vampko wrote:If it's so different from Ar Tonelico, then why say fans of it should look to this? And I would say that Neptunia or Trinity Universe would be closer examples of VN/RPG hybrids.
I've played neither Neptunia nor Trinity Universe. Of course, the best comparisons are games like Utawarerumono, Tears to Tiara, and Princess General. But I'm on an NISA board; comparing to more games they aren't familiar with is rather pointless. Agarest War and Ar Tonelico 1 are really the best mainstream niche games I can come up with to compare to. Aselia the Eternal is an epic tale with an equal focus on story (told in VN sequences) and combat. Romance is a prominent aspect of the story, moreso even than games like the Star Ocean series. There's a clear delineation of routes; it's more than just different endings. If you played Agarest War and were disappointed by the lack of character interaction and story, Aselia the Eternal has that and more. From my perspective, Aselia the Eternal is the full realization of the kind of game Agarest War "wanted" to be. Like Ar Tonelico, there's a focus on relationships and there's multiple endings depending on your choice of heroine. Like Ar Tonelico, the world is well fleshed out, living and breathing.
stealth20k wrote:is this a vn srpg hybrid
Yes. But the battle system is like nothing else I've ever played. The best way to describe it is a tactical military simulation. Battles are decided by managing party composition, roles, and skill assignments. A skilled player will advance as quickly as possible, often along multiple routes of attack, without losing units while managing mana (the game's "experience") efficiently. Sometimes you're forced to choose between taking time to train units to higher levels, or complete missions faster to gain more mana and thus train your units to even higher levels later. With higher levels comes more skills and thus more versatility. Using strong attacks against weak enemies achieves a quick victory, but leaves you poorly prepared to face off against strong enemies later, as skills can only be used a limited number of times before rest in a city is required. As basic attack and defense consume skill usages, running completely out means certain death--thus swift and total victory requires using all of your units effectively as a team, rather than just bulldozing through with a single force.