+A vibrant and artistically crafted world
+Music that is well rounded and rather charming
+Rather well crafted and easy to navigate world
+Combat scenarios have been tamed down in difficulty
+Characters are convincing and well rounded
+Alchemy system has seemingly been broadened and made more interesting
+Discovery system by harvesting materials helps a lot to find unique treasure
–Farming relentlessly to make items
–Side jobs can be entertaining, but also a hassle to complete
–Some parts of Stellard feel empty
Bringing back their famed franchise, developer Gust 3D has once more entered us into a world of Atelier, which puts us into the third installment within the “Dusk” series, which makes it the sixteenth installment within the franchise itself. Much like Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky, Atelier Shallie allows players to once more choose between two alchemists; Shallotte and Shallistera. With the characters only really varying with personality and minor storyline tweaks, players will get to take on the tasks of either helping grow their own personal business or even how they approach the companions around them. However, their primary objective that lie before them is simple: Save the world.
This time around in order to improve the series’ mechanics, Gust 3D has parted ways with some rather problematic issues that held the franchise back from being rather enjoyable compared to before. So what exactly has changed? To start off, the timed gameplay between each requirement to be fulfilled has actually come to an end, and allows for players to once more enjoy the series where they will be able to enjoy the series without those annoying restrictions based upon time required. Now players are free to complete their side missions, exploring, and even material gathering as they please in order to complete their tasks at hand before revisiting their workshop in order to continue onto the next chapter.
Fulfilling the requirements for each Life Goal allows for players to once more undertake quests that require the alchemists to create items, eliminate enemies, explore areas, or even meet new people in order to complete their goals and open up new areas for them to explore. Much like in past games, exploration is taken on by multiple tasks that will require players to farm for materials, explore new zones, take on enemies, find uncovering relics and even take on the task of building up the alchemy shop skill level in order to take on more difficult recipes. This allows for the ability to obtain new recipes, new items, equipment, and even items, which players will use in order to up their chances of survival, but also completing given tasks.
Much like before, exploration features going into combat, which has in ways, seems rather well rounded this time around. Unlike before, there is no need to beat through an enemies extra health bars and treating it like a sever life and death situation. Granted it can still be that for your characters, it’s seemingly a bit easier than before thanks to each character having a variety of skills, enemies having weaknesses, and well being a bit more susceptible to the games new “Burst System”, which allows combat to have a seemingly faster speed while in combat. This meter is filled up by attacking in combat and not sustaining damage while having done so. In this mode players will notice that characters deal more damage, gain speed, and even seem to allow players to access the end-of-combat reward screen a bit quicker than before. In order to keep track of how quickly players are progressing towards activating the burst mere, players can take note of the combat bar up on the right side of the screen that will allow players to see their progression towards it. While in this mode, let alone are combat abilities upped, but players will be capable of buffing themselves, and even going as far as reviving their characters should they be knocked out while in combat. Something that is quite useful and will cause players to not find themselves being taken to the world map and only having one health per character.
This will allow players to pick up the progress that was taken forth from what Escha & Logy had been doing while attempting to find out why the seas are drying up, and attempting to save the world as both Shallotte and Shalistera. While in town there are a few options players can undertake, this includes picking up sidequests known as requests, and even take on the tasks of completing in-game challenges that will require players to complete such things as leveling up alchemy, jumping, visiting areas, gathering materials, or simply just completing combat scenarios. As an unfortunate bug that was experienced with our version before the latest patch, we experienced the inability to specialise our characters based upon what we wanted them to be, but also an issue that left much our title untranslated. However, thanks to the quick response by Gust 3D, this has been fixed so far, but this makes it so that those who play offline will find themselves being hit by this bug if they purchase the physical version of the title. So those of you looking at getting this physically? Be prepared to be hit by a few bugs if you can’t update. Even a game breaking one.
Overall, the game itself is much less daunting than before or even intimidating be it combat, alchemy, or simply completing requests from people within the town. Thanks to having been able to create combat items, usable items, weapons, and even request items, it was quite easy to enjoy the first playthrough as Shallotte and enjoy the quests with her wacky group of friends. Thanks to a large group of helpful tutorials and ease of access to them, the game this time has been a much more enjoyable experience compared to that of Atelier Rorona or Meruru Plus. The game itself left a rather fun experience that could eventually lead back to a few more playthroughs in order to see the larger scope of things within the long run. With those final thoughts, Atelier Shallie: Alchemist of the Dusk Sea will leave players wanting more if they have not already experienced previous titles within the series, but also within the franchise itself. We can only hope to see future titles like this one come out and allow fans whom only have the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita a chance to experience this wonderfully crafted and rather enjoyable title.
Final Score: 8 out of 10
Editor’s Note: This version of the game is based upon a pre-release retail version of the game. Our copy was provided to us by the games publisher. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, MMO’s, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable and can’t be softened by even the biggest names in the gaming industry. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. To follow Dustin, hit him up on Twitter over at @GamingAnomaly, find him on his Google+. Wanna game with him? You can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.