Ar tonelico

  • Unique battle system
  • Diving into crazy minds
  • Excellent music
  • A bit too much talk
  • Hackneyed setups
  • Excessive customization

Ever wish your Japanese RPGs had more talking? How about surreal mind-diving where you explore fragile girls' deepest thoughts and slowly unlock their magical potential? That's what Ar tonelico brings to the anime-draped table - a huge focus on character development and chatting. Everything else is pretty standard stuff. Random battles, cool art design, a truly "out there" plot about viruses trying to eat all the humans in the world... you know, all the staple features you'd associate with this kind of game.

But despite its familiar appearance, tonelico manages to stay fresh and bafflingly interesting throughout its lengthy quest. A truly terrific battle system has your magic singers (called Reyva Teils) chanting in the back row while your front line dishes out swordy justice to the various monsters and henchmen that stand in your way. As you fight, you charge a meter from the left, but the longer your Reyva Teil sings, the faster she charges the meter from the right. Once the two charges meet, you open another level of attacks plus supercharge whichever spell she happens to be casting.

But without a doubt, the most intriguing aspect of the game is the whole pseudo-boyfriend fiasco with hero Lyner and the Reyva Teils. To obtain new spells, you have to literally dive into their minds and wade through their emotional baggage. Nothing makes sense at all (how about a cat riding a jewel-encrusted vacuum cleaner?), but when you sift through all the text and finally get to the end of a chapter, you learn tons of info about the girl in question and unlock new powers.

More Info

Release date: Feb 06 2007 - PS2 (US)
Feb 06 2007 - PS2 (UK)
Available Platforms: PS2
Genre: Role Playing
Published by: NIS America
Developed by: Banpresto
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Language, Suggestive Themes

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  • didou221 - June 15, 2009 10:59 a.m.

    Heh, heh. Innuendo.
  • Corsair89 - March 8, 2009 7:53 a.m.

    I like this game. I got it after I played and loved the sequel, Ar Tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica. And I like the huge amount of character development. But, I gotta say, this gameplay is solid (it's WAY better in AT2) but the diving is easily the best part of the game (also much better in AT2).