Ar tonelico 2: Melody of Metafalica Hands-On

Dive into a world of magic, song, and Reyvateils.

Ar tonelico 2: Melody of Metafalica, like its predecessor, primarily follows the traditional Japanese role-playing game formula but incorporates a dating simulation and an extensive customizing system to keep you busy for hours. Not only that, but the way the story is presented is even more bizarre than what you'd expect. Its tantalizing opening sequence with colorful anime characters--more specifically, cute girls about to lock lips--will leave you puzzled, or perhaps thirsty for more. We were only able to scratch the surface of this peculiar RPG that is riddled with innuendo, but from what we've seen, there's a lot of content to go through, and dedicated fans will appreciate the new additions.

Defend your Reyvateils long enough for them to sing their song.

The story of Melody of Metaflica follows the rookie knight from the Grand Bell Hall, Croix, who is called upon to contain the spreading epidemic called Infel Phira Dependency (IPD). IPD only affects Reyvateils, a race of girls who can use magic by singing songs. The first one we met was Cloche, a bossy princess of the region of Metafalss. Her songs are powerful on their own, but when you eventually meet more of these magical maidens, you can cast song magic with two Reyvateils.

As in the previous game, you have your fighters lined up in front and the Reyvateils in the back. The battle is in phases, in which you take turns with the enemy. During the attack phase, you have a limited amount of time to fight the enemy by pushing corresponding face buttons until the meter runs out. When the enemy attacks, you enter a defend phase in which you need to protect the Reyvateil in your party. A gauge will appear to indicate when you need to hit square to best protect your party member. It's all about timing, and you'll receive feedback (angry feedback from Cloche) if you're not doing it correctly. At the bottom of the screen there is an emotion indicator that shows how the Reyvateil is feeling. Her emotions will affect how the battle will flow and can increase her song magic gauge. A happy Reyvateil is a more powerful one.

To customize your characters, you'll need to "dive" into a Reyvateil's subconscious, which is also known as the Cosmosphere. This is the only way for Reyvateils to learn new magic, so you'll want to build that trust in battle and then go to a dive shop to dive into a Reyvateil's mind. Not only is this a chance to gain new powers by helping her solve her inner struggles, but you'll also get to know the girl better through conversation and explore a strange virtual world. There are 100 hidden Reyvateils in the game, so that's a lot of minds you could be jumping into. Another way to get to know them better is when you rest at a save point. At that time you can choose to speak with one of the Reyvateils in your party to get some juicy information from her.

Spend time getting to know Cloche more… intimately.

The visuals are decent, especially if you enjoy that classic look. The in-game characters do kind of blend together, and you'll see a lot of knights and Reyvateils that look exactly the same. The environments aren't particularly detailed either, but you'll travel to locations through a menu so you're not wandering through a large overworld. There are some lovely songs sung in Hymmnos, a language created specifically for the series. For purists who like their voice acting in the original language, there is the option to turn on the English or Japanese voices.

Ar tonelico 2: Melody of Metaflica will have more than 100 hours of gameplay with four different endings to experience. You'll be able to dive into the darkest corners of these ladies' minds when Ar tonelico 2 is released on January 20, 2009.

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34 comments
emmanuel123
emmanuel123

Wow you can use up to 2 Reyvateils at the same time this is going to be a whole new adventure just like the 1st one I'm excited to play this game.

lotusclown
lotusclown

can't beleave the creator of this game actually made up his own version of language for it... i mean, talk about having way too much time on you're hands.. lol

Lyca
Lyca

Patiently waiting for a Europe release, hopefully 505 games will distribute (crosses fingers).

anbu-black-ops
anbu-black-ops

before you buy this game, there is a "deal-breaker" glitch. check wiki about it. it freezes the game during the boss fight/optional boss.

KrayzieJay
KrayzieJay

NIS Europe recently announced that Mana Khemia would be heading here, so I hope to God they'll bring this along sometime soon too

SSBFan12
SSBFan12

Looks like a pretty cool game.

rockutd
rockutd

Looks like a cute game...

Soilworkcob
Soilworkcob

CoRiNi - I didn't know it was Gust and Banpresto. Awesome!

jaykho213
jaykho213

@CoRiNi - That's why NIS rocks right? They translates japanese rpg.

CoRiNi
CoRiNi

It's not NIS .. It's Gust and Banpresto .. same goes fro Atelier Iris (later Mana Khemia) .. they are both made by Gust .. NIS only translates.

dark-Lv5
dark-Lv5

I need to play the first first one.

Soilworkcob
Soilworkcob

NIS Rocks, I have like all their games and I can't wait to get my hands on Ar Tonelico 2!

nova-dragon
nova-dragon

I love NIS games this is gonna be sweet

bounceramg
bounceramg

Sugoi! i wish this game will be same as most NIS games in US release, UNDUB version... such as Aterlier series... DUBed version mostly horrible.

MangaMaster17
MangaMaster17

Looking good so far, i'll definitely have to put some money to the side to get this game when it's available.

Threesixtyci
Threesixtyci

I just hope they made it more difficult than the first one. I mean, even the Boss battles were pushovers, in Ar Tonelico.

jaykho213
jaykho213

I love 2D anime style JRPG's. This is next!

zintarr
zintarr

This looks better than the crap coming out lately on the PS3 and 360.

Aurey
Aurey

I didn't know about this game, looks quite interesting though.

danwarecritic
danwarecritic

As this is coming I'm close to the end of the original. That game is fantastic.

Palsa
Palsa

Hmm. . . good review. ^_^ Only one mistake, the songs are sung in [url=http://conlang.wikia.com/wiki/Conlang:Hymmnos]Hymmnos[/url], not Japanese. Though a couple of songs Might have been sung in Japanese. I'm not exactly sure about 'Hartes ciel, melenas walasye' or 'The Heart Speaks', but everything else, especially starting with 'EXEC', is definitely in Hymmnos.

habit0422
habit0422

Love the music, the first Ar Tonelico had one of the best ending song I've heard in a RPG in awhile.

valengar
valengar

I do like the JRPG for ps2, but when is the ps3 going to get some love? Valkyria Chronicles and Disgaea 3 are cool but still two games in a few years it tough to deal with. (I haven't gotten Eternal sonata yet, but I would like to get through Persona 4 first)

onuross88
onuross88

The first was really a long game and i like it.Definitely i'll try this as well.

jaykho213
jaykho213

Woohoo! Another JRPG for the PS2!!

Shadow-Elite
Shadow-Elite

I'll give this game a shot. Althought, I think it should be for the PSP...

galerian86
galerian86

Croix...? Man, JRPGs are running out of names for the characters.