Tag Archives: NIS America

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: 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 – The Ninth Atelier

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With the ninth installment in the mainline Atelier series, Gust took the curious decision to temporarily drop the “Atelier [x]” naming convention and instead start a new subseries.

Except it’s not quite that simple; the two Mana Khemia games actually have a fair bit in common with the Atelier Iris subseries in terms of presentation, mechanics, tone and themes, leading some people to consider them an unofficial part of the Atelier Iris “trilogy”.

Ultimately it doesn’t really matter too much; Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis certainly stands by itself as a solid title in the franchise as a whole, so let’s begin with a general overview of what it’s all about.

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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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Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm – Bursting Into Battle

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As we’ve seen so far, each game in the Atelier Iris series reinvents its core mechanics quite significantly from its predecessor; this was a rather experimental period for Gust.

In this article, we’re going to take a specific look at the combat and progression mechanics in Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm, including the elements carried across from prior installments and some all-new considerations for this specific title.

Strap on your Mushroom Armour, rev up your Pyre Blade and get ready to fight — we’re going in. Watch out for the Punis!

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Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny – Narrative, Themes and Characterisation

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Although technically a “sequel” to Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana — it was even known as Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana 2 in Japan — Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny unfolds quite differently from its predecessor.

It’s set long before the events of Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana, for starters, so the world in which the action unfolds is very different. There’s a stark divide between the peaceful land of Eden, where alchemy is widespread and Mana spirits walk (or walk-equivalent) the streets alongside humans, and the “surface world” of Belkhyde, which left the practice of alchemy behind long ago.

Before we delve into all that, though, there’s an important question to address: what the fuck is an “azoth”, anyway?

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Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories – Living a Crisis

I reviewed this game for Nintendo Life! Stop by and check out my thoughts over there, then pop back here for a more in-depth look.


In video games, we’re accustomed to having some sort of concrete “villain” to fight — usually a personified antagonist of some description.

But what happens when you don’t really have an “enemy” as such — you’re just struggling against natural forces that have no feelings about you one way or the other? And how will your experiences interact with those of the people around you?

These are the questions that Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories attempts to answer. So let’s take a closer look at how it does that.

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Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny – Worlds Apart

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The Atelier series, as we’ve previously explored, was primarily based around an isometric perspective right up until its shift to full 3D in the PlayStation 3 era.

If anything, this aspect of the game’s overall design and structure is even more apparent in Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny than in its immediate predecessor, with much of male protagonist Felt’s quest consisting of exploring labyrinthine dungeons presented from this distinctive viewpoint.

With that in mind, then, let’s take a closer look at how one gets around in the world of Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny, and how it differs from Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana.

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Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny – The Fight for Eden

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The Atelier Iris subseries is, as we’ve already seen with Eternal Mana, something of an outlier in the Atelier series as a whole.

While all of the Atelier games involve RPG-style combat to varying degrees, the Iris subseries places a particular emphasis on what many would think of as a more “conventional” RPG-style structure: the protagonist goes on a journey, explores dungeons, acquires allies, seeks out wondrous treasures… there just happens to be some alchemy involved on the side.

Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny has a particularly strong emphasis on its combat and progression mechanics, making it a satisfying game for those who like making numbers get bigger. Let’s take a closer look at this aspect today.

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