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cheetah7071
Oct 20, 2010


College Slice

Atelier is a series of JRPGs released roughly yearly with (as of this post) 21 mainline entries and a dozen spinoffs. The best words to describe the mood of (most of) the games are "cute" and "chill". They almost exclusively have low stakes like "stop the government from eminent domain-ing my small business" or "don't get fired from my job". You (almost always) play as a young woman starting her career as an alchemist. What this means in game terms is crafting. Lots and lots of crafting. You craft your own weapons and armor, you craft bombs to throw at the enemies, you craft healing items, you craft everything. The trend in modern games is to have the crafting be a fully-realized puzzle minigame where the outcome is shaped by the exact details of the items you put in. Besides the crafting, the gameplay is fairly standard turn-based JRPG fare, often with a subfocus on exploration. Some of the older games also have a time management component, of varying levels of difficulty. The games are also known for having kickass soundtracks and heavy lesbian undertones.

Most of the games are linked to each other in trilogies (or the occasional duology or quadrilogy). Generally speaking, you don't need to play a trilogy in order--they're designed to be playable individually (with varying levels of success). The series started on the original Playstation but it wasn't until the PS2 that the games started getting localized. The PS2 games are also huge outliers; in the PS3 era the series returned to its roots and the PS3 games are much more similar to the PS1 games than they are to the PS2 games. This means that the PS3 era is the start of the "modern" Atelier series. Thus, rather than talk about the series in chronological order, I'm going to talk about the modern games first and then go back to the older games.

Arland Quadrilogy (PS3/Vita/PC/PS4/Switch for the first three; PC/PS4/Switch for Lulua)
  • Atelier Rorona: A wholesome, charming game about an apprentice alchemist saving her master's failing business from being bought out. This game is a very laid-back, relaxed experience if you just want to get to the end and make some anime friends, but a very frantic experience if you want to make all the anime friends because there's a time limit. That time limit is extremely generous to just complete the game, but extremely tight if you want to 100% it. Also, content warning, there are a few scenes that are uncomfortably horny about underage characters. Also apparently the PS3 version is terrible and you should never play it. This is one of my recommended entry points to the series.

  • Atelier Totori: This game dials back the charm compared to Rorona, but in exchange has a heartfelt story about family. This game has in my opinion the second-best writing in the series. It's a bit janky though--when Rorona got ported, it got a bunch of quality of life updates, whereas Totori is a straight port, so it's the oldest-feeling of the modern games. It also has the tightest time limit of any of the modern games, and is the only one where a careful player faces a realistic chance of failure. Consulting a guide or asking for help is recommended.

  • Atelier Meruru: This game has a sort of frantic energy to it. You play as a princess using alchemy to provide infrastructure to her kingdom. The new characters besides Meruru herself are all pretty boring but it brings back all the favorites from Rorona and Totori. This game has a similar time limit to Totori but is a bit easier so there's less risk of failure. Also Rorona is inexplicably turned into an eight year old in this game, a move which nobody liked.

  • Atelier Lulua: This game came out a decade after Meruru and is a long form apology for what they did to Rorona in it. Rorona is now in her 30s and is a mom, and you play as her daughter. The game is written as a slapstick comedy and the first half has some great cinematograpy contributing to the comedic timing (before they realized that doing that for the entire game would run them way over budget). This game does not have a time limit.

Dusk Trilogy (PS3/Vita/PC/PS4/Switch)
  • Atelier Ayesha: This game wins my award for best-written Atelier. The game is in turns cute, heartwarming, funny, and deeply moving. You play as a young woman going on an adventure to learn alchemy in order to save her sister. This game can be a bit confusing at times on how to proceed and has a time limit, so I recommend using a guide if you ever find yourself stuck on what to do next. This is one of my recommended entry points to the series

  • Atelier Escha and Logy: This is another fan-favorite for its lovable cast. You play as two alchemists starting their career in government work. This game has a time limit but failure isn't very realistic.

  • Atelier Shallie: I don't even know how to summarize the story of this one. Tbh I don't like it all that much, it felt too much like it was trying to rely on the appeal of the previous Dusk games while not having anything worthwhile of its own, or a very good understanding of what made them great in the first place.

Mysterious Trilogy (PS4/Vita/PC; L&S is on the Switch as well)
  • Atelier Sophie: A young woman begins to learn alchemy under the instruction of a talking book who is her future wife. Unfortunately for her, her village is filled with only boring people for her to be friends with. Fortunately for her, new, less boring people move in eventually

  • Atelier Firis: An open world Atelier. You can really tell that all the development effort in this game went into doing their best to make an open world game, and the rest suffers for it. I personally think they pulled it off, but everybody else on the planet thinks this is the worst Atelier by a mile.

