RPGs, Voice Acting, and RAGE!
By: J.R Tafoya – Head Writer
Monday, March 16th –
Hello once again, Giga-Friends! I missed you almost as much as you missed me! So let’s not waste any time and jump right into it.
I’ve finally had a chance to mess around with Ar NoSurge: Ode to An Unborn Star. I have to say, I am really enjoying it. Though, whether that’s due to the heavy nostalgia factor or gameplay is . . . well . . . I PLEAD THE FIFTH! While I thought it was a sort of “spiritual successor” to the Ar Tonelico series, it seems that it might be a prequel or sequel to them. The gameplay is pretty solid, preferring to emulate Ar Tonelico 2 with a mix of turn-based and action combat along with reflex-oriented defense. It uses a lot of elements that keep it close to a JRPG, in terms of combat, while also distancing itself from the jaded norms.
I’m really liking the characters as well. Our hero, Delta, seems to have been hit with amnesia (how unusual!) but, before it set in, he had done something that almost cost everyone in the city their lives. His childhood friend, Cass, is a pseud0-tsundere who has a complicated friendship/love for Delta. Their interactions make up a lot of what’s fun about the game. The between battle exchanges they have usually leave me smiling and the “Diving” scenes, the Ar Tonelico trademark, are both deep and emotional. Diving, by the way, being when a human “dives” into the target’s innermost conscious, revealing certain truths and ideas that make the story different and psychologically deeper than most JRPGs. And, to top it all off, some of my favorite voice actors are in the game!
But, that brings me to a last point. Or, in this case, complaint. Gust has never been a high-budget company and I completely accept that. But, they are sometimes known for cutting corners where it hurts, and in this case that’s the voice acting. In fact, it seems that about 2/3 of the scenes aren’t actually dubbed in English, and it really hurts that I can’t see some of these scenes with the full emotional impact they were meant to have. The “Dive” scenes, the out of battle chats, the side-quests, and even some of the main story (from what I’ve been told), all go unvoiced. That really sucks, because Ar Tonelico 3 had one scene in particular that nearly tore my heart to pieces largely due to how jaw-dropping the performance was.
Maybe I’m spoiled, and maybe I’m expecting too much from a B-list company, but it dampens my spirits that I’ve been contemplating on whether or not I should play with the voices in Japanese. . .
That aside, it’s still a really fun game. A side note though: The game is a sequel to a game called Ciel Nosurge. A visual novel-type game never released outside Japan. . .
NOW ON TO ANIME!
Sadly, I’m a bit behind this week. Due in part to work and/or Final Fantasy XIV, I didn’t get much of a chance to catch up to my normal anime.
I did, however, take up one of David’s suggestions and start watching Maria the Virgin Witch. Just as his article explains, it is by far and away one of the best shows this season. The moral ambiguity and concise facts of the 100 Year War brings together a finely tuned anime that makes me question even my own morals. It’s been keeping me on my toes the entire time and, while I’m still far behind, I’ve been enjoying it immensely. But, just as David mentioned before, I highly suggest giving it at least two episodes before thoroughly judging it. You won’t be sorry.
Speaking of “morally ambiguous”, Death Parade has been outstanding as well. The last arc in particular, made me think deeply about my own morals. I was born and raised Catholic, so I should have a strong sense of “live and let live”, and “turn the other cheek” mentalities. But, in this arc, I knew for certain that those two would not have played any part in my thought process had I been in the same shoes as the victim. Damn you anime! Why must you make me question my convictions!?!?!
Regardless, it’s been a fun watch and one that I highly recommend as well.
Anyway, that’s it for me Giga-Friends! Until next time, I hope you have a great Monday, and an even better week!