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2016 - A Year of Themes - Jan - Atelier games

redwing42redwing42 Classic Console JunkieFull Members
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.
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Comments

  • NyxNyx Staff Girly Girl RPGamer Staff
    edited January 2016
    Wow, this is an excuse then to really finish Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana! :D
  • PawsPaws Purr RPGamer Staff
    I'm torn between trying to remember where I was in Esca+Logy on PS3 or just wait for the Plus version on Vita where I've played everything else.
  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    I will be playing the final game I have that I believe I won in a contest Nyx had awhile back, Atelier Meruru+! Now if only PSN would cooperate enough to log me in so I can move it from the PS3 to my Vita...
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    Anybody know of a cheap one for me to get and try out? This sounds like a good excuse to try the series.
    "Yes, because apparently blindly jumping headfirst into a firefight without a grasp on the situation or any combat experience is a sign of genius these days."
  • ClixClix Listmaster Full Members
    Well, most of the games seem to go between $20-$40 on Amazon, except for Mana Khemia 2 (which is $100). On PSN, they currently have Shallie (PS3) on sale ($35, normally $50) and Ayesha+ ($28, normally $40). The only really great "bargain" out there is for Mana Khemia's PSP port (Student Alliance). It's just $10 on PSN. According to random testimony on the internet, Student Alliance actually runs properly when put on a Vita, but I still have nightmares of the PSP version. Did you know the load screens can have load screens? Sometimes, even those load screens need load screens. And let's not even talk about the lag! I know that I personally wouldn't risk it, but $10 is a great price for the game if it truly does work. The game itself is quite fun. I was just severely burned by the technical gremlins.
    ClixPsi.png
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    Thanks for the knowledge Clix, downloading it right now. And yes, the Vita tends to fix problems, such as the problems with War of the Lions. It doesn't seem to have the constant framerate problems it had on the PSP version.
    "Yes, because apparently blindly jumping headfirst into a firefight without a grasp on the situation or any combat experience is a sign of genius these days."
  • redwing42redwing42 Classic Console Junkie Full Members
    Mana Khemia 2 is also available regularly on eBay for $30-$40, if that is an available option for you.
  • lolwhoopslolwhoops happy accident HalifaxRPGamer Staff
    I have the Arland Trilogy all unbeaten, so it should be a good time to get back into Rorona Plus. They don't seem to require a lot of, uh, specific gaming skills to play, so beating them seems like it's no problem. If you're gonna go with Rorona, I heard the Plus version fixed issues the original had, so you should probably go with that one if you can. I got mine for $20 on amazon.ca, so it should be fairly easy/cheap to find.
    lolwhoops: a Gamer's Blog
    ^^is my blog! Updates whenever I feel like it! :D which happens a lot more often now!
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  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member Full Members
    I have most of these unbeaten. Only ones I have beatn is Iris and Iris 2.
    sig.gif

    28 years of gaming and still going strong
    and now a mostly annoyed Father with first son. And now a father again to a second son :D

    Winner of the 2015-2016 Fantasy gaming Pool
  • GaijinMonogatariGaijinMonogatari RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    Aw, man. I just put the PS2 away as part of New Year cleaning, and now you give me a reason to dig it out again to play Atelier Judie? :persevere:
  • NyxNyx Staff Girly Girl RPGamer Staff
    C'mon Gaijin~ PARTICIPATE WITH USSSSS
  • NyxNyx Staff Girly Girl RPGamer Staff
    Anywho, I decided tonight would be the night that I am come hell or high water knocking out Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana (PS2). The majority of this game has been pretty easy but the final boss is surprisingly challenging! Sooooo I'm going to grind a bit more and try to have all my party members over level 50 and see where that takes me. I took a long break from this game because the final boss made me grumpy, but I like the game so much that I refuse to not let it go unbeaten! I hope to report that I have beaten it soon.