  • Atelier Lydie and Suelle: A return to form, this game feels like it could have been in the Arland trilogy, writing-wise. It has a lovable, colorful cast of characters and probably the best gameplay in the series to-date. This is one of my recommended entry points to the series.

Secret (?) Trilogy (?) (PS4/PC/Switch)
  • Atelier Ryza: This game is a story about a young woman in a rural town coming of age and finding her place in the world. The story leans a bit more traditional JRPG, with linear story beats and a more typical save-the-world framing (though there's still plenty of Atelier-style low-stakes stuff to go along with it). The combat system is also decidedly unchill, and demands quick thinking to succeed. This is one of my recommended entry points to the series, but it's kind of short for a full-price game so maybe wait for a sale
  • Atelier Ryza 2: This game is a little bit worse than Ryza 1, but not by very much. Get it if you finished Ryza and want more of those characters.

Iris Trilogy (PS2)
  • Atelier Iris: I haven't played this game since I was a teen but it's probably boring and bad

  • Atelier Iris 2: I have replayed this game so I know it's boring and bad

  • Atelier Iris 3: This game has charming-but-boring writing, but an unusually engaging battle system.

Mana Khemia Duology (PS2)
  • Mana Khemia: I'm the only Atelier fan who doesn't like this game so it must be doing something good. Play it maybe, and then tell me why I'm wrong for not liking it

  • Mana Khemia 2: I bounced off this game.

Other stuff
  • Atelier Marie: The very first Atelier, available to play via a fan patch for the PS2 version. The entire game is time management.

  • Atelier Elie: The second Atelier, available to play also via fan patch. It seems to be Marie but better.

  • Atelier Annie: A DS game and officially considered a spinoff, though gameplaywise it seems to be basically mainline. Unfortunately, that gameplay is trash. It's a shame too because the writing is legitimately funny.

  • Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists: This is a crossover game. It is not a mainline Atelier, it is a spinoff. The genre is townbuilder, not JRPG. Don't play it unless you've played so many Ateliers that you'll recognize a good number of the crossover characters

cheetah7071 fucked around with this message at 22:37 on Mar 8, 2021

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U-DO Burger
Nov 12, 2007







I'm happy to have a thread for this series again, since I've come to favor the series far more than other more popular ones like FF and Persona.

I just started L&S and it's really nice to have two main protagonists who are together from the start, unlike in Shallies where they did their own thing for like the first half of the game. Their dynamic is really fun, and Sue in particular is an amazing and funny atelier protagonist who probably wouldn't work in any other game because you can't be a solo atelier MC if you hate reading with a passion.

Dehry
Aug 21, 2009



Grimey Drawer

The next entry being released is Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists. It just released in Japan and will arrive in the west March 26th NA and March 29th EU It's a town building game featuring every alchemist ever in the 20 game series along with select side characters. It's not representative of the main series.

https://twitter.com/KoeiTecmoUS/status/1062461480585445376

Sientara
May 27, 2012



For the Arland trilogy on Vita, PC and Switch, one thing to keep in mind is that Rorona was remade after the release of the other two, which means that it has some QOL improvements that the other 2 do not, like choosing which ending you get. That feature first made its debut in Ayesha. I wish they would add that feature in to all ports.

For more information on some of the reasons Firis is disliked, I have the following problems with it:
-There is no wholesaleing to make it easier to mass produce items with certain traits
-the recipe leveling system: as you craft something more, you gain experience in it to unlock various traits making it more difficult than necessary to craft good items
-it is really easy to miss whole characters and events since you are wandering without much direction
-it is a buggy mess, especially the Vita version. It crashes at the drop of a hat.

Jerry Manderbilt
May 31, 2012

Doesn't the thought of an evil emperor who commands using the power of alchemy excite you?



In on the ground floor of this thing

atholbrose
Feb 28, 2001

Splish!



After making a decision to try and play a lot of my backlog games this year instead of buying new games, I'm plowing through a bunch of Atelier games. I'd bought several but never finished one before this. I've finished the Arland games, Ayesha and am now working on Escha and Logy -- and I have to say, from a gameplay perspective this might be my favorite so far. Support attacks are fun, alchemy is relatively straightforward, there are timed elements but they aren't stressful and so many rough edges have been sanded off. Best of all: the markers for where there's an event waiting!

Ayesha was the first one where I got a character ending; maintaining the friend score wasn't too hard, and I found all the events without any trouble.

These games are just so relaxing to play. Minor stakes, nice characters, great music...

