Save Point

Money can buy everything except “love”, “friendship” and “exp points”.

The Finish Line February 12, 2009

So, I finished Ar tonelico 2 last week (Cloche’s path, third Reyvateil’s ending). It was a good follow-up to the first and a good bridge for the trilogy, but in my opinion it doesn’t stand well alone.

Initially, I had thought that it had promise to be greater than the first game, but that plateaued around the end of the first phase and it kept up a steady level of similar dramatic tension throughout. Even when the stakes were raised, the emotional investment was not. It was good for world- and character-building, and it probably helped establish some important things in preparation for the third game, but it did not snowball into the high climax that vindicates a 30-hour-minimum work of fiction. I would not recommend it to anyone who had not already finished the first game with the best ending, but it is a worthwhile experience for those who have.

After finishing Ar tonelico 2, I putzed around in the world for a while getting some of the optional things I hadn’t done. Ideally this game needs at least two more playthroughs, three if I want to see every ending, but I need a break before I play it again. Normally I’d even take a break before getting into another RPG, but I had stopped partway through Mother 3, and was eager to get back to it; I’m in chapter 8 closing in on the ending. Since I have a long weekend coming up, I might be able to finish it soon.

I was sick for a while last week, and I couldn’t sleep last night, so I found the rest of the puzzles in Professor Layton and the Curious Village, and unlocked the Riddle Master’s door to get at the last three. Now there’s only one final puzzle behind that door for me to finish and 100% the game– and it’s another sliding block puzzle. Nooooooo! I’ll probably just mess with it until I get the red block out, which is an unsatisfying method of solving puzzles, but I don’t know how to solve this kind (with the differently-shaped blocks) other than brute force or aimless fiddling.

 

No Word In Hymmnos For “Wait” October 2, 2008

I want to clarify some of what I said about Professor Layton and the Curious Village. I said that the plot was “kid-simple”, but in retrospect I feel I may have given the wrong impression. It’s not that it’s dull or a bad plot, but rather that it’s easy enough for a child to understand, and some of the characters’ motives are the sort of motives you get in children’s cartoons; one of your first tasks is to find someone’s missing pet cat, Layton often reminds his young apprentice to be a gentleman, and there’s a bad guy whose entire motive seems to consist of being The Villain in a “Curses! Foiled again!” sort of way. Having finished the game, though, I certainly found the story satisfying for what it was. It doesn’t matter that it wasn’t a realistic adult story because it certainly wasn’t trying to be, and the plot resolution was just creative enough to feel like a fitting end. I hope I did not give an unduly negative impression of it in my earlier post by skimming over this detail. In contrast to MillionHeir, or, say, Kurupoto Cool Cool Stars, it certainly delivered plenty.

On another note, I seem to have gotten another of my friends hooked on Ar tonelico, simply by showing him the beginning. Again I say that it is a shame that no one has heard of it, because it really is a quite excellent RPG. It started out mildly surpassing my expectations and ended up far surpassing them. If only Atlus would promote their games a little more, this could have been a major hit instead of a very niche cult classic. Ar tonelico 2 is apparently coming out in the US in December, and I’ve already pre-ordered from the company’s website. Get it while it’s so hot it’s still in the oven. After all, there’s no word in the game’s conlang for “wait” (a fact that really amuses me, since it’s also a dating sim.)