Ar tonelico available after completing the game for the first time. Unfortunately, the same costume clipping issue the PS3 version had still is present, although generally players won't notice it outside of a few rare occasions.

While the graphics weren't downgraded that heavily, unlike some other PS3 to Vita ports, there is some increase lag in a few locations, generally in the areas where a lot of objects are present on the screen at one time. This issue existed in the PS3 version, but the reduced specs of the Vita does more to bring out this issue. It never devolves into a clip show, but those who are averse to lag in general may find this to be a bigger issue than others.

Final Thoughts

If you're a hardcore fan of the original PS3 game or the Ar tonelico series in general, there's enough extras here to warrant picking up this enhanced version. And I'd generally recommend those who haven't played the PS3 version to pick up this version as long as the lag issue isn't too much of a factor for you. But for those who didn't really enjoy the PS3 version or the concept in general, this is a port more for the fans than anything else.

The new battle tutorial should help newcomers ease themselves into the mechanics.
All of the PS3 DLC is already included in this version.
The costume changing option can be used in this version, unlike the PS3 version.
The lag issue from the original game is slightly increased in a few areas compared to the PS3 version.
The character costume clipping issue is still present in this version.
If you didn't care for the original or this genre in general, there won't be anything changed in this version of the game.
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