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Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica

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Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica

Ar tonelico II

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Ar Tonelico II Boxart US

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Information
DeveloperGust
PublisherBanpresto (JP)
NIS America (US)
Koei/Flashpoint AG (EU)
PlatformPlayStation 2
Release DateOctober 25, 2007 (JP)
January 20, 2009 (US)
June 5, 2009 (EU)
RatingB (JP)
T (US)
12+ (EU)

Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica, released in Japan as (Ar tonelico 2: The Girls' Metafalica that Echoes to the World[1] , 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)?, lit. "Arutoneriko Tsū Sekai ni Hibiku Shōjo-tachi no Metafarika") is a video game, developed by Gust for the Sony PlayStation 2 which was released in Japan on October 25, 2007, in North America on January 20,2009, and was set to be released in the EU on 29 May 2009, however a problem with the barcode delayed it by a week. It is the sequel to Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia and takes place roughly one and a half years after that game's canonical ending.

Note that the PAL-version of the game does work on the 60GB-version of the PlayStation 3, but has performance problems.

Gameplay

Though superficially similar to Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia in both aesthetics and style, the core game play mechanics of Ar tonelico II have undergone huge changes from those of its predecessor, most notably in regards to the battle system and the fact that actions within an Infelsphere may now directly affect the storyline.

Field exploration is basically the same as that from Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia, except for the fact that the elemental shots have been eliminated and the player can jump anymore, so there aren't any platforming sections or areas where jumping would be required to find secrets.

However, the marks indicating points of interest, the Camp Circles (all of which can restore the health of the party members in addition to saving and loading data, as well as giving hints to the player in how to proceed) and the encounter bar, which indicates how many battles can be fought in that particular area, remain the same as in the previous game.

Battle System

In Ar tonelico II, the player can control up to four characters in battle, which are divided into two pairs formed each by one Vanguard and one Reyvateil.

Battles are divided into two phases: one is the Attack Phase, during which characters can attack until the Time Gauge located at the right bottom corner of the screen runs out. It is during this phase that they can choose which Song Magic the Reyvateils should sing, when they should release it, as well as having the Vanguards use items or run away from battle. They can also choose the enemies they will target with their attacks, as otherwise the Vanguards will attack the enemy group at random.

Each Vanguard has a total of four types of actions at their disposal, which depends on which direction the player is holding in the D-Pad when they press the button that will make a Vanguard taken an action (it can be either the Square button or the X button):

  • Holding Up makes a Harmonic attack, which increases the power of Song Magic, lengthens the Harmonic Curves in the graph at the bottom of the screen, and allows the Vanguards to use their Lv. 2 and Lv. 3 skills after they have learned them.
  • Holding Left makes a Burstech attack, which increases the charge accumulated in the Burst Gauge.
  • Holding Down makes a Psychological attack, which reduces the Burst penalties from receiving enemy attacks and brings closer the Harmonics Curves of both Reyvateils.
  • Holding Right makes a Care Action, which while not causing any damage to the enemy, it allows to partially restore the MP of a Reyvateil without using items.

All of these bonuses are triggered by using their corresponding action until the blue shade of the Emotion Indicator (the round indicator within the Time Gauge) is completely filled in purple. However, they can only be triggered once per turn, and when they trigger, the next Attack Phase will require even more uses of their corresponding action before they are triggered again.

As for the Reyvateils, they just continue singing their Song Magic to attack the enemies or support the party. The strength of their Songs is measured by the Burst Gauge, which increases the more the Reyvateils sing. However, this can't be done endlessly: the Reyvateils have a concentration limit represented by their MP, which constantly depletes as they sing, and once their concentration breaks (their MP reaches zero), the feelings composing the Song will break and the Song will be forcefully activated upon the enemies with just half of its usual strength. Therefore, the player must be careful about the timing for releasing the Song, especially given the more advanced Song Magic have MP consumption ratios far faster than lower level ones. The MP can be recharged with Care Actions, items, or letting the Reyvateils stay idle (without singing anything) for a while.

