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YMMV / Arcaea

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  • Awesome Moments: The very fact that this game had a collaboration with CHUNITHM. To put it in perspective: CHUNITHM is one of the most popular rhythm games in Japan, made by one of the oldest and most famous names in video games. Arcaea had only been out for two years at the time of the original collaboration, and is produced by a relatively small team, the staff of which are fans of rhythm games themselves. This got taken a step further in the winter of 2020-2021, which features collaborations with maimai, CHUNITHM, and O.N.G.E.K.I., in other words collaborations with three games in such a short period of time.
  • Breather Level:
    • "Kanagawa Cyber Culvert" is a 9 on Future but has relatively simple patterns for a 9, mostly consisting of long Arc Notes coupled with steady patterns of Sky Notes. Expect it to be one of the first level 9 charts you get EX rank and Full Recall on.
    • "Give Me a Nightmare" is another easy Future 9; about the most difficult aspect of it is the zigzagging Arc Notes with Floor Notes, but if you can clear other 9's this chart is really not much of a challenge.
    • The CHUNITHM Collaboration folder has all "boss" songs, with all three Future charts being rated 10 or 10+. When the CHUNITHM collaboration was reran in 2020 and added a new CHUNITHM song to Memory Archive, "Teriqma", it was given a level 9 Future chart.
  • Broken Base:
    • Whether the game is "meant" to be played with thumbs (on a smartphone) or with the phone or preferably a tablet laid down and with more than two fingers is an ongoing point of contention. Tablet players find the game nigh-unplayable with the thumbs method, while thumb players, particularly those with at least 11.00 Potential, fail to see what the problem is and consider tablet play to be "easy mode", and/or find it frustrating that tablet players have a leg on those who cannot afford the few hundred extra dollars to get a good tablet to playnote .
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    • There's been a consistent amount of discourse over the Potential mechanic, over whether it's an accurate measure of skill and whether having it be able to decrease is a good thing that encourages consistency or a bad thing that takes fun away from the game. Arcaea fan communities often end up in arguments about this, to the point where some use Potential to determine someone's worth in a community while others heavily discourage or outright ban discussion of Potential.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: Is there an event map going on? Then expect everyone to use Tempest Tairitsu if they have her unlocked for her unmatched Step stat.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: There's quite a bit of fanart that pairs Hikari and Tairitsu together, which became a lot more uncomfortable to look at come the Black Fate update, as Tairitsu tries to kill Hikari. Of course, not every fan is deterred.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Once Awakened (admittedly this takes a lot of Level Grinding and farming the required cores), Kou becomes the best Partner for Fragment farming. At level 30, she has a Frag stat of 100, meaning she will double Fragment gain (1 Frag = 2%). On top of that, she also grants a 110-120% multiplier to your Play/Clear, First Clear, and Performance rewards depending on your score. All of this is applied before the multiplier applied by her Frag stat, making for an effective multiplier of 220-240%. You'd expect such high bonuses to be on a partner with the Hard skill, but Kou uses a Normal meter, allowing for risk-free farming (whereas Hard meters can end the song early). The only Partners who rival her Fragment gain are Pandora Nemesis, who has a maximum Frag stat of 105 (210% multiplier) but has a special Hard meter, and Ayu, who provides a random Fragment bonus typically spanning from -10 to 100 (with a tiny chance of 616 or 9999 fragments) while having a flat 50 Frag stat (no multiplier), and both are no longer obtainable, whereas Kou can be obtained any time you want.
    • For general World Mode Progression, Grievous Lady Tairitsu is the go-to, with a Step stat of 102 at level 20 (translating to a 2.04x multiplier to your Steps) and the only downside of having a Hard gauge and needing to complete the Vicious Labyrinth Anamoly. Only a few other partners are capable of doing better: Awakened Lethe at level 30 only has a Step of 100 (and a downside of either Mirror Mode OR not seeing your score and combo, so they can't fail out of a song), while Ilith (Step 105, Level 20) and Awakened Regulus (Step 108, Level 30) both have a hard gauge AND were Event Partners, so if you don't already have them (and the Cores for the latter), you're SOL.
