Tag Archives: Koei Tecmo

Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk – Alchemy in a Fading World

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Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk is, as we’ve already established, something of a step in a different direction for the series.

Over the course of the series, Gust has always drawn a hard line underneath each of the main “sets” of games before moving on to the next; the narrative of the setting isn’t necessarily wrapped up conclusively (which leaves things open for titles like Atelier Lulua to revisit past series) but there’s usually a significant reinvention of, at the very least, overall aesthetic and mechanical components.

One of the most obvious places where we see this is in the heart of the series: the alchemy component. So let’s take a closer look at exactly how Atelier Ayesha handles this side of things!

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Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk – Chromatic Shift

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While in many respects the Arland games had brought the Atelier series back to its roots, they also very much had their own distinctive sense of identity. In order to move on to a new subseries, there would need to be some sort of noticeable “shift”.

That was the challenge Gust was faced with after the success of Ateliers Rorona, Totori and Meruruhow to follow that up with something that still felt like Atelier, but which also distinguished itself from the pastel-coloured, distinctly “comfy” games that had come before? And with the new generation of fans who might have joined the series in the HD era, how to ensure that no-one went away feeling like the series had dropped something important to its core identity?

We got our answer in 2012 with the release of Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk — which ended up being the first installment in one of the most fondly regarded Atelier subseries of all time. So I guess they did something right. Let’s take a first look!

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Waifu Wednesday: Zhenji

By popular request (all right, one person asked for it) it’s time for another Warriors waifu. This week, we take a look at Zhenji, also known as Zhenshi, Zhen Luo, Zhen Fu, Lady Zhen or “the one with the flute”.

She’s been a fixture in the Warriors series since Dynasty Warriors 3, and also shows up in the various Warriors Orochi games. In most games, she’s depicted as wielding a flute as her weapon, though in Dynasty Warriors 6 and 9, she swaps the flute for a chain whip — probably a tad more effective in battle, but not nearly as iconic.

She is, by all accounts, a woman of “dazzling beauty”, so let’s take a closer look at who she is and where she came from!

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Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland – Give Me A Reason to Live

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The nice thing about the original Arland trilogy is that although there was definitely a sense of narrative progression over the course of the three games, each one was self-contained and left things open-ended for future development; there was no “grand finale”.

That’s where Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland comes in, of course. The fact that Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland concluded the story of Meruru’s growth into a talented young alchemist, but didn’t spell any sort of “finality” for the Arland region meant that there was still plenty of scope to tell more stories in these pastel-coloured lands. Perhaps some sort of story that answers a few unresolved questions from the original trilogy — and which lets us see how all our favourite characters are getting along?

Atelier Lulua still doesn’t necessarily feel like a “finale”; if anything it ushers in a bold new era for Arland. Whether or not we’ll see any more games in this setting remains to be seen at the time of writing, but for now, Atelier Lulua provides an interesting, substantial story to tie things together nicely. So let’s take a closer look — bearing in mind that, of course, there will be spoilers ahead.

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Waifu Wednesday: Nene

I’ve been playing a lot of Warriors Orochi 3 lately, so I feel it’s high time we had another Warriors waifu to celebrate.

This time around it’s the turn of Nene, a character who has had several names over the years. While she’s known as Nene in the Warriors Orochi series, she’s also been known as One (pronounced oh-nay), Nei and, probably most commonly when referring to the real historical figure, Kōdai-in.

Like most of the characters from the Warriors series, there’s a variety of interesting things to learn about her. So let’s dive in and investigate!

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Warriors Orochi 3: One Hundred and Forty-Five Warriors Worth One Hundred and Forty-Five Thousand

One of the interesting things about the Warriors Orochi series is quite how many playable characters each installment has had on the roster. And, of course, this is a number that has only expanded over time.

In fact, the most recent installment at the time of writing, Warriors Orochi 4, scored itself a fairly meaningless Guinness World Record for “most playable characters in a hack-and-slash video game” thanks to its 170 cast members. Warriors Orochi 3 isn’t far behind, though, with a full 145 peeps to take charge of in the Ultimate release of the game.

But when presented with that many playable characters, what exactly do you do with all of them? Are you expected to level them all up? Where do you start? Let’s talk progression!

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Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland – The Fight For What’s Important

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In keeping with how Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland’s alchemy mechanics aren’t just a straight rehash of the other Arland games, the battle and exploration mechanics also feature a pleasing blend of old and new.

By taking the basic structure of battles from the earlier Arland games and then supplementing this with a variety of brand-new tactical considerations, Atelier Lulua provides us with an enjoyable combat system that keeps things consistently interesting for the game’s duration. And some really nice “quality of life” features mean that the whole game feels nicely streamlined and efficient to play without sacrificing any sort of mechanical depth.

That’s how you do a good follow-up — from the perspective of game design, anyway. Let’s take a closer look at these specific elements of Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland.

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short;Play: Warriors Orochi 2

Now I’m starting to explore Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate, here’s a brief look at the game we’ve just left behind: Warriors Orochi 2.

Warriors Orochi 2 was received fairly poorly in the West, largely because the West doesn’t really know how to review Warriors games — but also because at first glance, it seems very similar to the first Warriors Orochi. Delve into it a little deeper, though, and you’ll find an interesting character progression system that can devour a significant chunk of your life if you let it!

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Warriors Orochi 3: First Steps in a Ruined World

I, if it has not already been made abundantly clear, love the Warriors series as a whole. And I’ve found myself particularly enjoying the Warriors Orochi branch.

Warriors Orochi’s core appeal is that it successfully divorces both the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors casts from their original contexts, allowing them to break free from the stories they’ve been telling since the PlayStation 2 days. Instead, they get the chance to have a bit of fun.

Well, “fun” might not be quite the right word, given that Warriors Orochi 3 starts off with all of them (except for three, conveniently) dying horribly. But it’s certainly fun for us.

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Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland – Fourth-Generation Alchemy

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Given that there was a gap of eight years and six games between Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland and Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland, it will doubtless not surprise you to learn that the latter’s mechanics aren’t just a rehash of the former’s.

Instead, upon the game’s initial announcement in Japan’s Weekly Famitsu, Gust revealed that the new game would feature an alchemy system that blended elements of the classic Arland games with more recent additions to the formula — specifically, incorporating some elements that had proven popular from the primarily PS4-based Mysterious series.

The result is a mechanical core to the game that is accessible to newcomers but filled with a considerable amount of hidden depth — and which feels fresh and interesting to series veterans, even if they’re coming to Atelier Lulua directly from the previous three Arland games. Let’s take a closer look.

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