Last night I picked up a copy of Gust's newly released Ar Tonelico Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel for the PlayStation 3, slipped it into my console, and watched the introductory movie five times in a row.
We're in the midst of a Japanese role-playing game drought. With a strong emphasis being put on developing games for the Western audience and a stable of core Japanese RPG developers still getting their feet wet on the PlayStation 3 (while avoiding the Xbox 360 completely), we've only seen a slow trickle of quirky JRPG goodness seeping out of Japan in recent months.
Most of what we've been getting comes from NIS America, the North American branch of Japanese publisher Nippon Ichi Software. The publisher and its partners in crime - Idea Factory, Gust, Compile Heart, and the like - have slowly began creating PlayStation 3 games, but the quality so far of titles like Hyperdimension Neptunia, Last Rebellion, and Trinity Universe has been pretty abysmal.
Will the third entry in the Ar Tonelico series and it's first appearance on the PlayStation 3 buck the trend? I've not played enough to say for sure, but this introduction, with its sweeping music and stunning visuals, is definitely a good start.