    • Tempest Tairitsu, added in 3.0, can do significantly better than Grievous Lady if you can handle her unique Hard Gauge. Depending on how much you've been leveling up characters, her step stat could be as high as 108 (a 2.16x multiplier) when you obtain her without even factoring in Event Partners and the two Soundtrack Partners (If those partners are included, her maximum Level 1 Step stat is a massive 130, for a 2.6x multiplier). This is because her Step stat is affected by the sum of the levels of all of the partners you have up to a sum of 600 levels (+60). Getting her to level 20 with the maximum Step Bonus puts her STEP at 160 (effective multiplier of 3.2x), by far the highest STEP in the game.
    • Lost Chapter Beyond seems built to subvert this, as maps have partner affinity multipliers that still apply even if the partner is sealed, encouraging the use of partners that have higher affinity multipliers. For instance, the first set of maps have a 1.5x affinity for base Tairitsu (OVER stat of 90 at level 30, for a final multiplier of 2.7x) and a 2.5x affinity for base Hikari (OVER stat of 71 at level 30, for a final multiplier of 3.55x).
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Officially, Arcaea is a Western product, with lowiro's headquarters being in the UK and a fair number of its staff working in the United States and one from Singapore. Even within dedicated rhythm game circles in the West, the game doesn't get a lot of attention, which might have to do with the Western rhythm game community being more focused around BEMANI, panel-based dance games, and other rhythm games on console, PC, and even arcade platforms than mobile rhythm games. In Japan, the game graced both platforms' top game charts upon release; it helps that the game has more in common with Japanese rhythm games than American or European games of the same genre. Furthermore, the Japanese-language official Twitter account not only has about four times more followers than the English-language one, it's also a verified account, while the EN account still has yet to get the verified checkmark despite being around as long as the JP one. The success of Arcaea in Japan led to collaborations with Japanese arcade games, three of which are some of the highest-grossing rhythm games in Japan, made by one of the oldest and most well-known companies in Japanese video game history. The game is also pretty successful in Southeast Asia, to the point where in English-speaking Arcaea communities, you'll mostly meet players from SEA and the occasional player from the Americas or Europe.
  • Goddamned Boss:
    • In the CHUNITHM collaboration area in Chapter 4, there is a flight of Restriction steps just before the end (where you unlock Tairitsu & Chuni Penguin)which only let you play "World Vanquisher". It's a 9+ on Future, so if you find that too hard for you, the next best option is to play the Present chart...which is a 5. For many players, this means either "get bodied" or "fall asleep to a chart that's too easy to be fun for me". Unless you are willing to use a Boost, which quadruples your progress at the cost of Memories, have fun playing "World Vanquisher" 4-6 times in a row. Not helping this is that World Vanquisher is one of the longest songs in the game, at 2'41".
    • Some songs aren't necessarily hard to clear, but have quirks that make scoring on them much harder than usual:
      • "memoryfactory.lzh" is a slow track at 100 BPM and is one of a handful of tracks to limit the maximum scroll speed, making it very difficult to time hits. Many joke that it's even harder than "Grievous Lady".
      • "carmine:scythe" isn't necessarily a difficult clear by Level 9 standards, but it has a lot of double-tap patterns that make getting good scores challenging.
      • "DX Choseinou Full Metal Shojo" from the Groove Coaster collab is infamous for its "trains" of 1/16th Sky notes at the same position, requiring careful and difficult tapping to hit them with Pures.
