Atelier games

DaCosta

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A couple of the Atelier games are on sale on Steam right now, Sophie and Firis.

Are they good for a beginner to start with? How is the game like, really? Is the combat any good? How much of it is there? Or is the game mostly just the gathering and crafting parts?
 

NPC009

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Aug 23, 2010
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Atelier games usually come in threes, so the first game of a 'trilogy' is often a good place to start for newcomers. That would be Sophie in this case.

Atelier games are aprox.:
1/3 - combat and dungeons
1/3 - character events and quests
1/3 - item creation
And the usual installment will take 25+ hours to complete. Expect multiple endings.

Combat is turn-based, but often fairly fast-paced and the battlesystem provides the player with a variety of options to deal extra damage, affect turn-order and so on. The items - from the equipment of your characters to bombs and elixers - you create play a big role in this. The games always feature some extra tough optional bosses that force you to go all out. But don't worry about getting stuck. Making newer and better items is usually enough to progress and if that doesn't work, the recent games let you change the difficulty setting whenever you want.

The characters and story might not be your cup of tea. They're usually laidback and a bit cutesy. While there is always some big bad with the power to destroy a country somewhere, the game very slowly builds up to it.

Item synthesis is one of my favourite parts of the games, because both the quality ingredients, their traits and the things you do during alchemy affect the end result. It's just really satisfying to figure out loops to get certain traits on certain materials and then creating an accessory with perfect stats and effects by taking the right steps in the right order during synthesis. The current trilogy has a bit of a puzzle element to it where you need to efficiently place tetris like shapes to grab as many bonuses as you can. It's a lot of fun.
 

Exhuminator

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DaCosta said:
Or is the game mostly just the gathering and crafting parts?
Gathering crafting elements, and crafting items from those elements, is a huge part of these games. It is a required element to win, and you will be doing tons of it, first and foremost. Socializing with NPCs is another big aspect. There's also a time element, in which you must create things and provide them to people within certain time frames. If you can deal with, or even enjoy those aspects, then then the turn based battles and limited exploration will be icing on the cake. A cake which you will have to bake yourself, mind.
 

Michel Henzel

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May 13, 2014
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If you want a easier time, go with Sophie, seeing as it doesn't have any kind of time limit to speak off, and traveling around is fairly fast and simple. I would also warn you for Firis as it's not a good port and terrible optimised. Horrible looking shadows on the models, that you can't really turn off, lag spikes all over the place, and while I haven't had them, plenty of others have reported crashes all over the place.
 

wings012

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Do you like your games to be intense and exciting? Then Atelier is not for you, at least not Sophie and Firis. These two games are more of a relaxing low key slice of life type games.

Sophie is pretty rubbish actually as far as gameplay goes, but the character scenes are good. It works off a hub based system and there isn't really a sense of exploration as a result. You pick an area to go to which are basically just rooms with gathering points and monsters. Instead of your usual turn based gameplay where one character goes after another - goes for an odd select actions for your entire team, then it all plays out. I found that there was a huge lack of control with this battle system and the fights felt like it hinged mostly on my stats and gear than my decision making. Gears and items are definitely a huge part of Atelier gameplay but being unable to basically heal when I needed to cause turns plays out in sets of four kinda sucks.

Firis is a lot better - there's a bit of an odyssey as you trek across the world, explore and your usual JRPG traveling. I thought Sophie had stronger characters and writing, but Firis had far better gameplay. Firis goes back to a more traditional turn based system where you select character actions as their turns come up. I wouldn't really call the combat great however - at least not compared to Mana Khemia which I felt was the peak of the series when it came to turn based combat.

You don't want to skip Sophie for Firis though, Sophie herself shows up as a character and you'll get more enjoyment having played Sophie first.

The games fundamentally aren't difficult to beat but there are optional bosses which will tear you a new one and necessitate you understand the crafting system. Certain overpowered item combinations can completely break the game and make it a total cakewalk with the exception of those optional bosses where they are a necessity.

