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2016 - A Year of Themes - Jan - Atelier games
Welcome to the newly revamped "Year of..." series. This year, rather than keeping one theme throughout the year, we will be tackling a different theme each month. Everyone may choose whatever game they want that fits within the theme, and all games within the theme can be discussed within the thread. Please try to respect spoilers, especially for newer releases, but I understand that there really aren't spoilers at this point for twenty-year-old games.
For January, the theme will be games within the Atelier series. Much like the Final Fantasy series, there are game mechanics and themes that may carry over between games, but the stories are largely independent of one another. The games do fit into groups, however, with games sharing the same group having more in common with each other. The series had its beginnings on the original Playstation, but the first release outside of Japan was 2004's Atelier Iris ('05 in NA, '06 in EU) on Playstation 2. There were two sequels to Iris, followed by two games titled Mana Khemia. Moving on to the Playstation 3, there were three games in the Arland series and three in the Dusk series. There have been a number of side games released for mobile platforms as well, though only one (Atelier Annie: Alchemists of Sera Island) was released outside of Japan. The main focus of the games is the art of Alchemy, or mixing items to create new items. Sometimes you create better equipment or weapons, and sometimes you need to create items that allow you to progress in the game. Often, there is a time constraint placed upon the player as well, and if the player can't create the proper items within the time period, the game ends.
I've only beaten the first Atelier Iris game and played a couple hours of Mana Khemia, so I don't have a great deal of experience with the series. I plan on revisiting Mana Khemia this month, as I enjoyed it, but put it aside to play other things. Please share any thoughts you may have about specific games or the series as a whole. Enjoy!
FYI: The theme for February will be Final Fantasy and March will be Fire Emblem. Plan accordingly.