My Game of the Year: Ar tonelico Qoga
A clarion blast of magnificence!
The GOTY warren is full of worthy ones this year. Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland, TESV and The Witcher 2 are high among them. While I doubt it’ll gather as much support as its western peers, I’ve decided to champion Ar tonelico Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel for PlayStation 3. Trial of a title, isn’t it? Eight months have passed since release and the syllables still have trouble finding my tongue with the proper roll or rise. Nevertheless, Qoga is beyond deserving, and it sits dangling polished sabatons spryly from atop its heap of defeated lesser-thans.
An attempt to cover every fruity swirl or liquorice-lined landing of love and lore would have you here for thousands of words. I tried, then started over due to maximum gushing that spanned pages! Often, and speciously, the Ar tonelico series will be lambasted due to the pulchritude a perfunctory look provides. Consider those moments of lechery a gumdrop balustrade spanning the scrumptious ramparts of some candy castle—hardly the main attraction.
Ar tonelico Qoga is the luminous juncture of all things role-playing. Titillating characters, those fragments of joy and lamentation, are responsible for corroding fleshstuff and grinding bone until all that remains is a direct channel to emphatically thump the player’s soul. While the cohorts with the tightest orbits shine brightly through an exemplary use of romance sim progression, even peripheral roles are given more attention than many a main plot-bearer in similar titles. Together, characters weave the elegy to a trilogy’s far-reaching story (“Qoga” was originally “III” in Japan, after all), while standing perfectly well in their own secluded narrative.
But not without the harmony of hymns! Those charged notes inject life. Within, Qoga is a world dominated by sound. Not as an abrasive din but as everything. Melodies tuned by diapasons as massive as towers compose even the smallest elements. Magic is unleashed as a puissant outbreath of emotion thawed through song. Even the consciousness is a manner of frequency. Therefore, it is only natural for a game so mired in acoustics to be paired with a captivating soundtrack—one constituted by a wide range of vocal and instrumental ear-coddling. I could go on. I have gone on. The soundtrack alone is enough to spur an article exhausting every lexical stand-in for, “Damn, this music is good.” Not bad for a game often argued to have the least enchanting orchestration of the trilogy.
If I continue, I would. I’d herald Ar tonelico Qoga with all the flair and ceremony that is its due. I would draw you nearer to its landscape, and escort you to every wondrous feature. For the sake of relative brevity, I’ll close with this: Qoga was a triumph. The triumph of the year.