Tag Archives: Atelier

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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Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky – Battles at the End of the World

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While, as we’ve already seen, much of Escha and Logy’s time in their own game is spent living the corporate life and doing things that other people tell them to do, there are times when the pair of them have to take their own initiative.

We’ve already looked at how this works inside their workshop; today it’s time to take a closer look at their work out in the field, and particularly at how they fend off the foes they encounter during their investigations.

Yep, it’s combat time again; make sure you’ve got a basket full of bombs, ’cause we’re going to be out for a while!

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Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky – What a Way to Make a Living

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After several rather “freeform” Atelier games in which the player is left mostly to their own devices — albeit with a strict time limit — it’s quite refreshing to enjoy Atelier Escha & Logy’s assignment-based format.

While on paper, the experience might sound quite similar to how Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland did things, there are a few key differences along the way. So after last time’s exploration of how Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky handles the series’ core concept of alchemy, today we’re going to explore exactly what the rest of our young alchemists’ day job entails.

There’s exploring, there’s building, there’s crafting… but there’s also paperwork and keeping the bosses sweet. We are living the corporate Atelier life now, after all. Let’s take a closer look!

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Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky – Corporate Alchemy

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After the emotional journey that was Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk, Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky followed a year later. This time we were promised a pair of playable protagonists — something we hadn’t seen in the series since Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy.

This time around the two “paths” through the game are less noticeably different from one another than they were in Mana Khemia 2, due to the fact that the two protagonists spend most of their time alongside one another. It’s still worth playing both routes, however, as not only do you get to “hear” the innermost thoughts of each protagonist in their own respective route, there are some endings that can only be seen by one protagonist or the other.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves! What exactly is Atelier Escha & Logy, and how does it fit in to the Atelier series as a whole? Read on and let’s find out together.

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