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This Week in Games - Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey




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Via_01



Joined: 24 Aug 2014
Posts: 550
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 11:35 am Reply with quote
At this point it's very hard to criticize an Atelier game for not having a high-stakes plot or anything that usually defines JRPGs. That, in my opinion, is what makes it a special series: you are not some destined hero going on a journey to save the world. You simply follow a young alchemist through her/his everyday life, as well as the everyday life of their companions. Heck, usually half of your party members are shop owners themselves! Just normal townspeople that happen to know how to use a weapon. And that's the tone it's been handling for several years now.

But it's definitely not for everyone. Creating items in order to finish menial tasks that are only important for, say, the farmer next door, might understandably not offer the thrilling experience of defeating a demon lord. But I'll defend to the death an Atelier's game desire to tell a slow-paced and light-hearted story, with the "higher" stakes only surfacing by the very end.
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varmintx



Joined: 31 Jul 2006
Posts: 1063
Location: Covington, KY
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:05 pm Reply with quote
I hate that the time management has returned. These games are so laid back with very little at stake, having to worry the whole game that you're going to run out of time runs counter to its very nature. I mean, I understand the long-time fans complained when it got removed for Shallie, but that's the very reason I gave that game a chance. Oh well, I already bought it, so, there's not much point in complaining.
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belvadeer



Joined: 11 Jun 2006
Posts: 3947
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:08 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
She's naive, she's cloying, often whiny, and at one point actually screams that she hates her parents and runs out of her home. And she's the protagonist.


I've heard some increasingly negative comments that she's just plain obnoxious and dense as all get out. The Japanese may or may not get a kick out of this kind of stupid moe character type, but it's possible many North American and European gamers would prefer she just burn.

Via_01 wrote:
At this point it's very hard to criticize an Atelier game for not having a high-stakes plot or anything that usually defines JRPGs. That, in my opinion, is what makes it a special series: you are not some destined hero going on a journey to save the world. You simply follow a young alchemist through her/his everyday life, as well as the everyday life of their companions. Heck, usually half of your party members are shop owners themselves! Just normal townspeople that happen to know how to use a weapon. And that's the tone it's been handling for several years now.

But it's definitely not for everyone. Creating items in order to finish menial tasks that are only important for, say, the farmer next door, might understandably not offer the thrilling experience of defeating a demon lord. But I'll defend to the death an Atelier's game desire to tell a slow-paced and light-hearted story, with the "higher" stakes only surfacing by the very end.


Pretty much all this. I point out to others that Atelier's charm isn't about saving the world, it's about putting your item creation skills to the test, and it's not simple item creation like in Star Ocean 2 where you slap a couple of leaves together and get some instant salve. The Iris trilogy and Khemia duology tried to add typical world saving elements to Atelier, but all it resulted in was lower sales (in Japan more than the U.S. since Iris is where the series technically started for us) and a need to return to what made everyone so enamored with Marie to Vio. It's definitely not a JRPG series that does anything familiar to the typical fan, but sometimes it's nice to play a game where intstead of being destined to save the planet from some megalomaniac trying to become a god or rewrite history, you're helping the mayor with the town festival preparations or trying to make an item for your lonely neighbor down the street that will help them cope with the loss of their family.


Last edited by belvadeer on Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
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meiam



Joined: 23 Jun 2013
Posts: 1800
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:10 pm Reply with quote
I tried a few of the atelier game here and there and they never connected with me, it feel like there only selling point is that there console JRPG in days where there's pretty much none of those anymore. 15 years ago they would have been the type of game to hit the bargain bin as soon as they'd release.

The low key stakes and focus on item creation is fine by me, I really liked the al khemia games and loved recettear, but it just feel like the dev but as little effort as they could in every aspect.
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Hunter Sopko



Joined: 05 Mar 2003
Posts: 255
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:18 pm Reply with quote
Sophie suffered from the same problems Rorona did: it's the first Atelier on a new system, and is generic as all get out. I enjoyed it for what it was, but it was a lot of the same. Shallie did combat better.

A friend who follows the Japanese Atelier fan community tells me the one title that tried for higher stakes storywise (Ayesha) wasn't very well received in Japan (despite in my view being the best in the series for story) and caused them to whiplash back into series conventions. It's sad, but you could kinda see that in how soft Escha & Logy ended up being, as well as going back to an almost pointless assignment system. At least E&L improved on the combat and alchemy.