It must also be mentioned that all possible Vanguard-Reyvateil pairs have compatibility levels, all of which are entirely dependent on storyline progression. If a Reyvateil is paired with a Vanguard she likes, they both will gain Burst bonuses from blocking attacks successfully and the trends in the Emotional Indicator will be easier to fulfill, but on the other hand, if she is paired with a Vanguard she dislikes, the Burst bonuses will receive penalties and the Emotional Indicator trends will be harder to fulfill, so the player should take this in account when making up their battle party.

Guarding

Once the Time Gauge is depleted, the battle shifts over to the second phase of the battle: the Defense Phase, during which the enemies will attack the Reyvateils a set number of times and the player has to protect them by pressing the buttons corresponding to the Vanguard in front of the Reyvateil being attacked with the correct timing, which is represented by a graded gauge appearing over both Vanguards. The better the timing, the better the guard will be, which is graded in the following way:

  • Poor: Guarded too late. Causes full damage to the Vanguard and the Reyvateil.
  • Bad: Guarded too early. Causes full damage to the Vanguard and the Reyvateil.
  • Good: Guarded a bit early. Causes full damage to the Vanguard but negates all damage to the Reyvateil.
  • Great: Guarded slightly early. Causes half damage to the Vanguard and negates all damage to the Reyvateil.
  • Perfect: Guarded exactly at the required moment. Nulls out all damage to the Vanguards and the Reyvateils, and also negates all probability of being inflicted with status ailments.

Additionally, good guards will give great boost to the Burst Gauge, allowing the Reyvateil to unleash her Song Magic with more power earlier than expected, but in the other hand, failed guards will have the effect of reducing the value the gauge, so the player should be very careful when guarding against enemy attacks. This goes particularly for full party attacks, as the player will have to guard both Reyvateils at once in these cases by pressing the guard buttons simultaneously.

Song Magic Evolution

Some of the Song Magic received through the Dive System (explained below) are actually evolutions for a previously received Song. To use them, the player will need to have accumulated first a certain Burst percentage and have filled one of the trends in the Emotion Indicator up to a certain point. For example, if a Song requires a Burst of 5000% and Burstech 2 trend, they will need to use Burstech attacks and wait until the Burst Gauge has reached a percentage of 5000. At the end of the Attack Phase in which they fulfill these requirements, the Song will evolve to its next stage. It should be mentioned that the game marks with white shining points the emotional trends required for the current Song to evolve once the required Burst quota has been fulfilled, so the player should be mindful of this to plan out their battle strategies, especially for Songs that have branching evolution paths and thus have two possible emotional trends that can be fulfilled to evolve the Song. In these cases, the last trend to be fulfilled will be used as the one that will determine which evolution the Song will undergo.

Replekia

Main article: Replekia System

This is a special Hymmnos song that Cloche can sing after an event near the end of Phase 1. After containing and curing IPDs (described below), the player can accomplish certain actions to recruit these IPDs into Cloche's fan club. Upon doing so, they will also join Replekia, which will increase the speed at which the Burst Gauge charges multiplied by the number of IPDs that have currently joined the fan club, drastically amplifying the power of the current Song Magic. To use Replekia, first the player has to have Cloche in their active party, make the Reyvateils choose a Red (attack) Song Magic, and then, have the Vanguard protecting Cloche use Harmonics attacks until her Harmonics Curve reaches the maximum length. Upon doing so, the game will notify the player that Replekia can be activated, so they will have to open up the battle menu, select Cloche and select the Replekia option, which will have appeared after doing all of this.

Upon activating Replekia, the battle background will change to that of Infel Phira in Replekia Mode charging while the background music is replaced by the hymn METHOD_REPLEKIA/.. During this time, the player must wait until all of the currently-recruited IPDs have put their powers into the Song, after which the Burst Gauge will reach its maximum charge speed, and after this, the player can choose to release the amplified Song Magic immediately or continue accumulating Burst until the MP of the Reyvateils is almost depleted. However, it must be noted that Replekia can only be activated once per battle due to being too draining on the IPDs, so the player must judge carefully when to use it.

