How would you rate the difficulty?
Would you say it's as easy as the other atelier games?
Or at moderate difficulty, like say FF13?
Or pretty challenging, say Persona 3, in hard mode?
Or down-right evil, say Graces F in chaos mode?
Because for the life of me, the Atelier games are fun, they are, but they are also too damn easy, which makes me feel that all the alchemy fun is pointless without the application.
Anyway, hope you can let us know!
I don't know what I should think about the Atelier series anymore, maybe you can help.
I really really liked Atelier Iris 1&2 and also Grand Phantasm (it was different, but still great). They had nice dungeons, a good story and the alchemy aspects wasn't so overcomplicated that it destroyed my fun with the game. On the other hand there was Mana Khemia: no story except "school life", not so good dungeons but still acceptable, alchemy ok, just too boring because of almost non-existent story and too much going to the same region again and again.
So I always thought Atelier = good, Mana Khemia = crap.
But then I got Atelier Totori (I skipped Rorona because I heard Totori is quite similar and even has some improvements like lower time limit) and it was like the most horrible RPG I've ever played in my entire life (maybe 2-3 are worse). It has no story, no exploration, no dungeons, you just walk around on basically one-screen regions and collect ingredients for alchemy over the whole game time. What the hell? I can't even imagine any human can enjoy this. Alchemy is still ok, but what is the point if there is nothing else except the alchemy? Atelier Totori is even worse than Mana Khemia.
So now I have no clue what I should do. Should I give up on the series and declare that they completely lost their ability to make RPGs? Or is Atelier Totori more the exception and the other games actually have a story, exploration and good dungeon design?
What about Atelier Ayesha, you said it's different?
Last edited by Rya.Reisender; 07-04-2012 at 04:26 AM.
Rya, it sounds like the Atelier series isn't something you'll ever like. The Iris games were unusual for the series. They went in a traditional JRPG direction with a linear story and dungeons, and alchemy was a goofy optional minigame rather than a requirement. Atelier games before and after that have similar set-ups, like Totori, where they're nonlinear and you're exploring simple, natural areas for alchemy ingredients at a leisurely pace rather than slaying through dungeons on a straight path while saving the world. If you liked Iris and hated Totori, that's a clear indicator that the series isn't your cup of tea.
That's my take, anyway. If Gaijin comes back with something different, listen to him over me
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Thanks for the information. Still curious about if Atelier Ayesha is also that boring Atelier-type of game. Gaijin mentioned it is special, but not sure if he only was referring to the setting or also the story / dungeons.
Sorry Rya, but while Ayesha definitely has some different people working behind the scenes, it's 100% a core Atelier game. It has some spots that may qualify as dungeons, but only for lack of a better word. It's about exploring the world, meeting people, and uncovering the history of it all. Given your sentiments, I have to recommend you avoid it.
Overall difficulty is hard to say, but it feels a bit less cluttered than Totori at times. The two are similar in the way they present goals and side-goals, and give rewards based on completing them, but while Totori had everything based out of the Adventurer's Guild, goals and events in Ayesha just tend to occur. There's definitely less item-gathering necessary in this game, mainly because of how much the player can grab on even a single run through an area, and the alchemy system goes in a different direction than in previous games when it comes to added attributes. I've only met one real boss so far, and he kicked my butt so thoroughly it was clear from the start that I wasn't actually supposed to beat him. Really cool battle though. So.... no, not particularly difficult as of yet, but I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Is it true that Ayesha has no final time limit? Has it kept with Meruru's lack of time limits for requests?
And then, lambasting these games for being what they are is the last straw for me, considering these never were actual JRPGs based on the traditional model of following a plot to save the world or anything: they are just the story of an alchemist girl trying to accomplish her life goals (examples: Marie: graduating from the academy despite her horrid grades; Elie: overcoming the sequels of a sickness that almost killed her to become a master alchemist and meet the person who saved her...) while interacting with her customers and friedns, so how could you expect them to be the same as the more typical RPGs?
So do everyone a favor and don't bother to play anything from this series anymore. You've already shown that they aren't for you in any way.