Firis has a time limit for the first half of the game - but it is pretty generous and there's really no pressure. There's basically a bit of a test at the halfway point which you can fail and get a bad ending(but it's pretty easy to pass) but you might not be powerful enough to get some achievements. New game + exists anyhow for those concerned with cheevos.
 

Dreiko_v1legacy

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Atelier is like the K-on of Jrpgs. Fun moeblobs doing cute things. If that sounds like not exactly your cup of tea, then stay away.


I personally like them a lot but only for a limited time, I seem to lose interest in them more so than in most rpgs, I kinda don't like the time management system because it feels like you're almost always behind or barely making it in time, though older ones are more strict in this regard.

Overall my favorite one is Atelier Meruru, the third one of the main ps3 trilogy.
 

Addendum_Forthcoming

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Feb 4, 2009
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I love the Atelier series of games. The Dusk series (Ayesha, Escha & Logy, and Shallie) is perfectly fine place to start with... I'm still umming and ahhing about the Mysterious series (the current series).

I think Dusk series collectively had nicer visuals, better themes, and simpler alchemy systems that are merely a refinement of systems that came before. Mysterious seried shakes it up a bit and while I appreciate that it feels different, at the samd time I don't think it's as good a place to start.

The Arland series is okay... Honestly you can probably refrain it to Totori and Meruru, because that felt more... fun? Meruru introduces a base building-lite system ontop of adventuring and synthesis... whereas Totori just feels like it constrains its image and flow to an adventuring alchemist. Which helps really allow you to appreciate the combat system and get to grips with it.

Atelier appeals to those players who look for asymmetric ideas of JRPGs. It's kind of like what Recettear is to action adventure RPGs.
 

Exhuminator

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Addendum_Forthcoming said:
The Arland series is okay... Honestly you can probably refrain it to Totori and Meruru, because that felt more... fun?
I can understand skipping Rorona, but Rorona Plus is quite fun. I bothered to finish Rorona Plus whereas I got bored with Totori (building the boat was too tedious) and quit playing.
 

meiam

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May I suggest trying out recettear first instead? Similar idea but cheaper (and imo more fun)

Capitalism HO!
 

Addendum_Forthcoming

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Exhuminator said:
Addendum_Forthcoming said:
The Arland series is okay... Honestly you can probably refrain it to Totori and Meruru, because that felt more... fun?
I can understand skipping Rorona, but Rorona Plus is quite fun. I bothered to finish Rorona Plus whereas I got bored with Totori (building the boat was too tedious) and quit playing.
I don't tend to play the Plus variations ... Rorona was pretty good in general and the first Atelier game I got into after a long break from the handheld ones, sodon't get me wrong when I say I still loved it. Totori always felt more like being a wandering mageling who can synthesise doomsday devices through a strong concoction of chemistry and magic. Totori probably appeals to parts of me that like the idea of exploration and going on an adventure.

Boat quest is bullshit, however.
 

Exhuminator

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Addendum_Forthcoming said:
Totori probably appeals to parts of me that like the idea of exploration and going on an adventure.
I agree, up until the primary "boat quest", I was really enjoying the game. I loved exploring the countryside and just alchemizing whatever I felt like. And Totori is just so lovable as a protagonist.

But then the game was like "you gotta save your mom (who is a selfish prat) by building an extremely complicated boat via the most obtuse scavenger hunt ever" and I was like "actually no I don't" and quit. I didn't really quit, I just made Totori sleep until the end of the game and got a bad ending. I still saw a credit screen, so technically I beat her game, I guess.
 

DaCosta

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I just bought Sophie.

The other suggestions are welcome, but I was never super crazy about getting into this series, which is I way hadn't done it before. I only decided to take a shot now because it was fairly cheap and easy to get, so I had little to lose. I do have a PS2 and PS3 in an attic somewhere, but I'd have to go find it, make space in the living room, track down physical copies of the games, and probably pay more than I would for this one. I might play these other ones at some point, but only if I enjoy these first.
 