Synchronity Chain

Main article: Synchronity Chain

This is a special power that triggers once the Harmonics Curves of both Reyvateils in the party fuse into one. This can be done by using Harmonic attacks until the Harmonics Curves reach their maximum length, and then using Psychological attacks. Each time the Psychological bonus is triggered, the Harmonics Curves will be brought closer and closer, until the point they fuse into one. The Attack Phase following to the one in which both Curves fuse in the one, a short movie will play, showing the Synchronity Chain has been activated.

During this time, the background will change to a black one filled with green Hymmnos letters floating everywhere, and the player will receive the following bonuses:

  • Unlimited MP
  • Emotion Indicator in Bonus Mode: this allows the player to trigger the Indicator's bonuses as many times as they want as long as the Synchronity lasts.
  • EX Song Evolution: this is the only way to use the Dual Songs received from the Infelsphere and some Cosmosphere levels.

The Synchronity Chain lasts around ten seconds, upon which it will terminate itself and release the Song Magic the Reyvateils are currently singing, and given it is so complex to trigger, the player should make good use of it when it happens. Synchronity Chains can be activated from Phase 4 onwards, and they require the two Reyvateils involved to have a minimum 30% of Synchronization between them, which is gained through Heroine Talk Topics.

Super Moves

Main Article: Super Moves

These are extremely destructive skills that all Vanguards can use after Cloche receives the ability to use Replekia, and have an amount of power that can be easily compared to that of Song Magic despite lacking their party-wide attack range.

To use these skills, the player has to fill the Emotion Indicator in any trend they like ten times. Every time they fill an emotional trend, the border of the Vanguards' skill gauge will fill a little in white. When the border is completely filled in white, the action level will change to show "Action Level EX", showing that the press of that Vanguard's button will activate the Super Move. Once the conditions for using a Super Move have been fulfilled, that Vanguard won't be able to take any other actions until the Super Move is used.

IPD Reyvateils

Main article: IPD

The IPDs are a type of Reyvateil unique to Metafalss, which due to several story events, are in constant risk of going berserk and destroying everything around themselves. Therefore, the Grand Bell Knights, of which Croix is part, have as their duty containing them.

This is done by finding them in the area maps and engaging them in battle. Several IPDs also block the access to several areas of these maps, so they must be defeated first in order to enter them. However, it should be noted that several IPDs are far stronger than ever the final bosses of the game, so the players will find themselves killed and unable to deal even one point of damage to them if they aren't careful. This can be seen from the IPD level shown in their stats right before fighting them, with the weakest IPDs being Lv. 1 and the strongest ones being Lv. 9. They sometimes will be accompanied by monsters of a level suitable to her IPD level.

Upon defeating an IPD, she will be contained and sent off to a containing area, where she will be in stand-by until the player gets access to the Dive Therapy system and cures them.

Dive Therapy

Main article: Dive Therapy

This is a system in which Luca enters the Cosmospheres of the contained IPDs and tries to converse with them to cure their outbreaks. Obviously, it can only be used when Luca is in the party, and only after she has cured an IPD as part of the main storyline.

During Therapy, the player has three options: Talk, in which they are prompted to give a reply of two possible to a statement given by the IPD, Operation, in which they can halve or double the effects of a Talk, and Examine, in which Luca analyzes the personality of the IPD, giving the players hints about how to respond to their statements. Each IPD will react differently to the responses given to them through the Talk option, and depending on the option chosen, their Tension Level will either increase or decrease. The player has a total of five Talk chances, and once they have been all used up, the game will judge how the therapy session went: if by this point the Tension Level falls within a threshold marked by a pink shade called the Cure Zone, the IPD is cured. Otherwise, if the Tension Level is out of the Cure Zone, or if it goes beyond 100, which is the maximum level of the gauge, the session will end in failure, necessitating the player to pay again the fee to try once again the cure the IPD.

All IPDs will have an emotion requirement before Luca will be able to cure them, which can be verified in Luca's Status screen profile and in their stats prior to the Therapy session. However, this usually represents no problem because Luca gains experience with each IPD cured, and Talk and Heroine Topics increase her emotion requirement levels by themselves. Additionally, some IPDs require items being given to them as presents before even allowing to attempt curing them, so if they player fails, they will need to find another copy of the item required to attempt again the session.

