Ar tonelico Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel ReviewPosted 4:25 pm on Wednesday, March 30th, 2011 by Chris Del Castillo
Available now from NISA
Price: $59.99 for the Premium Box Set
System: PlayStation 3
When music meets an RPG you can get some pretty weird stuff, I don’t speak of the music in sense of the soundtrack but instead music becomes one of the mains focuses in Ar Tonelico Qoga. What you get are singing Reyvateil’s who power up the strengths of their songs by “stripping down” yes you read this right (read on for more).
For those of you who have followed the Ar tonelico series, Qoga changes is more of an action title with less RPG elements. You have full 360-free roaming battles, large maps and 3D-animation with the occasional anime scene.
Your battles are in real time and you can switch back and forth between different characters to suit your style. You can free run around the field to attack, but your main job is to protect your Reyvateil as she powers up her song. If an enemy steps in her zone, she will lose HP and her singing bar will stop. If your Reyvateil falls in battle, you can revive her, but her song will be back at 0. You get a game over when all characters outside the Reyvateil falls.
The games has a bigger cast of characters than one would expect. While you will always have the same 3 main fighters, your Reyvateils will have a form of multiple personality disorder within themselves. This can create a physical manifestations of different women, all with different personalities. So in the end, it’s a pick and choose your favorite girl. I won’t spoil how many you can choose from, since that is something you should check for yourself. I know I have my favorite girl.
Fighting with your Reyvateil gives you not only experience, but also DP. This is used for Diving in your Reyvateil’s cosmosphere. You can also use Alchemy to create items, weapons and armor for your battles ahead. Alchemy is always fun to do in the games, so with the right amount of DP and the correct parts, you can watch Aoto create things while your team humorously banter back and forth, before finally naming the item. Creation will be very important as it also creates your strongest weapons and skills.
Now for the fun part. Your team consists of 4 characters, 3 main fighters and one Reyvateil. Ar Qoga’s battle sequences turn into an action RPG, where you can control one of your main 3 fighters while your Reyvateil powers up her song. As the battle goes on, you must land combos in order for her heart meter to rise. Once she gets enough, she is able to purge. When a Reyvatei purges, she loses clothing piece by piece, until nothing is left but her bra and panties. You do this by holding one of the shoulder buttons, which is linked to one of the skills you equipped them to, and shaking the PS3 controller to activate the purge. What could be more fun than that? The game will give you random transformation sequences as they lose their outfits ala Sailor Moon, but don’t worry ladies, the males can activate their ultimate, which will also make them lose all their clothes down to their boxers.
One thing I liked about the previous Ar titles are the dives. It allowed you to power up your Reyvateil by acquiring new abilities, and unlocking the “stripping” potential they need for powerful attacks and unlocking your ultimate skills. Sometimes the stories are completely random and humorous, and sometimes it gets you to know the girls deeper. It also gives you more hours of gameplay without having to fight, and doing so will even lead to happiness with the girl of your choosing.
As always, NISA gives you an English and Japanese voice track, with the ability to switch during. I am always more partial to Japanese voices in games, but always give the English version a chance. I was surprised by the big names I could recognize right of the bat, which led to an enjoyable game. I ended up playing the first half in English and the last half in Japanese.
There are multiple endings for this title, depending on the choices you make. There will be points where you may want to create a secondary save. Here’s an example, in phase 3, I made what I thought was the correct choice and ended up saving over it rather than creating a second save. I thought I got the final ending, but raged about the ending for bit. The game allows for a new game plus, or a continue plus if you will. It lets you continue at certain transitions in the game with your carried over skills and items, which helps you to go back and change choices you may have made.
I think the only things missing from the game was a map. I was lost a few times in certain parts of the game. Also at the end, you get vague messages of where you need to go next, which led me to about 3 dozen fights I didn’t want to do, until I finally found where I needed to go.
Ar tonelico Qoga gives you a new look and feel to the series, stepping away from the pure RPG element. This game leaves off where Ar Tonelico 2 left off, but it doesn’t require you to play it. It just fills in more information about Coconoa and her end story. But if you played the previous titles, you will get some questions answered.
Pick it up while you can, the limited edition comes with a larger outer box with the OST and a beautiful art book words can describe.
Growing up Chris watched a lot of the original Saturday morning cartoons and developed a love for arts and animation. Growing up he tried his hand at animation and eventually script writing, but even more his love of video games, anime and technology grew.