Tag Archives: structure

Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland – Living the Arlandian Life

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So far in our exploration of Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland, we’ve seen how the game features a return to the time-limited nature of early Atelier games, and how the alchemy system has an unprecedented level of depth.

Today, we continue our look at this important and influential installment in the series with a closer look at how the whole game is structured, and how this differs significantly from the previous five games.

Most notably, Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland kicks off a subseries of Atelier that, while seemingly providing more restrictions than in the past thanks to the time limit, actually provides a lot of freedom for you to approach your long-term goals as you see fit.

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Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland – A Matter of Time

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A year after Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy bid a fond (and very late) farewell to the PlayStation 2, the Atelier series finally entered the high-definition era with the 2009 Japanese release of Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland for PlayStation 3.

Since the original release of the game and its 2010 localisation, we’ve seen a few other versions. In 2013, Atelier Rorona Plus revamped the entire game for PlayStation 3 and Vita with the graphics engine and alchemy mechanics from Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland, the third game in the Arland trilogy. In 2015, Japan got a peculiar chibified remake for Nintendo 3DS. And then in 2018, Atelier Rorona DX, a port of Atelier Rorona Plus that included all its downloadable content, was released for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Windows PC.

From hereon, we’ll primarily be looking at Atelier Rorona DX, since that is the most readily accessible version at the time of writing — but most of what we’ll talk about applies to all the different versions. So grab your Basket and let’s begin a whole new adventure!

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The Immortal: How To Kill Your Wizard

If you are a glutton for punishment, or just feel that modern video games are a touch on the easy and/or fair side for you, it’s high time you checked out Will Harvey’s classic 1990 title, The Immortal.

As it happens, at the time of writing it’s just become easily accessible in not one, but two different places: you can now play the NES version as part of a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, and the Mega Drive version appears as part of the Piko Interactive Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system.

It’s the latter version we’ll be focusing on today, but expect similar amounts of death in both. Roll up your sleeves, and let’s get mortal.

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Should You Play Phantasy Star Online 2 When Final Fantasy XIV Exists?

Yes, it’s the question someone somewhere has probably asked at some point: with two highly regarded Japanese online RPGs on the go right now… is one “better” than the other?

Well, let’s nip that one right in the bud from the outset: no, because they’re two rather different experiences from one another, and as such aren’t directly comparable in terms of “quality”.

We can, however, compare their different approaches to various aspects of the online RPG experience, and from that, you can hopefully determine whether or not one or the other is “better” for you personally. So let’s do just that!

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Sega Ages Phantasy Star – Classic Dungeon Crawling, Modern Conveniences

Although at the time of writing a lot of people are super-excited for the impending PC release of Phantasy Star Online 2, the series as a whole isn’t anywhere near as well-known as the heavy-hitting classics of the RPG genre.

Indeed, Phantasy Star as a whole has always been something of a niche interest series — perhaps in part due to the majority of its “golden age” being released on platforms that were not typically renowned for their role-playing games.

The first game in particular is very interesting to return to, especially when you consider its original release date as a contemporary of the first Final Fantasy and the second Dragon Quest. And the Sega Ages version for Nintendo Switch is the definitive way to experience it — so let’s explore that now!

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A Hat in Time: Hat the Nipper

Despite what anyone who has ever worked in the teaching profession (including myself) might tell you, children are not inherently evil.

They’re not inherently good either, mind you, and that’s what potentially makes them interesting as characters. Particularly characters in some form of interactive media where you get to explore the consequences of “good” and “bad” behaviour in various contexts.

Among other things, A Hat in Time is a joyful exploration of what it means to be a child. A child who has their own spaceship and is clearly a lot more 1) intelligent and 2) affluent than they might let on, but a child nonetheless. Let’s explore this strange and wonderful world through the eyes of the one and only Hat Kid.

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Super Castlevania IV: Playing A Game “Right”

I’ve been continuing to explore Super Castlevania IV recently, and a few things about my experiences have got me thinking.

Specifically, it’s got me thinking about whether or not the concept of playing a game in the “correct” way really exists — and if that’s the same thing as experiencing the game in the same manner and the same context as its original release.

This is a question that is particularly relevant to modern rereleases of retro titles such as Super Castlevania IV, so let’s ponder it together today!

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Final Fantasy VII Remake: The Future is a Blank Page

To say that the Final Fantasy VII Remake project was hotly anticipated is something of an understatement.

Ever since the run-up to the PlayStation 2 launch, where one of the promotional videos showed a cutscene from Final Fantasy VIII apparently being rendered in real time by the new system, fans have been wondering what would happen if one of the world’s most beloved RPGs were ever to get remade.

Well, we’re starting to get some answers now… and a whole bunch of questions, too. Let’s explore!

Spoilers for both the original FFVII and FFVII Remake (yes, there are differences) ahead.

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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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Sol Divide: Blast of the Titans

While Psikyo could have easily stuck to being a heavily armed one-trick pony with the success and popularity of Strikers 1945 and its two sequels, the company decided to branch out and get a bit experimental in a number of its games.

A particularly potent example of this comes in the form of 1996’s Sol Divide, an unusual and underappreciated game that does things very differently from many other shooters out there — particularly its contemporaries from its time of original release.

Does “experimental” equate to “worth checking out for more than five minutes out of curiosity”, though? Let’s take a closer look, since like many of its stablemates, you can enjoy it as part of the Psikyo Shooting Stars Alpha collection on Nintendo Switch.

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