Girl Power

Cured IPDs can establish pacts with the Vanguards to bestow special powers upon them, by "Equipping" them in the Equip screen by pressing the Triangle button. This system is called Girl Power.

The IPDs that have a pact with a Vanguard will also receive experience from the battles, allowing them to level up up to Lv. 4. Every time they level up, they will gain new skills to transmit to the Vanguards that will depends on their personalities, which can range from small elemental damage to increasing action time in battle, causing status ailments on the enemies and making the guard timing more lenient for the player. Additionally, all experience gained from an IPD will also be shared with the other members of her subdivision of Cloche's fan club, making easier to level up the other members from it.

Dualstall

Main article: Dualstall

Dualstall is the way in which Reyvateil can power up, and the only way in which they can gain levels. This is done by placing Dualithnode Crystals on the bathtub, and the Reyvateils will gain levels proportional to the level of the crystals used, provided they haven't used them before. They can also gain extra effects if they touch the crystals as they move through the bath, with the effect of the crystal being different for each Reyvateil. The player can also put bath powders to further enhance their abilities, and bath toys to lure them into touching the crystals.

It must be mentioned that the effects gained from the crystals disappear whenever a new Dualstall is executed, so the player must be very careful when using it. Additionally, the number of crystals used, toys and bath salts, as well as some of the actions carried out by the player, might prompt the Reyvateils to talk among themselves and trigger Heroine Topics, which serve to increase the synchronization between the heroines, and thus, improve the chances of executing a Synchronity Chain in battle.

Other Systems

Dive - Returning from Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia, the Dive System allows the player (Croix) to adventure inside a Reyvateil's mind (Cosmosphere) and see her deep emotions, feelings and other things. It is also through this system that new Song Magic is crafted. Only Pureblooded β-Type Reyvateils and Third Generation Reyvateils will have a Cosmosphere. Some Reyvateils are strong enough to impact the storyline in their first Level Cosmospheres.

Shop Synthesis - By visiting four of the shopkeepers in the world, the player will witness their relationships with the party members and the way they interact with each other, occasionally also giving them Recipe Cards. These can be used to combine materials they have found into new items, though they can only be synthesized in the shop they were received at. Additionally, the items will vary depending on which Reyvateil the player picks to help Croix and the shopkeeper to synthesize, and not all Reyvateils can help at all shops: for example, Cloche can't synthesize at the restaurant and Luca can't synthesize at the weapon store.

Plot

Setting

The setting for the game is the same as the previous game: the planet of Ar Ciel, albeit centered on a different region this time. The Tower of Ar tonelico from Metafalss is different from the tower in the first game since it doesn't look like a tower initially, but still has some of the same essential facilities (Plasma Bell (represented as the Lift Generators) and Musical Corridor (called here the Wings of Hynemos)). The Song Magics are still used like programs, but in this tower there are two Song Magic servers: the Sol Marta server and the Infel Phira Server. The Sol Marta server is located in the upper zone of the tower, acting like a stationary satellite. However, Sol Marta isn't a proper Song Magic server, and instead, it serves as a relay for the First Tower of Ar tonelico, which was the setting for the first game. On the other hand, the Infel Phira server is located in a satellite that orbits the sky around the tower and shares its name with said server. Given Sol Marta's purpose as a relay for the First Tower, it works with the same kind of Hymmnos as it and executes the EXEC variety of hymns. On the other hand, the Infel Phira server works with another kind of Hymmnos called the New Testament of Pastalie Hymmnos, and executes the METHOD variety of hymns.

Story Overview

The region of surrounds the second Tower of Ar tonelico, which is said to represent the Goddess Frelia of the Trio of Elemia. The Reyvateils in this region have been succumbing to a raging Reyvateil-exclusive epidemic called the Infel Phira Dependency (IPD), which makes them go berserk and release Song Magic uncontrollably, turning them into a massive danger for themselves and the rest of the society. Additionally, the region is under constant pressure due to its increasing population and diminishing land, as well as a civil war that has broken up between the two major factions of Metafalss: the ruling Grand Bell, and the rebel Sacred Army.

