User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 43 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 43
  2. Negative: 6 out of 43
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  1. Nov 29, 2015
    7
    So Ar Tonelico is probably a very long game to explain since the premise, story principles and world are very different from other RPGs or JRPGs.

    That of course works in the game's favor especially if you want something fresh and new in terms of lore and world. I won't expose the whole story to you but let's just say it manages to be rather complex and yet believable, it's not very deep
    So Ar Tonelico is probably a very long game to explain since the premise, story principles and world are very different from other RPGs or JRPGs.

    That of course works in the game's favor especially if you want something fresh and new in terms of lore and world. I won't expose the whole story to you but let's just say it manages to be rather complex and yet believable, it's not very deep but it does the job alright and generally the story goes on without any "stop what the hell just happened" moments.

    On the good side of AT, there is:
    -A very interesting and fun crafting system which is very satisfying to use except on the rare occasion where you have to go hunt for a specific item and you don't know where
    -an original gameplay idea with the Reyvateils and Song Magic
    -an original world design with the Tower of Ar Tonelico acting as a giant server of magic and reyvateils around the world acting as terminals to give input commands to the server
    -pretty decent world building
    -a decent cast of characters, diverse and correctly exposed
    -a fairly casual level design where nothing is very long or difficult, which works if you don't want anything too demanding

    And that's pretty much it. Yeah, nothing really shines in this game, it's all decent-to-good, but just like the game doesn't ever really shine in what it does, it also doesn't have any really bad drawbacks.

    On the minuses side, there are 3 game design flaws:
    -The combat is ridiculously easy. Just always easy. I died like maybe once throughout the whole game while playing like a dunce and not even understanding the mechanics all that well. At the final boss(which I beat first try), I was seriously convinced that it was a fake final boss and that the real one would come after, because of how pathetically easy the boss was.
    -The game does a fine job exposing its world, its lore, and its History, but when it comes non-informal writing, to emotional moments, the game generally falls flat. In a game where the main relationships you have are with Reyvateils, supergirls who are gifted with extreme powers but are like glass cannons and need constant protection and care, the writing is paramount in building up a credible and good relationship with them and making the love stories the game forces on you believable. And like the rest of the game, it never goes very low, but never very high either. The writing never quite reaches a point where the relationship gets powerful and emotional, despite all the whining and crying and pledges of attraction or attachment that are made, almost all of them from the girls to Lyner. To be clear, I found most of the talks to always try and toy with your feelings of commitment to each of the girls. They get jealous, they want attention, they want to have a special relationship with you, each. And the writing often goes through the same motions and never really has any massively impactful moments. The Cosmosphere idea is very very neat, you go deeper into their minds and slowly they bare their thoughts to you, and it works sorta like Persona's social links. But for all the potential to the Cosmosphere dives, you never really get a writing good enough to make you feel like you're going through a girl's inner mind, at best it feels like you're going through a decently written story of how a girl must feel like inside.
    -And the third design flaw is that to complete the game properly(I mean getting all the content), the girls must all be talked to in depth, and the game has no "friends" option. If you talk to them, you romance them. And that's a thing that got very frustrating around the end because out of the 3 girls, I was forced to reject 2 long after having romanced them a lot. It's very very frustrating to work this long to get very intimate only to go "nope, I prefer the other girl instead". I think the game should either have a harem option and let you get all the girls, maybe have some sort of ├╝ber-hard quest to reach that goal, or just not force you to romance everyone through its narrative.

    I just finished Ar Tonelico and I feel frustrated that I was forced into a relationship with Aurica, rejected Misha unknowingly at the start of Phase 2, and although I liked Shurelia, her crying all her tears out right as I was about to leave for my happily ever after life with Aurica was very poorly timed and although I realistically prefered Shurelia, I had built such a long romance with Aurica that I decided to go with her instead. And when I rejected the crying Shurelia, her reaction was "ok then, thanks for everything"! The game doesn't want to have any emotional impact from rejecting the girls, but that's just poor design, instead you should've had a choice to romance the girls or not, or to have all the girls you romanced to yourself or not.

    But it's a fact that I feel so frustrated because I got emotionally attached to the game, if only slightly. So Ar Tonelico did manage that, and while not a great game, it got my affection.
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  2. Jan 4, 2015
    9
    Another PS2 gem. Fantastic story, interesting gameplay and characters. Music is fantastic. An entirely new language was created for it and that just shows how much effort and love the developers put in the game.
  3. Apr 30, 2012
    8
    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.
  4. Feb 16, 2012
    7
    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" themOne 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 and...it 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! Expand
  5. Jul 13, 2011
    7
    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 theAr 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. Expand
  6. jessicom.
    May 7, 2007
    7
    Very boring at first but it gets addictive/enjoyable to play spcially when you get a new song/technique for your reyvateil.
  7. MushaS.
    Feb 11, 2007
    10
    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.

Awards & Rankings

#28 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2007
#24 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2007
Metascore
71

Mixed or average reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. 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]
  2. Play Magazine
    85
    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. 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.