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Review: Atelier Totori Plus: The Adventurer of Arland for Vita

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Title: Atelier Totori Plus: The Adventurer of Arland
Price: $39.99
System(s): Vita
Release Date: March 19, 2008
Publisher (Developer): Tecmo Koei (Gust)
ESRB Rating: “Teen” for Violence, Blood, Suggestive Themes, Language and Use of Alcohol

I love the Atelier series. I enjoy getting wrapped up in them, ignoring everything else until I meet personal goals. Or until I beat the game. Either works. I devoured the Arland saga on the PS3, thoroughly enjoying every installment, but Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland was always my favorite. I loved it so much, I wished I could have taken it everywhere with me. Now, with Atelier Totori Plus, that’s actually possible.

atelier totori plus 1

Following in her mother’s footsteps, to find her mother.

Atelier Totori Plus: The Adventurer of Arland is the story of a teenage girl who’s a novice alchemist and student of the previous game’s star, Rorona. After a visit to Alanya, Totori’s home town, Rorona saw the girl had potential and got her into alchemy. She then departed, leaving Totori pretty much to her own devices as she attempted to refine her skills. It’s… going. Sometimes she blows up her own workshop, but that’s becoming less frequent.

Her story begins after such an explosion. Her sister, Ceci, kicks her out so she can clean up and repair the damages. Which gives Totori the opportunity to go ingredient hunting with her childhood friend Gino. The two decide that they should finally become adventurers while exploring. Totori’s mom, Gisela, was one of the most famous adventurers the world had known until she misteriously disappeared. Totori’s father and sister are convinced she’s dead, but Totori believes otherwise. As a result, she and Gino, as well as her other friends, go to the city of Arland, become licensed adventurers and set out over a number of years to make a name for themselves and find out what happened to Gisela.

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Fighting and creating again, with some minor alterations.

The goal in Atelier Totori Plus is to make Totori a good enough adventurer to discover what happened to her mom. There’s two ways to do this and a perfect balance of both elements is necessary to make her strong enough to earn one of the best endings. The first is to sharpen Totori’s alchemy skills so she’s capable of creating any item and fulfilling any request. The second is to make her and her friends combat-ready so every area on the map can be explored and any enemy encountered, beaten.

The alchemy is the easy part. Totori can collect ingredients from locations on the world map and winning fights with enemies. If she’s acquired or purchased the right recipe book, she can then combine these items in her shop to create a new, bigger and better item. These could be healing items, accessories, parts of a boat or materials for better weapons and armor. Sometimes, Totori’s creations can be turned in as part of a request to earn money. Other times, they’ll advance the story or make traveling easier. It’s absolutely essential to visit different places and collect ingredients everywhere.

The trick is, enemies lurk in pretty much every location, which means Atelier Totori Plus players have to be prepared for turn-based combat. Totori’s a bit of a weakling and a wuss, so she fights primarily with bombs she creates in her workshop. The other characters are the ones who’ll be dealing heavy damage. Fortunately, each party member has a gauge that fills during battle and allows them to deal follow-up attacks after Totori, or step in to protect her if an enemy attacks. Rotating party members is crucial to not only unlock new friend events and make them like Totori, but ensure everyone is strong enough to face any potential challenge.

Of course, a Vita port means there’ll be a little something extra added to differentiate it from the original game. Atelier Totori Plus isn’t too different an experience, but there are some notable changes. For one, all of the original’s DLC characters are now included in the game, so people can recruit Totori’s sister Ceci, as well as Rorona’s friends Iksel and Cordelia, without paying extra. There is also a new Orthogalaxen dungeon, taken from Atelier Rorona, which contains extra opponents for the party and alchemy ingredients. Players can also find and create costumes and accessories for Totori to wear. Finally, the left analog stick can be used to zoom in and out of situations to get a better look, presumably at Totori’s new wardrobe. It’s enough to make people who do double dip happy for the little extras, but the new additions shouldn’t be the only reason people who own Atelier Totori grab Atelier Totori Plus.

Even though Atelier Totori Plus looks and behaves just like its big sister, there are a few technical hiccups. For instance, there is a noticeable pause after a battle after selecting which item rewards will be added to Totori’s inventory. Upon first entering a town area, it takes a moment for NPC villagers to appear and, when they do, they fade in like ghosts. Also, there seems to be a slight disconnect with Totori’s staff attack when swinging it to hit an enemy to get a jump on a battle. All of these are quite minor, with the hesistation after battle being the most obvious, but it does show the transition isn’t quite as perfect and seamless as it seemed.

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We should all travel with Totori

The Atelier series perfectly lends itself to pick up and go gameplay, though in the case of Atelier Totori Plus I’d change that to pick up and never put down. This is one of those games where I would come in, adamant about only playing for about an hour, and would find myself staying up until midnight or later because Totori needed to gather a few more materials, or was only a few fusions away from reaching the next adventurer rank, or had to beat up a griffon squatting on a path so she could reach a new area. Enough is never enough with Atelier Totori Plus and now that it’s portable, people don’t have to let real life get in their way. They just grab their Vita and go. You’ve got to love that.

Site [Tecmo Koei]

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2 Comments

  1. i just got it today, your review is spot on so far, i am loving it!!!

    caleb
    • Glad you’re enjoying it! It’s really a fantastic game. There’s just so much replay value.

      Jenni Lada