Tag Archives: characterisation

Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey – What I Want to Do

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As we started to explore in the previous part of this feature, one of the things that makes Atelier Firis so interesting as a modern role-playing game is that once you’re into the game’s “second quest”, there’s no set goal where you can say that you have definitively “finished” the game.

I mean, okay, if you do literally everything the game has to offer, fill out all the collections to 100%, max out all your characters and make it so the only quests available are repeating ones, then yes, you’ve probably “beaten” Atelier Firis. But what I mean is that for people who aren’t obsessive completionists, you can pretty much choose what your own personal “win state” is, reach that condition and then, if you choose, set the game aside.

If you’re anything like me, of course, the temptation to just have “a quick look” at what else the game has to offer may be too much to bear, however… so let’s talk about this side of things, with a particular focus on what it means for Atelier Firis’ overall narrative.

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Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey – The Second Quest

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It’s not at all unusual for RPGs these days to contain a significant post-game component: something to spend your time with once the credits have rolled for the first time.

It’s a little more rare for games to take the approach that Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey does, which is for what is technically the “post-game” to feel pretty much like a whole new game in its own right.

Yes, you could quite feasibly put Atelier Firis down after you help her pass her alchemy license exam. But you’d be missing out on so much — so let’s explore what this whole “second quest” has to offer!

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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 Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea – A Socratic Paradox

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And so it is that we come to the end of one of the most beloved subseries in the entire history of Atelier. Every Atelier fan has their favourite installments, but it seems everyone has a lot of time for the Dusk series as a whole.

With that in mind, it seems fitting to bid farewell to this part of the series with a look at how Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea wraps things up after your second playthrough — and what all this has meant for our journey as a whole.

After that, it’s time to explore brave — some might say Mysterious — new frontiers, but that’s a story for another day!

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Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea – The Kindness of Strangers

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Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea is the final chapter in the Dusk trilogy. Whether or not we’ll see a later fourth installment a la Atelier Lulua remains to be seen, but for now, this is where it all ends.

As such, Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea is a game that brings together a series of interesting narrative threads from over the course of the trilogy as a whole — including some that began way back in Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk. So while the story stands by itself and many of its mechanics are a lot more accessible to series newcomers, the game is best experienced in context as the conclusion of the Dusk storyline.

Like Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky before it, though, you’ll need to play through as both protagonists to get the full story. So let’s start with a look at the main narrative you’ll experience first time around in the game if you pick Shallistera as your protagonist, then.

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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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Waifu Wednesday: Bubbles

I recently played through an interesting Taiwanese game called Food Girls. It’s a visual novel combined with a management sim about rescuing a street market from closure and demolition. You can read more about it in my feature over on Rice Digital; there’ll be more about it here when I’ve done a few more playthroughs!

As you might expect from the name, Food Girls primarily focuses on your relationships with the vendors who call the street market home. As you develop those relationships — and train up their important skills to ensure they’re making profit — you learn more about them.

For my first playthrough, I mostly focused on the tsundere bubble tea shop owner Bubbles. What can I say? I have a type. (I have multiple types, as it happens, but tsundere is a particular weak point.) So let’s take a closer look!

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Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk – Bonds of People

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As we’ve already discussed to a certain extent, Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk kicks off an Atelier subseries with a noticeably different feel to its predecessors.

While the Arland series was, on the whole, very positive in tone — the more melancholic aspects of Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland aside — the Dusk series emphasises the feeling that all is not well in this “world that is heading for destruction”, as Gust themselves put it.

And that feeling doesn’t just extend to the overall worldview of Atelier Ayesha, either; it infuses the core narrative and provides it with a very distinctive, highly emotional and deeply memorable feel. Let’s take a closer look.

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Waifu Wednesday: Lenna Charlotte Tycoon

Final Fantasy V, despite being one of the most mechanically solid installments in the series, doesn’t get a ton of love — partly because it got localised very late; partly because the quality of those localisations has varied considerably over time; and partly because in the grand scheme of the franchise as a whole, it’s comparatively bastard hard.

After many, many years of saying “I should probably beat Final Fantasy V sometime”, I am finally working on that goal — specifically by playing it on my totally normal, pristine and absolutely definitely completely stock PlayStation Classic that my brother rather generously bought me for Christmas. (More on all that another day, I feel.) And I thought Lenna — or “Reina” as she’s called in the version of Final Fantasy V I’m playing — was deserving of some love.

So let’s give her some love. Our pink-haired princess is one of Final Fantasy’s most capable heroines, so it’s high time she saw some appreciation, I say!

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Waifu Wednesday: Marion Quinn

Anyone who has ever worked an office job will have doubtless come into contact with the particular archetype that Marion Quinn from the Atelier Dusk trilogy represents.

Perpetually overworked, constantly struggling for recognition and seemingly always lumbered with frustrating, thankless tasks despite being highly competent and intelligent, the Marions out there are the unsung heroes of the world. They’re the people who get things done without making a big fuss; they’re the people who you want to keep on the right side of, because they also tend to be the people who have the real power in the grand scheme of things.

We get a glimpse of Marion’s life in Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Duskfollowed by an opportunity to actually work alongside her in Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky. So let’s give her a bit of love for today, shall we? Office party!

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