      • "Got hive of Ra" isn't terribly challenging, being only a 9+ on Future, but with an inconsistent and nonstandard time signature and weird rhythms, it is one of the more difficult songs to score well on. It also has one of the lowest notecounts for a chart of its level, which may mean it's less physically taxing, but that also means that you have less room for error.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • "Conflict" is one of the game's Arc Words: Tairitsu's name means such in Japanese and the two initial lane skins are Light and Conflict. Eight months after the game's release, "conflict" by Siromaru and Cranky, one of the most crossed-over songs in all of rhythm games, makes its Arcaea debut as a song with the Conflict skin. This became a twofer with the Tone Sphere collaboration, where songs from TS's Solarsphere chapter get Light lanes and songs from its Darksphere chapter get Conflict lanes, and "conflict" is a Solarsphere song, meaning that if it had been included as part of the collab, it would've been a Light song instead. As icing on the cake, the Tone Sphere song "A Light" gets Conflict lanes (due to being a Darksphere song) rather than Light ones.
    • "Ether Strike" has the sampled line "My guiding star." Two and a half years later, the song would cross over to maimai, which features Slide Notes with a guiding star that you have to follow with your hand.
  • It's the Same, So It Sucks: A common criticism about "Nhelv" is that its Future chart copies some patterns from "Axium Crisis".
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • POTENTIAL -0.01Explanation 
    • Nono scamExplanation (spoilers) 
    • Ayu eats FragmentsExplanation 
    • If you can.Explanation 
    • It's behind you.Explanation 
  • Misblamed: The Chinese localization of the story was reported by Chinese-speaking fans to have a lot of problems, a lot of which was directed at YamiNa, who was the translation lead at the time of the localizations. What wasn't really publicized by the developers at the time was that the story translations had been outsourced to Active Gaming Media, and furthermore YamiNa had to meet extremely tight deadlines to patch up the numerous translation problems they encoutered. Eventually, AGM was credited in-game so that players know who was actually responsible for the Chinese translations.
  • Mondegreen: Cyaegha by USAO has female vocals saying indecipherable syllables throughout the song. Some have interpreted these vocals and turned them into meaningful lyrics, while others have jokingly interpreted them as a series of alphabets.
    "Serious" interpretation:
    In my dream scene, I can see you, I can see that in the Cyaegha.
    In my dream scene, I can see you, where we are in reality.
    In my dream scene, I can see you. Everything were in the Cyaegha.
    In my dream scene I can see you. Where is my reality?
    Joke interpretation:
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Restriction tiles in World mode. They limit you to playing a specific song pack or a specific single song. This is not too bad, as the game's just trying to encourage you to play different songs instead of the same old ones. But it becomes a problem when it's multiple Restriction tiles in a row and they all have the same song. You can use a Boost to quadruple your Step gain but it costs Memories, and you can use the Play+ function to use more Stamina to gain a Step multiplier but you can only do it in Chapter 1.
    • Another problematic tile type in World Mode is Fixed Speed, in which the game locks your speed multiplier to a fixed setting. While this can be an interesting challenge, plays in Fixed Speed can still affect your Potential, meaning you can lose Potential because you played under Fake Difficulty conditions that naturally reduce your score. While you can avoid losing Potential by simply getting EX ranks, you'll probably end up playing easier songs just to do so, which in turn gives you less distance and you can potentially have to play the Fixed Speed challenge again.
    • Potential. Potential is meant to be a measure of player skill, but the main thing that causes a lot of salt is that Potential can decrease if your recent plays are pretty bad, causing many players to get frustrated over the game because they're not playing as well as they normally do. For these players, Potential takes fun away from the game and turns it into a job they get reprimanded for if they aren't up to snuff.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: In the Beyond chapter, your Recollection Rate will decrease on Fars if you aren't using a Partner that already causes this (like Regulus). Notably, Pandora Nemesis loses gauge equal to half a Lost if you get a Far, meaning that Pandora in Beyond chapter has the most sadistic version of the Recollection Rate gauge aside from Zero Hikari, as you need to not only not miss notes but also not get Fars either (in fact, you can get a Track Lost even if you were en route to an EX+ rank, depending on the chart's notecount). There is no practical benefit to this as her Overdrive stat tops out at a relatively average 79 and there are no maps where she gets an Affinity multiplier, but the option to play as Pandora in Beyond exists if you're feeling really masochistic.
