Ar Nosurge easily stands out as one of the top RPGs of 2014, if not the top. Perfect for newcomers to the genre and fans of Gust titles, Ar Nosurge deviates from the norm just enough to be fresh and exciting while sticking to the qualities that made Ar Tonelico and the Atelier games fun. But like all RPGs, Ar Nosurge does have a decent learning curve. There are certain aspects of the game that can only be discovered through trial and error. To make the most of your time with this excellent game, here are some tips to keep in mind as you play.
1. Take Your Time in Combat
Ar Nosurge features a fast-paced action battle system where Delta and Earthes use a combination of attacks and special skills to rip through dozens of waves of enemies. Using items, calling in Friend Skills, and finally activating the devastating song magic only add to the myriad of tactics. So it’s important to remember amidst the frenetic melee that combat is not timed. There is no penalty for taking a quick second or ten and assessing the situation. No penalties for taking too long in a fight, and the turn won’t suddenly end if you sit for too long. With the only exception to this being the enemy’s turn which includes quick-time reflex defending, battles can be taken at your pace. Take a breather if you need one to better plan your strategy for the coming waves. This might not seem important early on, but when the potential waves start getting counted by the dozens you’ll be grateful for the chance to relieve the pressure.
2. Short on Dive Points? Grind Smarter, Not Harder
Dive points are the driving force behind Genometrics, which in turn is the driving force behind getting better song magic, learning more about the heroines, and unlocking thought crystals and chat topics for purification. They are essential to the game and obtainable only through combat. Genometrics, however, eats them like a fire does kindling. To get the best thought crystals and see all the best stuff DP gets spent in absurdly large quantities right from the start. So naturally, you might find yourself grinding for more. But rather than continuously chug away at the same enemies 10 or 20 times, simply up the difficulty for the moment. Unless you’re operating at the highest setting (in which case you likely don’t have this problem), jacking up the combat to even Veteran will see your base DP from a fight shoot through the roof. Odds are you’ll also be well above the level required to simply breeze through the “tougher” fights anyways. You’ll have those thousands of DP necessary to see Ciel and Cass in compromising positions in no time!
3. Up That Difficulty
Temporarily increasing the difficulty will get you tons of DP while not stretching your comfort zone too much – is what I would normally say, but Ar Nosurge’s combat isn’t that tough on Normal mode. It’s a challenging system and can be tons of fun, but you will probably grow bored of Normal fights pretty quickly. Spend some time figthing in Veteran mode once you get the hang of the fighting. Battles become tons of fun, and ripping through a couple dozen waves of enemies on Normal suddenly becomes a pretty awesome fight when they stop going down in a single hit. Plus, tip #2 becomes obsolete ’cause you’ll have so much DP from the greater rewards.
4. Don’t Dive Into Ion’s Genometrics Until Phase 2
The greater part of Phase 1 in Ar Nosurge is spent with Delta and Cass, so when Ion and the player’s avatar Earthes take the stage it’s tempting to just jump in and devour everything as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the information required to pass Ion’s first world in Genometrics isn’t learned until Phase 2 of the game. Ion’s Genometrics initially feature a test for Earthes to validate himself as Ion’s Guardian, and even if the player does everything correctly a passing grade won’t be granted until the information is officially uncovered in-game. So don’t waste DP slamming your virtual head against a virtual wall and relax. Check out Kanon’s or Nelico’s world or just play through Phase 1. Ion’s dark secrets will be available, but only after a combination of factors are met.
5. Synthesize Everything
For those who don’t really enjoy the alchemy or crafting aspect of games, Ar Nosurge just might be the system for you. It’s brutally simple: take the ingredients won in battle, buy a few more from the shops, select an item, watch a silly movie, view a hilarious conversation, receive item. And the items usually aren’t necessary, but Synthesis should be completed as much as possible for two reasons. First, every now and then a recipe for a cathode or good RNA will show up. Some of the cathodes that Tattoria makes, for example, increase the amount of times you can use an attack in battle. Others increase burst rate and other factors by degrees much higher than store-bought ones, and duplicates can’t be equipped. Second, quite a few chat topics are uncovered through creating various recipes. It will be difficult to open more purification points and chat levels earlier without the synthesis topics, so keep at it!
6. Don’t Forget About Skills
Combat is addicting and fun. It’s easy to forget about all the options and just blitz the waves one by one until Cass or Ion can take the last 10 out with a huge spell. So when the going starts to get tough, or maybe you’ve decided to raise the difficulty, you might realize that simply comboing the basic attacks isn’t enough any more. Remember that by pressing R1 or L1 another set of skills that aren’t counted towards your attack limit can be used. The game won’t remind you that you have them, or that you’ve gotten more, and if you have enough energy (bottom right of the screen) left for them the turn will still end if you’ve used your normal attacks. These will make the difference in boss fights, so be sure to try them out beforehand and learn what they can do. Also, be warned: when using certain area-of-effect skills against the motorcycle-buggy-looking monsters, the turn automatically ended. Safest to just break the monsters individually than trying to take them all out at once. That’s all for now! If you have any other tips, be sure to leave them in the comments!