Sunday, November 20, 2016

Atelier Firis ~The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey~ - Review

Game: [フィリスのアトリエ 不思議な旅の錬金術士]
Genre: JRPG.
Developer/Publisher: Gust and Koei Tecmo.
Platform: PS Vita, PS4.
Release date: 2016-11-02

Atelier is back to the way I like it! atleast for the most part.
I decided to make a post about it because why the hell not? :D

The 2nd installment of the fushigi(mysterious) arc/series of atelier games
 has everything I love about it, this game stars an energetic young girl named Firis who
 grew up in Eldona a mining town near the country border and yearns for the outside world 
which is full of adventure and she wants to go on a journey.
 One day Sophie an alchemist literally blasts her way into the town and Firis witnesses in awe.
 She learns Sophie is an alchemist and wants to try it out as well since its new and exciting
Sophie teaches her and Firis has potential so she asks her parents to let her out of the mine
but they decine because the people born in the mine aren't allowed to go outside unless
they meet certain requirements and Firis is still too young...
Her sister Liane however is allowed to go outside and understands Firis all too well.
 Yadayadayade... after a whole month Firis is allowed to go outside on one condition she must pass
the alchemy exam at Reizenberg so she can earn a alchemy license within one year from now 
and if she fails she must give up and stay in the mine.
If she passes she is allowed to do whatever she wants to do outside of Eldona and so
 Firis and Liane's journey begins in which Firis will meet many new friends along the way.

This installment is pretty much the open world atelier you never wanted but got anyway.
Areas are vast and time passes too quickly for my tastes but still has that atelier feeling to it.
There are many towns... and have their own NPC's but a lot of them are just you know NPC's.
Best thing is you have your very own portable atelier which you can use at camp sites.
LP is a bit of a bother and you will run out of it at times, trust me you will.
Run out a second time and you will be warped back to the last camp site you used the atelier at.
Also once you make a good broom that can even fly across rivers you will never
walk when you do not need to again as it is just that convenient.
Time limit is back however it is still really lax as its possible to reach Reizenberg
with 100+ days remaining with ease, you do need to get 3 out of 5 recommendations
from various alchemist who live in towns along the way.
Dion at Mechen, he no doubt will be the first one you'll meet and his requirement is easy.
A cranky old woman named Orelie at Dona the forest village with the big tree.
Ren at flusheim, she may be easy to miss as you have to make a tornado ship first
which is no doubt the biggest time sink during the test period.
Anyway just go back to flusheim right after you've crossed the lake as its not the point of no return.
There's two more recommendations you could get after those three though they're not necessary
 but you may as well do them if you think you have enough time left that is
Kirche at Flocke the snowy village(yay hotsprings) and Norbert at the village in the valley...
 Norbert is a freaking troll though, not only do you have to beat some black puni's for a drop...
 he also wants you to make a high quality bomb(100+). (ಠ益ಠ)

Also some advice I shall share because for the love of Levy DO NOT worry about NPC quests
you can complete them after you have gained your alchemy license.

After all this you're good to go for the exam at Reizenberg but keep in mind that
once you register you cannot leave Reizenberg and have to wait/rest till no days left.
The exam itself isn't that hard except that it is timed, the timed questions may be a problem
for those not fluent in japanese or aren't a living atelier encyclopedia.
You need at least 50 points to pass and 70+ to fight a certain someone.
If you play on PS Vita you can cheat by pressing the PS button
dunno if they patch that but I know that on PS4 that won't work.