    *crosses fingers*
  • GaijinMonogatariGaijinMonogatari RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    For the sake of your sanity, I hope that Eternal Mana actually allows you to level up that high. A majority of Atelier games have a set level cap of 50. That was a real annoyance in Atelier Liese in particular >_<
  • PawsPaws Purr RPGamer Staff
    In a rare twist, the level max is actually 99. However, leveling past 50 is pretty damn tedious -- the equivalent of the steep curve of 45-50 in most modern games.
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    Got through the first Chapter of Mana Khemia: Student Alliance (PSN). Fun game so far, but it takes some serious getting used to not fighting enemies in order to save time. They only drop AP, mats, and money, so there's no point fighting them if you've already cleared out a room in a previous run of a dungeon (unless you need MORE mats).
    "Yes, because apparently blindly jumping headfirst into a firefight without a grasp on the situation or any combat experience is a sign of genius these days."
  • NyxNyx Staff Girly Girl RPGamer Staff
    edited January 2016
    So I beat it, but omg I never want to do that final boss ever again. I didn't have to do crazy amounts of grinding thankfully, and it turns out just tweaking some of my equipment went a long way in the process. Don't think I'll be digging out Iris 2 from the backlog quite yet, so if I decide to play another Atelier game this month, it'll likely be because I'm somehow reviewing E&L on Vita. :P So now I plan to cheer all of you on! FINISH THOSE ATELIER GAMES!
  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    I'm still working on the planning stages for making sure I platinum Meruru+ in one run. I'll probably be starting the game Monday-ish.
  • GaijinMonogatariGaijinMonogatari RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    Nyx wrote: »
    So I beat it, but omg I never want to do that final boss ever again. I didn't have to do crazy amounts of grinding thankfully, and it turns out just tweaking some of my equipment went a long way in the process. Don't think I'll be digging out Iris 2 from the backlog quite yet, so if I decide to play another Atelier game this month, it'll likely be because I'm somehow reviewing E&L on Vita. :P So now I plan to cheer all of you on! FINISH THOSE ATELIER GAMES!

    I could always mail you a copy of Liese or Lina! ;)
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    In Mana Khemia, completed chapters 2 and 3 today. Things are starting to progress smoother now that I'm getting the kinks out and fully understanding the system, and I've gotten around 20% of the Grow Book done for Vayne, Jess, and Nikki. Crafted all I can up to this point, and this chapter ended with Pamela joining the crew. Tomorrow I'll see if I can get through Chapter 4. I'm hoping to be able to clear this by the middle of January so I can spend the rest of the time working on my backlog.
    "Yes, because apparently blindly jumping headfirst into a firefight without a grasp on the situation or any combat experience is a sign of genius these days."
  • Strawberry EggsStrawberry Eggs Hands off the parfait! Administrators
    I could use this time to get a different ending in Atelier Annie. Replays are very quick in that game, as I recall. Hmm...
    Bravely second...
    The courage to try again...

    Twitter: BerryEggs

  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited January 2016
    Completed Chapter 4 of Mana Khemia: Student Alliance. It took a while because they were foolish enough to give me a backline. People in the backline gain SP back really fast, and the only reason why I couldn't do full runs of dungeons beforehand was because Jess would run out of SP for heals. Due to this mechanic, I've been spending more time in dungeons to bring Flay and Pamela up to speed, going so far as to killing EVERY enemy in the dungeons I can simply because the SP regen guarantees I won't be suffering for easy heals/kills.

