Luminous Arc (ルミナスアーク Ruminasu Āku ) is a tactical role-playing game from Marvelous for the Nintendo DS. Luminous Arc was released in Japan on February 8, 2007 and August 14, 2007 in North America by Atlus. The game was released in Europe on October 12, 2007 by Rising Star Games.
The game features voiced scenes, character designs by Kaito Shibano and music by Akari Kaida, Yasunori Mitsuda, and Mitsuda's studio, Procyon. Along with the main gameplay, there is an online multiplayer battle option.
Luminous Arc is a tactical role-playing game and uses a battlefield grid viewed from an isometric perspective. The top screen is used to display unit information while movement and attacks are determined on the lower screen. Left- and right-handed touch-screen controls and D-pad control schemes are available. One of the special traits is the Flash Drive Gauge, which, when filled, allows a character to use a special attack. Between battles, players can view short sequences featuring the game's mascot, Kopin, and intermission sequences that will allow the player to get to know the characters in the party better. The game also includes a multiplayer battle mode.
Each time a player character makes an action, his or her Flash Meter will increase. The player can then use Flash Points to perform powerful attacks, called Flash Drives that may also cause status ailments to enemies. Some enemies in Luminous Arc can also use Flash Drives
It is important to note that, while normal attack skills can damage allies and healing skills can restore enemy HP, the effects of Flash Drives committed to their intended targets; for instance, it is impossible for a recovery Flash Drives to heal opponents. Flash Drives can be learned via leveling up, but several are learned as the story progresses.
Synergy attacks are a combination attack that can be used when all characters involved have their Flash Points filled up and are close to each other. However, not all characters can perform Synergy attacks, as they are unlocked via story arcs that revolve around certain characters bonding.
After each battle, the spoils of battle will be displayed on the screen, including gold, items, and Vitae. In addition, the player will be prompted to talk with one of the characters that took part in the battle. An Intermission scene occurs after the ensuing plot dialogue, in which the player can have a short conversation with the previously selected character. On the touch screen, a list of responses will appear with the chosen character's avatar on the top screen. If the choice was favorable, the main character, Alph, will develop a stronger bond with that character, which takes the form of evasion and hit rate bonuses if the two are placed next to each other in future battles. If the character particularly likes the player's response, he or she may give Alph a useful item. However, the player is given a finite number of opportunities to talk to each character, after which it will be impossible to improve the bond. If the player has made good choices throughout the various conversations with a character, there may be a special scene between Alph and that character featuring anime-style art and an additional voice-over. If you say the right thing, you could get an item from the person. The closer the bonds get with an ally the more of a heart begins to form. when blue it makes the cutscene and after that no more talking to that ally.
There are also short cutscenes after every story battle featuring the game's mascot, Kopin. Though he claims that he will try to keep an eye on the characters and tell the story from his point of view, the player actually learns more about Kopin's personality, philosophy, and possible love interests.
Throughout the adventure, the player will obtain magical items called Vitae. According to the game's lore, Vitae obtain their magical properties from the ancient power of Rune, the same power used by the Witches to fuel their magic. In order to make use of a piece of Vitae, it must first be appraised at the workshop in the Witch Village. Once this has been accomplished, the Vitae can be used to add elemental and status effects to weapons. In addition, it is possible to ask other characters about what they know about Vitae. This will allow the player to learn the best combinations for developing items with different strengths.
Using the Wi-Fi option, players can choose to either battle against an anonymous and random opponent, or against a player whose friend code has been registered. Items are won for each game played against a random opponent, with more being earned if the player is victorious. Players can also play locally via the DS' wireless connection.
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The story begins with a video type cutscene featuring the recently promoted 14-year old Grand Cardinal Johannes along with Cardinal Kingston and some monks. After that the next scene is of Alph, Theo, Cecille and Leon. The team are supposed to be training but Leon's slacking off and keeps trying to hit on Cecille. Heath the ArchKnight and leader of the Garden Children returns and says that the Garden Children are finally commissioned to fight Witches and monsters. Miraculously there happen to be some nearby and citizens crying and running around in terror.