Croix, a Knight that works for the ruling regime of Metafalss, the Grand Bell, is routinely sent alongside other knights to find berserk IPDs and contain them, so they can't continue posing a danger for the people. However, he is tired of these missions due to the fact he is always taking away girls from their families, greatly wounding them, and the fact that it doesn't seem to help in any way the creation of the legendary utopia of Metafalica, which was the reason why he initially joined the knights.

One day, he receives a mission to rescue an important member of the Grand Bell: the Holy Maiden, Cloche, when an IPD outbreak takes place in the Resort where she was resting. However, the IPD outbreak turns out to be more than it seems at first sight, and Cloche's rescue ends sending him and several others into an adventure that will reveal the hidden agenda of both warring factions, the secrets hidden in the history of Metafalss, and the hidden theory that would be instrumental to the survival of Planet Ar Ciel: the Song of Creation known as Metafalica.

Music

Main article: List of Ar tonelico II media releases

The Gust sound team of Akira Tsuchiya, Ken Nakagawa and Daisuke Achiwa returned from the first game to compose the music for this game, as did Haruka Shimotsuki, Takashige Inagaki and Akiko Shikata for the composition of several of the songs and Hymns.

Like the soundtrack for Ar tonelico, the music of the game was released across three albums: a two-disc Original Soundtrack and two Hymnnos Concert CDs which contain all but one of the songs and Hymns that were absent from the OST. That missing song (titled "Emptiness") was later on released in one of Akiko Shikata's albums.

All four singers from the first game returned to sing the songs and Hymns of this game's Reyvateils: Luca - Haruka Shimotsuki, Cloche - Akiko Shikata, Jacqli - Noriko Mitose, Reisha and Frelia - Yuuko Ishibashi.

Opening Theme

Singing Hill - Harmonics FRELIA -
Composition, Arrangement & Lyrics: Akira Tsuchiya / Vocals & Chorus: Akiko Shikata

Insert Songs

Reisha's Lullaby
Composition, Arrangement & Lyrics: Ken Nakagawa / Vocals & Chorus: Yuuko Ishibashi

Eternally Bonded'
Lyrics: Reiko Takahashi / Composition & Arrangement: Takashige Inagaki / Vocals & Chorus: Yuuko Ishibashi

Hartes ciel, melenas walasye.
Lyrics: Nao Hiyama / Composition, Vocals & Chorus: Haruka Shimotsuki / Arrangement: Takashige Inagaki

The Heart Speaks
Lyrics: Noriko Mitose / Composition & Arrangement: Daisuke Achiwa / Vocals & Chorus: Noriko Mitose & Dahna
Only heard in the Jakuri ending.

Songs of Hymmnos (Hymns)

EXEC_SOL=FAGE/.
Lyrics: Reiko Takahashi / Composition & Arrangement: Takashige Inagaki / Vocals & Chorus: Haruka Shimotsuki

METHOD_REPLEKIA/.
Lyrics: Reiko Takahashi / Composition, Arrangement, Vocals & Chorus: Akiko Shikata

EXEC_METAFALICA/.
Lyrics: Noriko Mitose / Composition & Arrangement: Akira Tsuchiya / Vocals & Chorus: Haruka Shimotsuki

EXEC_SPHILIA/.
Lyrics: Noriko Mitose / Composition & Arrangement: Daisuke Achiwa / Vocals & Chorus: Noriko Mitose

EXEC_HIBERNATION/.
Lyrics: Reiko Takahashi / Composition & Arrangement: Takashige Inagaki / Vocals & Chorus: Yuuko Ishibashi

EXEC_HARMONIOUS_FUSION/.
Lyrics: Noriko Mitose / Composition & Arrangement: Takashige Inagaki / Original Intro Melody Composer: Akiko Shikata / Vocals & Chorus: Noriko Mitose

METHOD_IMPLANTA/.
Lyrics: Noriko Mitose & Akiko Shikata / Composition, Arrangement, Vocals & Chorus: Akiko Shikata

METHOD_METAFALICA/.
Lyrics: Noriko Mitose & Akiko Shikata / Composition, Arrangement, Vocals & Chorus: Akiko Shikata

