We’ve known it was coming for a while, and it even received NIS America’s first ever Mature rating by the ESRB, but Ar Tonelico Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel will finally be released this Spring (still aiming for March, according to the publisher). With that being said, to build up some hype for their title among genre fans, they posted a decent story break down on Sony’s PlayStation Blog. It is kind of hard to yank the story out of the Japanese version and understand the nuances, so it is nice to finally have some more fairly detailed information on how things go down, at least at the start.
The game takes place on the world of Sol Cluster, which houses a huge tower that is controled by the Clustanians (don’t know, so don’t ask). The Clustanians are all Reyvateils (the pretty and powerful singing girls from previous Ar Tonelico titles), but they’re bad, and oppressing everyone else who lives in the tower.
They capture a girl named Saki for their own evil purposes and during this whole course of events, Saki is introduced to Aoto, our game’s main character. He ends up saving her and, from then on, as tends to happen in these games, he’s embroiled in this conflict and quest for power. Aoto is quite the stud, and I want to be like him when I grow up. Minus the bleached hair, please. Now, let’s talk a little about the battle system after the break.
Ryan, from NISA, broke down the battle system for us today, as well. It differs from the previous two games in that this is a more action-based system. I’ve heard it compared to the Tales games, which isn’t a bad thing by any means. Frankly, I can’t really say it better than he did in the aforementioned post, so I’ll just quote it here.
“First and foremost the battle mechanic is more action-oriented versus conventional turn-based game play. What it does is actually help tie in the most important part of the battle system which is to attack corresponding to the rhythm or beat. This dynamic, much like previous Ar tonelico games, is paramount to building your meter up to unleash a super-strong attack for your Reyvateils. With a more action-based approach, it allows you more control in regards to timing your attacks to the beat, thus helping you build your Harmograph.
Lastly, a more scandalous addition to the battle mechanic is the fact that the Reyvateils now will get stronger by shedding their clothing. So in essence, by losing layers of clothing, they will become more powerful and able to do incredible amounts of damage! I suppose this is why the game may have gotten a stronger ESRB rating, so needless to say, please use discretion if you are squeamish to the shedding of clothes. Otherwise, it’s pretty great. :-)”
That all sounds pretty darn nifty, if you ask me. This game can’t come out soon enough. I’m a fan of the previous two, and am certainly looking forward to this one. Also of special note is that the blog post mentioned that the game nearly fills up a BluRay disc, which is something you don’t see everyday from a JRPG.