NIS America announced last night at its annual press event that Ar Tonelico Qoga, the third and final installment in the series, will be released on PS3 in spring of 2011 in both North America and Europe. We haven't actually seen much of the game for ourselves yet, but already we know a handful of titilating details, including info on the new battle system where Ar Tonelico's lovely heroines get more powerful as they remove items of clothing.
Above: You can see the new song magic gauge in the lower right-hand corner of the screen
Here's what we know so far:
-The battle system is now action-based combat, as opposed to turned-based like previous entries in the series. You still have random enemy encounters, but now during battles you run around and attack in action game style.
-Ar Tonelico has always been all about the music, and now you can power up your Reyvateils' song magic by hitting buttons in sync with the beat of the music during battle. AT2 had a rythym-based defense mode that worked really well, where you hit buttons along with the beat to deflect enemy attacks, so this new song magic system seems promising.
Above: We got to see Fineru's (girl on left) final, most powerful outfit reveal at the event. You'll have to trust us that it was appropriately saucy
-We're told Ar Tonelico Qoga will make full use of the PS3 software to deliver current-gen, 3D cel shaded graphics.
-As for the story, Qoga "takes place in Sol Cluster, a kingdom ruled by an organization called Clustania and their ultimate goal is to enslave humans and rule the world. However, the two key Reyvateils(humanoids) they need to accomplish their goal meet Aotoand fight back against injustice."
-The Cosmosphere leveling system for Reyvateils will return. While your human characters level up through battle experience like a normal RPG, your a Reyvateil only levels up when you "dive" into a virtual representation of her psyche called her Cosmosphere to forge a closer bond with her. The idea is that the closer a Reyvateil is bonded with her human companion, the more powerful her song magic will be. In Ar Tonelico 1 and 2, a lot of the best dialogue and characterization occurred within the Cosmosphere.
Historically, Ar Tonelico is a series that looks pervy and cheesy on the outside, but is actually quite sensitive and sweet as anyone who's actually played it can attest. And don't write it off as a novelty, because Ar Tonelico II still has one of the best RPG battle systems of all time, IMHO. Look for more details on Ar Tonelico Qoga in the coming months, as it should be on every JRPG fan's list of most anticipated games for 2011.
Jul 16, 2010