EXEC_DESPEDIA/.
Lyrics: Noriko Mitose / Composition & Arrangement: Takashige Inagaki / Vocals & Chorus: Noriko Mitose

EXEC_VIENA/.
Lyrics: Nao Hiyama / Composition, Vocals & Chorus: Haruka Shimotsuki / Arrangement: Ken Nakagawa

虚 / Emptiness
Composition, Arrangement, Lyrics, Vocals & Chorus: Akiko Shikata
Unreleased song recorded in Akiko Shikata's Harmonia Concert Pamphlet. Due to its use in the game, it is recognized as part of EXEC_over.METHOD_SUBLIMATION/.

EXEC_over.METHOD_SUBLIMATION/.~lamenza
Lyrics: Tomoko Shinoda & Akiko Shikata / Composition, Arrangement, Vocals & Chorus: Akiko Shikata

EXEC_over.METHOD_SUBLIMATION/.~ee wassa sos yehar
Lyrics: Tomoko Shinoda & Akiko Shikata / Composition, Arrangement, Vocals & Chorus: Akiko Shikata

EXEC_over.METHOD_SUBLIMATION/.~omness chs ciel sos infel
Composition, Arrangement, Lyrics, Vocals & Chorus: Akiko Shikata

Ending theme.

EXEC_with.METHOD_METAFALICA/.
Lyrics: Noriko Mitose / Composition & Arrangement: Akira Tsuchiya & Akiko Shikata / Vocals & Chorus: Akiko Shikata & Haruka Shimotsuki

Post-game Hymns

METHOD_ALTERNATION/.

Composition, Arrangement, Lyrics (New Testament of Pastalie Sections), Vocals & Chorus: Akiko Shikata / Lyrics: Yoshie Isogai (Japanese sections)

EXEC_VISIONDANCE_PLUGINs/.

Composition, Vocals & Chorus: Haruka Shimotsuki / Arrangement: HIR / Lyrics: Nao Hiyama

EXEC_DISHADOW_includes.Ex_VANISLAND/.

Lyrics, Vocals & Chorus: Noriko Mitose / Composition & Arrangement: Dani

Errors and bugs in the US version

In the third-to-last boss battle of the American version, there is a bug which causes the game to freeze after the 3rd player defense phase. When the enemy Raki uses the skill "Fractal Change" the game freezes. The same problem goes for the optional battles against the same enemy too. The only way to avoid the crash is to inflict over half of said enemy's HP (40,000 points, increasing by a factor of 1.5 each defeat) before the player's third defense phase or even defeat the enemy before that point.

This problem was fixed in the PAL-version. A third party fix for the NTSC version exists but as it modifies the game, it also requires the game to be played on an emulator or a hacked console. Cheat codes also exist for Codebreaker, Gameshark, and Pro Action Replay to avoid the crash.

The game includes both English and Japanese voices but unfortunately the English dub is incomplete and the corresponding voices are also missing if Japanese is selected. Third party versions derived from the NTSC version with the missing Japanese voices restored do exist, usually labeled UNDUB, but as they're unauthorized derived works, they aren't legal in many countries.

There are also various translation errors, such as changing the gender of Jean Ishikawa in Cloche's cosmosphere from female to male, or the fate of Croix's parents, telling them Leyka killed them when actually they just perished in an IPD outbreak that didn't have relation to Leyka. In addition, there are various grammatical errors throughout the game.

Also of note are the changes to hymmnos terms, such as Infel Phira to Infel Pira, Truelywaath to Trulyworth, and many others, though one must have the resources to understand Hymmnos to know how the meanings of these words have been changed.

More details about the bugs and glitches present in the game, introduced by the localization or otherwise, can be found in the Glitches page.

Bugs in the PAL version

During Phase 2 at level 1 of Gaea left path (tainted sky), there is a bug which causes the game to freeze as the last "bath garbage" is being destroyed. One way to avoid the crash is to avoid completing this level after picking up the discussion event. Finishing this level is not necessary to go further in the story.

References

  1. Metafalica is literally translated into song of creation

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