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01/13/2016 15:45:36 •••

A Worthy Swan Song? *UNMARKED SPOILERS*

Is Stella Glow a worthy swan song for Imageepoch?

I want to say yes, but they wouldn't bring in any new people with the game itself.

Imageepoch recycled some elements, particularly from the Arc series; Luminous Arcs 1 & 2, as well as Arc Rise Fantasia.

Familiar elements in the story:

  • Leader figure is strongly associated with a “Church” theme (Heath, Luminous Arc)
  • Older figure sacrifices self for protagonists (Clyde, Arc Rise Fantasia, implied)
  • God is actually kind of a dick (Luminous Arc)
  • Crystallization to “save” mankind (Real’s group, Arc Rise Fantasia)
  • Best friend betrays you (Alf, Arc Rise Fantasia)

Gameplay wise, there are some issues.

  • Framerate drops a bit during certain Conduct Songs and if you switch on 3D
  • Voiced lines cut out abruptly on certain skills
  • Without scenes, combat is bland and uninteresting as there are no actual map animations
  • Grinding gets a bit boring and is a little necessary at the very end
  • Beyond a second playthrough there's little incentive to keep playing. There is no Gallery or Scene Viewer function. There are also no secrets; you cannot save Anastasia or redeem Xeno.

Characterwise there's also some recycled concepts and designs.

  • Alto is an expy of Roland
  • Nonoka is a callback to Saki and Ayano design wise
  • Hilda = Fatima but without the appropriate bod
  • Klaus strongly resembles Heath to further their connection
  • Dante is a more aggressive Rasche
  • Rusty strongly resembles Serge

And so on.

It's not anything particularly new or exciting, but what's best is the hidden depths of the characters, seen through raising affinities. That is probably the single best part of the game.

On the plus side, however:

  • Rather nice art.
  • VERY pretty music. Songs in particular are lovely and meaningful if you translate them.
  • Classical combat with scenes and rather nice animations.
  • Despite the recycled concepts, it still has an engaging story.
  • Likeable characters.
  • Excellent voice acting.

All in all, I'd say don't just write this game off. Give it a shot. For Arc veterans like myself, it is indeed a worthy swan song and a worthwhile purchase. Wait for the price to drop a bit if the $50 price tag is too much, but this might be a hidden gem on the 3DS.


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