Tag Archives: RPG

The Music of Atelier, Vol. 14: Atelier Firis – The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey

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Another Atelier game in the books, another opportunity to celebrate the series’ incredible music — and the sterling work of Gust’s sound team in general, who consistently put out some absolutely amazing tracks.

Atelier Firis’ soundtrack is a beast, consisting of 125 tracks in total. Considering the massive scope of the game, this shouldn’t be altogether surprising, but what’s impressive is that each and every one of those tracks is worthwhile and enjoyable to listen to, whether it’s a simple field theme or the most intense battle themes the score has to offer. As always, we’ll be taking a look at a few selections from the complete score rather than the whole thing!

Music this time around was provided by Kazuki Yanagawa, Tatsuya Yano and Daisuke Achiwa; it seems Hayato Asano took a break from the series for this one, which isn’t altogether surprising, as he was likely busy putting together the absolutely amazing soundtrack for Nights of Azure at the time. And, if you picked up the physical release of the complete Mysterious Trilogy from Play-Asia, don’t forget that it comes with a code to download the full soundtracks until April 21, 2024!

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Retro Select: Neverwinter Nights

It’s impressive how much BioWare has fallen from grace in recent years, but that’s what being taken over by EA and completely gutted will do to you.

On Retro Select this week, we look back at an era when BioWare were actually still good. Very good, in fact; Neverwinter Nights is probably one of my favourite games from them, for its sheer flexibility if nothing else. It’s well worth checking out even today — and still has a very active community!

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

Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey – What I Want to Do

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As we started to explore in the previous part of this feature, one of the things that makes Atelier Firis so interesting as a modern role-playing game is that once you’re into the game’s “second quest”, there’s no set goal where you can say that you have definitively “finished” the game.

I mean, okay, if you do literally everything the game has to offer, fill out all the collections to 100%, max out all your characters and make it so the only quests available are repeating ones, then yes, you’ve probably “beaten” Atelier Firis. But what I mean is that for people who aren’t obsessive completionists, you can pretty much choose what your own personal “win state” is, reach that condition and then, if you choose, set the game aside.

If you’re anything like me, of course, the temptation to just have “a quick look” at what else the game has to offer may be too much to bear, however… so let’s talk about this side of things, with a particular focus on what it means for Atelier Firis’ overall narrative.

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Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey – Dangerous Roads Ahead

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The overall structure of Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey is rather interesting — because for the most part it allows you to focus on the aspects of the game that you find most appealing.

Of course, in order to successfully prove Firis’ worth in the alchemy examination, you’ll need to display at least basic competence in all the main areas of gameplay, but once that’s done — and indeed for a hefty length of time in the run-up to the exam — you can approach the game as you see fit.

Unusually for a role-playing game, this actually means that you can get away without doing very much fighting at all if you so desire. But, as the Atelier series as a whole has repeatedly demonstrated up until this point, the best alchemists out there are the ones who know how to defend themselves. So it’s this aspect of Atelier Firis we’ll be looking at today!

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Atari ST A to Z: The Upper Reaches of Apshai

We return once again to The Temple of Apshai Trilogy for Atari ST, this time to explore the first “expansion” section: The Upper Reaches of Apshai.

The Upper Reaches of Apshai is noteworthy in that it takes a rather more light-hearted and experimental approach to the game’s core dungeon crawling; it has you picking berries and cleaning up rampant tomato patches rather than battling your way through vanilla-scented ant-men. And the Atari ST version is a great way to experience it!

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

Atari A to Z

Atari ST A to Z: The Temple of Apshai

The Temple of Apshai and its later Temple of Apshai Trilogy “remaster” are best known as 8-bit titles, but the latter actually got a port to Atari ST in 1986 — by Westwood, no less.

The ST version is, as it turns out, pretty good. It not only incorporates all the classic gameplay into a friendly GEM interface, it also includes all the room descriptions from the Book of Apshai into the game itself, making for a much more convenient way to play.

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

Atari A to Z

Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey – Taking a Trip

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Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey isn’t the first time that the Atelier series has attempted to focus on a protagonist going on a long journey. Far from it, in fact.

While the “modern” Atelier games are typically associated with the structure of being based around a “hub” location and then radiating out from there, this style of play only makes up some of the series. Atelier Totori and Atelier Ayesha are both explicitly about going on a journey, while Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana, Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny, Atelier Meruru and Atelier Shallie all have a significant “journey” component to their narratives, even if they also feature a “hub” location to call home.

But Atelier Firis manages to be a bit different by virtue of the way that it is constructed. Its “open world” nature gives a very different feel to the protagonist’s journey — and makes it stand out amid its peers in a very interesting and positive way. So let’s take a closer look at this idea.

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Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey – Your Friendly Neighbourhood Alchemist

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There’s a recurring theme throughout Atelier games: the idea that alchemy isn’t inherently “good” or “evil”, but that its value to society is determined by how its practitioners make use of it.

This is most commonly explored through the means of Atelier protagonists deciding that they want to make use of their talents and skills to help people around them — and Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey is no exception to that rule.

The big difference in Atelier Firis, of course, is that rather than being centred on a single location as in many other Atelier games, our heroine is instead on the move, hoping to eventually reach a final destination in order to prove herself. So let’s take a closer look at what that means for the overall game structure.

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The Music of Atelier, Vol. 13: Atelier Sophie – The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book

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It’s time once again to enjoy the wonderful work that Gust’s sound team puts into its flagship series — this time with the excellent music from Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book.

Atelier Sophie’s soundtrack is a pretty substantial one, consisting of 94 tracks in total — and as such, there were a fair few people working on it. Series mainstays Kazuki Yanagawa and Daisuke Achiwa return as always, as does Hayato Asano, who had gradually been becoming more prominent not just in the Atelier games, but in Gust’s work in general up until this point.

They’re joined by contributions from Ryudai Abe, Yu Shimoda, Miyoko Kobayashi and RURUTIA. So let’s take a moment to go through some favourite tracks — and if you picked up the physical release of the complete Mysterious Trilogy from Play-Asia, don’t forget you can download the full soundtracks with your serial codes until April 21, 2024!

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Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book – Classic-Style Combat

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One of the recurring things that has come up time and time again as we’ve been looking at Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book is how this game very consciously does things differently from what has come before.

It’s evident in the overall structure of the game and the way its story is told; it’s evident in the alchemy mechanics; it’s even evident in the art style, though this generally varies from subseries to subseries anyway.

And, of course, it’s evident in the combat system. This is a particularly interesting aspect of Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book to analyse in detail, because superficially its combat mechanics might resemble the last six games in the series to one degree or another — but in fact, things unfold quite differently. Let’s explore!

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