TGS '07: Ar tonelico II Impressions

We sneak a peak at this upcoming RPG's tantalizing trailer.

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TOKYO--We recently caught a glimpse of the eye-catching trailer for Namco Bandai's upcoming role-playing game, Ar tonelico II. If you're new to Ar tonelico, the RPG series centers on maidens known as Reyvatiels who sing powerful songs of magical destruction.

In the original Ar Tonelico game, your character Lyner was always in the foreground to protect the Reyvatiels from monsters while the ladies belted out tunes. However, the male character in the Ar tonelico II trailer is barely featured at all. Whereas Ar tonelico focused on the interplay between Lyner and the girls, it looks as if the sequel will focus more on the relationships between the girls themselves.

If you think that sounds naughty, you're right, because Ar tonelico is famous for its out-of-control sexual innuendo. For instance, in the original, if Lyner helped out a Reyvatiel, she'd come to his room to talk at night while he was resting. If you built up a good repartee with a particular girl, she'd eventually let you "dive" into her. That's the game's terminology, not ours. Of course, it was only innuendo, because "diving in" actually meant entering the psyche of the Reyvatiel to help her clear out some psychic baggage.

In Ar tonelico II, the main characters appear to be two girls: a voluptuous blonde and a skinny brunette. As the trailer flashes between scenes, it repeatedly comes back to them holding hands, about to kiss. When their lips eventually meet, the trailer switches to an image of a flowering rose that sprays white pollen into the air. That's right, flower porn.

But Ar tonelico II isn't just fodder for randy roses, it's a Japanese RPG with turn-based combat, colorful characters, devastating attacks, and a menace that threatens existence. We believe this might be in the form of a giant double helix made of metal, though we suspect there's also a humanoid villain behind the doomsday DNA. Combat in Ar tonelico II appears to be turn-based, and the bit we saw seemed to feature one band of adventurers fighting another, something you don't see often.

Of course, all this was gleaned from a very brief glimpse, which has certainly created more questions than answers. But if this game is half as unusual and memorable as its trailer, you--and flowers everywhere--should be very excited.

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