Tag Archives: Atelier

Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland – A Princess’ Work is Never Done

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As Princess Merurulince Rede Arls faces down the formidable task of expanding the tiny little hamlet that is Arls kingdom into a bustling city of 30,000 residents in the space of three years, she clearly has a lot of work ahead of her.

More to the point, she has a lot of different types of work ahead of her, too, meaning she’ll need to carefully balance her time between cooking up alchemical creations in her workshop and heading out into the field to listen to the requests of the people, slap down the local monster populations and generally go rather above and beyond the expectations of someone of her social standing.

She loves every minute, though, and you’ll be right there alongside her as she takes on her many and varied challenges. In this part of the Atelier MegaFeature, we take a look at how Meruru crafts items, and how that helps her long-term objective of developing the kingdom.

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Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland – Building a Legacy

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Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland concludes what was the original Arland trilogy for PlayStation 3 with another twist on the formula that makes it a very distinct game from its predecessors.

Blending elements of the game structure from both Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland and Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arlandit was a fitting conclusion to the series — at least until Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland put in a surprise appearance, anyway, but that’s a story for another day.

In this part of the Atelier MegaFeature, we’ll take a look at these things Atelier Meruru has in common with its predecessors — and how it manages to stand out as its own distinctive experience through its own additions to the formula. Let’s jump in!

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Waifu Wednesday: Merurulince Rede Arls

It’s not until next week that we’re starting to explore Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland in earnest, but it doesn’t hurt to get ahead of the game with a celebration of its protagonist!

Merurulince Rede Arls, better known simply as Meruru, is the princess of the tiny kingdom of Arls. But this girl is not your average fantasy fiction “stand around looking pretty but being quiet” sort of princess. Nope; Meruru is a thoroughly modern young lady who likes to Get Things Done, and absolutely will not stand for petty inconveniences like her father’s disapproval getting in her way.

She’s a delightful leading lady for a fondly regarded installment in the series as a whole, and a joy to be around. Let’s take a closer look at who she is and where she came from.

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Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland – High Impact Sexual Violence?

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We’ve already talked about how Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland marked something of a return to the “traditional” Atelier format in terms of its concept and structure. But its follow-up Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland shows that this return to Atelier’s roots was more than just a one-off.

Specifically, Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland re-establishes the early series’ formula of having several games unfold in the same (or at least a similar) geographical area and showing how that area changes over time — along with how the people who live there change, too. Atelier has, after all, always been a series about people at its heart.

Before we dive too deep into specific talk of mechanics and narrative, though, let’s take a first look at where this game came from — and one particularly interesting story surrounding one of its various releases over the years.

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Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland – Living the Arlandian Life

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So far in our exploration of Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland, we’ve seen how the game features a return to the time-limited nature of early Atelier games, and how the alchemy system has an unprecedented level of depth.

Today, we continue our look at this important and influential installment in the series with a closer look at how the whole game is structured, and how this differs significantly from the previous five games.

Most notably, Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland kicks off a subseries of Atelier that, while seemingly providing more restrictions than in the past thanks to the time limit, actually provides a lot of freedom for you to approach your long-term goals as you see fit.

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Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland – A Matter of Time

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A year after Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy bid a fond (and very late) farewell to the PlayStation 2, the Atelier series finally entered the high-definition era with the 2009 Japanese release of Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland for PlayStation 3.

Since the original release of the game and its 2010 localisation, we’ve seen a few other versions. In 2013, Atelier Rorona Plus revamped the entire game for PlayStation 3 and Vita with the graphics engine and alchemy mechanics from Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland, the third game in the Arland trilogy. In 2015, Japan got a peculiar chibified remake for Nintendo 3DS. And then in 2018, Atelier Rorona DX, a port of Atelier Rorona Plus that included all its downloadable content, was released for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Windows PC.

From hereon, we’ll primarily be looking at Atelier Rorona DX, since that is the most readily accessible version at the time of writing — but most of what we’ll talk about applies to all the different versions. So grab your Basket and let’s begin a whole new adventure!

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Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy – Special Measures in the Darkness

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Unlike the previous Atelier games that we’ve explored so far, Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy features two discrete narrative paths to follow, plus an “Extra” path once you’ve cleared them both that provides a “true” ending.

Your first playthrough of the game will likely take about 40 hours or so, but your second run with the other of the two protagonists will go by a little more quickly, since you can carry over almost everything from your first playthrough — including the recipes you’ve previously synthesised to unlock cards in the characters’ Grow Books. Expect to still spend another 20-30 hours though.

The two paths cover similar “macro” events and converge at the very end, but they are presented from very different perspectives, with a completely different set of characters at the forefront of the action and a unique series of events on the more “micro” scale. With that in mind, today we’re going to focus on the route fronted by female protagonist Ulrika, and follow up with male protagonist Raze’s narrative path — and the true ending — in a subsequent part. So grab your books and warm up your cauldron; it’s time to enrol in the Alchemy class.

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Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy – Making the Grade

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For most people, a “good” RPG consists of some combination of a compelling story, solid combat mechanics and satisfying progression.

Many RPGs have stuck with the conventional “experience and levels” system over the years, simply because that is a proven progression mechanic that works well, offers continual rewards for continued play and tangible improvements in your characters over time.

Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis did something a little different, where character combat effectiveness was directly tied to your engagement with the game’s core alchemy system. And its sequel Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy follows suit — but rather than simply rehashing the previous game’s mechanics, it adds an interesting new twist. Let’s take a closer look!

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Waifu Wednesday: Chloe Hartzog

The Atelier series has always been full of excellent female characters. And they’re all much more than just a pretty face.

Chloe Hartzog from Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy is a prime example. In fact, Chloe is particularly noteworthy because of the deliberate choice to make her embody pretty much the polar opposite of almost everything one thinks of when one contemplates a “pretty anime girl” supposedly on the side of the protagonist.

That, of course, makes her supremely interesting. So let’s take a closer look!

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Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy – One Must Fall

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So far in our exploration of Atelier, we’ve seen a series that is keen not to be seen as stagnating.

Each new game has reinvented itself when compared to its predecessor in one way or another, with the alchemy, progression and combat mechanics all differing from one game to the next — with some games being more drastically different than others.

Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy continues the trend of its two predecessors so far as its combat mechanics are concerned, which is to refine the systems introduced in Atelier Iris 3: Grand PhantasmSo let’s take a closer look at how you fight in the latter years of the Al-Revis Academy!

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