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    Atelier Rorona: Alchemist of Arland

    Game » consists of 7 releases. Released Jun 25, 2009

    The eleventh installment of the Atelier series and first of the Arland trilogy. Rorona has taken up the task to keep the alchemist workshop from closing by completing assignments issued by the Arland Kingdom.

    infinitespark's Atelier Rorona: Alchemist of Arland (PlayStation 3) review

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    Atelier Rorona

    Atelier Rorona is the first of the Arland Alchemist trilogy series in Gust's long running Atelier series. In this game, you take the role of Rorona, who's taken up the task to save the alchemist workshop in Arland from being shut down by completing assignments issued by the Arland Kingdom. This is not your typical JRPG where you go along with a group of other folks to save the world. In Atelier Rorona, your main focus is the submit items to the kingdom to keep the workshop open. Yes, it's essentially a long-running micro-management game and the ways to go about it is interesting, but the game does have its fair share shortcoming in a couple of areas.

    The kingdom assignments serve as the "bosses" in the game, as you have to earn a passing grade to progress through the game. You are given ninety days to submit the required items/complete tasks to the castle. Each assignment is graded by a ten star rating, depending on how complete you want to accomplish the assignment. You can submit the requested items at any time before the deadline date and will be given an updated progress report on how complete the given assignment is based on your submissions. On the date of evaluation, you will be given up to three big stars depending on the number and quality of the items submitted. You can still pass with a one star assessment, but the game will end if you fail to earn a big star on the given assignment.

    A majority of assignments require specific items to be submitted. There are many ways the player has to attack the particular assignment. Typically, the player has to gather many ingredients through buying the items from the shops in Arland, or to venture to outside locations to gather the necessary ingredients to synthesize the required items. However, the toll of buying ingredients, travelling to locations and venturing different gathering areas, and synthesizing requires time and money. This is the game's strength, giving the player the freedom to do whatever they want during the ninety-day period yet but the pressure of time and money management of getting the said items in before the end of the assignment period.

    Aside from the kingdom assignments, they are plenty of side-quests for the player to dive into with front and friends quests. Front quests are jobs that are submitted by the Arland citizens to the kingdom where other citizens can complete. The player can accept multiple front quests and submit them by the due date for money compensation and increased reputation for Rorona toward the Arland's townsfolk. Any requests that are past due or given up decreases reputation. Front quests mainly consist of requests of a particular item or defeating a number of a certain monster. All front quests also has a bonus elements where if a certain request is submitted before the bonus due date, the item meets a certain quality or contains a particular trait, or defeated over a certain amount of numbers, the player is award in either extra money or in tickets where they can trade it for items, weapons, or clothes. Friends quests are specific requests from friends that Rorona comes across during the game. The friend's requests usually include items, weapons, or clothes of certain quality and amounts, and have to be submitted by the due date or the request comes at a failure. Successful submissions results in money and increased friendship points with that friend, which results in triggering character flags during the course of the game's three year story.

    At most times, the player has the ability to travel to locations outside of Arland to collect certain items that are unavailable to purchase from the Arland shops. The player can recruit two friends to bring along to for battle purposes, though many friends require a fee to travel. It usually takes at least a day to travel to the outside location. Once in the area, the player has the ability to gather items, battle monsters, and venture to other gathering areas. Progressing to other venturing areas will take more days. Some areas include obstacles in place in which broken through, will open access to new gathering areas or to a treasure chest with an item or recipe to synthesize more items. Unfortunately, the areas are linear with few branching paths to explore and aren't necessarily very detailed.

    The battles against monsters are your standard JRPG turn-based menu battle system and are pretty bland for the most part. The player are limited with four commands against the monsters: attack, skills, defense, and escape. The commands pretty much speaks for themselves: the character attacks normally with the attack command, will stand in a defensive post to take less damage under the defense command, and will attempt to escape battle with the escape command. When a skills command is selected, the character loses HP to perform a special skill ranging from stronger attacks, restoring HP, curing ailments, increasing attacks or defenses, or attacking with an elemental ailment. However, there really isn't a lot of strategy in the battles. It's usually just the battle to eliminate all the monsters as quickly as possible. A bit of strategy may occur in battles against tough enemies, where healing and use of skills may come into play to defeat the monsters. The battles go on until a victor is determined, usually by way to defeating all the monsters. Once the battle is over, the player receives experience points, money, and selects the items awarded from battle. If all three members fall in battle, the game does not end. Instead, the party retreats back to Arland in the same amount of days needed to travel, so there is no real consequence in losing in battle aside from everyone starting back up at 1 HP.

    Once the player has acquired the necessary ingredients, they have the ability to synthesize items done in Rorona's workshop. Each synthesis requires Rorona to be of certain alchemist level, certain amount of different ingredients, days, and HP to be successfully synthesized. Every successful synthesis increases Rorona's alchemist level. Synthesizes can result in failure (junk) if Rorona did not meet the alchemist level to perform, but she still gains alchemist experience points. Depending on the ingredients selected, the end synthesized product will have a certain quality level (max quality level is 120 for all items) and particular traits fused in. I found synthesizing items to be one of the more enjoyable parts of the game, selecting which ingredients to use along with learning new items to synthesize.

    The other aspects of the game are hit and miss for me. The graphics are pretty subpar with the in-game character models look like ugly chibi-forms from their anime still versions during conversations. The English voice acting is solid and the game's soundtrack is nice. Atelier Rorona doesn't really have much of a plot. There are particular story flags with Rorona's friends if certain conditions are met, though the game doesn't give much clues on how these story flags can be triggered. The friends' stories isn't essential toward the main story of keeping Rorona's alchemist workshop open, but it does provide some background information on them if you decide to dig deep into them. That's where the friend quests come partially come into play toward accessing toward the friend's back stories.

    In the end, my favorite gameplay aspect of Atelier Rorona is the juggling of tasks of meeting the kingdom's assignments, front and friends quests along with adventuring and synthesizing. The player is in control on what to do. Do I synthesize today, go out to a location to gather ingredients, accept and attempt these front and friends quests? I also found it a bit refreshing and a change of pace to be debating what particular tasks to do instead of moving from area to area battling countless enemies along the way. Deep down, it is essentially a long-running micro-management game, so it may not be for those who are looking for something more action oriented in their JRPGs. But for those who love the idea of juggling multiple tasks and deciding what to do each day, feel free to give Atelier Rorona a shot.

    Other reviews for Atelier Rorona: Alchemist of Arland (PlayStation 3)

      Atelier Rorona Review 0

        Atelier Rorona: Alchemist of Arland, the newest in a long running list of Atelier titles and the first of the Alchemist series created by Gust and NIS America, but if you have never heard of any of these games before don’t fret cause neither have I.      Our story begins with a history lesson of how the city or Arland was a failing city until they were taught of how to use Machines to make work easier and create better items through Alchemy, with this the town soon flourished. Now we see what...

      1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

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