Atelier Mysterious Trilogy DX – Review
Follow Genre: RPG
Developer: Gust Co., Ltd.
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Platform: Switch, PC, PS4
Tested on: Switch

Atelier Mysterious Trilogy DX – Review

Site Score
8.4
Good: Solid and fun potion crafting system
Bad: New content isn't worth double dipping
User Score
8.7
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.7/10 (3 votes cast)

It may be hard to believe, but the Atelier series has been running for almost 25 years, with the first title in the series, Atelier Marie: The Alchemist of Salburg debuting in 1997 in Japan. Even in the West, the series has been present since 2005. Even so, Atelier games were relatively niche, until the 21st Atelier game, Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & The Secret Hideout, lifted the series to new popularity heights, becoming the franchise’s best-selling title. It should come as no surprise then that Koei Tecmo is attempting to capitalize on Ryza’s popularity and entice new fans into visiting older entries in the franchise. Enter Atelier Mysterious Trilogy DX, the third deluxe pack that bundles previous Atelier titles together, alongside DLC and new content.

Story

Although the three games included in this bundle are billed as a trilogy, they don’t really share a single overarching story, bar the fact that they all have the word “mysterious” in their full titles. Each of the stories can be played as a standalone entry, although there is some overlap in characters and continuity between the three titles, with Sophie playing an important part as a mentor character in Firis’ story and both protagonists from the first two games making an appearance in Atelier Lydie & Suelle. The three stories share a common theme in that they all focus on young girls that strive to become masters in alchemy, which is a hallmark of the Atelier series.

Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book DX tells the story of novice alchemist Sophie, who inherits her grandmother’s workshop and encounters Plachta, a sentient recipe book. With the aid of her friends, she sets out to not only become a great alchemist, but also attempts to solve the mystery behind Plachta’s past. Meanwhile, Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey DX takes place four years after the events from Atelier Sophie and introduces Firis, a budding young alchemist who sets out on a year-long journey to be able to pass her alchemist certification exam. The final story in the bundle, Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Paintings DX takes place yet another four years after Atelier Firis. In this story, the titular alchemy apprentices Lydie & Suelle are drawn into a painting they find in their father’s atelier. This painting proves to be a source of rare alchemy ingredients, enabling the twin sisters to run a successful workshop, but they must first overcome their lack of experience.

Graphics

Atelier Mysterious Trilogy DX is defined by its gorgeous art design. Illustrations used in the series look like they came straight out of Studio Ghibli concept art, with endearing watercolor character designs. These also translate well into the 3D character models used in the games, where the pastel tones add an air of serenity and coziness. Admittedly, the series has caught some flack over the actual character designs and their occasionally skimpy outfits. We should note that the more outrageous outfits are optional, and that the standard options for character clothes never feel oversexualized. Things are a bit different when it comes to the games’ environments. This is where the titles show their age, with Atelier Sophie, in particular, suffering from areas that feel empty and less detailed than they could be. It’s a minor gripe and doesn’t really detract from gameplay, but the world of Atelier Lydie & Suelle feels a lot more ‘alive’ than the first entry in the trilogy.

Sound

A lot of attention was put into ensuring that the Atelier series isn’t just visually appealing, but auditory as well. The Mysterious Trilogy provides a fantastic example of this, with fantastic voice acting -both in Japanese and in English- across all three games. The music further drives home the Ghibli-esque aesthetics, and you are able to change the background tunes easily should you not like what the games offer up.

Gameplay

The Atelier series is lauded for its relatively unique RPG gameplay, which puts a heavy emphasis on alchemy and crafting. All three games in the Mysterious Trilogy deliver the same core experience, albeit with slight differences in their mechanics. You assemble a party of loveable characters and set out to whichever location the story sends you. While you’re out and about, you’ll be gathering the necessary materials that allow you to craft potions. Materials are gathered from nature as well as through fighting monsters. The standout feature here is the elaborate crafting system, which goes beyond what you see in most other RPGs, and requires you not only to select the best quality ingrediënts but also asks you to strategize on how exactly you’ll incorporate them into your potion. Crafting mechanics are so deep that we could tell you everything we learned during our time with the game, and we still wouldn’t be able to cover everything. Luckily, the games’ tutorials do a fairly good job of covering the basics. The more intricate parts of crafting are best discovered through trial and error, but they’re fairly intuitive. It’s refreshing to see that these games allow plenty of room for experimenting and exploration without relying on handholding the player.

The original releases of the games were fairly recent, with Atelier Sophie debuting in 2015. As such, the three games hold up fairly well and feel relatively modern, in part owing to the fact that certain key gameplay elements have been refined over the series’ history. There is plenty to sink your teeth into here, especially if you’re looking to master every possible potion. That said, the games do feel quite slow compared to other RPGs. This is great for anyone looking for a low-stakes and relaxing gameplay session, which in all honesty everyone enjoys once in a while. If you’re looking for an action-packed RPG, however, then you’re better off looking elsewhere.

As the ‘DX’ in the titles indicates, these aren’t straight-up rereleases. For the most part, the games are identical to their original versions from a few years ago, but a handful of new features have been added. You’ll be able to speed up random encounters, allowing you to grind through enemies much faster. A photo mode has also been added to all three games, mirroring a feature seen in Atelier Ryza. This photo mode allows you to make and edit screenshots, and although it’s entirely unnecessary from a gameplay perspective, it’s still fun to mess around with. As you’d expect from a rerelease like this, the DLC for the three titles is present. Additionally, each title also receives a few minor additions: Sophie gets a new costume and additional cauldrons and Firis gains access to new vehicles, for example. As an added extra, each game also comes with a digital art book, which is a separate download. It’s nice to see small extras like this, but the DX versions also add some stuff that feels like a bit of a slap in the faces of anyone that supported the original releases of the games.

Each of the three titles sees a handful of new story content added compared to their original release, but this content remains exclusive to the DX games. Atelier Sophie sees the addition of new episodes. Atelier Firis includes a mission that lets you fight against seven additional monsters as well as facing an existing opponent at a higher level of difficulty. Finally, Atelier Lydie & Suelle adds a new painting, which gives access to new story episodes and a new boss fight. This inclusion of new content isn’t problematic by itself, but we do feel that these additions should’ve been made available as free DLC to anyone that owns the originals. It’s especially painful to see how the ‘standard’ version of Atelier Lydie & Suelle is still listed at a higher price than buying the DX version separately, as this highlights how players that supported the original releases of these titles are getting the short end of the stick.

Conclusion

The Atelier series fan base has massively increased in size over the last few years, mainly because of the popularity of the two Atelier Ryza games. Given that the older titles are still relatively expensive, it’s nice to see that Koei Tecmo is offering up these DX titles at a reduced price. The trilogy bundle is still going to cost you a pretty penny, but the amount of content more than justifies the price tag, and if you already bought one or two titles, then you’ll be happy to see that each DX title included in the trilogy is available separately as well. That said, if you already purchased these games when they originally released, then it’s hard to justify taking the plunge again, given that the amount of new content simply isn’t worth the price. If you’re been thinking of dipping your toes in the Atelier series or if you’re simply hungry for more after completing the Atelier Ryza games though, then the Mysterious Trilogy is probably your best next purchase.

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Rating: 8.7/10 (3 votes cast)
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Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
Atelier Mysterious Trilogy DX - Review, 8.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
SebastiaanRaats


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  1. […] the release of KOEI TECMO America and GUST Studios’ new entry in the beloved Atelier series draws closer, more details are slowly being revealed for the upcoming game. The latest entry […]

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