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Atelier Ayesha: Alchemist of the Dusk Review

Atelier.Ayesha.full.1202408 copy

C+Atelier Ayesha is an unconventional JRPG with turn based combat….Is…is anyone still reading this? Okay so now that all the JRPG haters are gone lets get down to what this game is all about. Atelier Ayesha is about a young apothecary named Ayesha who creates medicine for local villages and towns. She has a sister, Nio, who disappeared mysteriously a few years earlier while gathering medicinal herbs alone for Ayesha. Ayesha blames herself for Nio’s disappearance. While at the makeshift grave Ayesha has erected for Nio’s assumed untimely death she is surprised by the “ghost” of her sister and then, once the apparition disappears a mysterious man shows up and informs Ayesha that the “synthesizing” she is doing to create her medicine is actually alchemy and if she wanted to get her sister back she will need to learn a lot more about it.

 

Do you like the story so far? Well good ’cause that is just about all they give you before they make you sit and watch about an hour of cut scenes. These explain the little story before you get to play the game for real. The cut scenes could have been better. The character animations seem stiff and unnatural, though the character designs were all really creative, playful and just fun to look at. Also, just about every character you interact with has their own feminine twist to them.

 

I was surprised at how many of the cut scenes actually had voice-overs and the voice acting was pretty decent to say the least. Even Ayesha’s trusty blue ox/cow pet, Pana had a voice, and it was quite possibly one of the most annoying creatures I’ve ever heard, but Pana was so incredibly adorable it almost made up for the terrible sounds that came out of it’s mouth.

 

I noticed that in some of the early game conversations characters would repeat the same useless information once or twice in almost the same manner. In addition to  that I found the dialogue to generally be stale and lacking in creativity.

 

Everything about the rest of the game is time based. You are given three years to complete your journey, and the only thing alchemy Atelier Ayesha_6uses up is resources and time. Some recipes take a day, others take a week. Traveling from place to place is measured by the amount of days it takes to get to your destination and is map based. Thus, I spent most of my time gathering resources for alchemy, fighting monsters and doing fetch quests which led to random cut scenes that didn’t seem to fit into the story because I wasn’t really sure what the story was. I knew what the end goal was but I had no direction as to how to get there. Sure, I progressed my way through the game just fine but I felt lost most of the time.

 

One of the things that I was very impressed with was the battle system. Yes it is technically “turn based” but it is more than that. The monster’s are placed in formation in the center and, depending on how the battle was initiated, your team members are placed in one of four locations around the enemies. Speed determines who goes when and location determines who can do what. Every character can either attack, use skills (items) or can move a quarter of a circle around the perimeter. When a character attacks, the location of other characters will determine whether or not they can pull off a combo attack; same goes with defending. If a character is in the right location he/she can potentially jump in and take the blow from an enemy attack instead of the targeted character. It gets more advanced than that but that is the gist of it.

Atelier Ayesha_8

Atelier Ayesha_1Also the alchemy is really fun to mess around with. They give you recipes and you have to go to different areas and collect the ingredients. So, if you are into scavenging for parts (i.e: Skyrim, Fallout, etc…) you might really dig this game.

 

I feel that Atelier Ayesha is a decent game, but the one real problem it had was with it’s conveyance. If the developer’s would have taken more time to explain things to me I feel the experience would go more smoothly. Now mind you that this wasn’t bad enough to make me want to stop playing and there was a sense of satisfaction when I filled in the holes that they didn’t explain well enough. But, the fact remains that if I hadn’t spent so much time figuring how this game worked then I could have spent more time enjoying everything this game did right.

 

The bottom line is that this game is far from perfect but I would recommend it to people who are into JRPGs or people who loved the previous installments of the Atelier series.

James Arledge
James Arledgehttp://youtube.com/good2knowgames
James is a passionate gamer and artist. He attended ITT Technical Institute and received an Associates Degree in Graphic Design, which led him to get an internship with The Heat Magazine as a Graphic Designer. His passion for gaming has led him to create and take the title of Editor-in-Chief of good2knowgames on the world's premiere video platform, You Tube. The video game industry is rapidly growing and that is something James strives to continue to be an integral part of, for many years to come.
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