Still wish I could get a game with Ayesha's story and OST, E&L's alchemy (Or Sophie/Firis' alchemy is also pretty fun), and Shallie's combat.
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Zin5ki
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Joined: 06 Jan 2008
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Location: London, UK
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 3:46 pm Reply with quote
No mention of Fire Pro Wrestling World being announced, I see! For those who are not fans of the genre, I should mention that this revelation included Suda51 clotheslining people.
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H. Guderian



Joined: 29 Jan 2014
Posts: 934
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:20 pm Reply with quote
Atelier is the franchise I play on cold winter nights under my kotatsu. In those situations its the perfect game series. If you're gonna stack it against a Final Fantasy, things will be disappointing.

I hear this Mysterious line of games isn't as good. Especially as a start. Frankly I think Escha&Logy is the best in the franchise, and since the stories are not Save-the-World serious there's no problems jumping in anywhere.
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CrownKlown



Joined: 05 May 2011
Posts: 1543
PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:28 am Reply with quote
meiam wrote:
I tried a few of the atelier game here and there and they never connected with me, it feel like there only selling point is that there console JRPG in days where there's pretty much none of those anymore. 15 years ago they would have been the type of game to hit the bargain bin as soon as they'd release.

The low key stakes and focus on item creation is fine by me, I really liked the al khemia games and loved recettear, but it just feel like the dev but as little effort as they could in every aspect.


You do realize this series has been around 15 plus years, and it was and still is type of game that has a small run and becomes very expensive and will never see a bargain bin, as the typically the case of all JRPGs. If anything its the flip, jrpgs are more mainstream now and even the most obscure game gets much larger print runs, so at some point games like Atelier and Disgaea from ps3 and one can be had for 10-20 bucks, but usually only for a short window before they go back up.
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Paiprince



Joined: 21 Dec 2013
Posts: 592
PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:29 pm Reply with quote
meiam wrote:
I tried a few of the atelier game here and there and they never connected with me, it feel like there only selling point is that there console JRPG in days where there's pretty much none of those anymore. 15 years ago they would have been the type of game to hit the bargain bin as soon as they'd release.

The low key stakes and focus on item creation is fine by me, I really liked the al khemia games and loved recettear, but it just feel like the dev but as little effort as they could in every aspect.


Shin Megami Tensei, Legend of Heroes, Tales, Neptunia, Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Xeno series etc...yeah I think JRPG's are still alive.

I already resigned myself to the fact that the Atelier series will never be fully appreciated by the West which can never seem to tolerate slow-burn progression in even your typical JRPG. Just look up threads with people whining about how X game has "pacing" problems. Let's not forget the same idiots who think it's a legitimate issue for a game to be "too anime." How Western gamers have become so ethnocentric, I'm still figuring out to this day.

Why bother localizing them if they're always regarded as B grade games by both reviewers and gamers in the other side of the world? I say they should just cut their losses and be like the Shining series and stop releasing them to people who hate this kind of RPG. Which doubly sucks since Blue Reflection is another promising gem that will be shat on by the usual peanut gallery who think "West is Best" in everything and therefore will never leave Japan.
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Stuart Smith



Joined: 13 Jan 2013
Posts: 1110
PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:40 pm Reply with quote
Atelier's appeal has always been about low-key plots, if you ask me. I can understand why people might find it boring, but it's a nice change of pace to go from some epic like Final Fantasy or Tales or Dragon Quest to a more somber experience from time to time. It's not for everyone, but it has it's dedicated fanbase and that's great.

-Stuart Smith
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Themaster20000



Joined: 05 Aug 2014
Posts: 673
PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 4:28 pm Reply with quote
Paiprince wrote:

Shin Megami Tensei, Legend of Heroes, Tales, Neptunia, Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Xeno series etc...yeah I think JRPG's are still alive.

I already resigned myself to the fact that the Atelier series will never be fully appreciated by the West which can never seem to tolerate slow-burn progression in even your typical JRPG. Just look up threads with people whining about how X game has "pacing" problems. Let's not forget the same idiots who think it's a legitimate issue for a game to be "too anime." How Western gamers have become so ethnocentric, I'm still figuring out to this day.

Why bother localizing them if they're always regarded as B grade games by both reviewers and gamers in the other side of the world? I say they should just cut their losses and be like the Shining series and stop releasing them to people who hate this kind of RPG. Which doubly sucks since Blue Reflection is another promising gem that will be shat on by the usual peanut gallery who think "West is Best" in everything and therefore will never leave Japan.


The games are B-grade in regards to graphics and the amount of recycled content across the games (it's not comically overdone like the Neptunia series does it). The series is fine for what it is. The series for the most part has been received well,so am not sure where that idea came from. My issue is how the characters are just one-note anime archetypes (compared to the earlier Iris entries,where characters had a bit more to them.)
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