Title: Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky
Release Date: March 11, 2014
Publisher (Developer): Tecmo Koei (Gust)
ESRB Rating: “Everyone 10+” for Fantasy Violence, Language, Mild Suggestive Themes and Use of Alcohol
The Atelier series has become a PS3 staple. Which is a bit odd to think, considering what a niche series it has been in the past. Yet here we are, with five games available on the PS3 already. Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky – PlayStation 3 is the most recent adventure and, while it isn’t anything terribly new or exciting, it provides another stable and charming adventure.
Atelier Escha and Logy, reporting for duty!
Atelier Escha & Logy is the first Atelier entry in a long time to offer dual perspectives. When a game begins, players choose whether Escha or Logy will be their main character. While the choice doesn’t have huge effects on gameplay or the storyline, it does determine offer different ending pairings for your main character and varying perspectives on events. Especially since, despite being the more inexperienced alchemist of the two, Escha ends up doing all the synthesizing.
The general story remains the same as well. Escha and Logy and the newest members of Colseit’s Research and Development department. As government employees, their initial job is to do things that help improve the community. For example, their first task is to create windmill parts for the broken windmill in the town’s apple orchard. Which is actually pretty important, since apples are the village’s primary export. Eventually, their tasks will get larger and greater, and will even lead to the duo exploring and unlocking the secrets behind the mysterious floating Unexplored Ruin in the sky.
Naturally, creating the airship to reach the ruin is only part of the battle. Once one feat is accomplished, Escha and Logy learn there’s more at stake and all their skills must be used to protect Colseit.
Just some minor tweaking.
As most people familiar with the Atelier series will know, the game is a delicate balance of multiple parts. To succeed, you must successfully manage your time to meet goals, collecting items for fusion, battling enemies in areas outside of town, and using alchemy to create new items. While it’s easy to just go ahead and say Escha’s more of an alchemist and Logy a warrior, it’s actually a bit more complicated.
The first part of any major or minor assignment in Atelier Escha & Logy is gathering. This involves leaving town to explore areas to find new ingredients. Unfortunately, the locations you’re exploring haven’t gotten much of a face lift from previous installments. Things look mostly generic, and you’re locked into one perspective. It would be nice to finally move the camera around to explore their world, but it isn’t happening yet. Locations are broken up into sub areas inside one spot, say the North Highway has multiple parts once entered, which means this time you’ll go through a small area, gathering from the 2-5 points within and battling the 2-4 monsters lurking about, then exit back onto the world map to go to a new spot. Personally, I preferred the location system from the Arland trilogy better, as you were able to cover more ground and didn’t have to keep going through different menus.
Aside from getting items from picking them up off the ground or smashing barrels, you can also earn them from battles. Like previous installments, Atelier Escha & Logy has a turn-based battle system with three party members participating at a time. Characters use actions, special skills, or equipped items in each battle, taking turns until all foes are done. The support system returns, which means all party members’ actions fill a gauge that will allow them to unleash follow up attacks after someone else attacks, or perhaps step in to take a hit for another member of the group. In a twist, three other party members will also be present in battle as a rear guard, which can step in to assist and support active party members. Formations can even be changed during battle, to swap people in and out.
However, I don’t care for the way in which items are now used in Atelier Escha & Logy. Each one now has a point value and must be equipped to Escha or Logy outside of battle. They will only get a certain number of each item to use, which refills after they return to the government office in town. It’s much more restrictive than previous Atelier games, though I will admit it’s nice that they are automatically refilled every time the party returns home so you don’t have to expend your own resources.
As for the alchemy, there are now two parts to it. Both Escha and Logy are alchemists, but they each use different kinds. Escha’s is available right from the start, and she can make items for the storyline missions, as well as accessories, support items, and an array of useful stuff. Logy, on the other hand, is only able to create weapons and armor, and this ability isn’t initially available. Both proceed in similar ways, as you buy or earn recipes, either by getting them from story events, from completing missions, or buying books, go to the right tool in the lab, then choose ingredients from items collected. As usual, making items raises the duo’s alchemy levels, takes a certain amount of time to create, and select recipes need a certain amount of skill to be made. Also, homunculus are immediately available at the start of Atelier Escha & Logy and, if they are given candy, will help make extras of items Escha or Logy have already created.
More options for your alchemy.
Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky is full of minor changes to the Atelier series system, and they all come together to give players a bit more freedom to choose how their tasks are accomplished and deadlines met. The basics are still there. Get a major assignment and have it accomplished before the deadline to stay employed, while also taking on minor assignments or side tasks to earn a stipend and help villagers. Choose Logy if you want to focus more on combat, or Escha if you want a more traditional experience. Decide whether or not to have homonculus perform your extra fusions. My only regret is that the world map and gathering system seems to have taken a step back, as now each area is made up of multiple, minor locations, instead of each being fairly large and substantial as in the Arland trilogy. Still, as a whole, Atelier Escha & Logy is another satisfying experience.
Site [Atelier Escha & Logy]