Addendum_Forthcoming

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Exhuminator said:
But then the game was like "you gotta save your mom (who is a selfish prat) by building an extremely complicated boat via the most obtuse scavenger hunt ever" and I was like "actually no I don't" and quit. I didn't really quit, I just made Totori sleep until the end of the game and got a bad ending. I still saw a credit screen, so technically I beat her game, I guess.
Never saw the bad ending, but honestly it feels like if the bad ending was you just deciding to live your own life, spend your time instead perfecting your own abilities, that fits more with the idea of karmic neutrality IMO. IDK ... maybe the mum has psychological issues I don't know about beyond being incredibly and possibly criminally negligent?

True ending is all a bit too deus ex machina for me. All a bit saccharine. I get it ... it's an Atelier game, but I felt the tone was pretty good after you complete the boat and the revelation. Maybe it felt more saccharine because it does hit that pretty dark note beforehand.

Totori is pretty adorable, but I also like the fact that she grows into an adventurer over time. Also someone that is better than her mum. I'm not sure if that did that on purpose, but if they did it was a pretty nuanced way to tell a story.

Atelier Ayesha is probably my favourite for tone and character. That soundtrack as well ... though Escha & Logy soundtrack is pretty badass.
 

sageoftruth

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Crafting is a big part of the game, but in my personal experience, it's by far the best crafting system I've ever seen in a game before. It's far more flexible than the strict, "Find items X, Y, and Z, and then put them together to make something". Usually, you're required to craft using certain types of items (metals, fruits, types of dirt, etc.), rather than specific items . The items you choose to use, along with the character you use to do the crafting, and the way you use said character's skills all affect the stats of the item you craft.

It encourages experimentation to find out what bonuses you can get. Do you want a healing potion that heals more HP, or a potion that also heals MP, or one that also temporarily raises attack power? This is especially important when crafting gear since you want to have high quality equipment with good bonuses. You're even encouraged to make good use of your alchemy skills so you can craft better alchemy ingredients.

Anyway, that's my take on the game's impressive alchemy system. It feels more like an art than a science, since it's so flexible.
 

NPC009

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Aug 23, 2010
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I liked building the boat :( But by the time I got there I always had lots of materials stockpiled anyway and with some help of the Homs it did't take much real life time to put the thing together (in-game time was another matter). By the time it was done, it felt like I accomplished something big. Which makes sense, because I built a freakin' boat. And afterwards you get to explore a bunch of islands and collect all sorts of new materials. Newer, stronger materials always scratch my synthesising itch.

DaCosta said:
I just bought Sophie.

The other suggestions are welcome, but I was never super crazy about getting into this series, which is I way hadn't done it before. I only decided to take a shot now because it was fairly cheap and easy to get, so I had little to lose. I do have a PS2 and PS3 in an attic somewhere, but I'd have to go find it, make space in the living room, track down physical copies of the games, and probably pay more than I would for this one. I might play these other ones at some point, but only if I enjoy these first.
There are actually a bunch of PS3 Ateliers on PSN. When on sale they're usually 10-15 bucks. So if you enjoy Sophie, that's something to keep an eye on.
 

DaCosta

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Alright, let me ask you something: How do you pronounce "Atelier"?

Because I sure as hell don't pronounce it the way they do it in this game.
 

NPC009

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Aug 23, 2010
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DaCosta said:
Alright, let me ask you something: How do you pronounce "Atelier"?

Because I sure as hell don't pronounce it the way they do it in this game.
In my native language, it's pronounced like this and I also say it that way when talking about the series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXigQCMlOrU

According to this dictionary there's a difference between the British and American pronunciation: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/pronunciation/english/atelier

But yeah... that doesn't really explain what they're saying in Atelier...
 

DaCosta

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NPC009 said:
DaCosta said:
Alright, let me ask you something: How do you pronounce "Atelier"?

Because I sure as hell don't pronounce it the way they do it in this game.
In my native language, it's pronounced like this and I also say it that way when talking about the series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXigQCMlOrU

According to this dictionary there's a difference between the British and American pronunciation: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/pronunciation/english/atelier

But yeah... that doesn't really explain what they're saying in Atelier...
Both of those pronounciations sound exactly the same to me, and are perfectly fine.

However, this (skip to 2:40 to get a glimpse of it)


is something that will be endlessly grating on me. Japanese dub it will be.