-Amazing big screen experience as well as handheld experience
-Loses no graphical integrity between PS3 or PS Vita.
-Farming in the game is seamless and offers hours of fun
-Completing side quests are very rewarding
-Very well written story and even character interactions
-Cross save access between PlayStation 3, but also PlayStation Vita.
-For newcomers the deadlines could be hard to reach
-Combining ingredients to some can be a hassle and very expensive if they don’t have days to farm the items needed
-Sometimes created items during alchemy will have a rainbow colored image in the results image.
Final Score: 8.25 out of 10
For many, the Atelier franchise is a very welcomed experience. It is one that has managed to define itself as a cross between four unique types of games: graphic novel, RPG battle-screen system, map-based dungeon crawler, and ‘cooking’ (synthesizing to be more accurate). What makes this game unique is how well it all is twisted together in one. In the story of this game we get to take control of Rorona, the Alchemist of Arland.
The games story takes place over the course of three years. In the beginning we learn that we are playing (as the title suggests) as Rorona, an alchemist’s apprentice, which is there because she did something to put her into servitude. During the time of her servitude she and her master Astrid are approached by Sterk who is a Knight of Arland. In his visit they learn that the Alchemy shop is being threatened to be shut down. In doing this it means that both Astrid and Rorona would be expelled from the Kingdom of Arland to live outside of its protective walls. In doing so, Rorona is given the shop, and is told she must succeed for them to remain there. Doing this sets off a chain of events, which leads to Rorona seeing her parents, which leads to her also find out they are going to take trips in order to spend some time together. This also leads to Rorona getting constant gifts, which are unique, and help her do what she needs in order to keep the store afloat.
Over time Rorona runs into unique set of characters such as Cordelia, Lionela, Pamela, and even the silly, but serious chef with a serious frying pan, Iskel. These characters are not the only ones you will get to encounter of course. It is these characters that help drive the game and will give players a rather unique look into what drives Rorona into doing what she does. With these characters, players will get to experience a noticeable upgrade to the game itself. This upgrade includes one that is most precedent to players who are familiar with the original: Rorona’s upgraded character model. This is of course only one of the few upgrades that we do get to see and experience. Many of them will be dormant in the background until unlocked. One of these that is most notable is the New Game+ option, which includes the ability for players to experience the tie in between Atelier Rorona and Atelier Totori’s storylines. Thankfully this also allows players to continue on where they left off and explore a whole new world. This includes new costumes to do it in (not that those can’t be found in game before hand). The most unique part is for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita users who have other games in the franchise on their memory cards or hard drive. They will get to unlock more costumes over time that allow for them to unlock added bonuses. One of these is not limited to the idea of bonus outfits that can be used throughout the game after having unlocked New Game+ and allowing access into the games Time Capsule.
Several changes have been made thanks to the games upgrade system, which allows for players to be confident in their purchase. This game also is not limited to, but also includes up to these upgrades, which can be found and witness throughout the title itself: New characters (includes boss battles and interactable characters), revamped 3D models, revamped synthesis system, revamped battle system, new decorations, new illustrations, additional events, and much more. Just note that for PS3 and PS Vita users, it does require some play time as well as attention to details.
The best part of this game was not just the ability to take on quests or read the conversations that take place, and give it a graphic novel like feel. Instead it was also the ability to explore the world, gather items needed to term quests as well as term side quests, but also small request missions, which allow for players to enjoy more than just the graphic novel style of the game. Instead this allows for a heavy amount of interaction as players can unlock new zones, items, and even craft equipment that will help them in future occasions. Lets not also forget, this will allow for players to level up, and work on getting prepared for future fights. Some of this exploration will include boss fights, harder enemies to fight, and allowing players to take time so that they can unlock new abilities and synthesis recipes. Also lets not forget earning cole (in-game currency) to pay for their hirelings such as Stark, Cordy, and others. This will require players to pay attention to how much they have and to help them note that their money could be running low for future items, goods, and hired party members (only two at a time can be hired).
In Atelier Rorona, as mentioned, we were able to experience the many quests within the game. The most unique part about this title in the JRPG world is that it requires plenty of exploration of each of the zones and even requires players to revisit several of them in one visit. This will drive players to memorize what drops where and how many of it they will need. Players will need to note that items do lose their value for synthesis. This is something that is highly recommended to get quite a bit of attention to, especially the value number. The higher the number, the more it is worth, and this is something worth watching for over time. One thing that players can note is during synthesis items can all have different traits and will allow for players to unlock these traits as they level up synthesis and learn new abilities. Some of these traits will allow for items to have more value, last longer, and have added effects. Some of these can also be used in order to provide unique item healing, increased damage in combat, and the added chance to survive against harder enemies as the game goes on.
Overall, Atelier Rorona Plus: The Alchemist of Arland is a very unique experience. With a very alive world as well as characters, players can experience a unique twist on storytelling, but also a reason to laugh. With this game, you can expect a few good laughs, but also endless hours of fun, which is just what we experienced and got to enjoy.
Graphics: With a massive upgrade to what graphics are on the PS Vita, players can definitely expect to see a unique take on what the PlayStation Vita can handle. The PlayStation 3 version will undoubtedly shine just the same.
Sound: The game even on the Vita presented a huge entertainment experience that allowed for a very enjoyable experience. With great sound file integrity, the game shines heavily on the PlayStation Vita, and will not leave any doubts on the PlayStation 3.
Controls: Thankfully, the game is very easy to learn and will not leave any questions unturned. Using primarily the analog sticks, ‘X’, ‘O’, ‘Triangle, ‘Start’, and ‘Select’, players will not have trouble learning this game as they play it.
Release Date: June 24th, 2014. Price? 39.99 USD for PlayStation Vita and 49.99 USD for PlayStation 3.
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