Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Platforms: PS4, PS Vita, PC
Tested on: PS4
Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey – Review
Gust and Koei Tecmo are still collaborating for certain games and the Atelier franchise is one of those success stories. If you had a blast playing Atelier Sophie, you will surely be happy as Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey is the second installment in the ‘Mysterious’ storyline. Of course, everything will revolve around alchemy but with some new twists here and there. Are you ready to embark on a new adventure?
After the previous story, we’re thrown a bit into the future and follow the narrative of Firis Mistlud. This young girl is born in a rather remote village, deeply hidden in between several mining locations. Although the townsfolk rely on her to find certain types of ore with her special powers, her only dream is to go outside this secluded area and finally discover the outside world. Her sister Liane on the other hand is able to go hunting and explore the nearby area, which makes Firis quite sad. On a certain day, her world totally changed by the arrival of Sophie and Plachta. Our missy is flabbergasted by the skills and ‘magic’ these two can use and she’s immediately hooked.
After a while, it seems she has a natural gift for performing Alchemy. Of course, Firis already saw the possibilities with this skill and she is determined to use her newly discovered ability to venture the world. This idea might seem great, but her family is not really up for this plan. It is your task to prove them wrong with the help of your new friends and your sister Liane.
Atelier games are known for their stories and this title doesn’t let you down. It’s great to see the previous protagonists Sophie and Plachta back, while also getting to know some new characters. Expect some rather animated or humorous conversations, popping a smile on your face.
Gust and Koei Tecmo have a winning combination, so why change that? Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey has similar graphics as its predecessors, which isn’t a bad thing. The surroundings might seem a bit bare but they’re detailed nonetheless. Venturing the secluded mine will leave you looking around for a while due to the beauty of the scenery. If that isn’t enough, there are also materials lying around here and there, making the environment sparkle and making it a bit more fun to watch.
The characters on the other hand stand out thanks to their detailed and beautiful garb. Firis for instance has the most cutest clothes, while the more ‘normal’ NPCs kind of fade away in the surroundings. Thank goodness that there is a minimap at times, so you can detect some lurking, hidden villagers now and then.
What would a cute, young girl be without a similar voice? Firis has a rather high-pitched voice and although it isn’t that annoying, playing for longer periods of time might push you to the edge. On the other hand, the soothing voices of Sophie and Plachta for example bring everything into balance. A lot of the conversations are voiced, while others will have the more standard grunting or small-talk sentences. The alternation between these types of conversations keeps the game dynamic and is a hint when an important chat is coming up.
Of course, next to some voice acting, there is also quite some music in the same style as you might’ve heard in previous games. Joyful, sweet tones will keep you mesmerized while it gets more dramatic when you encounter enemies or wound up in some situations. The sound effects surely help with this effect, although there aren’t that many available or they just don’t stand out that much. In the end, the combination of everything makes it such a harmonious package.
Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey is an RPG that will take you on a journey in a world full with Alchemy. To realize your dream, the protagonist needs to tackle and complete several quests while fighting her way through monsters. There is yet another time limit, just as in the previous instalments, although the developers did change it a bit. You will need to meet a certain goal before the end of a year. Afterwards, you can play unlimitedly and do whatever your heart desires. Of course, actions will deplete your available time, so watch out when you’re just aimlessly running around or performing synthesis for no good reason.
Just as in previous games, the item synthesis has a power-up system when creating items. Before you can start, you need certain raw materials and each of them has specifications. Each item has a level that will help to improve the quality of the product, while also having a certain pattern which is useful for the actual synthesis. You will need to place these patterns into a square panel and fill up certain lines while doing so. Completing these will increase the skills or effects on the item and will give it a better quality. Of course, you can also use catalysts to change the panel, making it possible to obtain completely different versions of that item. Also, if you’re tired of performing synthesis every time, you can always perform a mass synthesis.
Raw materials can be found in several ways. For instance, those sparkly little gems you see while running around are one source to obtain new items. One other way is to destroy certain obstruction, like rocks, with Firis’ staff or it can be blown up for instance, each resulting in different loot. After you’ve collected the necessary crafting materials, you can pop up a portable atelier at a campfire. You can decorate this little haven and some of these ornaments will give special effects. It surely is a good idea to switch this around so you get different possibilities. Of course, you’ll need recipes first, which can be found by doing several actions. For instance, you can get ideas by fighting monsters or gathering materials. Also, talking to people is rather inspiring while the synthesis part on its own can also give you new recipes.
As we’ve mentioned a few times already, you’ll be taking up arms against evil creatures that try and get into your way. You will be able to take up to four characters into battle. Next to normal attacks, you can also perform special skills and use items. With the day and night cycle, you’ll find other monsters in the same area, while their actions are also influenced by this cycle. Fighting monsters is done in a turn-based system and depending on the attacks of your team, the positions can be shuffled. If you’re able to hit the enemy multiple times, it could be that you’ll put them in a ‘break’ status, paralyzing them. It’s then your choice on what you want to do. If you’re fighting against multiple enemies, you can leave that stunned mob alone and focus on the rest or you could go for a full force frontal attack and deal more damage. At any rate, attacking the enemy will fill a gauge, making it possible to trigger a ‘chain burst’ when it is full. This means that more people of your party can join the fun, giving you the opportunity to perform chained skills. Weaponry and defensive items are also rather important as it will give you an advantage. These items can be made with alchemy of course, so it might be a good idea to invest some time in creating these.
If you liked the previous games in the Atelier franchise, this title will surely warm your heart. Our young sweetheart Firis goes on quite a journey, together with some familiar faces. The surroundings are sometimes empty but the scenery makes up for it while the clothes of the main characters look stunning. Together with the music and voice acting, you’re in for a treat. If you were hoping for some new gameplay elements, you might not be that happy to hear that there were just some small alterations. If you can look past that, you will enjoy this title.