Tag Archives: alchemy

Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy – Back to School

 

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After the Atelier Iris subseries marked a period of dabbling with a more “traditional” RPG-style structure, Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis demonstrated a clearly defined shift back towards Atelier’s roots. And Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy continues that trend.

Indeed, while the three Atelier Iris games are largely unrelated to one another — aside from some long-term lore connections between Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana and Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny — Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy returns to the series’ original model of installments in the same subseries standing by themselves as self-contained narratives, but unfolding in the same world about 5-10 years later.

As the title suggests, time has not been especially kind to the world of Mana Khemia, but that’s part of what makes what’s going on here so interesting. Let’s take a first look!

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Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis – Narrative, Themes and Characterisation

 

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The two Mana Khemia games are sometimes unofficially regarded as a continuation of the Atelier Iris trilogy.

It’s fairly easy to see why: the overall presentation is very similar to Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm in particular; the setting, in which human alchemists cooperate with elemental beings known as Mana to Do Alchemy, fits right in with its immediate predecessors; and thematically, there’s a lot in common, too.

Specifically, Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis follows the mould of its precursors by contemplating how alchemy, an inherently neutral power by itself, can be used for both good and ill depending on the individual. But this time around, the whole thing is on a rather more personal scale than the world-saving narratives of Atelier Iris. So let’s explore further!

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Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis – The Ninth Atelier

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With the ninth installment in the mainline Atelier series, Gust took the curious decision to temporarily drop the “Atelier [x]” naming convention and instead start a new subseries.

Except it’s not quite that simple; the two Mana Khemia games actually have a fair bit in common with the Atelier Iris subseries in terms of presentation, mechanics, tone and themes, leading some people to consider them an unofficial part of the Atelier Iris “trilogy”.

Ultimately it doesn’t really matter too much; Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis certainly stands by itself as a solid title in the franchise as a whole, so let’s begin with a general overview of what it’s all about.

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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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New Game Plus: End of Summer – Atelier Rorona DX #12

Summer’s drawing to a close in Arland just as it’s starting to get nice and warm for springtime here in the UK.

Today our brave little alchemist takes on her toughest challenge yet: dealing with a comic misunderstanding involving a gentleman friend and her parents! Oh no!

She also does a bit of alchemy and indulges in the usual Puni abuse. She does still have a job to do, after all…

Death end re;Quest: Down the Rabbit Hole

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Death end re;Quest, in keeping with the rest of Compile Heart’s Galapagos RPG project, is an ambitious and rather unusual affair from a narrative perspective.

The setup for the game is pure isekai, but almost immediately after actually starting the game for the first time, you’ll come to realise that there’s much more going on here — a really interesting blend of genres and styles that makes good use of its medium to tell a story and raise some intriguing questions.

Let’s take a closer look.

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New Game Plus: Time On Our Hands – Atelier Rorona DX #4

Whew! Even with the chaotic week I’ve had (including a brief period of complete computer failure last weekend) I managed to get all my usual videos out on time. Go me.

As always (well, usually, anyway), Friday plays host to New Game Plus, our weekly exploration of post-game content and New Game Plus modes. Currently, we’re doing a second playthrough of Atelier Rorona DX, part of the Atelier Arland trilogy we’ve recently explored here on MoeGamer.

Hit the jump to find out how today’s alchemical efforts went!

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Atelier Totori: Arland’s Middle Child

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Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland, the second installment in Atelier’s Arland trilogy, is in that unenviable position that all “middle children” end up in — perhaps more so than most.

Originally offering considerable improvements over Atelier Rorona’s first incarnation — particularly in the graphical and mechanical departments — Gust’s tendency to put out “Plus” versions for its Atelier games means that Totori has ended up, in some respects, now being the most dated of the Arland trilogy even once it, in turn, got its own “Plus” and “DX” rereleases, the most recent of which is on PlayStation 4, Switch and PC.

This isn’t to say Totori is a bad game, mind you — far from it. Just… don’t take anything for granted! Let’s have a closer look.

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Atelier Rorona: Arland’s New Beginning

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As we’ve previously explored, the Atelier series is no stranger to rereleases and remakes — and at the time of writing, Arland trilogy debut Atelier Rorona has had more than most.

Initially releasing in Japan in 2009 as Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland before being localised by NIS America for North America, Europe and Australasia in 2010, the game was subsequently completely rebuilt in 2013 under its new worldwide publisher Koei Tecmo as Atelier Rorona Plus in an attempt to bring it more in line with the subsequent releases in the series. In 2015, Japan got a unique 3DS version of the game. And in 2018, Gust and Koei Tecmo brought Atelier Rorona DX — pretty much a port of Atelier Rorona Plus — to Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Windows PC.

Keeping one game relevant for nine full years and counting is no mean feat. So let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons this game might have stuck around for quite as long as it has!

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Waifu Wednesday: Ivy Valentine

I have two confessions to make: one, I haven’t played a Soulcalibur game since… II, I think? And two, Ivy… doesn’t really “do” it for me.

I’m talking a fairly comprehensive package of “not doing it for me”, too; I’m not big into how she is depicted personality-wise, I have no idea how to play as her and I’m not especially into her now-iconic outfit, either… though I will admit that she does indeed have a very nice bottom.

Despite all this, I will happily and freely acknowledge that Ivy is one of the most recognisable faces in the Soulcalibur universe… and an interesting character to explore the various facets of. So let’s do that, shall we?

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