Tag Archives: Atelier

Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey – Your Friendly Neighbourhood Alchemist

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There’s a recurring theme throughout Atelier games: the idea that alchemy isn’t inherently “good” or “evil”, but that its value to society is determined by how its practitioners make use of it.

This is most commonly explored through the means of Atelier protagonists deciding that they want to make use of their talents and skills to help people around them — and Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey is no exception to that rule.

The big difference in Atelier Firis, of course, is that rather than being centred on a single location as in many other Atelier games, our heroine is instead on the move, hoping to eventually reach a final destination in order to prove herself. So let’s take a closer look at what that means for the overall game structure.

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Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey – Atelier Hits the Open Road

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The Atelier series, as we’ve seen numerous times over the course of its complete length, is not one to sit still for long — even within the scope of a single subseries.

Despite this, Atelier games have always managed to establish a sense of coherence between different installments — even when they might appear, at first glance, to be radically different from one another.

Such is the case with the second of the Mysterious trilogy — Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey may initially appear markedly different from its immediate predecessor Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Bookbut the more you spend time with it, the more you’ll realise there are some interesting elements in common amid all that seeming change.

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The Music of Atelier, Vol. 13: Atelier Sophie – The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book

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It’s time once again to enjoy the wonderful work that Gust’s sound team puts into its flagship series — this time with the excellent music from Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book.

Atelier Sophie’s soundtrack is a pretty substantial one, consisting of 94 tracks in total — and as such, there were a fair few people working on it. Series mainstays Kazuki Yanagawa and Daisuke Achiwa return as always, as does Hayato Asano, who had gradually been becoming more prominent not just in the Atelier games, but in Gust’s work in general up until this point.

They’re joined by contributions from Ryudai Abe, Yu Shimoda, Miyoko Kobayashi and RURUTIA. So let’s take a moment to go through some favourite tracks — and if you picked up the physical release of the complete Mysterious Trilogy from Play-Asia, don’t forget you can download the full soundtracks with your serial codes until April 21, 2024!

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Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book – Have You Any Dreams You’d Like to Sell?

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Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book is a story about dreams. It’s a story about ambition. And it’s a story about learning to have trust and faith in your own abilities.

While, as we’ve previously explored, the game takes a deliberately “directionless” approach to its early hours, these themes are nonetheless apparent from the very beginning of the game. And they’re explored not only through our heroine Sophie herself, but through many of the other characters, too.

So let’s take a closer look at the narrative, themes and characterisation of Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book, and ponder how these characters grow and change over the course of their respective journeys.

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Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book – Classic-Style Combat

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One of the recurring things that has come up time and time again as we’ve been looking at Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book is how this game very consciously does things differently from what has come before.

It’s evident in the overall structure of the game and the way its story is told; it’s evident in the alchemy mechanics; it’s even evident in the art style, though this generally varies from subseries to subseries anyway.

And, of course, it’s evident in the combat system. This is a particularly interesting aspect of Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book to analyse in detail, because superficially its combat mechanics might resemble the last six games in the series to one degree or another — but in fact, things unfold quite differently. Let’s explore!

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Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book – Getting Into Role

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What, exactly, is an “RPG” anyway? The term covers such a broad spectrum of different game types these days that it’s fast becoming less useful than it once was — and yet it’s still understood by many people to mean a few things.

Growth in power over the duration of the story; strength, competence and other things that can grow (and shrink!) represented as numerical values; abstract mechanics that represent things which would be difficult to simulate “realistically”. All of these are pretty constant, regardless of what type of RPG you’re playing.

But the approach to story — and indeed the main “point” of the experience — varies wildly from game to game. And with Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book, we see a game with a noticeably different feel to many of the titles that have come before in the Atelier series.

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Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea – The Fight for a Dying World

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So far, we’ve seen that Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea is an interesting installment in the Atelier series as a whole, in that it explores brand new elements while simultaneously calling back to some of the series’ best bits.

One of the most obvious places it looks back at past successes is the gameplay when you step outside the city walls of Stellard and head off into the big, wide world. But even then, it doesn’t just rehash what has come before; it adds its own interesting twists on the formula to create something unique and distinct to Atelier Shallie.

Let’s take a closer look at the game’s combat and exploration mechanics, then, as we get closer and closer to the truth behind the world of Dusk.

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Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea – A Fresh Start

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And so, after the intriguing adventures of Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky, we come to the grand finale of the Dusk series: Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea.

Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea is a particularly interesting installment in the series as a whole, because it breaks with a whole bunch of series conventions. This tends to have the net effect that, mechanically speaking, it is a lot more accessible to newcomers than many of the previous Atelier games, for reasons we’ll get into shortly.

But at the same time it offers a solid conclusion to everything we’ve seen in the Dusk series up until this point, meaning it’s arguably best played after enjoying Atelier Ayesha and Atelier Escha & Logy to the fullest. And on top of that, there are certain elements that longstanding fans of the Atelier series as a whole will find particularly delightful. So let’s take a closer look at this fascinating game!

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Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky – Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One

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Any time a substantial game with multiple playable protagonists comes up, there are, inevitably, a few questions which people want answers to.

Firstly: is the game worth playing through multiple times from the perspective of those multiple protagonists? Secondly, does the game make it convenient to do so? And thirdly, is the payoff for the effort, however much it might be, worth it?

Since Atelier Escha & Logy allows you the chance to play as either of its eponymous protagonists, all of these questions are, of course, relevant — so that’s what we’re going to be looking at today.

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Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky – Together We’re Stronger

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As time has gone on, the focus of the narratives in the Atelier series has changed somewhat — and it’s gone back and forth between dramatic, world-saving narratives and more personal affairs.

Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky is an interesting one, in that it has elements of both in there. Of course, the very nature of the Dusk setting suggests that we may well be looking at a world that is already beyond “saving” in its entirety — but that doesn’t necessarily mean that people can’t make a difference in smaller areas of that world.

And, as we’ve seen throughout the Atelier series as a whole, no-one is better-placed to make a difference — for better or worse — than your friendly neighbourhood alchemists.

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