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Atelier Escha and Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky Review


You would think that after some 15 official and plenty of side projects the Atelier story would be all told by now but somehow Gust have again created a colourful and interesting world to adventure through. Set in the same world as Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk some years after (not a requirement to play beforehand) the world is slowly beginning to realise the importance of alchemy; however only a handful of alchemists are skilled enough and are ready to help against the End of Dusk. To counter this the local government have created a research and development department specifically for the purpose of alchemy, ready to reap the benefits of in this long forgotten skill.

As a first for the Atelier series, you are able to select from two main characters, Escha Malier and Logix "Logy" Ficsario. At the start you get to choose which character to play as your main however the story is relatively unchanged between the two with only a few instances and a selection of different endings separating them, making a replay a must for fans.



With the new R&D Department created, Escha and Logy soon become good friends, working together to better one another, Escha being the local girl who was trained by her mother in alchemy, using cauldrons and the classic skills and Logy being a city boy uses more modern techniques with both their skills complimenting one another well. As with any local government, budgets are tight and results are expected and it is no different here, with Escha and Logy carrying out assignments and requests from the department heads and turn in their reports every four months.

Each "chapter" of the game is split into four monthly terms, with the boss issuing your main objectives, its then down to you to maximise your time to complete this and also carry out as many other tasks as possible. This starts out easy but very quickly the pressures of each day whittling away become great and time management becomes a key factor due to most things using up precious days from walking too far off lands to synthesising.

Just like the previous titles, though battles are prominent, it is the alchemy that is the backbone, with synthesis being the main focus and the reason for all of the fights in the first place, gathering materials and items to create even more wonderful potions and items. The main hub for all this is at the Atelier itself, a room created for brewing and creating with all of your recipe books and ingredients, making sure both yourself and the town are well supplied.

To gather most items you and your team need to wander into the wild lands that surround the town, with each area taking a few days to reach. Once arrived in each area you are able to freely move around in the collection areas which are full of items to gather and also where you battle monsters. With monsters shown in real time in each zone, you are transported into battle via the usual way of making phsical contact with them. Once in the battle zone the game becomes a very hands on turn based fight as even though you and your team take it in turn to fight battle, there is also a support gauge that grows with each successful hit, allowing you to call on for either a support attack or support guard as and when required. In battle your team are able to carry out basic attacks and skills as and when unlocked however it is only Escha and Logy that can carry items via the adventure equipment screen, represented by a grid that fills up with every item they carry, requiring some thought into what to take on the road with you.

Once you have all of the materials gather required you then return to the Atelier to begin synthesis. The actual art of syntheses feels easy and initiative to use, something that was a little daunting on previous titles, allowing you to either follow the rules or go freestyle and try and unlock hidden potential in certain mixes. From the easy to navigate recipe book the game preselects the appropriate items in your apothecary chest, leaving you to choose the specific ingredient, mixing them together and creating new items dependant on your alchemy level, initially it feels a little daunting but once you have gotten past the tutorials and try it out for yourself it really is a simple procedure.



With the constant pressure of time dwindling away the Atelier series has fine-tuned this gameplay element to be an integral part of the game and it really works, with constant pressures pushing you forever forward. The creative team have really strived to make this as enjoyable as possible, with little tricks that really speed up the game, most notably the quick travel system, with a list of where to go appearing and a small icon if there is something of interest there, leaving a quick loading screen before sending you across the town in seconds rather than constantly running back and forth. Even the act of gathering has been made more streamlined as rather than getting you to grind and lose vital days continuously gathering items for all of your recopies, once created you are able to use some other residents of the town, the cute looking Homunculus who are able to replicate most items, their fee, candy earned by carrying out the many side requests.

The easy to use synth tools, a very interactive turn based fighting system and the enjoyable camaraderie between the two title characters make Atelier Escha and Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky yet another winning title for the team at Gust: Atelier is well worth the time of fans of the JRPG genre and a good entry for first timers.

Words by Ash Buchanan.

(Version Tested: PS3)

Pros

+ Beautifully hand drawn characters and well-designed 3D models
+ Easy to use synthesis

Cons

- Environments can look dated

Edited On 14 Mar, 2014

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