Tag Archives: Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis

The Music of Atelier, Vol. 4: Mana Khemia – Alchemists of Al-Revis

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As has become MegaFeature tradition, now we’ve finished exploring Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis from mechanical and narrative perspectives, it’s time to celebrate the sterling work of Gust’s sound team with a look at its soundtrack.

Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis is the second game in the Atelier series to make use of pre-recorded streamed music rather than real-time synthesised, sequenced music. We were already starting to get a strong feel for the distinct audible aesthetic lead composers Ken Nakagawa and Daisuke Achiwa were aiming for with the series in Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm, but Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis and its sequel further codify many of the musical conventions of the series.

These conventions would remain in place as Atelier bid farewell to the PlayStation 2 and jumped to the next generation with the Arland trilogy. So let’s dive into some highlights from Mana Khemia’s score!

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Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis – Narrative, Themes and Characterisation

 

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The two Mana Khemia games are sometimes unofficially regarded as a continuation of the Atelier Iris trilogy.

It’s fairly easy to see why: the overall presentation is very similar to Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm in particular; the setting, in which human alchemists cooperate with elemental beings known as Mana to Do Alchemy, fits right in with its immediate predecessors; and thematically, there’s a lot in common, too.

Specifically, Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis follows the mould of its precursors by contemplating how alchemy, an inherently neutral power by itself, can be used for both good and ill depending on the individual. But this time around, the whole thing is on a rather more personal scale than the world-saving narratives of Atelier Iris. So let’s explore further!

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Waifu Wednesday: Pamela Ibis (Again)

Yes, yes, yes, I know we technically “did” Pamela already last year, but as you’ll know if you’ve played more than a couple of the Atelier games… one can never really claim to truly know Pamela.

Specifically, knowing just one form of Pamela — her (re)incarnation that appears in the Arland series, in the case of that previous article — doesn’t necessarily mean that you know everything there is to know about Pamela. I mean, she may or may not be the same person at all. Probably not, given that the various Atelier subseries are regarded as unfolding in completely separate continuities. Unless…?

Enough justification. Today we’re looking at Pamela Ibis from Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis. Don’t you dare make her cry.

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Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis – A Learning Experience

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Turn-based, menu-driven RPGs for computer and console — particularly the latter — are, for the most part, well past being simple adaptations of tabletop gaming rules.

The freedom afforded them by the digital medium means that they can get highly creative and abstract with all of their core mechanics without being limited by physical components, complexity of calculations or even any sort of rational plausibility. This not only applies to combat mechanics, as we saw in the previous part of this feature, but also to character progression.

While past Atelier games kept things relatively conventional in this regard, following the “experience points and levels” system, Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis features a very distinct way of powering up your characters that fits in very well with its core themes and other mechanics. So let’s take a closer look at that today.

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Waifu Wednesday: Anna Lemouri

Once again Waifu Wednesday rolls around, and we’re still not out of awesome female characters from Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis to celebrate!

This week we’re taking a look at Anna Lemouri, who joins the cast after protagonist Vayne and his friends Jess and Nikki complete their first year at the Al-Revis Academy and become sophomores.

Anna is the youngest character in the main cast, but in many regards she is the most mature — very much a case of “old before her time” in most circumstances, though there are a few very notable exceptions…

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Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis – School of Hard Knocks

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At first glance, Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis might appear to be very mechanically similar to its immediate predecessor in the Atelier series, Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm.

But it doesn’t take long for it to distinguish itself in a variety of different ways. We’ve already seen how the alchemy mechanics are quite a bit different from anything we’ve seen in the series before — and we’ll subsequently see how they form the foundation of the Arland series’ alchemy systems — so today we’ll be taking a closer look at combat.

Although Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis arguably places a stronger emphasis on the alchemy side of things than its predecessors in the Atelier Iris series, it has an immensely satisfying and enjoyable combat system that is a ton of fun to engage with. So let’s explore it further!

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Waifu Wednesday: Jessica Philomele

It’s that time of the week again, and there’s no way I could let my coverage of Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis slip by without celebrating Jessica Philomele, arguably the most prominent female character in the game.

Jessica is the one who appears alongside main protagonist Vayne in the promotional artwork. Jessica is the first playable character that you meet once the game proper gets underway. And Jessica… was named something different in Japan?

We have a lot to talk about here — some of which may involve some mild spoilers — so hit the jump and let’s get started!

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Waifu Wednesday: Nicole Mimi Tithel

With the Atelier MegaFeature continuing apace, the next game on the list is Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis — a title which, despite not actually having “Atelier” in the title, is officially the ninth mainline installment in the series.

Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis is full of wonderful characters, and you get plenty of time to hang out with them thanks to the game’s school-based setting. And for those who enjoy either New Game Plus replays or save-scumming, there’s a different ending for each one of them, too.

Today I thought we’d look at the rather charming Nicole Mimi Tithel, or Nikki for short. She is, to put it mildly, a rather striking character who will almost certainly leave quite the impression!

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