Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemist of Dusk Sky PS3 review
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The perfect starting point for those not already into the series; it balances out the problems Atelier Ayesha had, while delivering a package of risk and reward that can keep RPG fans wanting to keep replaying the game.
- Beautiful character designs.
- Stage bonuses allow you to tailor your own difficulty.
- New Game Plus adds lots of replayability.
- Money is scarce.
- Battles can feel tedious at times.
Last year when I reviewed Ayesha I got a laidback feeling of freeness from the soundtrack, thanks to Ayesha being so absent minded. Escha follows along the same musical thematic path by giving gamers a more upbeat, charged soundtrack due to characters being along a similar vein. What if you don’t like it, though? You can change it to your heart’s content. Player’s have the option of changing the game’s soundtrack any way they want by swapping in songs from previous Atelier games. If you loved one of the theme songs it could be the battle theme if so desired.
Side-quests are a plenty in this RPG, if not the main focus of it. The story of the game revolves around Escha and Logy being tasked with improving their department’s rating. To do this they must complete a main task, aka the storyline mission, and twenty-four other side-missions to get ranking points. Completing these side-missions gives the obvious benefit of increasing your ranking, leading to better goods and researching perma-boosts, but it also unlocks more of the story. Additionally they also give permanent stat bonuses or other rewards like money and alchemy books.
What I liked most about Escha is it created one potential fix to the traditional RPG problem of too many characters for those that are usable. In combat there is the front row of three, but there is also a back row that allows for seamless subbing into combat or doing support attacks when your support meter is filled. Even if you don’t like certain characters at least they have a useful purpose other than window dressing, and can’t be ignored or else they hinder you in combat should one of your mains die.
Since time management is a key part of the game not everyone is going to get everything done in the first sitting, especially since there are two paths, Escha’s and Logy’s. Thankfully TK did the smart thing and put in a ‘new game plus’. Money and gear get carried over which will help the early game go quicker and make up for the backtracking to heal and restock. This gives gamer’s lots of incentive to play as both characters, enjoy the game at their pace, and keep coming back for more since everything can’t be unlocked in one sitting. Another aspect of the game that adds replayability is the field bonuses, giving the player options like fighting bosses, collecting documents, getting special items, etc. It helps reward the player when left with only weaker enemies, or when grinding, instead of feeling like a long grind.
Aterlier Escha & Logy fixed the problems I had with Ayesha, being the rushed feel of the universe due to the game’s mechanics, and gave a more enjoyable experience. No more did I feel like I shouldn't enjoy the alchemy system or else I’d not get anything done in the game. Atelier fans are going to enjoy the game but the more hardcore group might find the game too easy compared to previous titles. With that said, this is the perfect starting point for new gamers to try out the series.
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