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Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Battle of Aces is a Fighting Game, developed by Witchcraft - composed of the people who made Wild ARMs - and released for the Playstation Portable by Namco Bandai in 2010.As the name suggests, it's based on the Lyrical Nanoha franchise, specifically the second season Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's. It is set in an Alternate Timeline where Reinforce was not deleted at the end of the series. Because of this, the corrupted defence program of the Book of Darkness soon returns, shedding "Dark Pieces" that take the form of Evil Knockoffs of the main cast. At the head of this clone army are the "Materials" - three super-powerful clones of Nanoha, Fate and Hayate who have gained sentience.A sequel, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Gears of Destiny, was released for PSP on December 22, 2011. It takes place three months after The Battle of Aces, starting when two mysterious warriors arrive from the future. One of them is searching for the revived Materials, while the other is trying to stop her.Meanwhile, the Materials have grown from the one-dimensional Omnicidal Maniacs they were in the first game and are searching for something called the "Unbreakable Dark", which seems to be linked to a whole new outbreak of Dark Pieces. Not only are these new Dark Pieces twisting time and space, pulling people from the past and future to the present age, but they are capable of copying long-dead people from the memories of the mages involved.The Materials have become Breakout Characters, appearing as major and/or main characters in other media. They also get their own mangaMahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A's Potable - The Gears of Destiny - Material Musume, a Yonkoma which takes place before the events of The Gears of Destiny.NOTE: Only general tropes for the series are listed here. For character-specific ones, check out the character sheets.
Playable characters introduced in The Battle of Aces
Adaptational Badass: Zafira in his route. If you include the extra stages, he manages to defeat the Dark Pieces of Signum, Vita, Reinforce and himself, and all three Materials by his own. Don't forget that Zafira is the lowest ranked mage of the Wolkenritter, he lacks any devices and longe range spells.
Big Damn Heroes: In Hayate's route, after Unison Hayate defeats Material-D, the Wolkenritter save the former from the latter and Signum kills Material-D in the process. This event is revealed to be canon in G.o.D..
The Cameo: NachtWal appears in one of the first CGIs.
Charged Attack: Several ranged attacks come with a slower, stronger form when you hold down their respective button.
Counter Attack: Everyone has one at melee range. Zafira has one in ranged combat too.
Demoted to Extra: Yuuno and Arf are not playable characters in this game, despite their more or less importance in A's - they are not even in the shot that shows the other characters fighting NachtWal. While Arf is lucky enough to appear in four routesnote (Nanoha, Fate, Chrono, and Zafira, respectively), Yuuno only appears in Nanoha's route and has no CGI appearances.
Hayate is opposed by Material-D, the Ruler of Darkness, whose Barrier Jacket has dark grey where Hayate's is white, along with purple for the inner layer and shoes, as well as being platinum blonde-ish. She also lacks the original's Nice Hat.
Nanoha is opposed by Material-S, the Starlight Destroyer, whose Barrier Jacket is mainly black/dark purple and crimson, with Luciferion, her version of Raising Heart, being red with a blue crystal.
Fate is opposed by Material-L, the Thunderblade Assailant, who has light blue hair instead of blonde, her Barrier Jacket has blue where Fate's was red and her version of Bardiche has a blue crystal.
Final Boss: There is always a different Final Boss in each character's story. Some of them are in the aftermath of the "Dark Piece Incident", but they are definitely Final Bosses, because they appear in the Final Stage.
Material-S in Nanoha's route.
Dark Piece Fate in Fate's route.
Nanoha in Hayate's route.
Fate in Signum's route.
Reinforce in Vita's route.
Dark Piece Vita in Shamal's route.
Dark Piece Reinforce in Zafira's route.
Material-D in Reinforce's route.
Dark Piece Hayate in Chrono's route.
Gainaxing: Signum. And to a lesser extend Reinforce.
Gratuitous English: Raising Heart again. At one point, she says "Perhaps she is also Dark Peace" instead of "Perhaps she is also a Dark Piece".
In Spite of a Nail: In the original Reinforce's ending in Battle of Aces, she and Hayate discuss how she can't maintain Hayate's magic anymore, and they'd have to create a new Unison Device. I.e. Zwei will exist in this Alternate Continuity too. The Wolkenritter also note late in Hayate's story mode that Hayate and Reinforce both know (but won't admit to each other) that Reinforce will fade away relatively soon.
Invulnerable Attack: Using Full Drive makes you invulnerable to any attack during its initial activation.
Matryoshka Object: The Book of Darkness was really a smaller program written on an older Logia called The Book of Purple Sky. And the Book of Purple Sky was written on an OLDER program called the Examia/Eternal Ring; which was hosted by the Unbreakable Dark.
Mirror Match: Justified in Story Mode by the existence of the Dark Pieces, which are copies from the heroes based on their memories and wishes during the time of A's.
Original Generation: The Materials, "Lord" Dearche, Stern the Destructor, and Levi the Slasher.
