More Reviews
REVIEWS Yorbie - Episode 1: Payback's A Review
You've heard of the phrase “phoned in"? Well, this game is so bad that it must have been “texted in.”

BOXBOY! Review
What does the box say? Nothing. And it's gloriously addictive.
More Previews
PREVIEWS Dirty Bomb Preview
Looking for a more competitive, challenging online FPS multiplayer game? Splash Damage is introducing just that by dropping a Dirty Bomb on the free-to-play game market.
Release Dates
NEW RELEASES Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones
Release date: Out Now

Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin
Release date: 04/07/15


LATEST FEATURES Top 10 Games in Early Development You Should Know About
Last week we talked about Kickstarter projects, but not every new title takes that route. Here's the top 10 projects we found in their infancy. So cute!

GameRevolution LIVE #10 - Nevermind
Jessica Vazquez walks us through the new cerebral horror title, Nevermind, with Nick Tan and Kevin Schaller commentating.
MOST POPULAR FEATURES Top 50 Pokémon of All Time
Can you believe there are now six generations of Pokémon? Six!! That's a crazy amount of different creatures to collect. But which are the cream of the crop? Don't worry, Magikarp isn't actually one of them.

LEADERBOARD
Read More Member Blogs
FEATURED VOXPOP shandog137
Re-Masters - Next-Gen Backwards Compatibility?
By shandog137
Posted on 03/30/15
I am a PS3 owner and someday hope to be a PS4 owner, yet I am not at all dissatisfied with my choice to delay purchase, solely based on the current PS4 library. When I transitioned from a Playstation 1 to a Playstation 2, I was pleasantly surprised that I could for the most part rid myself of my PS1...

Ar tonelico 2: Melody of Metafalica Review

KevinS By:
KevinS
02/11/09
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE RPG 
PLAYERS 1- 1 
PUBLISHER NIS America 
DEVELOPER Gust Incoporated 
RELEASE DATE  
T Contains Language, Mild Fantasy Violence, Partial Nudity, Suggestive Themes

What do these ratings mean?

Push harder! HARDER!


At some point, my brain started to think of Japanese RPGs as a kind of serious narrative, where the interesting or comedic pieces of dialog would only occasionally be placed precariously on the edge of a scary situation or intense battle to (slightly) lighten the mood and endear the character to the player. And then... I played Ar Tonelico II. Boy, for a game that seems completely innocent, I've never heard so much filth!

click to enlargeAr Tonelico II is unabashedly a JRPG, complete with all of the genre's staples: cliché main characters (stoic and bland), big boobs (though weird enough, the little girl that follows you around is actually proportional), tons of not-even-rational technology (let's "dive" into somebody's head!, weeeeeee!), the most saccharine-filled graphical style I may have ever seen... and, well, it all fits into place. It starts off as many JRPGs do: Your avatar, a soldier, is responsible for something he finds reprehensible, and thus his internal struggle outwardly begins.

First, the good news - at first glance, this game is pretty. The few animé cutscenes sprinkled into the mix are vibrant and nicely drawn, some of the best I've seen in a game. Same with the backdrops - the static town environments are absolutely gorgeous, finely painted, and the depth and feel of every setting are palpable. But the main avatar, especially when he's walking around the streets of each town, is almost minimalistic in artistic direction, and while the characters are adorable, it does take something away from the overall visual effect.

Also, each environment has its own set look about it that, the longer it goes on, will just make you grit your teeth. Since the game recycles these environments, they're easy to get sick of. As for the explored areas themselves, they also tend to repeat, which leads to a serious feeling of monotony. Even with the pretty backgrounds, the graphics feel a bit like an upgraded PS1 or Saturn RPG, the traditional, classic look with only a minor face-lift.

For a game that prides itself on taking advantage of the power of music, the soundtrack is fairly disappointing. The tracks are hummable but only while they're playing; the rest of the time they're simply forgettable - standard fare, no more and no less. They work for what they're supposed to do, and that's it (like background music for you to act like a badass in front of the mirror when everyone else has gone to bed).

click to enlargeBut what's always great about these games is the translation. Usually, it's either very good or very bad, right? Here, it's a little of column A and column B. In all of my years playing games, I have never heard anything close to some of the things that come out of these character's mouths. Seriously, one character actually said, "This'll probably be the first and last time I stick something in you", and meant it. For one of the most sugar-filled titles, it's dirtier than Conker's Bad Fur Day, which is really more a lot of blatant WTF. Ar Tonelico II just makes you think dirty thoughts. (Kids, don't play this with parents in the room. You'll just make them cry.)

The dialog surrounding those “outbursts” is usually all right, but when the script is actively trying to push the story along, it basically falls apart. It's easy enough to follow, but it's uninteresting. This title is as linear as they come, which makes it not only predictable, but keeps you moving through the story only to read the next odd thing that comes out of their mouths.

I can't believe that NIS, with the abilities they have and the talent they're capable of demonstrating, chose to make these characters as flat and bland as they did. Really, the big muscle-bound captain is sad, but thinks it's best to keep fighting. The nice girl has some inner turmoil that she hides by being so sweet to everyone, no matter how mean they are. And the main character has the personality of a wet sponge. It's a Christmas miracle!

The battle system has a lot of promise, but in the end is just too easy. You take control of four characters: two fighters up front and two (sometimes just one) songstresses in the back. The object is to defend the singers in the back by absorbing damage with the fighters up front. The mix between real-time and turn-based combat is unfortunately somewhat broken. No battle, even the ones considered “difficult”, makes you feel as if you'll lose. It also doesn't help that someone almost always levels up after every fight.

click to enlargeThat said, it's still an enjoyable experience for a little while. It doesn't take itself seriously, it's pretty early on, and the one-liners of dirty-dirty-dirtyness are pretty amusing ("I was polishing a sword and thinking of you, then the recipe popped up." What am I supposed to think about that?). In the end, there's enough to keep your interest for a few hours. But with the translation problems – typos, grammar problems, THE GAME POTENTIALLY CRASHING ON THE FINAL BOSS – it really is hard to be interested in it for as long as a serious JRPG like Disgaea (or most of the NIS line-up, honestly).

Pretty girls? Check. Effeminate guy? Check. Enthralling experience? Mehhh, not really.
D+ Revolution report card
  • Detailed characters and beautiful backdrops
  • The game can crash at the final boss
  • +/- Some of the most tainted innocent-speak
  • Forgettable music
  • Really, really linear
  • +/- Everybody is doing everybody else

More from the Game Revolution Network




comments powered by Disqus

 


More information about Ar tonelico 2: Melody of Metafalica


More On GameRevolution