Ar Tonelico 3 Review

5 years ago when I came across the first Ar Tonelico, the very thing that caught my attention was its hymmnos songs and also the anime sequences featured in the game. It was kinda refreshing as the RPGs during that time were pretty “standard” in terms of progression and gameplay. Back then, the first two Ar Tonelicos were on Playstation 2, its graphics were not superior as compared to other games but yet it has a captivating factor – storyline, multiple endings, emotional play and not to mention the hymns.

So who said graphics is the most important thing in a game ?

Moving forward, we have Ar Tonelico 3 on the Playstation 3. Again, comparing to the likes of other games such as Final Fantasy XIII, it was a big difference when it came to visuals so what is it this time that caught me ? Lets take a look.

the game comes with a official visual book..yummy

a manual and the disc, i like the artwork though

The full name for Ar Tonelico 3 is the longest of all series. Known as Ar Tonelico 3: Sekai Shuuen no Hikigane wa Shoujo no Uta ga Hiku (アルトネリコ3 世界終焉の引鉄は少女の詩が弾く), the game is produced by Gust and Namco Bandai and launched on January 28, 2010. Unlike its predecessors, this is the first 3D Ar Tonelico and supposedly the last in the trilogy series.

Story: 9/10
World Gameplay: 8.5/10
Battle Gameplay: 8/10
Characters: 9.5/10
Music: 9.5/10
Visuals: 8/10
Seiyuu: 9/10
Re-playability: 9/10

Saki and Finnel, along with their alternate personas


The 3rd series of Ar Tonelico brings the player to Sol Cluster where the events unfold about 2.5 years from the events of Metafalica in Ar Tonelico 2. The story involves the Reyvatail-ruled Clusternia that is located at the top of the tower and its neighboring towns below. Good thing to say, the 3rd of the series sums up everything almost perfectly, bringing it to epic heights at a awesome pace till the final ending where the story brings a impact to the trilogy.

Given the ending, I could say that this is the end of Ar Tonelico trilogy. If there is ever a “sequel”, it will prolly be a spinoff or taking place after many many years without direct relation. With Ar Tonelico 3, they made the effort to cover the story in detail and every character almost accounted for. This is also the only Ar Tonelico where the story and ending is plotted based on various choices made in the game and also in battle, resulting in a total of 8 endings.

In its entirety, the game contains 4 phases (think of it as chapters) and I was able to complete the story within 45 hours with a little training of levels and of course, I took my time listening to all the conversations in the cosmosphere.  Simply lovely, thumbs up for the storyboard editors.

World Gameplay

Controls in moving around the world of Ar Tonelico 3 is the same as as its predecessors, nothing much different about it. Players of previous series will find no problem in moving around the world. Movement in 3D however was somehow kinda awkward as Aoto seems to be able to “float jump” when moving around the world. It is kinda funny too but yet you can abuse it in a way to move around quickly at certain areas and also quickly engage in battles for leveling up.

The world of Cosmosphere in Ar Tonelico is one of the key elements that make up the game. Storyboard is akin to a visual novel style, movement around the locations is pretty much similar too. Comparing to previous Ar Tonelico series, they did a good job in summing up the entire cosmosphere and also integrating well..songs with it. This is perhaps also the only Ar Tonelico that actually have very emotional scenes compared to others. 2D artworks and CGs remain top notch in quality. Eye candy is aplenty.


The menu screen for Ar Tonelico 3 is not a stranger, introducing heart points in the series where certain decisions in the game will grant you a heart point and also plays a factor towards the eventual ending with your Reyvatail.

In a nutshell, you will not have any difficulties when moving around in-game. The developers have apparently have retained the feel of Ar Tonelico gameplay despite some changes made here and there.

