Mixed or average reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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]
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. "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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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]
  16. 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.
  17. 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]
  18. A solid RPG/dating sim that will please those that love all things Japanese.
  19. This is a very nice RPG, and if you enjoy Japanese RPGs at all you owe it to yourself to pick up this title.
  20. If you've enjoyed the past two "Altelier Iris" games, tonelico is more of the same. [Mar 2007, p.86]
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. This was the first time in a long time that I felt like I went on a real traditional RPG adventure.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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]
  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. 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.
  30. A very average game, enjoyable without standing out, and sadly forgettable.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 31 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. 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 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 »
  2. Apr 30, 2012
    Ar tonelico's main flaw is the fact this game is INSANELY EASY. However the game's storyline, musics (and the Hymmnos language used in most of them), world's lore and main characters' development compensates this flaw nicely. Full Review »
  3. Feb 16, 2012
    One of my favorite series! But since I did the third game, let's recover and do the first! "what's wrong with it"? Maybe the graphics, since they're old, but they aren't bad if you ask me: I always enjoyed 2d graphics and only those who HATE 2d graphics will reject it. Even though most of the characters are good, some just seem to disappear from the scenery and you hardly "notice" them later on: a pity because most of them are enjoyable. The battle system also is....boring. It takes time to do even some of the simplest battles and takes times to build your proper magical attacks and kill them all, making even the smallest battles a pain. This game isn't very long also: I finished it in less than 40 hours, even less if you don't reach the third phase (which can be done easily), so I was kinda disappointed from the length. Also, some people might not like the visual novels elements in the diving sections, in which you'll dive in the mind of your reyvateil in order to create more powerfull magics; only complain from me here is that actually two of them are almost too similar (the third one is different...but in a different way). Even though it's not perfect, I was engaged into the game! There's actually much to do and there are various endings to achieve, and they change based on the girl you choose, and they are 3. The "alchemy" system, always present from gust, it's also present here doesn't bother much, mainly because it's easy to do and never so hard...but it wasn't always usefull...It was ok. But probably, one of the best thing of this game (maybe for me...but it's still a good reason) is the "lore": I actually enjoyed discovering how this word is made, the backstory behind it and how all of the history behind the reyvateils and the lands fits and makes sense into the main story (which is good by the way, but it's slow and can take time to hook you in). And even some complains abou it, I also liked the voice acting. If you love Jrpgs and you find this game, maybe give it a chance, because it's a great start for a series! Full Review »