Overly Long Name: "The Book of Darkness’s Darkness Dark Piece Incident" was shortened into the "Dark Piece incident".
Purposely Overpowered: Unison Reinforce (Reinforce with Hayate intentionally Unisoning into her), who you could only use at the final battle of Reinforce's story. She comes with all eighteen skills in the game where other characters could only use four, turning the normally powerful Big Bad into an Anticlimax Boss.
Smoke Shield: Used as a gameplay mechanic. Big attacks usually generate one of these on impact, and a canny player can exploit the concealment to pull off a counter-attack.
Sound Test: Available in the Character Viewer under Archive.
Title Drop: Fate's story path ends with her saying the title of her chapter ("When the cherry blossoms are in bloom") in response to Arf asking her when she will tell Lindy her decision regarding her offer to adopt her.
You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Nanoha says this when Arf suggests that Fate might have turned out like Material-L if she hadn't met Nanoha, saying that Fate is a stronger person than that and with Arf, she is not alone. Both Fate and Arf are quite grateful to hear this.
The Gears of Destiny
The Gears of Destiny additionally provides examples of:
A.I. Breaker: Zafira, because his moveset has fortunately become better like some others. The easiest way to win: just keep pushing the Circle Button. His Grab Move has a good range and it hits as the first move. His uncharged long range Circle-attack allows him to rush towards the enemy. Regardless if the enemy use his/her shield or not, the Grab Move ignores the shield. Repeating this and you win a perfect victory. This strategy is very useful against the SNK Boss in G.o.D.
Adaptational Badass: While most of the characters are just as badass as they are in canon, Yuuno's surprising combat ability comes as a shock. During his story mode, he manages to not only defeat the Liese Twins, but also Material-S, Vivio and Amita, not bad for someone who was Demoted to Extra in the series proper.
Big Bad Ensemble: Averted. First, Dearche, who is introduced as the Big Bad, is killed by U-D, the real Big Bad, and when Dearche is regenerating, Stern has persuaded her to ally with the TSAB, so the Materials became Anti-Heroines and Dearche was never really a Big Bad to begin with. And later, when the Dark Piece of Presea found out that a Time Machine existed, she didn't become a second Big Bad because she was immediately fought by Linith and both of them disappeared in the end.
In Thoma's imagine shot, the Force versions of Nanoha, Fate, Hayate, Signum and Subaru, as well as the rest of the Nakajima family, Mariel (who appears as a minor character in the game), Isis, Steed, and the Hückebein family are seen together.
The epilogue of the Final Sequence shows the ViVid versions of Nanoha and Fate, then Isis and the Force versions of Hayate and Vita.
Cast Herd: There are two units who fight U-D in the final battle. The first unit fights her in the first round, the second unit fights her in the second round where she has already Turned Red.
The first group includes Chrono, Signum, Vita, Shamal, Zafira, Einhard and Kyrie.
The second group includes Nanoha, Fate, Unison Hayate, Vivio, Thoma, Amitie and "Lord" Dearche TRINITY.
Before this gathering, there are several smaller groups. Nanoha with Yuuno; Fate with Arf; Hayate with Reinforce; the Wolkenritter; the Materials; Vivio and Einhard; Thoma and Lily, both of them allying with Vivio and Einhard later.
The groups are later mixed up or seperated in some parts of the story.
Combo Breaker: Activating a Full Drive Burst stock gives temporary invincibility and knocks the opponent back. In some cases, their airborne state makes them vulnerable to be hit with the actual attack.
Constitution: Calculated after the damage the characters can take from average Finishing Moves (45% damage on characters with average defense), the average defense stats can be referred as 100%, which makes it easier to tell you how much stronger or weaker the defense stats of other characters are in comparison to those with average defense.
150%: The playable version of U-D, better known as Yuri. (opposing Presea's defense state)
120%: Vivio (opposing Linith's defense stat).
110%: Kyrie, Einhard, Yuuno, Chrono, Signum, Zafira, Thoma. (opposing the characters with 90% defense)
Yuuno, again. He's the only character in the game who doesn't have a CG appearance. It's even worse, several characters from Force have a cameo appearance in two CG shots, but Yuuno doesn't.
Nanoha herself has very few CG appearances. She is first seen in the end of Sequence 10. Justified, she's not the heroine in this game. The Eltrian Gears and the Materials, particularly Dearche, are.
Furthermore, Nanoha has not an own side story. There are the Testarossa story, the "Night Sky vs Liese" story, and the story around the four time travelers. Nanoha is still involved in those stories, but she has not a major role. She and Yuuno have the least significant plot relevances in the entire game. You can avoid her plot relevance even more by choosing Vita as one of the main attacks instead of her, that means Nanoha will not use her Mid-Season Upgrade in the final battle.
Even the Devices are not immune to this. Raising Heart had many lines in B.o.A., even outside of the gameplay. In G.o.A., she, Graf Eisen and Laevatein have no lines in the story at all, not even when they load their Anti-U-D-Cartridges. The only one who still gets a line is Bardiche, when Fate faces Linithnote "Get set.".
