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Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea – The Art of Shalchemy

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It would have been easy for the Atelier series to just stick with one alchemy system and trot it out for every new installment. And people would have probably been fine if Gust had chosen to keep the exact same alchemy system for all the games in each of the franchise’s subseries.

But as we’ve seen numerous times by this point, that isn’t how Gust does things. Gust likes to experiment, refine, reinvent and occasionally revisit past ideas, all in the name of providing an interesting and varied experience — say, for anyone undertaking some sort of ridiculous mission like playing all of the Atelier games one after another.

Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea is one of those installments where Gust decided to reinvent the alchemy mechanics, rather than refining the systems we’d previously seen in Atelier Escha & Logy and Atelier Ayesha. And it presents us with an interesting new angle to this aspect of gameplay.

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Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea – What a Girl Wants

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Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea draws a number of cues from past Atelier games in terms of its overall game structure and execution — and indeed the way it does things can also be traced forward to some of Gust’s other games such as Blue Reflection.

For those who have played the previous games in the Atelier series, Atelier Shallie most closely resembles Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm in terms of structure — though with a few twists here and there. While Gust aren’t afraid to return to what worked previously, it’s very rare that they will simply recreate it wholesale without any changes.

It’s that game structure we’ll be taking a look at in this part of our exploration of the series as a whole.

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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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The Music of Atelier, Vol. 11: Atelier Escha & Logy – Alchemists of the Dusk Sky

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As the series has progressed, the distinctive sound of Atelier has evolved, too.

This is partly due to the composers involving themselves in the games’ soundtracks changing over time, and this becomes particularly apparent throughout the Dusk series. Ken Nakagawa, the man behind much of the distinctive “Atelier sound” that was established between Atelier Viorate and Atelier Meruru, stepped aside, and others, including Gust regular Daisuke Achiwa, stepped in.

Perhaps most notably, Atelier Escha & Logy is where composer Hayato Asano stepped in, and while his time as a Gust employee was relatively short — he now works as a freelance composer, with several further contributions to Gust to his name — he definitely had an impact on how the series sounded from hereon. So let’s take a look at a selection of music from Atelier Escha & Logy’s soundtrack!

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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 – A Question of Technique

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As always for the Atelier series, alchemy is at the core of almost everything you do in Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky.

This time around, there’s an interesting distinction made between female protagonist Escha’s “traditional” approach, taught to her by her mother, and male protagonist Logy’s “modern” approach that he learned in the mysterious Central City. Mechanically speaking, both are pretty much the same — though they are each used for different purposes in the game as a whole.

Today we’re going to take a closer look at that alchemy system, see how it differs from Atelier Ayesha’s approach — and give a firm thumbs-up to some quality of life features that longstanding Atelier fans will find very welcome, particularly if they haven’t played Atelier Lulua yet.

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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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