Officially Ar Tonelico 3, NISA gave the final installment of the series a different name, likely to encourage those who have not played the first two games to pick this up. Unfortunately, I’d say that Qoga is the game that only an Ar Tonelico fan who has played the previous games and gotten invested in the world-building and concepts can enjoy, and it is probably the worst entry point into the series. Deciding to forgo the improvements from Ar Tonelico 2, Qoga (which I shall refer to as AT3 from this point on) tried to return to the atmosphere and character dynamics of the first game, but did so in a half-hearted way that relied too much on distracting gimmicks rather than improving the core aspects that made the series memorable compared to other RPGs.
This is the sequel to the first Ar Tonelico and improves upon it in almost every way possible. Although it does tell a standalone story, playing the games in order is still recommended because the worldview in the series is very intricate and terms and locations are expanded on from AT1. Either way, the fantasy sci-fi setting is highly detailed and the dynamics between the heroines are better.
Waifus and music: the RPG, from Gust. Since it’s Gust, expect some sort of unconventional customization system (even if it’s not hardcore alchemy). As soon as I finished this game, I went out and bought the second and third game online, so that in itself is pretty clear indication of how I feel about the game.
While being from the company most well-known for their alchemy RPGs starring female protagonists, Ar Tonelico plays more like a standard RPG centered around a guy’s journey to save the world. The progression is like a normal RPG with none of the Atelier games’ time-based system, but there is still an item-crafting system and flexible equipment and magic customization. The battle system is also worth noting in that while it is not as fast-paced and exciting as the Mana Khemia series, it has its own distinct take on magic that differs from the more standard turn-based battle systems other Atelier games have.