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My Year of Gust - February: Atelier Elie!
For the second month of the year, we have Gust's first real sequel: Atelier Elie. As near as I can tell, no other Gust title aside from Atelier Marie had made enough of a profit to even consider a second installment before this, and no other non-Atelier title would manage it until Ar tonelico, of all things.
While this is actually the first time I've ever played Atelier Elie, I'm not aiming for the best ending. A while back, I came across a mention on the Atelier TV Tropes page that went on and about the ending with Romauge the dancer, and the fact that it was the only "romantic" ending to the game. Color me curious, I want to see what that's all about.
I put a few hours into Atelier Elie this evening, and the improvements over Marie are immediately obvious. The jobs list is both friendlier to starting players in terms of difficulty and is also easier to navigate. The bodyguards aren't quite so expensive to hire, and best of all the rate of items gathered in the field has increased enormously. There's also a new type of job available that requests items of a certain type, but not a specific material.
The game has a different character artist from its predecessor, but it meshes the old and the new together well enough. I've so far met six characters who were in Marie as well, and with one exception their character art in the new style stays very true to the originals. The exception, Schia, is still recognizable, but more mature and less china doll.