Battle Gameplay

Battles in Ar Tonelico 3 have taken a major change. As the game is now in 3D, there is no more 2D sprite battles. Vanguards are now able to move freely in the field of battle while the reyvatail will be at the rear singing her hymmnos.Your role as a vanguard remains – protect your reyvatail. It make things exciting now since enemies can move around during the battle.

i love her EX attack :P

Also added into the game is “Purging” where your reyvatails can “shed” their clothes in order to achieve the next level of song magic. Hymmnos in the battle changed accordingly too as you move up the purge level. This is also one of the game to have more eye candy for fanservice. ^^

EX moves remain kickass as ever and remember the days in Ar Tonelico 2 where you have to “tap” your buttons to defend your reyvatail, that tapping action returns but as EX song for your reyvatail which will unleash a full screen attack.


We do not have emotional extremists like Snow from FF XIII but we have emotional epic scenes that associates the characters in Ar Tonelico 3 relating to the story. Honestly, if I have to say character development, Ar Tonelico did a great job in this area. They did not forget about every single detail and even retouch a  little on the characters’ past in previous Ar Tonelico series.

All characters have a strong development, a strong background and even the “badass” people too and I must reiterate, there are some points of the story where you need to explore to know more about your character.

The conclusion of all characters made in the game was almost perfect with no plot holes. My favorite have to be Cocona of course as her story related from Ar Tonelico 2 made her one awesome character with great responsibility. That’s just me though, who’s your favorite character ?


a preview of the hymmnos in Ar Tonelico 3

Hymmnos song magic is one of the key elements in the world of Ar Tonelico and in this series, it is simply awesome. A total of 10 artistes are involved in the making of the hymmnos for the game. Soundtracks during gameplay was a mix of good and average, nothing very special in particular for it since the hymmnos have snatched all the limelight ^^

As a matter of fact, the music of the game caught most of my attention in-game.

the opening video for the game





When it comes to visuals, Ar Tonelico 3 is a mix of 3D graphics (battle and world)and also 2D artwork CGs, sprites and original animation.

The 3D visuals of the game’s average, nothing much I can compliment about. Facial expressions are a lil awkward and movement during story scenes look kinda funny in a way. Battle-wise, it is amusing to see the 3d model being “jerked” around by multi-combo attacks. ^^ Apart from that, the 3D rendering of the world around the tower is good.

Now onto 2D, the anime videos featured in the game have made an improvement as compared to its predecessors, they look more “lively” than before. Artwork CGs and sprites as I have mentioned above are top notch.


the beginning of the story [spoiler alert]

Once again, this is based on the Japanese seiyuu cast only. We have seiyuu such as Gotou Mai as Saki, Kitamura Eri as Finnel and Sakamoto Maaya as Tilia, their vocals along with others compliment the game and was able to bring out the emotions of the characters. If the game wasn’t able to bring out the emotions, I would have drop the game long ago. Seiyuu cast remains as one of the key strengths of the game.

Previous Ar Tonelico series’ English dubbing were big disappointments, I will avoid it at all costs. Not much can be said for this since the English version isn’t out yet. Will NIS America able to do a good job this time ?


Having the ability to access “Extras” in the game, 8 endings in the story and able to forward all your items, exp. points and even choose the critical starting points of the game. Tell me, which of it does not have re-playability. Not to mention, some additional options during choice selection of certain scenes… hmm. In the future, the inclusion of DLCs in the game will prolly make the story even more interesting.

Ar Tonelico 3 is now available on retail shelves for the Playstation 3.

Alright, I shall bring this article to and end with 3 videos. What are they ? The 3 openings from Ar Tonelico 1 to 3. Vote one of your favorites! ^^”

Ar Tonelico: Sekai no Owari de Utai Tsuzukeru Shōjo (アルトネリコ世界の終わりで詩い続ける少女)

Ar tonelico II Sekai ni Hibiku Shōjo-tachi no Metafalica (アルトネリコ2 世界に響く少女たちの創造詩(メタファリカ)

Ar Tonelico III: Sekai Shūen no Hikigane wa Shōjo no Uta ga Hiku (アルトネリコ3 世界終焉の引鉄は少女の詩が弾く)

Which is your favorite Ar Tonelico Opening ?

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About the Author

The man who started The Banzai! Effect and Anime Banzai! (discontinued), took an avid interest in blogging and also photography. Integrating his interests with the likes of Japanese pop culture, he starts out his path on the blogging world