  • Signature Song:
    • "Grievous Lady", as the game's first Anomaly song and the first one to have a chart rated level 10 on the pre-3.0 scale (now 11).
    • "Singularity", due to the extremely memetic "If you can" sample, where the Luna challenge plays if the condition for the challenge is met.
  • That One Attack:
    • The dreaded four-note hold, which consists of the first and fourth floor columns and two Arc Notes right above them. If you are playing with thumbs (and you likely will be if you're playing on a phone rather than a tablet), this forces you to suddenly use extra fingers.note 
      • Dantalion subverts its own That One Attack, by putting the four-note hold at the end of the track and having it approach really slowly, giving the player plenty of time to prepare.
      • Tempestissimo's Future chart, on the other hand, does the exact opposite of the latter point; having it approach so quickly that it's infeasible to hit on a sightread.
    • "Ether Strike" on Future has a segment of about 20 seconds with lots of triple- and quadruple-press notes, which can cause problems for players on phones especially if they are trying to unlock "Fracture Ray". It can be comboed with thumbs only, but it requires lots of quick movements and exploiting the game giving you a brief period to recover a dropped hold or Arc before it gives you Losts.
    • "Red and Blue and Green", already a hell of a Joke Level that makes use of three Arc colors and chords of more than 2 fingers at once, has one final trick at the end consisting of two Arcs in a long double-helix pattern that spins 900 degrees and is best done by rotating your device.
  • That One Level: Some charts are a wee bit too difficult for the level they're rated.
    • Level 8:
      • "Anokumene" on Future difficulty was originally rated an 8, and many players disagreed with it due to having some surprisingly fast patterns for a level 8 chart. The 1.5 update thankfully changed the difficulty to a 9.
      • Following "memoryfactory.lzh" from the same composer, "dropdead" chimes in at 50BPM. Past reduces your scroll speed to 10% of your setting, but it only has 44 notes (that's an average density of about one note every two seconds) so it's no big deal. Present has no effect on your speed setting, but it's a level 9 chart with a lot of extended cross-hand patterns. Future is level 8, so players may walk in expecting an easier chart than Present...only to find that their speed is cut to 25% except during parts where the scroll skyrockets beyond 100%, so the chart is either a slow, unreadable mess or a nightmare of reaction times and nothing in between.
    • Level 9/9+ (formerly 9):
      • "SOUNDWiTCH" has hard patterns and also very difficult to time, making it hard to score well. Rerated to a 9+ in 3.0
      • "Red and Blue" on Future. The "LEFT=BLUE RED=RIGHT"note  phrase in the chart credit is there for a very good reason: there are many segments where Arcs will start on the oppposite side as expected. You may, for example, reflexively hit a blue Arc that's on the right side with your right hand but now you can't hit that pink Arc that's even further on the right.
      • "Modelista" on Future routinely throws vertical chords and other fast patterns that combine floor and Sky notes, as well as several sections with jackhammers that can easily drain your Recollection Rate, and a speed-up section that can catch unwary players off-guard. Many regard it as one of the hardest level 9 songs in the game, rivaling even level 9+ charts. The developers seem to agree, as it is one of four charts to have a "chart constant" (a hidden chart-specific value that determines Step gain and how playing the chart will affect your Potential) of 10.0, the highest for any level 9 chart, and the 10.0-10.9 range is typically reserved for level 9+ charts. With the change to the difficulty scale in version 3.0, Modelista was finally rerated to a 10 (in line with the lower 9+ charts prior to that version).
      • "Yosakura Fubuki" on Future has a lot of fast spiral and diagonal arch patterns that require you to be alert at all times. At the end is a bunch of diagonal Arcs to the left that require you to alternate hands, easily sending a slow player below 70% Recollection Rate at the last second.
