Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Atelier Shallie: Alchemist of the Dusk Sea

This is the final game in the "dusk sea" Trilogy of Atelier games....

Maybe Gust just doesn't really know how to end a series because Meruru wasn't the best game either. It had the connecting thread of the previous two alchemists so you kind of forgive it.

This one... well Escha shows up as a shop clerk, you see Logy and Ayesha in the end credits, however the connecting threads to the other two games are just barely there. It might as well just be fanservice.

Still that isn't what makes this game lackluster.

In every other Gust game there is a timelimit or some element of balancing all your tasks in a way where you can get to the end of the story by the end of the game.

Shallie has no time limit, it has items and elements that make me wonder if at the start there was a time limit but they took it out because of reasons. however without that time limit any sense of balancing doing quests, performing alchemy and exploring the land. So pretty much you can wonder around and do as much alchemy without consequence (as long as the cost level doesn't go above your own)

So all that throws off the pacing, some chapters can be completed in litterally less then 30 mins while others take hours because you are just trying to figure out exactly where the games wants you to go.
It does give you a live task thing that you can check for hints on what to do in theory.
See the translation for this game is probably the worst i have ever seen when it comes to tasks.

To give one of many examples, Jumping a lot would fill a meter names "break lots of barrels"
Swinging your bell would fill a meter "gather items in a place that you may not even be in"
Sometimes for seemingly no reason meters would just start filling up and i would have no idea how or why but i'd be thankful since this was the main way to get experience in the game.

None of the task descriptions correspond to what it actually wants you to do... and you have to complete these tasks (at least as Shalistera, dunno if Shallote has the same deal) in order to actually get the chapter to progress. So that's more then a little frustrating. Also because it was the only way to get decent Exp. there was no point in grinding, you just had to hope you could fill meters with EXP. bonuses and the level up after the next fight. I can't tell you how many times i'd be fighting, getting like 50-1000 exp and then suddenly fill up a random meter and fight something and get 10000 exp and end up getting 5 levels in one fight.

However all that is minor frustration in the end... it makes the game annoying but not unplayable.

So i guess the real place this game falls flat is the story.
This is the finale to the series where alchemists are trying to figure out why the water is vanishing and what dusk is.
now maybe the true ending is better but the ending i got pretty much. "well we kinda sorta fixed it.... good enough"
(just watched the true ending, it's not better... also the endglish dub says Atelier as "At-ler"... i can't even begin to say how wrong that is... i mean... it's a french word... just as a rule of thumb is that ER sounds like a Hard A.. so it's more like ah-Teh-liA)
In the end i was left feeling irritated.
I didn't care about these characters, neither Shallistera or Shallote are terribly interesting... in fact both have moments where they are so incredibly stupid and annoying that i wished Logy was the protagonist of this game as well.

Also last negative point, the english dub pronunciations are just so bad that i played in Japanese again cause yeah.... i can't deal with people blatantly pronouncing stuff wrong, especially in a game with so many Germanic and french words/names.

It's not all bad.
The alchemy, while it took the longest for me to get used to of any gust game it's easily the most in depth and easiest to fully control which is really really nice.
The combat is also pretty good although there are two many boss enemies who can attack 5+ times.
Finally the music is the best of the series, it is so pretty i am just so happy the game came with a soundtrack.

Can i recommend Atelier Shallie? not at full price, if they ever do a plus version then i would recommend that however the best in the dusk series is easily Escha and Logy... and the whole series as a trilogy kind of falls flat. Play Atelier Totori instead

I wish they would patch the life tasks so they actually said what they meant.
I don't know how much of a difference their is between Stera and Lotte's campaign but honestly... i don't care enough to find out... never like Lotte as a character.

I believe they have announced a new Atelier game Atelier Sophie, hopefully they bring back the time mechanic (words i never thought i would say but it really helps with the pacing of the game) reading up on how they plan to do the alchemy... sounds fun actually... it'll be more puzzle based then just dumping things in and hoping. also just watched the trailer... looks like there is some kind of time mechanic so yay.

In the end i guess i'm just disappointed that Atelier Shallie wasn't as good as it could have been... however i do still have high hopes for the future of the series... i just hope it has a better translation and things actually say what they mean.

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