    Probably also didn't help that there were a lot of things to craft this chapter, so I spent some time on that too, with my characters now at 33% completion for their Grow Books. Chapter ended with R joining (letter to avoid spoilers), so I have a new character to play around with next chapter.
    "Yes, because apparently blindly jumping headfirst into a firefight without a grasp on the situation or any combat experience is a sign of genius these days."
  • ClixClix Listmaster Full Members
    Yeah, I really liked how much the combat system evolves every chapter or so. It really helps keep things lively. Becomes a tad bonkers once you get access to super moves and such. Shouldn't be too much longer, since you have most of the party. Speaking of which, with the cast thus far, has any party member really stuck out?
    ClixPsi.png
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited January 2016
    Clix wrote: »
    Yeah, I really liked how much the combat system evolves every chapter or so. It really helps keep things lively. Becomes a tad bonkers once you get access to super moves and such. Shouldn't be too much longer, since you have most of the party. Speaking of which, with the cast thus far, has any party member really stuck out?
    In terms of battle, Nikki is easily at the top. She's a goddess of the battle, with the fastest speed and hardest hitting moves in the party. In terms of just hilarity, Flay is definitely at the top. He feels like the Gilgamesh of Mana Khemia.
    "Yes, because apparently blindly jumping headfirst into a firefight without a grasp on the situation or any combat experience is a sign of genius these days."
  • SuccessorMSuccessorM Can't you hear the drums? Full Members
    edited January 2016
    So, this has definitely piqued my interest, and I've been looking for an excuse to play one of the games since I started the anime "Snow White With the Red Hair".

    Bought the Arland Trilogy of the Plus games on PSN for my vita. The collection seemed like a good enough deal. Will probably start one of them this week.

    Am I correct with starting with Rorona Plus and working my to the others in the trilogy? Does it matter at all in this case?
  • NyxNyx Staff Girly Girl RPGamer Staff
    I'd say start with Rorona Plus and work your way through it, just so you are familiar with the world and the characters. The mechanics change slightly from game to go game, and Rorona is the strictest of the three in terms of the time constraints. Honestly, just boot one up and see if it holds your interest. :)
  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    I played Rorona+ and then Totori+ (starting to Meruru+ shortly). I think it was a good idea to start with Rorona+, despite a lot of advice I had received to do Totori->Meruru->Rorona(optionally). The + version of Rorona is vastly improved from the original.

    Like Nyx mentioned, Rorona is pretty strict, to the point that when I played Totori I had a hard time with how loose the requirements were. For a long time I preferred the guidance Rorona provided, but Totori is a good game too once I got over that.

    Also, the Overtime year in Rorona+ was really good. That's the point where I really learned how to play the game and master the system, and helped immensely for future games. Though it does seem like that year is meant to be played after Totori/Meruru.
  • SuccessorMSuccessorM Can't you hear the drums? Full Members
    Rorona Plus it is! Thanks guys, I'll try to post here and there to let you all know how I'm enjoying it.

    I'm quite looking forward to it!
  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member Full Members
    <.<


    XCX has claimed my SOUL. That and still playing VP as my portable game at the moment
    sig.gif

    28 years of gaming and still going strong
    and now a mostly annoyed Father with first son. And now a father again to a second son :D

    Winner of the 2015-2016 Fantasy gaming Pool
  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    I found any interesting infographic someone posted regarding suggested Atelier orders, including information about how games spoil each other (without stating the spoilers).

    https://5f6b8e78ceaeb0ab788d5ee01cc01ad6a3f46a5c.googledrive.com/host/0B5Bj6P2Lz7zWLURSTldpcFllRGc

    One thing I forgot to add is that starting with Rorona, it makes it a lot easier to understand her eccentricities. If I started with Totori, I'd have thought she was completely nuts. Instead its rather endearing.

  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    Just beat Chapter 5 of Mana Khemia, and the unlocking of Burst Strikes and Variable Strikes is definitely going to shake up how I play this game. I like how each chapter introduces something else with battles and the like, it really helps you ease into things. I also like how the game gave me 3 different brand new zones to run around in this chapter, helping me really rack up the AP for new party members. I do not like however how R requires you to get to the 3rd character quest to unlock moves and other things that should have been there from the getgo, like synthesis. Ahh well, makes slight sense concerning the story.

    Also, with the addition of Anna to the squad, I can say with certainty that she has become my favorite. She's just as fast as Nikki, but specializes in single target multi-hit moves. She can downright devastate the HP of enemies by herself, and also tends to get turns to come up pretty fast. R happens to have the amazing ability to speed up the turns of allies, making him useful in a pinch when I need moves to come up fast.
    "Yes, because apparently blindly jumping headfirst into a firefight without a grasp on the situation or any combat experience is a sign of genius these days."
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