Tag Archives: crafting

Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland – A New Generation of Alchemy

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In the previous part of this feature, we took a high-level look at how Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland represented a return to the Atelier series’ roots, after Gust experimented with the formula quite a bit throughout the latter days of the PS2 era.

Today, we’re going to examine one of the main ways that the game combines this “traditional” feel with more complex, in-depth and modern mechanics: its revamped alchemy system. As the centrepiece of the Atelier series as a whole, this has always been where Gust has been at its most experimental and iterative, building on the best aspects of what had come before while casting aside the things that didn’t work quite so well or which couldn’t practically be fleshed out any further.

While Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland’s alchemy system is distinctive in its own right, it also clearly learns a lot of lessons from what immediately preceded it. So get that fire lit under your cauldron, and let’s get cookin’!

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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 – 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 – 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 2: The Azoth of Destiny – Alchemy Evolution

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Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana was very clearly an attempt to do something different with the Atelier series… and also a bit of a playground for the development team to experiment with a wide variety of ideas.

This much becomes obvious almost from the moment you boot up 2005’s Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny, which takes many of the things that worked from Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana, fixes the things that almost worked and ditches the things that didn’t.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny builds on its predecessor, and how this becomes clear over the course of the game’s early hours.

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New Game Plus: Night’s Domain – Atelier Rorona DX #16

How tough is our girl Rorona? Only tough enough to fell both a dragon and a demon in a single expedition, that’s how tough!

In this week’s installment of our New Game Plus run through Atelier Rorona DX, we find ourselves exploring Night’s Domain, a dungeon at the northernmost tip of Arland that is somewhat… mysterious and otherworldly in nature. It’s full of some of the most valuable, high-quality ingredients in the game, though, so it’s well worth taking your time to explore… if you’re up to the challenge, that is!

Meanwhile, there’s a final bit of intrigue with Lionela… could she have finally found some peace in her life…?

New Game Plus: Deep Water and Dark Forests – Atelier Rorona DX #13

It’s time to check in on Rorona again! This time around, she has her hands not-so-full with preparing for the second Annual Festival of the game.

As always, the head start that the New Game Plus bonuses afforded us means we can get the assignment out of the way very quickly, which leaves plenty of time for a bit of exploration.

For today’s episode, we check out the underwater Lost City as well as the Dark Woods. And my cat “helps”.

New Game Plus: Beat the Heat – Atelier Rorona DX #11

It’s summer! At least it is in Arland.

You know what that means: alchemical solutions to beat the heat! Of course, the astute among you will have already noticed that… oh, let’s leave that as a surprise, shall we?

Today’s New Game Plus run continues with more alchemy, more one-hit kills, some boobs on proud display, and Tantris and Lionela really starting to come into their own as fighters, despite their inferior equipment. Hit the jump to see how things went!

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New Game Plus: Mel Kishida Loves Stinky Feet – Atelier Rorona DX #10

As with Wednesday’s Warriors Wednesday video, I thought I’d make an effort to drop in some vaguely interesting factoids into my video intros.

As such, today you will learn that yes, indeed, Atelier Arland character designer Mel Kishida is indeed into stinky feet. But how is this relevant? Umm… Well… Oh, just watch it, will you? (And play Blue Reflectionit’s beautiful.)

Hit the jump to see how Rorona’s efforts went today… ignoring the pervy Japanese dude just waiting for her to take her boots off!

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New Game Plus: Vultures-B-Gone – Atelier Rorona DX #9

Our “second playthrough” adventures in the world of Atelier Rorona DX continue, this time with an important pest control job!

It seems the Nearby Forest has been infested with vultures, and Rorona is clearly the right person to get rid of them. At least it’s a distraction from the myriad neuroses and mental scars Astrid and her absentee parents have almost certainly left on her by this point…

But surely, surely there must be an easier way of clearing out the vultures than just booping them all on the head with a(n admittedly massively overpowered) stick, right…?

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