Well, I’ve hinted on it often enough, I guess it’s time for the review I promised you for Atelier Ayesha Plus, The Alchemist of Dusk on the PS Vita. This game is the first one of the trilogie, next up will be Escha & Logy, alchemists of the Dusk Sky and then Atelier Shallie, alchemists of the Dusk Sea.
You play as Ayesha Altugle, a cheerful girl who lives all by herself and calls herself an apothecary, making medicine for a living. She lost her sister Nio some time ago, and when visiting her grave she meets a mysterious older man who changes her live. Because at that moment Nio appears before her, and the man tells her that her sister is still alive and can be saved by her, if she applies herself to becoming an alchemist and to travel the world looking for clues about special flowers. Ayesha doesn’t have to think twice, together with her cow Pana she sets off on her journey, hoping to save Nio in the three years that have been given to her.
Travelling means going from dot to dot on the over-world map, of course these dots are towns or fields in reality. Nice to know what to expect in an Atlier game: you meet lots of people and fight many monsters in the fields, all the while gathering materials for your alchemy. Locations with an exclamation mark are places where you will find events to progress either the main story or the side stories involving characters you have met. Where Ayesha is different from the other Atelier game I played, Rorona, is that the story really gets to you. The story in Rorona was nice, but Ayesha is such a lovable girl, with recognizable struggles. And if you have lost someone yourself, it’s so easy to relate to her quest. The game has a nostalgic feeling to it, the areas you visit are beautiful. They have a dreamy like quality, like this domed herb garden for instance, that could well be the garden of Eden, but then years after civilisation has left it. The little movie clips are very good, the game is less static then Rorona, where you saw the background and had pictures of the characters sliding into the screen.
Although you only have three years to complete the main story, you don’t feel the same time crunch as in Rorona. There’s ample time to look over Ayesha’s shoulder at the lives of the people she meets. And depending on how much effort you put into your friendship with Marion, or Fred the Baker, the more of the story is shown. Of course you can ask most of the people you meet to join you in battle too, and each has his or her own trademark weapons. Marion uses guns, while Linca has a mean sword. I mean, isn’t this sword a bit big for her to carry around?
Ayesha has several home bases, so it’s easier to travel around and still not lose too many days to find a place to synthesise new bombs and potions. The map is much, much bigger then in Rorona, you can even buy yourself an air balloon to get a farther reach. You can set the game to difficult setting, or the normal setting. I haven’t played the Playstation version, but I’ve read that you do get some extra free DLC with this game, but other then that it seems about the same. Another thing I read online is that it plays a bit clunky on the Vita, that the movement like going into battle aren’t fluid. I can’t say I noticed this. I did notice that it takes quite some time to load between scenes, especially when there’s a movie clip ahead. But it’s not annoying to me, maybe I’m the patient sort? There’s only one thing that bothers me, and that’s that the print on screen is just so small, difficult for me to read. Must be my age though!
I enjoyed Atelier Rorona Plus so much a year ago, it was my first ever Atelier game. But this Atelier Ayesha Plus is even better, I’ve put in hours and hours of gameplay and I’m still not done. Not having the constant time pressure leaves much more time for exploring, and the world is so much bigger. I choose this game as my handheld game of 2015, so that should express my feelings nicely. Excellent gameplay, if you like RPG combined with crafting and a good storyline, then you should give this Vita game a go.
Nothing too out of the ordinary for the Atelier games, it seems like another great addition to the series. The only thing I might dislike about it over the previous games is the freedom you get during the time limit. I prefer these types of games to have rigid goals so I can have some assurance that I won’t get a bad ending after the 3 years, I tend to get a bit lost when I’m given freedom. But I’m sure the game won’t leave me completely directionless so things will work.
In return, I can tell you for a fact that you are going to like the story in Totori a lot. It has a similar sory with a very relate-able character, although the circumstances around her have a slightly different taste. Meruru goes back to a more cheery tone, although it is still better than Rorona because it doesn’t have anybody take advantage of Meruru like poor Rorona had with her teacher.
I think I understand what you mean about needing a bit more rigid goals. I’m now more then 6 months into the third year, and I’m afraid I might not be able to solve Nio’s disappearance in time. Which would make the game end the wrong way!
So Totori is much the same character? Nice. In Rorona there where conversations with her teacher that where downright strange, right?
I played the console version and enjoyed it a lot. Yeah, I liked how Ayesha had more of a story. Some of the other games feel open ended whilst this one has the sister quest to motivate you. The time restrictions are lax in this game and later in the series they are removed altogether.
Oh that’s good news, that they will lift the time restrictions. I’m almost at the end of year three, and I’m very afraid I won’t be able to find Nio in time. In a way that’s worst. At least with Rorona the game told you there was no way you could complete it in time having missed a certain quest. Then you could start again from an earlier point. Still, love Ayesha!
Yvonne, sounds like time is running out for you 🙁
I found Nio at the beginning of Year 3 and that then leaves time to finish off other quests and goals.
Yep, I came to that conclusion too! I currently have another game going, trying to do it better. And here I was thinking that by now I’d be better at managing time in the Atelier games, lol!