U-DO Burger
Nov 12, 2007






lol sue owns, i made a flask to carry water and her first reaction was "oh hell yeah a porta potty"

Snooze Cruise
Feb 16, 2013

look-
a post,


I am playing Totori and am enjoying it a lot and I can't believe there was a democratic revolution woah.
I can't wait to meet adult Rorona and her gf.

cheetah7071
Oct 20, 2010


College Slice

Snooze Cruise posted:

I am playing Totori and am enjoying it a lot and I can't believe there was a democratic revolution woah.
I can't wait to meet adult Rorona and her gf.

who is Rorona's gf in your mind

Snooze Cruise
Feb 16, 2013

look-
a post,


cheetah7071 posted:

who is Rorona's gf in your mind

cory
they have powerful friend ship stones they wear on neck

corn in the bible
Jun 5, 2004

Oh no oh god it's all true!


tiny rorona is a war crime

Tales of Woe
Dec 17, 2004



they can only recompense us with huge rorona

New Super Metis
Aug 1, 2014




Atelier L&S is good, even though my playthrough ended kind of abruptly because I didn't realise I was triggering the ending. Will go through the last bit again eventually when I get the chance.

FractalSandwich
Apr 25, 2010


Sientara posted:

For more information on some of the reasons Firis is disliked, I have the following problems with it:
-There is no wholesaleing to make it easier to mass produce items with certain traits
-the recipe leveling system: as you craft something more, you gain experience in it to unlock various traits making it more difficult than necessary to craft good items
-it is really easy to miss whole characters and events since you are wandering without much direction
-it is a buggy mess, especially the Vita version. It crashes at the drop of a hat.
I appreciate its ambition. Trying to make an open-world game on an Atelier budget is an incredibly bold move, and I think it's an interesting failure.

In Australia, Rorona and Totori got rated R18+ for "references to sexual violence". Is that something to be concerned about, or a case of the Classification Board going off half-cocked?

cheetah7071
Oct 20, 2010


College Slice

There's a few scenes where adult women get drunk and gropey with the teenage leads. They're bad scenes but not worth a rating bump by themselves

Dehry
Aug 21, 2009



Grimey Drawer

Outside of the standard Otaku bait:

Rorona
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eojl19S4gkA
Totori
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rk0JD5N2hA
Meruru
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hH8me_2wJxs

Later games have the characters drinking but handle it much better.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MD0S65M7UXE

Dehry fucked around with this message at 17:36 on Feb 6, 2019

corn in the bible
Jun 5, 2004

Oh no oh god it's all true!


It should be Making Bombs With Your Moms

U-DO Burger
Nov 12, 2007






corn in the bible posted:

It should be Making Bombs With Your Moms

Tales of Woe
Dec 17, 2004



those original rorona character models are weird to see, glad they didn't stick with that look

atholbrose
Feb 28, 2001

Splish!



corn in the bible posted:

It should be Making Bombs With Your Mombs

Jerry Manderbilt
May 31, 2012

Doesn't the thought of an evil emperor who commands using the power of alchemy excite you?



but totori and mimi, and sophie and plachta, are childless though

https://twitter.com/4GamerNews/status/1093132241423618048

i think this means that nelke sold 31k in its first week or something?

Jerry Manderbilt fucked around with this message at 12:28 on Feb 7, 2019

Dehry
Aug 21, 2009



Grimey Drawer

https://twitter.com/KoeiTecmoUS/status/1093509690749800448

corn in the bible
Jun 5, 2004

Oh no oh god it's all true!


Jerry Manderbilt posted:

but totori and mimi, and sophie and plachta, are childless though

https://twitter.com/4GamerNews/status/1093132241423618048

i think this means that nelke sold 31k in its first week or something?

I think that's higher than L&S first-week sales were, but then that game sold a lot later on and ended up being fairly successful. I'm... not sure the same will be true of Atelier Nelke: Not Even Making Bombs With Your Mom

Jerry Manderbilt
May 31, 2012

Doesn't the thought of an evil emperor who commands using the power of alchemy excite you?



corn in the bible posted:

I think that's higher than L&S first-week sales were, but then that game sold a lot later on and ended up being fairly successful. I'm... not sure the same will be true of Atelier Nelke: Not Even Making Bombs With Your Mom

180k over 3 months puts L&S as one of the best sellers in the franchise, even

but yeah i've said this at length in the RPG thread but nelke strips out all the crafting and combat that makes atelier games fun (like seriously the montages i've seen of combat in nelke look really dull and uninspired), and i dunno if the game tripling down on character interactions or the townbuilding stuff makes up for that

Tales of Woe
Dec 17, 2004



seems like they've given up on dubbing the series, too bad

i kinda like the side view combat presentation in nelke but overall i'm not interested

Dehry
Aug 21, 2009



Grimey Drawer

There aren't even any preorder bonuses for Nelke which makes waiting a couple months for the $20 price point to hit appealing.

atholbrose
Feb 28, 2001

Splish!