 Anyway after you pass the exam you are free to do whatever you want AKA no more time limit
and Firis will find out through character events what Firis herself wants to do for the rest of her life!
(or just test yourself against some of the optional bosses scattered around.)
Opening an atelier with a friend? going on an archeological journey or
just travel with your dear sister because why the hell not? 
and those are just a few of the possible endings!
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In my opinion the battle system is better than Sophie's no more hassle of switchng between
offensive or defensive modes or stances... I don't think I have ever used Monica's stances back then, lmao.
 I like the knockback and break system this time also thankfully there was no annoying super boss
this time around because seriously screw Evil King at atelier sophie that was just RNG bullsh!t.
 Speaking of bosses there was no real final boss either and most character events such as Ilmeria,
Drossel, Kald, Sophie and Oscar only had synthing to do to get their endings.
Sophie being the most time consuming because of high level synths and her in turn locking Oscars events.
Liane, Levy, Angriff and Meklet & Atomina being the only ones with bosses.
Ren a sub character also having a boss battle in her events for which 
you must make an Air Drop because it is located underwater.
Though the only boss who imo may count as a final boss to me was the one from Liane's events.
Epic music aside it seems like part of the story of this game was more or less about her
and Firis to begin with, the goal to take the exam and become a legit alchemist within a year
is a huge driving point but after that its just sort of what do you want to do next? Errm where was I!
Stronger versions of Levy and Ren's boss fights exist but personally I haven't bothered with them since no trophy... 
Anyway those are good for challenging yourself with the ultimate gear?
Also there is no more early level cap like at Sophie were the max level is 20
this time the max level is 99 again like it should be though 50 would've been fine too?
Too bad Gust nerfed some grinding spots with patch... now you really need to work for it.
 Okay now to some of the bad parts / my complaints of this game 
and the first one which is no doubt the passage of time the day/night system passes way too quickly!
You can't tell me that just going in circles around the tree at Donna takes half a day!

Alchemy works pretty much the same like Sophie and I have no complaints about it
other than there being some shitty mastering the item system that prevents you from
easily stacking traits, good news is some rocks allow you to do so but good luck if 
its an item you cannot use rocks as material to make, welp time to trash synth it is!
Also they nerfed a lot of traits like almighty for no reason but that that doesn't mean
there's no way to get good stuff on your weapon or armor anymore!
The recipe system like Sophie's also sucks... there are books but most recipe's come from idea's.
You get these Idea's when picking up items, buy stuff or fight enemies and on paper
 this should work well but in practice it does not... luckily every story recipe comes from the events
and are unmissable but there are a lot of recipe's which are not and well you have to work for them.
Also do remember to check the recipe list because some times you have enough points to learn them
and if you do not you will never learn them.... this game does not hold your hand so can you see
why some parts of this is terrible? I can see that Gust wants to innovative but please
go back to the old fashioned way of buying books! it works so much better!
like I don't mind a bunch of recipes being secret from random things but all of them? no thanks.

Also I wish we could take Liane, Sophie or Plachta out of the party...
The latter two join after the exam.
You can only take 6 members with you of which those three are permanent.
Even if it makes sense story wise those are three slots that could be used by three other
playable characters and there are a total of 9 playable's(Firis not included).
Oh well its no big deal honestly but still its a little wish I have
like if you can take six with you why are 2 of the slots locked for no reason?
especially when there are 9 playables this makes combinations limited.

The PS Vita version is oh so terrible, it runs worse than Sophie which compared to Firis
was very stable and granted Firis is a big game but I think they did a poor job...
or rather a rushed job at making sure it runs properly esp the vita version!
The PS4 version actually runs just fine with some minor game bugs here and there.
I watched someone stream the vita version and I could literally tell
they were crying inside every time it crashed!
Look I do not care about the graphics however I do care about a game being
able to run well without it constantly crashing and disturbing me playing the game.
So yeah PS4 is the way to go unless you do not have one and only have a vita. 
Sometimes I can't help but want to tell gust to take their time developing their games...
This isn't the first time either back when Shallie first released on ps3 in japan
there was this terrible bug that would cause a memory leak and would make the ps3 go pipipi
when you want to turn off the game and trust me it scared me everytime till they patched it.
Gust please let this be the last lesson and take your time next time okay?

They did patch most of it but here are crashes/bug I have witnessed:
- Entering battle.
- Swinging your staff at a tree for materials.
- During battle.
-opening a treasure chest. 
- entering boss area at underwater ruins.
- Walking through walls*PS4*. (lmao)

My last complaint would be Escha's child like appearance...
Okay I know that the escha and logy in the mysterious saga is only a mere cameo
like an alternate world version of them but I prefer the good old Escha you know?
It doesn't bother me that much anymore but its worth mentioning because
atleast Rorona had a story reason for being lolified (albeit a stupid one)
Escha just has zero reason for being lolified and in my opinion thats pretty sad.
Oh well in Escha and Logy's last sub event they make a promise that Logy will wait till she's of age.
Also in Ishikawa Kaito cast comment he mentions it and wasn't very impressed by it
he even goes as far as saying to play their own game Atelier Escha and Logy if you haven't
and also asks to check Murakawa Rie's cast comment, lmao the seiyuu ship is real.
Speaking of Rie's cast comment she ended up talking way too much... lol.
Sigh oh well... I do like Escha as a character just prefer the other one.