      • "Filament" features very disorienting and quick Arcs with Sky Notes as well as alternating arc-long-arc-long patterns where you can miss for no apparent reason. It was buffed to a 9+ in 3.0, but some players feel that's not enough.
      • "SUPERNOVA" on Future isn't particularly technical, it just has a ton of Floor and Sky Notes, which can easily exhaust you.
      • "Nhelv" features fast Arcs that can be painful (i.e. friction burns) to try to hit without using Cheese Strategies and awkward rhythms, as well as patterns lifted straight from "Axium Crisis", a level 10+ song. It is generally regarded as the hardest song in the game that doesn't require you to spend money.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Eto and Luna, despite having an entire DLC pack dedicated to them, several songs in Memory Archive featuring them on the artwork, a Video Game Setpiece where Luna challenges you to clear a section of a very difficult chart without missing too many notes and which spawned the "If you can" meme, the pair have yet to get a Side Story entry, much to the disappointment of many players.
  • Unexpected Character:
    • Sure, the game has collaborations with other smartphone music games but the Groove Coaster collaboration, including its characters Seine and Yume, caught many by surprise, given that GC is primarily an arcade gamenote . Then came the CHUNITHM collaboration and its cast, given that SEGA is one of the largest video game companies in the world (even after leaving the console industry) and CHUNITHM is one of the most popular rhythm games in Japan.
    • Given that Anomaly songs tend to be ethereal in nature, most fans weren't expecting t+pazolite and his Signature Style of speedcore for the Black Fate Anomaly, especially when their previous tracks in the game have been part of collaborations rather than original tracks.
  • That One Sidequest: Unlocking map 2-3 requires the player to complete a challenge on the song "Singularity", where Luna appears, mouths "If you can", and you pass if you complete the next 20 seconds with less than a target number of misses dependent on Eto's level (the higher-leveled she is, the more misses are allowed). The requirements to reach this challenge depend on the player's Potential: If it's less than 5.00, you can unlock it on any difficulty, and if it's at least 5.00 and less than 10.00 you can unlock it on Present or Future. Pity the fool who attempts to reach this challenge with 10.00 Potential or greater, as that locks the challenge exclusively to Future difficulty, which is rated a 10+, making it one of the hardest songs in the game outside of the four level 11 songs and which a 10.00 Potential player (who isn't "sandbagging"note  or "smurfing"note ) has virtually no chance of clearing.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: Tempest Tairitsu is by and far the best Partner for World Mode grinding; while her base Step stat tops at 100 at level 20, she also has a Step bonus equal to the sum of all Partners' levels divided by 10, capping out at 60, thus her Step stat can go as high as 160, or 50 more than the next highest-Step partner, Summer Ilith. The catch is that Temptest Tairitsu also has a special Hard gauge that is extremely punishing on multiple misses in a short period of time (even missing just five notes is enough to trigger a Track Lost if it happens in all but the densest of patterns). This creates headaches for those trying to grind event maps, as players have to pick easier charts if they want to min-max their grinding, instead of improving themselves on more difficult charts. Her very existence devalues older Step-focused partners; when the CHUNITHM event was reran two months after her debut, Regulus, who previously had the highest Step stat, ended up feeling like a Cosmetic Award at best. Compounding this is that the event rerun had a shorter time frame than the original run of the event, as if the developers expected players to come into the event with a maxed-out Tempest Tai.
  • Underused Game Mechanic: An increasing number of rhythm games have "minus scoring", where the score starts out at maximum and decreases whenever you get non-perfect hits; the idea behind this is that it lets you see how much more you can afford to mess up before you no longer qualify for the score or grade you want. Arcaea has such a feature...but you can only have it if you unlock DORO*C, who is a limited-time unlock Partner, and furthermore DORO*C has very poor stats making this "minus score" display Cool, but Inefficient if you want to play World Mode or farm Fragments.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: When Ayu was revealed, a number of people thought Ayu was a male crossdresser, possibly due to the short hair.

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