The Forwards from StrikerS don't appear in this game (not including Subaru's cameo). Justified. All battles are in the sky and all of them are ground mages. Even though, Subaru has her Wing Road, Erio has Strada's Düsenform and Caro has Friedrich and Voltaire, they would be odd characters in this game. And Teana has no possibility to fight in air at all. Well, at least Subaru (who has a cameo as mentioned above) and Erio are mentioned in this game. Teana and Caro are main characters with the worst luck.
They do appear in Sound Stage A, though. But the ViVid versions of them, not the StrikerS ones.
Not only the Forwards, but the other half of Team Nakajima from ViVid does not appear here. Well, at least Rio and Corona (and Nove) are mentioned. Isis from Force is not playable, but she appears in the end of the game.
Do Well, but Not Perfect: Due to an oversight, you automatically win the second round of the Final Sequence if the timer runs out after you whittle down U-D's first life bar so that hers has less HP than yours do but don't reduce it to zero and activate her second phase. The timer only recognizes her current life bar, so it assumes she has less life than you do even though she still has an untouched second life bar.
Future Badass: Nanoha, Fate and Hayate, of course. In Thoma's imagine shot, we see the three Aces in the Force timeline. In the epilogue, we see Nanoha and Fate in the ViVid timeline, and Hayate in the Force timeline. And we all know they will be grown up in StrikerS.
Gainaxing: Signum and Reinforce again. Also Arf and Vivio... And Presea tops all of them.
Genre Savvy: Einhard and Vivio quickly realize that they've been brought back to the past, and try as much as they can to avoid screwing up the past.
Glass Cannon: Presea has powerful attacks, but she is also very vulnerable like Fate and Levi. Though, her armor is already almost as bad as the Sonic/Sprite Form.
Hope Springs Eternal: In the end, the Materials and U-D go with the Florian Sisters to Future Eltria. They're able to help a lot through their technical expertise in restoring the land and monster hunting.
Hypercompetent Sidekick: Yuuno to Nanoha, Arf to Fate, and Reinforce to Hayate. Each of the three sidekicks follow their respective partner/master for the majority of the story, and if you play them, they kick asses of characters who are actually much stronger than them.
In Spite of a Nail: According to the Drama CDMagical Girl Lyrical Nanoha GOD Sound Stage A. There are no significant changes between this timeline and the main series timeline up to at least ViVid.
Keigo: Besides the characters who are known for this, Vita of all people, who has probably the most informal speech pattern, talks very formally to Chrono.
Mid-Season Upgrade: In Sequence 6, Stern gives these to four of the characters for them to use during the final battle against U-D. Hayate and Chrono gets the Waffenträger and Ostwind respectively. The other two characters who get upgrades depends on who you choose for the third and fourth fights of Sequence 6. If you chose them, Nanoha will get the Nebelwerfer, Fate will get the Hornisse, Signum will get the Wirbelwind, and Vita will get the Brummbär.
You can choose either Nanoha/Fate, Nanoha/Signum, Vita/Signum or Vita/Fate.
The travel through time is causing Thoma's Bible of the Silver Cross to malfunction, which conveniently shuts down the Anti-Magic and other abilities that would make him broken in the A's timeline.
Reinforce returns, but is slowly dying, which explains the nerfing she got here.
On the other end of the spectrum, Sacred Heart and Asteion turned out to be capable of helping Vivio and Einhard gain limited flight capabilities, explaining why they're able to fight in mid-air here when they couldn't in ViVid.
Super Move Portrait Attack: And it's always the same portray for the same character, even if the costume doesn't match at all. There are three exceptions: Hayate, Dearche and U-D's have extra portraits for their respective Super Modes.
Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With the Liese Twins and the Wolkenritter due to what happened in the series. They still get along with everyone else.
They can't believe how nice Hayate is to the point they suspect her of being a Dark Piece. However they seem to get along later. Lotte says she doesn't like Hayate's ideals, but she respects her persistence.
With Vita - really bad to the point you expect them to start ripping each other's hair.
With Signum - very professionally to the point of awkwardness.
They blame Reinforce for the lives that were lost and how bad their lives had became.
Time Travel: First, Kyrie travels to this Alternate Continuity where the Examia exist. Then she's followed by Amitie who tries to stop her. The Time Machine had a side effect that it brings Vivio, Einhard, Thoma and Lily to this timeline, too. In the end, all of them go back to their respective timelines, the Florian sisters being accompanied by the Purple Sky Family.
Unskilled, but Strong: The Dark Pieces have some boosts, but In-Universe they are stated to be not as skilled as their original counterparts. The most blatant examples are the Dark Pieces of Vivio, who are in their Sankt Kaiser Mode. They actually must be the among the most powerful characters in this game, yet they are defeated by Einhard and Shamal like any other Mook.