Oh and there's also a two CG evens that do not have a trophy... one is for finishing
trollbert's events after doing the exam and another one somewhere...

For the last part of the review let's sum up my thoughts about the characters!

 As for the main characters I like them all some more than others...
Most of them are just the typically mercenary chara you meet along the way that you can hire.
and they don't have any deep development.
My favorites(in order)
Firis > Liane > Levy > Kald  > Sophie> Ilmeria > Oscar > Drossel > Plachta > Logy > Angriff > Escha.
 Firis is the best atelier protag in a long time! not only is she's super cute and likeable to boot
I just completely understand her and want her to be happy doing what she wants.
Liane is the best sister one could wish for, she understands Firis more than anything and adores her a lot.
Liane's a bit of a siscon though.... ahahaha.
Levy... oh boy he's a weird one and a bit of a chuuni and also a good cook?!
His character events and ending made me love him even more because
the poor boy needs someone to hold him in times of need.
  Kald... I dunno and I guess he's cool but I never thought I'd like him as much as I did.
 He has a women phobia and is a historic weaboo and well you know
I have a thing for guys with this sort of gap moe, he frequently lectures other characters if need be.
Not sure why he even agrees to help Firis... maybe he's just nice and he thought it would be interesting?
His sub events ties into Meklet and Atomina but otherwise Kald is sorta just there...
 Sophie is the one who gave Firis her dream of becoming an alchemist and made her not give up
so yes I like sophie a whole lot more than in her own game now.
 Plachta... she goes wherever Sophie goes and honestly I don't have much to say about her in this game.
 Ilmeria is an alchemist who's a bit stuck up but becomes friends with Firis easily...
She's also Firis's first real friend and well real friends fight and make up.
  Oscar is... weird he talks with plants and lost a lot of weight between the two games
whch may have been a bit unrealistic but eh he's pretty hilarious to me
butI don't really understand why he's even in the game other than to tie into
the whole voice of the material thing with Sophie.
 Drossel... she is a bit of an odd ball and her ending was the most random but I do not dislike her.
Also she has no sense of direction and I guess she takes after her father Fritz a lot.
The Logy of this world is just an cameo but I wish he'd be less useless
and actually do his damn job as a blacksmith and make weapons for me! >:(
 You should now how I feel about Escha and all... but she wasn't nearly as annoying as I thought
she would be which was a nice surprise but she's still last on the list atleast in this game
and I prefer the good old Escha from the dusk series.
Angriff... well I don't dislike him but he's just the typical strong guy who is willing
to protect Firis as long as you pay 5000 cole to him once, lmao.
Angriff can hold his liquor... lmao.
 Yeah some of these characters are just kind of there... there is not much depth to them at all
but they're fun bunch and will most likely make you laugh every now and then.
There's also Heinz and Shannon DLC chara... the OP even change if you buy them
Shannon is adorable and her events had a surprise character appearance from Sophie!
As for Heinz he's a good kid... but otherwise I don't have anything to say about him.

Despite my dislikes and complains I fully recommend Atelier Firis to any JRPG fan.
I love atelier and I probably wrote down a bit too much... whoops. 
7.5/10
 Almost forgot to mention but this game also has a lot of references to older games...
Did you think the air drop or flying broom are a new thing here? wrong!
They've existed since atleast the gramrad series. :)
This was nice though because I haven't seen those things in a long long time.

 Exhibition of the finishers in this game someone else took the time to make, I guess
they couldn't be bothered to make new ones for Sophie and Plachta, most
of them are a bit lacklustre though.
DLC not included since they came out later.

2 comments:

  1. More diversity in reviews is always good and its nice to see Firis is a decent atelier game despite the bugs, i'm not fond of the mysterious series recipe system either but it could've been far worse.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment, yeah sometimes you just need to write
      about something else that you like.
      There's probably going to be a third game in the mysterious saga but
      I hope the areas are a bit smaller and that the recipe system
      is handled even better there than it is now.

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