OverviewAr Tonelico: Melody of Elemia, also known as Ar Tonelico: The Girl Who Continues to Sing at the End of the World in Japan, is a role-playing game by GUST. The main protagonist is Lyner Barsett, a Knight of Elemia who is searching for the Hymn Crystal (Purger), an ancient artifact needed to stop a dangerous virus from spreading through the Tower of Ar Tonelico. The game features an ancient race called Reyvateil, which help humans with their songs. The relationship between humans and their Reyvateil partners are very important, because Reyvateil are extremely vulnerable on their own and need to be protected by their partner.
Plot Ar Tonelico takes place in Sol Ciel, a world which is divided in two parts: Wings of Horus and Tower of Ar Tonelico. Lyner Barsett, an Apostle of Elemia, needs to save the upper world from the viruses that are spreading throughout the Tower. Lady Shurelia sends Lyner on a mission to retrieve the Hymn Crystal (Purger), which will be of help with fighting against the viruses. However, his airship crashes, and he ends up in the Wings of Horus, the lower world.
ExplorationThere are no enemies shown on the field map, however there is a small gauge which will change colors corresponding to the chance of encountering an enemy. The gauge drains for each enemy defeated, and after defeating enough enemies, the player cannot encounter enemies anymore in that location until he goes somewhere else, and after that the gauge resets. You are able to jump, and also use some of the Reyvateil's abilities only usable in the field map.
Combat in Ar Tonelico is turn-based, similar to alot of other JRPGs. The party consists of four party members, three in the front, and the Reyvateil in the back. Your party members and enemies take turns in attacking each other, however you can act with your Reyvateil whenever you want. Your frontline fighters can either attack, use a skill or an item, or protect the Reyvateil from a charged attack. The Reyvateils sing songs which can either help your party members, or harm your enemies. Songs become progressively stronger over the time your Reyvateil is charging them, but they drain mana points. Reyvateil cannot be attacked directly as long as the frontline fighters are alive, but they can be attacked by a charged attack. The player can defend himself from a charged attack by choosing the "Protect" option when it's the player's turn. If the player successfully protected the Reyvateil, he can initiate a counterattack by correctly pressing the buttons shown on the screen. After the battle, your party is rewarded with items, experience points, and dive points. Dive points symbolize your Reyvateil's trust in you, and are needed for diving into a Reyvateil.
Diving is a concept unique to Ar Tonelico. To initiate a dive into one of your Reyvateil, you have to go to a Dive shop, located in major cities. Diving is basically something like looking inside a Reyvateil's mind. When diving, the player can help the Reyvateil ascend to higher Cosmosphere by solving her problems. Diving is the only way for Reyvateil to acquire new and more powerful songs. To be able to access a higher Cosmosphere level, the player has to unlock a set number of topics and then talk to the Reyvateil of your choice when resting. The player also needs to have enough Dive points, otherwise the Reyvateil won't let you access her mind. The Reyvateil you are able to dive into are Aurica Nestmile, Misha Arsellec Lune, and Shurelia.