Tag Archives: narrative

Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea – The Kindness of Strangers

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Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea is the final chapter in the Dusk trilogy. Whether or not we’ll see a later fourth installment a la Atelier Lulua remains to be seen, but for now, this is where it all ends.

As such, Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea is a game that brings together a series of interesting narrative threads from over the course of the trilogy as a whole — including some that began way back in Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk. So while the story stands by itself and many of its mechanics are a lot more accessible to series newcomers, the game is best experienced in context as the conclusion of the Dusk storyline.

Like Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky before it, though, you’ll need to play through as both protagonists to get the full story. So let’s start with a look at the main narrative you’ll experience first time around in the game if you pick Shallistera as your protagonist, then.

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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 – 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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Waifu Wednesday: Bubbles

I recently played through an interesting Taiwanese game called Food Girls. It’s a visual novel combined with a management sim about rescuing a street market from closure and demolition. You can read more about it in my feature over on Rice Digital; there’ll be more about it here when I’ve done a few more playthroughs!

As you might expect from the name, Food Girls primarily focuses on your relationships with the vendors who call the street market home. As you develop those relationships — and train up their important skills to ensure they’re making profit — you learn more about them.

For my first playthrough, I mostly focused on the tsundere bubble tea shop owner Bubbles. What can I say? I have a type. (I have multiple types, as it happens, but tsundere is a particular weak point.) So let’s take a closer look!

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Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk – Bonds of People

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As we’ve already discussed to a certain extent, Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk kicks off an Atelier subseries with a noticeably different feel to its predecessors.

While the Arland series was, on the whole, very positive in tone — the more melancholic aspects of Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland aside — the Dusk series emphasises the feeling that all is not well in this “world that is heading for destruction”, as Gust themselves put it.

And that feeling doesn’t just extend to the overall worldview of Atelier Ayesha, either; it infuses the core narrative and provides it with a very distinctive, highly emotional and deeply memorable feel. Let’s take a closer look.

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Waifu Wednesday: Lenna Charlotte Tycoon

Final Fantasy V, despite being one of the most mechanically solid installments in the series, doesn’t get a ton of love — partly because it got localised very late; partly because the quality of those localisations has varied considerably over time; and partly because in the grand scheme of the franchise as a whole, it’s comparatively bastard hard.

After many, many years of saying “I should probably beat Final Fantasy V sometime”, I am finally working on that goal — specifically by playing it on my totally normal, pristine and absolutely definitely completely stock PlayStation Classic that my brother rather generously bought me for Christmas. (More on all that another day, I feel.) And I thought Lenna — or “Reina” as she’s called in the version of Final Fantasy V I’m playing — was deserving of some love.

So let’s give her some love. Our pink-haired princess is one of Final Fantasy’s most capable heroines, so it’s high time she saw some appreciation, I say!

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Waifu Wednesday: Marion Quinn

Anyone who has ever worked an office job will have doubtless come into contact with the particular archetype that Marion Quinn from the Atelier Dusk trilogy represents.

Perpetually overworked, constantly struggling for recognition and seemingly always lumbered with frustrating, thankless tasks despite being highly competent and intelligent, the Marions out there are the unsung heroes of the world. They’re the people who get things done without making a big fuss; they’re the people who you want to keep on the right side of, because they also tend to be the people who have the real power in the grand scheme of things.

We get a glimpse of Marion’s life in Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Duskfollowed by an opportunity to actually work alongside her in Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky. So let’s give her a bit of love for today, shall we? Office party!

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Waifu Wednesday: Ayesha Altugle

Since we’re moving on to Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk later this week, it is, of course, time to appreciate its wonderful protagonist.

The Dusk trilogy of games in the Atelier series has a markedly different feel and atmosphere to the colourful exuberance of the Arland games that immediately precede it. It’s an altogether more melancholy, pensive affair, as this time around we’re looking at a world in which all is most certainly not well.

Thankfully the world of Dusk being on the road to possible ruin doesn’t stop it from featuring some of the most beautiful girls in all of Gust’s history — with one of the most striking examples being our new lead Ayesha. Let’s take a closer look.

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Nekopara Vol. 4: The Smiles on Everyone’s Faces

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The first three volumes of the Nekopara series each focused on a pair of the catgirls from the core cast, and explored a key message or lesson they had to learn.

In Nekopara Vol. 1, Chocola and Vanilla learn how to function independently in human society, earning their “Bells” in the process. In Vol. 2, Coconut and Azuki both come at the idea of honesty always being the best policy from slightly different angles. And in Vol. 3, Maple and Cinnamon determine that staying true to yourself is a much better way to live your life than deliberately holding yourself back, or trying to be something that you’re not.

In Vol. 4, things are a little different. This time around, the core narrative focuses on the series protagonist Kashou, who longstanding followers of the series will know has had a certain amount of conflict brewing in his heart since the very beginning. It’s time for him to finally figure out some answers.

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