The next big development is the arrival of Lucia, a supposed maid who enjoys sweeping but hates actual cleaning. Later that night Alph is asleep and hears Lucia's voice, they have a conversation then (while asleep) and Lucia says Alph's a Rym and he goes "What the hell?" and wakes up. Earlier Lucia said she was sleeping in the forest so he gets up and goes there. While talking with Lucia, they are attacked by monsters because Alph forgot to cleanse the monster blood from his sword, as it attracts more monsters. Lucia uses magic and Alph finds out she's a witch but promises not to tell anyone because she reasons him with being the one who saved his life.
The anime inspired chararacter designs are by Kaito Shibano, an illustrator for PC games and trading cards. Shibano said that he made the designs bright and with a light feel to brush off the stereotype of witches being gloomy.
The Garden Children are a special group of warriors trained by the Arc Knight Heath to fight monsters and condemn the Witches that have reappeared in the world after being sealed for a thousand years. The Garden Children get their name from the Ever Garden, where a majority of them have been living for most of their lives. The Ever Garden was founded 14 years before the game's story begins, in the same year that the Grand Cardinal Johannes was born. It was the last wish of the former Grand Cardinal that a group of humans be established to fight against the Witches, whose rebirth he foresaw. Each member of the group has special abilities that make him or her useful in combat, ranging from swordfighting and archery skills to the use of Church-approved magic.
According to the scriptures of the Luminous Church, the Witches and the Dragons fought an unending war until God descended from heaven and sealed them away. The Witches have a mysterious and innate power known only as Rune, and they use this power to cast unholy magic and cause chaos in the world. As they are always in competition with one another, the Witches want nothing more than to develop their abilities, and travel around the world looking for Lapistier, magic stones that feed on God's power and can amplify a Witch's power to terrifying levels. As such, it is up to special agents of the Luminous Church to travel around the world and condemn Witches and transport the Lapistier to the Church in order to have them cleansed of their evil energy.
The Witches themselves have a completely different philosophy. Born from a rainbow-colored stone called the Mother Lapistier, Witches are born whenever the planet is in danger, and are then reabsorbed into the crystal when the threat has been extinguished. However, it also appears that the Earth has the ability to call back Witches who do not take their function seriously, as long as the different Runes are kept in balance. Indeed, Witches "represent the natural elements of the planet," and gather together to pool their powers in the war against what has become the God of the Luminous Church. Witches use the Lapistier not to boost their destructive power, but to fill themselves up with the energy of the earth itself when the time comes to fight. This group of Witches seems to have developed differently from those of the past, as they have all developed their own philosophies and battle styles.
- Ever Garden: The base of the Garden Children, the Ever Garden is located on the western coast of the Eastern Continent. It consists of a dorm where the members of the group eat and sleep, and also serves as the training ground for the elite band of Witch-hunters. The Ever Garden is surrounded by woods, but is not far from the nearby village of Carwee.
- Ridget: Known as "the Emerald of the Eastern Continent," the port town of Ridget is the only gateway to the Saint Sea and to the world beyond. Though it was once a bustling village known for its strong trade industry, Ridget was attacked by Witches, and a majority of the property has been destroyed.
- Dotruvar: A mining city in the frontier of the Western Continent, Dotruvar has a strong trade economy due to the existence of Rune in the local rock. Drotruvar's artisans are in constant competition with those of other villages on the Western Continent, but recently have been enjoying success due to the existence of the Fire God, Hernas, who keeps the forges hot and the metal strong.
- Lethe Forest: An enchanted forest in the Northern reaches of the Western Continent, the Lethe Forest is the subject of rumors and legends among the local people. Though the woods are said to be the home of Witches, it has been said that it has always been an odd place, long before their return. It is impossible for normal humans to enter the Lethe Forest, but Alph and company must do so in order to reach the Village of Witches deep within the trees.
- Madrasta: Called "the Town of Scriptures" by people around the world, Madrasta is known for its close ties to the Luminous Church. The people of this city, located on the Western Continent, often have prophetic dreams about the circumstances surrounding God's second descent to the land below, and the reliability of the dreams is high due to the striking similarity among those accounts that have been documented. Madrasta is also the home base of the Zephyroth Knights, one of the Wings of the Luminous Church.
The game was developed by Marvelous Interactive and "rookie development studio" imageepoch. Collaborating with them was composer Yasunori Mitsuda, of Chrono Trigger and Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht fame.