Stella Glow is possibly the last Atlus game to be released internationally after recent news of Sega taking over Atlus. Atlus’s ties with NIS naturally were terminated and the rest of the world are in confusion over localisation of hit game series such as Persona 5. Stella Glow true to Atlus style demonstrates the perfect mix of JRPG and dating sims.

As much as I am alien to the concept of dating sims till i playing Thousand Arms from Atlus coincidentally it has been popping up in the west here and there (most notably in Fire Emblem.) This game delivered on all aspects. I have been hooked on the story and gameplay. It is split into two aspects – complete missions and free time. So you don’t just fight non stop, you can take time to: explore the town, talk to comrades, work, tune the ladies and wonder around the world maps fighting monsters to level up in between quests.

sg char artYou follow Lisette who is searching for her adopted brother Alto, at first I believed Lisette was the protagonist but in fact she is one of the sub characters, she supports Alto who is a mystery to us. He is not only is ignorant to Lisette’s feelings towards him , he also is unaware of his past and his freakishly strong hunting prowess.

 

it’s through his passion for hunting he comes across Hilde who is a witch, a witch is the only being on the world who can ‘sing’ and singing is something to be feared. They can wield extraordinary power to control the elements, familiars and also destroy. Hilde takes a liking to Alto’s naivete and warns him to leave the town. Being a bloke who doesn’t listen, he stays and well him and Lisette witness horrors in the town as she crystallizes everyone indiscriminately. As much as this reminds me of the scene of Zidane and Blank from Final Fantasy 9 I promise this is no copy.

The witches play an interesting role in the game they are all female and also need to be ‘tuned’ by Alto. He is a ‘conducter’ who can channel a witches song and make them stronger by clearing their mental doubts. This involves being transported into the witches subconscious and battling their literal demons in game or in your free time. Be it chasing them or fighting them in a team. Currently Lisette can not sing but you recruit more witches to defeat Hilda who can sing, their songs strengthen the teams stats and also weaken the enemies. You can use the songs as many times as you wish , you just use the corresponding number of points as you level up the point gauge in the top left screen.

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You can aquire new moves for each character including the witches by using the talk option in free time. This is where Alto ‘bonds’ with the team mates by indulging in their hobbies ie. eating cake with Lisette, this increases their heart meter and eventually they learn new movies. I would use this strategically as inn battle you are usually only allowed six team mates at a time. So if you can’t talk to the right team members, best to take up time by doing ‘work’ or ‘tuning’ so new people are available to ‘talk’ to later.

‘Work’ is just a way to make extra money in town. This takes no skill, the the 3D alto does some running motions and the job is done and you’ve profited by doing nothing. This is the same as ‘explore’ you click the bottom Alto wonders around and finds a trove of random generated items which you can sell.

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The fighting style is that of an old school role playing game style, you move in blocks and you have advantages to which side you stand toward the enemy, front on they have more chances to parry and behind them you have chances to get a critical or preemptive strike.

The conversations and mini cut scenes can be skipped by pressing start and confirming. There is a lot of story to absorb and luckily the key moments are dubbed and you can enjoy some high quality voice acting aswell as  swearing and top banter being voice by Robbie Daymond (Sailor Moon Crystal, Tales of Zestiria: Dawn of the Shepherd, The Seven Deadly Sins, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Fate/Saty night), Christine Marie Cabanos (Magi: The Kingdom of Magic, Hyperdimension Neptunia: The Animation, Kill la Kill, Puella Magi Madoka Magica), Matthew Mercer(Brothers Conflict, Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, Sailor Moon Crystal, Fate’Stay Night, Magi: The Kingdom of Magic, Attack on Titan, Persona 4, Bleach, One Piece, Naruto) and there are more to add to the list but I not enough space.

This game delivered everything the cover art promised; JRPG style, fan service, nice animations, amusement and then some. I don’;t think I have been this engrossed with a game since Disgaea and that’s quite high in my opinion and I hope Atlus/Sega and Nis continue to bring such stimulating games to the EU so traditional strategists such as myself can get lost in escapist paradise such as Stella Glow.

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