Developers' Diary

Ar-Three

I had a nasty scare today. Ar Tonelico seemed to be wrapping up, after only 20 hours and not nearly enough fun. Just when I was afraid the final credits were about to roll, I saw PHASE 1 COMPLETE. It started me on Phase 2, which suggests that I’m not more than halfway through the game yet. That’s joyous news, because before this, I can’t remember the last time I wanted to play a game more than I had time for.

I enjoy games, but often I find myself playing them not to *enjoy* them, but to *finish* them. I just want to get my money’s worth, check the game off my list, and move on to the next game to see if that one might contain the fun I’ve been looking for since finishing Xenogears. It’s still too early to say whether this could be that game, but it sure is promising.

- Gorgeous character designs
- A variety of legendary-seeming characters
- Mysterious cities in the sky
- Mysterious, powerful masked characters
- Big clunky robot enemies
- Sleek alien robot enemies
- Hundreds of illustrated items to collect
- Extensive crafting system
- Visual-novel-esque conversation system
- **Cute girls who weave magic by singing**
- **Costume system for aforementioned cute girls**
- Isometric pixel art
- Entities whose circumstances go back to way before you met them

I could go on and on and on. Every time I try to itemize all of the things about this game that please me, I get lost in the volume of them. Each one is important, and yet none of them is as meaningful as the overall sensation of *honest fun* the game offers, in its own geeky and fringey way.

I ordered the USA version of *Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana*, Gust’s other recent game, just because I want to tell them “thanks for making this kind of thing”, and I want to tell NIS America “thanks for bringing this kind of thing to my homeland”.

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