Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ar Tonelico III Impressions *minor minor spoilers*

I finished Ar Tonelico 3 the other day, and figured I would write my thoughts on the game while the impression is still fresh on me.

I think I should start off by noting that I have not played or beaten Ar Tonelico 1, and I have not played Ar Tonelico 2 any further than about 2/3rds of the way through. I don't plan on finishing AT2 any time soon as it didn't particularly capture me in any way. Anyway, AT3.

I think I should start off by saying, I think this is the best game in the series. Now, I'm not sure if I should be saying that, given I haven't played and decent amount of AT1, but I doubt it's a better title than AT2 or 3. I don't know if I should write as to avoid spoilers or not, but I'll try not to spoil the game in any case.

I've heard people complain about the 3D models in the game, saying the graphics are not that good, especially considering this is a PS3 game. I thought they were ok though. Obviously, if you're going to compare it to something like FFXIII, or MGS4, then you'll be disappointed, but the graphics serve there purpose. Personally, I think the 3D models are better looking than the 2D sprites in AT2. The 2D CG in the game is quite nice too, in all it's HD-ness. Either way, I doubt anyone is playing a game like AT3 for the graphics.

The story starts out with Shirou in his village, when he finds Saber surrounded by several enemies, and an old guy lying on the ground injured. I think it was something like that, I don't really remember. Saber disappears turning into Saki, one of the heroines, and the old man on the ground entrusts her to you before passing away. Shirou, being the man he is, of course has no trouble dropping everything he is doing and getting Saki to where she wants to go. But anyway, the story is ultimately about restoring life to the barren world, with some sub plots along the way. The story wasn't great, there were numerous times in cutscenes where a few soldiers surround your party and you have no choice but to drop what you're doing, even though there is no problem when fighting hordes of enemies in combat. The ending was very lackluster too. It kind of seemed like a, "Oh, that's it? That was the last boss? These are credits rolling now?", and there is a decent amount of backtracking in the game, but nothing too bad.

Shirou battles a monster with Saki. By the way, I just stole these pictures off the web in case you couldn't tell.

The gameplay itself wasn't great, but neither was the gameplay in AT2. It's no worse than that game, though it does take a bit getting used to. In battle you have your 3 vanguards (that's what they're called right?) and the one RT of your choice singing. While the RT is singing, her percentage will increase, slowly at first. If you attack when the bars in the gauge are reddish, then you'll get "Beat Up" (I think that's what it said) affecting the heart in the circle at the bottom right of the screen. Doing this enough times will produce text over the heart saying, "Purge Ready". After doing so, you press and hold either L1, L2, R1, or R2, then shake the controller a bit while holding. The 4 buttons each correspond to a different element. And if you install a γƒ’γƒ₯γƒΌγƒž (what are these called in the English version? Huma? I don't remember.) to the elements, you gain specific abilities. For example, install one that gives the benefit of defence up to your L1, and when you purge using L1, you'll gain that benefit on your party.

Finnel purging. Look at that DFC.
When you purge, the heroine will those a bit of clothing, until at the last purge, where she is only wearing her underwear. If you purge when the bar is red, you will see the short purge movie of her losing a bit of clothing. Otherwise it will just switch right away and the battle continues. After the 3rd purge level, if your song percentage reaches 30k% you can use one of your characters EX moves, dealing a decent amount of damage. You can only use an EX move once per character in battle, however, and you have to have created the moves. At the 3rd purge level, if you purge again, you will use the heroine's flipsphere which is her strongest attack. It's basically a mini-game where you press the circle button on the bars as they appear. The heroine will then attacked using her song magic thus far, and after attacking, return to her normal form.

When you are in the game, you'll notice 3 hearts next to Saki and Finnel. This will determine some of the scenes you get and influence the ending. There are 3 choices that are presented to you up to the end of Phase 3. So basically you'd end up with something like 3:0 or 2:1 hearts. If you have 3 for one heroine, you are locked in to her ending, and will see some CG you otherwise might not get. 2:1 hearts + accepting that heroines confession in her cosmosphere will also lock you in on her ending.

There was no real split in the game though. I remember in AT2 choosing between Cloche and Luca, and Phase 2 would change accordingly. Or something like that. It's essentially the same linear game all the way through, with a few differences in scenes, in AT3. Also, Tilia, the final heroine, doesn't appear in your party until Phase 4, so the hearts don't really apply for her. If you want to get a Tilia ending for example, don't have 3 hearts for Saki/Finnel, and you can't have accepted either of their confession in their cosmosphere. Then just accept Tilia's in hers.


I went for the Cocona ending, as disappointed as it was, because she will always be my number 1, so I didn't delve much into the cosmospheres, and won't talk about them. It's pretty much the same stuff as AT2 though. All in all though, I had fun with the game, the dialogue was good and amusing, I never found myself bored. The cast was pretty good, the heroines were my favourite out of the series, and if you're an AT fan, I would definitely recommend this game. Needs more Cocona though.


  1. Great review Sakura-chan! I love you and all your posts! You're so awesome!

  2. Cool review, bro. Too bad the English version isn't out yet so I can't play it.