Category Archives: Atelier

Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny – The Fight for Eden

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The Atelier Iris subseries is, as we’ve already seen with Eternal Mana, something of an outlier in the Atelier series as a whole.

While all of the Atelier games involve RPG-style combat to varying degrees, the Iris subseries places a particular emphasis on what many would think of as a more “conventional” RPG-style structure: the protagonist goes on a journey, explores dungeons, acquires allies, seeks out wondrous treasures… there just happens to be some alchemy involved on the side.

Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny has a particularly strong emphasis on its combat and progression mechanics, making it a satisfying game for those who like making numbers get bigger. Let’s take a closer look at this aspect today.

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Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny – Alchemy Evolution

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Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana was very clearly an attempt to do something different with the Atelier series… and also a bit of a playground for the development team to experiment with a wide variety of ideas.

This much becomes obvious almost from the moment you boot up 2005’s Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny, which takes many of the things that worked from Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana, fixes the things that almost worked and ditches the things that didn’t.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny builds on its predecessor, and how this becomes clear over the course of the game’s early hours.

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The Music of Atelier, Vol. 1: Atelier Iris – Eternal Mana

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The Atelier series has some wonderful music, and provides many examples of Gust’s sound team producing some of the most distinctive, immediately recognisable soundtracks in the business.

As the Atelier MegaFeature progresses, we’ll stop off every so often to take in some of these classic tunes — and where better to start than with the game we’ve just finished looking at in depth?

Let’s admire some of the lovely themes from the first Atelier game to come West, Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana!

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Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana – Narrative, Themes and Characterisation

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Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana is something of an outlier in the Atelier series as a whole, as we’ve already talked about.

Rather than adopting the established structure of “struggling alchemist works in a workshop to craft items, also there are adventures” it inverts this format to “struggling adventurer explores to discover mysteries of alchemy, also there is crafting”.

This change of structural focus gives the narrative scope to be a much more epic affair than many of the other games in the series — but at the same time it doesn’t abandon one of the series’ core principles. Let’s take a closer look.

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Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana – Life at 45 Degrees

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Last time, we talked a bit about how Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana is a lot more of a “traditional RPG” than many of its stablemates in the rest of the series as a whole.

We looked in particular at how the game’s combat and progression mechanics are based on the conventions of turn-based, menu-driven console RPGs, but how it adds a few twists onto that formula — with an appropriate emphasis on item usage and alchemy.

Today we’re going to explore the overall game structure and presentation a bit further, with a particular eye on how protagonist Klein and his companions can explore their world over the course of their adventure as a whole. Let’s jump in!

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Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana – The Craft of Combat

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Now we’ve explored how Atelier Iris handles the series’ core concept of using alchemy and other crafting techniques to create items, it’s time to look at the other aspects of the game.

While all of the previous Atelier games featured strong RPG-style elements such as combat and exploration, for the most part — fourth game Atelier Judie was an exception to a certain extent — these were expressed in the abstract, with the emphasis being placed firmly on the main character and their workshop. That’s where the name came from, after all.

Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana seemingly saw the series take a bit of a sidestep into more traditional RPG territory. But there are a lot of things about it that make it stand out from what you might traditionally think of as a turn-based, menu-driven console RPG. So that’s what we’re going to look at in the next couple of articles.

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Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana – It’s an Alchemy Thing

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Despite being the sixth game in the series, Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana was the first to come West.

The exact reasoning behind this isn’t entirely clear, but it may be something to do with the fact that the early Atelier games were primarily abstract management simulations with RPG elements, while Atelier Iris unfolds in a manner much more like what the Western audience would have understood “an RPG” to be in 2005.

Perhaps it was assumed the West wasn’t ready for that sort of thing. Perhaps the amount of text in the earlier games made them impractical to localise at the time. Or perhaps they just sort of fell through the cracks. Whatever the reasoning, Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana was the West’s first Atelier game, so that’s where we begin our journey.

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