Man, with this release schedule, I'm kind of all-Atelier for the whole beginning of the year.

KariOhki
Apr 22, 2008


Dehry posted:

There aren't even any preorder bonuses for Nelke which makes waiting a couple months for the $20 price point to hit appealing.

The NISA store has a big old LE set https://store.nisamerica.com/preorders/nelke-the-legendary-alchemists

corn in the bible
Jun 5, 2004

Oh no oh god it's all true!



lmao jesus christ

cheetah7071
Oct 20, 2010


College Slice


Wow I can't believe Plachta turned back into a book and moved to Arland

Jerry Manderbilt
May 31, 2012

Doesn't the thought of an evil emperor who commands using the power of alchemy excite you?



cheetah7071 posted:

Wow I can't believe Plachta turned back into a book and moved to Arland

She dumped Sophie?? I don't know what to believe in anymore

CYBEReris
Dec 15, 2007



I like how in Rorona the tournament arc event has no item restrictions so you can end up firing cannons, chucking bombs, and rolling barrels into Sterk

cheetah7071
Oct 20, 2010


College Slice

CYBEReris posted:

I like how in Rorona the tournament arc event has no item restrictions so you can end up firing cannons, chucking bombs, and rolling barrels into Sterk

I just 2hkoed with auto attacks. I might have been a tad over geared or leveled

CYBEReris
Dec 15, 2007



cheetah7071 posted:

I just 2hkoed with auto attacks. I might have been a tad over geared or leveled

yeah if you've been exploring a bit and getting stat stamps she's a complete juggernaut by that point it's just funny to think about pulling out a cannon in an honourable duel with a friend no less

Tales of Woe
Dec 17, 2004



yeah i didn't realize that getting all the stat stamps in Rorona would make her so OP, it kinda upsets the purpose of the game when your basic attacks are hitting for as much as bombs. Totori has been a lot better tuned on the difficulty since it doesn't let you do anything of the sort.

Dehry
Aug 21, 2009



Grimey Drawer


Yeah those are relatively normal for the series. This one is actually a duplicate of the "Premium Box" offered in Japan except the character stand replaced an 8x11 metal poster.

Usually there's a preorder bonus costume like Lydie & Suelles Marie and Ellie outfits. Those never get re-released.

cheetah7071
Oct 20, 2010


College Slice

At some point I kinda want to replay Rorona and Totori cause I didn't feel like I really understood the crafting system, top to bottom, until Meruru. That said, the equipment you buy from Esty is only a smidgen worse than optimized stuff so Rorona at least is operating at almost full power even if you don't do any equipment crafting beyond the bare minimum.

Bogus Adventure
Jan 11, 2017

More like "Bulges Adventure"

Mana Khemia is a lot of fun. You gather your buddies, you kill crap, and you craft stuff for grades. Mana Khemia 2 is kind of IMHO, but you can choose between two main characters. I started playing it, but kind of lost interest.

I really enjoy Sophie. It's a really pretty game, and the world is bright and pretty easy to explore. You don't have to worry about a time limit, and you can grind and craft to your heart's content. That's a plus for me because time limits would always stress me out and I'd obsessive-compulsively make new saves. Some of the bounties in Sophie are really tough, though.

cheetah7071
Oct 20, 2010


College Slice

Firis livepost: Sophie taught me how to craft and this system seems really interesting. The lines system seems better than L&S' zodiac sign nonsense and this really rewards thinking about the order you place items in. I'm looking forward to trying to do difficult projects in this system.

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Greyarc
Dec 29, 2016



Finished Rorona recently. Really sweet game, enjoyed it a lot except the drinking/groping cutscenes, which were out of place and weird. Also Esty is good and doesn't deserve to be the butt of a translator's joke.

Rorona is great and I want the hot gossip on who Lulua's father is. Sterk? They'd be a cute couple if they got together when Rorona was older and Sterk mellowed out a bit. Hope it isn't Iksel, that jerk had no respect for Rorona's responsibilities when he forced her into his competitive cookoff. Even Tantris might be a better option.

Just started Totori, already missing the trimonthly assignments. Having the clearly laid-out goals and subgoals and plotting ahead how to divvy up time was a fun system. Clearly haven't gotten out of the tutorial section for Totori, but hope the main game has a similar goal structure to it.

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