Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ar Tonelico 2: Melody of Metafalica (PS2)


I've had a tough time deciding how I want to review this. Most games I know how I feel, but Ar Tonelico 2 eludes me in terms of how much I love or hate it. So let's try to analyze this.

Story: I think this is the weakness of the game. The story is a confusing mess of "what's going on." You take the role of Croix, a soldier for Grand Bell whose jobs is to hunt infected Reyveitals (these are females who can use song magic). Shortly into this, you are asked to serve as bodyguard to the Holy Maiden, Cloche, who is a bit of a stuck-up...well anyway. Then you go and meet your girlfriend Luca, who you haven't seen in years, and seem to not care that she's your girlfriend at all. The characters are rather flat (actually I hate both Luca and Cloche, but the peppy nonlove interest girl is somewhat entertaining), and the story is a jumbled mess. 2/5

The game revolves around singing women, so I would hope the music does it credit, and i think it does. A lot of tracks have vocals in the background which enhance the atmosphere. The voice acting is average, but you don't have to wade through a lot of it. 4/5

Graphically, the game isn't topnotch. It's light and pretty, but if you want realism or fancy graphics, this isn't for you. 3/5

The battle system in this is somewhat unique. You can have up to 2 reyveitals in your party and two warriors who serve as guards. The reyveitals spend the entire battle singing, while your guards will melee. You can change their style of attack by holding down up, down, or left on the directional pad. These styles will also affect the performance of the Reyveitals. On defensive turns you have to time hitting the X or Square button to protect your reyveital. The reyveital will always be the primary target of enemy attack if there is one in the party. Things to do outside of battle include: synthing in shops, bathing your reyveitals, diving into your reyveitals, or looking for fan club members. The bathing is necessary to level up the reyveitals, and requires you finding crystals in shops or around the world. The diving allows you to see into the inner psyche of the girls, but is mostly to unlock new costumes and spells for them. The fan club has a purpose in boosting one of Cloche's unique abilities. While the battle system is so-so, these other gameplay activies are particularly entertaining and make the game fun. 4/5

There is at points in the game where you have to choose between Cloche and Luca. This will determine a number of things that will happen, including who gets the most spells and where you go for certain parts of the game. Personally, I want to see what the other side of the coin looks like. 4/5

So, my review seems mediocre at best, but I'd like to say, I'm still playing the game and finding it entertaining. It's not as well done as some other NIS games, but it's entertaining. Still, I'd probably recommend renting it, unless you know you like NIS/Gust games. 3/5


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