Tag Archives: Koei Tecmo

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 – Stirring the Pot

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As is tradition for the series at this point, Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book shakes things up considerably when it comes to its core alchemy mechanics.

And again in keeping with past installments, the reinvention isn’t so radical that it feels incongruous with the rest of the series, but it’s distinctive enough to make Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book stand out nicely amid its many, many peers.

So today let’s take a closer look at that alchemy system — along with how the people around the town of Kirchen Bell can help out with your studies!

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Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book – Alchemist on the Road

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Having taken a high-level look at Atelier Sophie’s place in the series and its overall game structure, it’s time to look more specifically at the way it does certain things.

In this part of the Atelier MegaFeature, we’re going to take a look at what Sophie gets up to when she leaves the safety of her hometown Kirchen Bell and heads out into the big, wide world. As we’ve seen elsewhere in the Atelier series, exploring and gathering ingredients is an important part of an alchemist’s lifestyle — and Sophie’s life as depicted in Atelier Sophie is certainly no exception in that regard.

So empty that Basket and throw on those gathering gloves — it’s time to hit the road!

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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 Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book – First Steps in a Mysterious New World

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After how beloved the Dusk subseries of Atelier has become over the years, how could Gust possibly follow that up?

By doing what they’ve always done, of course: completely reinventing the series and kicking off a whole new set of games. Doing so doesn’t stop the Dusk series from existing, after all — and it also prevents the series from stagnating. Not that it was ever at any risk of doing that anyway, given how much we’ve seen it varies between individual installments!

In this part of the Atelier MegaFeature, we’ll be taking a high-level look at the first game in the Mysterious trilogy, Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book. Where did this game come from, what was the thinking behind certain aspects of its design — and what do we have to look forward to?

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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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