Mixed or average reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
Buy On
  1. 91
    Because of its hybrid nature as an RPG/visual novel, it's quite different from our previous tastes of Gust (in Atelier Iris 1 and 2). And, when you stop and think about how rare the dating-sim, visual novel, and love adventure genres are in the US (some Hirameki titles and a few other obscure releases), it's great to see a game like this represent that faction of Japanese culture, on the PS2 no less.
  2. Play Magazine
    Ar Tonelico pretty much has it all. The story and especially pacing is fantastic; the music is truly special, the battles are incredibly engaging via the Revyatelis, and the art is simply gorgeous. [Feb 2007, p.36]
  3. This is a very nice RPG, and if you enjoy Japanese RPGs at all you owe it to yourself to pick up this title.
  4. This was the first time in a long time that I felt like I went on a real traditional RPG adventure.
  5. 80
    A unique role playing experience and one that is dripping with sexual innuendo and overtones. However, if you can get over this fact (and I'm sure you can), you're going to find an adventure that is often amazingly fun, but ends up feeling rather dry and contrived at times. The concepts within are fantastic, but the combat, which makes up the majority of the game, is beyond tedious and that hurts the title quite a bit.
  6. Despite its pedantic handling of some topics and questionable dialogue parts, the game never takes itself too seriously. That, and it's actually a pretty awesome RPG at that.
  7. A very average game, enjoyable without standing out, and sadly forgettable.
  8. 80
    If you’re looking for a unique RPG experience that graphical harks back to RPGs of the SNES or early PS1 era, this is your game.
  9. While Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia may not be host to cutting-edge graphics, its script and game play make up for it, delivering solid turn-based entertainment for at least 50 hours of enjoyment. A solid choice for NIS America fans.
  10. A solid RPG/dating sim that will please those that love all things Japanese.
  11. 75
    What the game lacks in the battle and exploration departments, it more than makes up for in the experience of getting to know a girl intimately.
  12. Its tone is a perfect balance—not cutesy and not over-serious. The characters may be stereotypical, but there’s a real sense of self-awareness and satirical humor in them as well.
  13. 75
    Overall, this game offers a solid RPG experience despite its flaws it also has many things going for it, and makes a nice addition to the PS2s massive RPG collection.
  14. 74
    It's not even so much that the game can come off as a surprising date sim-lite turn-based adventure. It's that a couple of less defined game features weaken a title that would've otherwise been impressive.
  15. Ar Tonelico certainly wins points for originality but in the end it does very little to get past its boring combat and limited exploration options that drag this game down considerably.
  16. If you're looking for a light RPG, then Ar Tonelico: Melody of Elemia definitely fits the bill because it's cheerful, well animated and utterly predictable. Combat is a breeze, even if you're farming for items, and the plot is lackluster at best.
  17. PSM Magazine
    If you've enjoyed the past two "Altelier Iris" games, tonelico is more of the same. [Mar 2007, p.86]
  18. "Final Fantasy" followers might be looking for more. Even so, at times tonelico conveys more energy and thoughtfulness than most big-budget RPGs even attempt. It's primarily for the hardcore audience, though any gamer looking for another fantasy outlet should take a look.
  19. 70
    Whether you'll like Ar tonelico or not is dependent on how much of a sucker you are for a cute damsel in distress. These aren't helpless girls, mind you, and your relationship to them will provide the bulk of enjoyment that Ar tonelico has to offer.
  20. AceGamez
    Just as soon as I was ready to sing the praises of the game from my rooftop did the debilitating graphical and gameplay flaws begin to rain down on my happy-go-lucky concert, soaking down my scores.
  21. Those who have fond memories of the PSone cult classic "Thousand Arms" will definitely enjoy Ar Tonelico's strange blend of action, dialog, and courtship. [Feb. 2007, p.101]
  22. Ar Tonelico: Melody of Elemia is not a bad game, but just falls short in the execution of some pretty unique and inventive ideas. It's still an okay game, and offers some good laughs and interesting gameplay mechanics, but it looks, sounds and plays a generation behind its platform.
  23. A pretty solid role-playing experience that will be familiar and well received by fans of GUST's other RPG titles. The Dive system is an interesting idea but it would have been nice if it was a little more interactive.
  24. The battle system is a refreshing twist on something that has been done for the same way for many past RPGs, and diving into your Reyvateil makes for reasonable character development.
  25. 65
    After combining the "meh" story with the 2D sprites, the passably amateurish voice acting, and the melodramatic localization, Ar tonelico feels like a pretty forgettable RPG. But it does do one thing that needs elaboration, one thing that pushes up a bit higher than "meh" on the RPG scale: It has a freakin' dating sim as a major gameplay component.
  26. Ar tonelico is built on a solid role-playing foundation, but the lengthy character exchanges and lack of any challenge take a lot of the fun out of the game.
  27. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    What I like most, though, is the game's brisk pace. Even within the first five hours, I felt like I had lived a virtual lifetime. [Mar 2007, p.92]
  28. 50
    Further hampering the dungeons is sheer repetitiveness. Most contain only a few combinations of enemies to fight and the battles are such that you can use exactly the same strategy, for exactly the same result, every time.
  29. Official Playstation 2 Magazine UK
    An average RPG that could've been so much more if Gust hadn't ignored their solid ideas and focused on the 'sexy' innuendo. [Apr 2008, p.84]
  30. 40
    If you like big-eyed cartoon girls and master/servant fantasies, go right ahead and grab this. They’ll even chirp at you in squeaky Japanese if that happens to be to your taste. Otherwise, though, you can rest secure in the knowledge that you’re barely missing anything here at all.

Awards & Rankings

#24 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2007
#48 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2007
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 46 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 46
  2. Negative: 6 out of 46
  1. MushaS.
    Feb 11, 2007
    Finally a real 2d turn based RPG. If you like real RPGs this is for you. If you like watching movies then get FF or one of those other 3d Finally a real 2d turn based RPG. If you like real RPGs this is for you. If you like watching movies then get FF or one of those other 3d games with real time battles that only work in theory. Full Review »
  2. Jul 13, 2011
    Ar Tonelico is a difficult game to judge, as fan of Japanese things and story I tend to like these kind of things. However my reviewer self isAr Tonelico is a difficult game to judge, as fan of Japanese things and story I tend to like these kind of things. However my reviewer self is not a kind. This game excels in story, music, and character development. Not going to lie despite all the characters being generic I liked them a lot. I loved the concept of diving into people's minds to know more about them as well as the conversations after making a item. The encounter rate at bottom was a nice and once you killed enough things in a area they would all leave you alone. However the battles themselves are easy and boring. While I don't mind turn based combat this game does not do it well though the song magic was nice twist. However while you acquire new ways to kill foes by singing the you get overburdened with songs most of which you never use. It is quite possible to beat the game using the default beginners magic for the entire game. However I liked the concept of Ar Tonelico and while the combat isn't at all great a lot of detail went into the creation of it's world. While it's all done in sprite based artwork and doesn't look all Final Fantasy fantastic I enjoyed the look of it. Not to mention you can switch over the god awful English voices for the Japanese ones. While it's a nice treat for us fans of Japanese things it's easy to see why someone would get bored of it. Full Review »
  3. jessicom.
    May 7, 2007
    Very boring at first but it gets addictive/enjoyable to play spcially when you get a new song/technique for your reyvateil.