Good thing this one is coming to NA, even if the announcement is only unofficial for now.
"The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
I don't think I'll buy this day one if it comes out to soon. I enjoyed Rorona and Totori but Meruru just did not hold my attention, probably because it felt too close to Totori and it's been less than a year.
Well, there's a standard three-year limit in place, though I haven't quite made it to the end yet. Most of the requests have time limits, but usually on the scale of 300 to 600 days left till the rewards are lessened. I've only done one request after its due date, so not sure on how much of a hit I took from that.
Gaijin, I'd actually argue that the alchemy system in this game is radically different from any previous title, if only because the emphasis is now on the craft of alchemy rather than the end result.
To explain: in Ayesha alchemy, you select the ingredients as per normal. You then choose what order the ingredients go in (thus affecting which secondary effects you can end up with), and you can use various alchemy skills to influence the elemental balance and entry order and effect of your items, which can have rather dramatic effects on the results, especially in the late-game where it is possible to make some amazingly powerful restoratives (that you will need, given how hard the enemies hit). In all previous games, you just pop in some ingredients, high-quality ingredients make a somewhat better item and you can get a few small, limited effects from specific items you use, but in Ayesha it's all about how you go about making the item. It is the first game I can think of where you really feel truly involved in creating something. It is incredibly impressive.
A friend who has been playing through the game has pretty much said flat-out it's the best Atelier title in a long, long time. If certain review sites dismiss it out of hand because they can't stand the occasional frilly dress, I am going to be unbelievably cross.
Atelier Iris was actually the first game from the Atelier series released in Europe. And yeah all Atelier Iris games were pretty much the traditional JRPG. I think 7thCircle already explained it very well. And well Grand Phantasm at least had a better story than Atelier Totori, but it mostly shined due to its really interesting dungeon design that had a real time limit to give you a more arcade-like feeling. It also had the best soundtrack imo and the battle system was awesome too (I liked in more than Mana Khemia's).
And yeah I can still not understand how people can actually enjoy games that are only about grinding (for items), without story except "I want to be a good alchemist" or any exploration except "I walk on a field on the world map and check what items are there". You might say matter of taste, but sometimes it's really weird that someone can actually enjoys something, though it would be possible to understand it by discussing for a while with a fan. It's like with vegetables. They taste awful, yet people eat them. You wonder why, then you talk with them and they might be like "Well, they are healthy and it's important how you mix them and you need to get the right salad sauce", or "Yup they taste awful, but I still eat them for my health" or even like "My grandmother died because she didn't eat enough vegetables" and then it's easier to understand why that person eats them. :-)
Rya: The Atelier games have stories, but they do not always have a unified plot. The "I want to be a good alchemist" bit is usually part of the goal of the game (and to be honest, it was the main plot for Atelier Marie, but the story is in the individual character interactions. It's far more slice-of-life than save-the-world, which is why many people like it. Atelier Ayesha has a very strong plot focus for an Atelier title, as most of the individual plot threads seem to find their way back to the main plot of finding Ayesha's sister.
So people like slice of life more than save the world? Why not go into real life for that?
Because not all fantasy fiction needs to be about saving the world, and there is plenty of room for a wide variety of plots in the world of RPGs. I get a bit tired of the epic quest storyline myself, and I always welcome games that work on a smaller scale. I enjoy the Atelier games primarily because of their quirky characters and beautiful worlds. I like gathering ingredients and creating things with alchemy; I find it relaxing. It's ok if Atelier isn't a good match with your personal tastes, but it's also more than ok for other people to enjoy it.
If you mean make the setting into real-life then I reverse your question and ask why would all fantasy have to be some epic quest? This gives people an opportunity to experience a different world at a different pace.
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Well I meant more like you play RPGs to escape reality. And it's much cooler to be a hero that saves the world. Sure you can't become an alchemist in real life, but for example you could be a cook which is basically the same (with the right ingredients each meal tastes better). And the dialogues are so... well slice of life, that you can have similar exciting discussions by just meeting up with your friends lol.
That doesn't mean all RPGs have necessarily be about saving the world, but it should be something epic and quite different from reality. Might as well be about destroying the world.