Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey - PlayStation 4 Review

What would you do to taste freedom?

Game Info

  • System: PS4, PSVita, PC
  • Publisher: Gust CO Ltd., Koei Tecmo
  • Developer: Gust CO Ltd
  • Release Date: March 7, 2017

Who it Caters to

The Atelier series is one that you just have to know if you have been in the world of JRPGs for long enough. It is a series of games that cannot be ignored. And so, we have great expectations for Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey! Luckily for Honey’s Anime, we managed to score a copy of the game before its release and we are here to give you a brief rundown of our gameplay.

Now, for those unfamiliar with the Atelier series, the games are centered around alchemy and synthesizing items together to create new objects that you need for quests and to prove your skill. Every time you synthesize something, you gain experience points which ups your alchemy level. You also have to fight monsters for certain items that you won’t just find lying around and this will also give you experience points to your fighting level. While some of the games vary, these features are standard in Atelier games. Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey is for those who like all of these features in their game. It could be for casual gamers or serious gamers alike as it is up to you to figure out how hard you want to dive into the game.

What to Expect

Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey is the second in the mysterious series following Atelier Sophie. While Atelier Sophie did away with the in-game timer, the timer was brought back for Atelier Firis. However, as it is a sequel to Atelier Sophie, Sophie herself does make a cameo as the alchemist who introduces you to the world of alchemy! That’s a fun addition for those who love the Atelier series.

Atelier Firis is a similar take on an age old formula that has never failed Atelier fans. The beautiful designs and graphics in past games are not forgotten and Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey has managed to utilize the PS4’s potential to really bring out all the beauty in the game. The in-game graphics during fight scenes are remarkable and movement seems to be quite fluid. No complaints here.

Compared to the previous Atelier Sophie game, Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey is reported to have a world ten times larger than allowing more things to find and more adventures. This means there is a lot more to explore than in the previous game!

Story

The story of Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey starts with Firis, a girl who was born and raised in the city of Ertona with her parents and her doting older sister, Liane. Ertona is a mining city cut off from others as outside contact is limited to a special few. Firis’ older sister Liane is one of the lucky ones who can venture past The Door and hunt outside. Firis has never ventured outside, but she has dreamed of seeing the sky and the sun outside of her city. However, her parents forbid her from leaving Ertona so Firis resides in the city using her special ability to help the others mine.

That is until one day, Firis witnesses The Door being blown open by the alchemist, Sophie. Firis’ whole world changes and she thinks she finally found the key to her own freedom. Taking her fate into her hands, Firis asks that Sophie teach her how to be an alchemist so that Firis can protect herself in the outside world. However, there is more to being an alchemist than Firis knows, and she’ll have to pass the alchemist exam to get her alchemy license first.

Gameplay

Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey is separated into several parts. In the beginning, you are given very vague instructions on what you should do to start the game and continue on the story. After meeting Sophie, the player playing as Firis must prove that she is capable of becoming an alchemist by completing some simple tasks for villagers, although, who those villagers are required some searching. You are given a month to accomplish this, but whether you will use the entire month is up to you.

Then comes the real meat of the game: you, as Firis, must find your own way to Reisenberg where you can take the licensing exam to become an alchemist with Liane by your side. Your time limit is one year. In that year, you will up your level as an alchemist by synthesizing more items as well as collect all the items you need and fight off monsters with the help of Liane. You must also seek out other alchemists who are licensed to write you letters of recommendation so that you are allowed to take the exam. Along the way, you will run into other alchemists who are planning on taking the exam, as well.

The next portion of Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey occurs after the licensing exam. This part of the game has no in-game timer and you are able to decide your next course of action as you please. While the game overall feels like an open world game, it is in this next fraction of Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey that truly feels like an open world game with endless possibilities. You are free to synthesize anything of your choosing and travel as you’d like.

A major part of Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey involves collecting items and scavenging. Unfortunately, these actions do consume LP just like any other action. If you don’t have the effective tool for a certain job, you might find that Firis loses LP rather quickly such as with mining. LP can be regained by resting in bed in the Atelier or by spending time at your cauldron synthesizing items, but synthesizing items is significantly less restful, takes more time, and does not restore HP or MP, which you will need when you battle.

While you roam the world collecting ingredients, Firis can learn hints that lead to a new recipe. Sometimes even synthesizing new items will spurn Firis to learn more hints or figure out a new recipe, so it is best to collect and make as much as possible. How often you find a hint is seemingly random, but at least when the item is important, there is no learning curve needed.

The battle system feels like your basic turn-based battle style like in many JRPGs so take that with a grain of salt. It isn’t bland, but it isn’t exciting either. The battles themselves are only moderately interesting. When it comes to the alchemy part, it feels a bit confusing to see what makes a better product, but it requires a bit of experimenting to figure out what you should do to make better items. Still, it gives the player more creative freedom.

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

While some who love Atelier games may have strong feelings about this title, to this gamer, Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey feels like an open world game with differing possibilities. It does not seem to offer anything new in the world of Atelier games nor the world of sandbox games, but it does have its own merits to be considered.

Honey's Pros:

  • Beautiful graphics and art style
  • Open world-like gaming style
  • The characters are well designed with their own interesting personalities reminiscent of anime
  • Moderately interesting storyline
  • Cute monster designs
  • Simple gameplay
  • Return of the in-game timer can present players with more of a challenge

Honey's Cons:

  • Vague instructions, direction, and goals
  • The map is not as detailed or helpful
  • Turn-based fighting
  • Weak protagonist (especially when battling)
  • Loading times may vary, but for my game, it was slow

Honey's Final Verdict:

Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey feels like a new take on something old and timeless. Whether or not that is for you is up to your discretion, but hopefully, you enjoyed our thoughts on the game. All in all, it is up to you and your taste. Let us know what you think about Atelier games and how you feel about this latest installment!

Jenangelx3

Editor

Author: Jenangelx3

California based workaholic. Current mottos are “I don’t care” and “I’ll try almost anything once”. Interests include traveling, eating, video games, and weightlifting. Currently living life to the fullest, pursuing my happiness, and conquering my fears. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!

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