Review: Ar tonelico III

Ar tonelico III: Sekai Shuuen no Hikigane wa Shoujo no Uta ga Hiku
Platform: PS3
Genre: RPG
Playtime: 35:35 on True End path, add on ~3 hours for Bad/Normal ends
Blew through this in just over a week…

Gameplay: 7/10 Even though it’s the same rating, I feel as if it’s a step down from AT2’s system. Jumping has returned, but field magic is still gone. Well, lots of things are gone. Each RT only has one spell per personality, and those personalities also replace the costumes that up stats. Hymma are added to the songs to give buffs to the vanguard, but aren’t as special as the IPDs from 2. Item creation is like AT1’s system, but costs DP to do, which gets annoying early on when you’re short on DP (endgame it’s fine because you have too much AGAIN).
Battle is a step down — it’s mostly mashing square until you can purge your RT to level up her magic. Vanguards do pathetic damage — I was just breaking 300 a hit on weaker enemies at endgame, so get used to seeing the magic casting spells over and over and over again.
Dunno where else to put this, but the world felt really small compared to the other games.

Story: null No rating due to me not being fluent in Japanese. It’s not the same if I rated it based on other people’s opinions/writings of what happens anyway.

Characters: 9/10 Even though the party was dropped from 8 people to 6, this gives every character a chance to have plot based around them. The most useless character seemed to be Hikari Gojyou, but only really because Aoto is the main character, and Cocona is special already. We finally get a playable Origin back in Tilia, and I have to say, she has the most personality out of the three Origins. Saki and Finnel hold their own in the end, but by the end game, it’s mostly about helping Tilia with her project (at least, from what I could get)

Graphics: 7.5/10 Well…they LOOK nice, but they could do so much more. The “2D images over a background while people talk with textboxes” from pretty much every other Gust game is back, but falls flat here due to the background images not changing when characters leave, enter, or move in the scene. There could’ve been so much more done with the 3D models, and some parts scream laziness (like when Aoto is thinking to himself at the end of Phase 2, his mouth loops through an animation over and over) Also, lots of clipping with sleeves and heads into shoulders.
Song magic and EX attacks, which are usually nice to watch, get boring fast because each girl only has one, and each level is just a slight variation on the animation. The Flipsphere attacks are also boring to see because EVERY girl has the same forumla — small things drop, girl poses, larger thing drops.

Music: 9/10 As usual, Gust delivers with a stellar OST and vocal songs. Favorites are Z, Cosmoflips, and Harmonics Tilia. As for OST songs, the world map theme, the menu/dive shop theme, and a couple of the town themes were good (not Clusternia town theme argh)

Overall Rating: 8/10
Recommendation: If you know Japanese well or are a big enough fan of the series to play through without understanding, go ahead and import this. Otherwise, wait a year and see if we get an English version.

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