By Jenae R / June 22nd, 2020
|Title||Atelier Dusk Trilogy Deluxe Pack|
|Developer||Gust Co. Ltd.|
|Release Date||January 14th 2020|
|Platform||Nintendo Switch, PS4, PC|
This is a bit of a unique review, I think for oprainfall in general and for me personally. It’s been decided that I’ll do this whole trilogy as a single review, discussing all three games. I’m going to mostly focus on the Atelier Dusk series as a whole and how it evolves and changes with each game in the series. We do have older, individual reviews for both Atelier Escha & Logy and Atelier Shallie if you’d like to read about those games on a more in-depth level. Unfortunately, we do not have one for Atelier Ayesha. With that said, let’s get into the review.
So I’m relatively new to the Atelier franchise. I took this review not long after I finished Atelier Ryza because I had heard it was one of, if not the best trilogy in the history of Atelier. Before Ryza I only played through some of the first Mana Khemia which is more of a side game as far as I know. Each Atelier Dusk title has their own standalone narrative, but as you go through each one you’ll start to see an overarching conflict. Atelier Ayesha stars Ayesha Altugle, an apothecary whose sister has disappeared. One day Ayesha is given hope that her sister is still alive and at the recommendation of an alchemist visiting town, she starts studying alchemy to figure out a way to save her sister. Atelier Escha & Logy takes place in a town called Colseit. Escha Malier, a local alchemist and Logix Ficsario (nicknamed Logy), an alchemist from Central, are both hired by the town’s new R&D division. Their job is to use alchemy to help out the town and they’ll also find themselves researching areas nearby. The final Atelier Dusk game, Atelier Shallie, much like the second game, gives you a choice between two protagonists, Shallistera, the future village chief of Lugion and Shallotte, a local of Stellard. But unlike Escha & Logy, the protagonists in Atelier Shallie have very different goals. I picked Shallistera, whose hometown of Lugion is facing a drought. She goes to Stellard looking for help and ends up sticking around to gain the trust of the locals by offering her alchemic services where she’s needed. She hopes if she sticks around and helps out, that she’ll eventually find a way to save Lugion.
Each Atelier Dusk game takes place sometime after the game that comes before it. Unlike Atelier Ryza, my first true Atelier game (which has more of a real-time battle system, giving you less time to think), the Dusk series is strictly turn-based without any rush to make moves quickly. Throughout each game you’ll meet many different characters on your journey and end up with a whole party of people to use, more than you need even. Only the main alchemist characters of each one can use items in battle, but in two of the three games they also don’t get skills like other characters, so it somewhat balances out. Because of their lack of skills though, I didn’t find them to be very useful in battle, except for in Escha & Logy of course, where the alchemists could use both items and skills. You are required to have the main character in your party, whether that be Ayesha in Atelier Ayesha, or one of the two you pick in the second two games. One of the unique features in the Atelier Dusk games, compared to other JRPGs, is that once you get enough characters you can actively switch between them as you’re attacking to deal more damage. You can also have someone from the back-line take the place of someone in front to defend against an enemy’s attack.
Atelier Ayesha, being the first of the trilogy, was really basic in a lot of its mechanics. I very much appreciated the enhancements in Escha & Logy. First of all, let me mention now that both of these games are timed. In Ayesha you only have three years to save Nio (Ayesha’s sister). Gathering materials for crafting and traveling across the map to different locations will cause days to pass by extremely quickly. It was the most stressful of the two titles as far as the time limit was concerned. There was no clear goal of what to do next, I just had to traverse the map and figure stuff out myself by finding events related to the game’s main goal. Atelier Escha & Logy was much more direct and I really appreciated this change. I was given one clear goal each month of what to do for the R&D Division and anything extra I did resulted in a larger reward. Atelier Shallie at times was a little less clear, but it was much easier to figure out what to do next than in Atelier Ayesha, and with the complete removal of any time limit, I had little worry.
In all of these games you’ll have to craft most of what you need. The Atelier series is all about alchemy (where you make things from various ingredients) and each game makes little changes here and there to the crafting system. Overall when it comes to gameplay, I found Atelier Escha & Logy to be the best game. It was clear on what the goals were and the crafting system was definitely the easiest to make quality items with decent effects. Atelier Shallie I don’t think necessarily went backwards, but the crafting mechanics weren’t as nice as the prior title and the goals of each chapter being a little less clear was a disappointment. All of the games had very charming characters and fun stories though. Along with the main story are various side stories involving a large cast. Some characters even show up in multiple games and I liked seeing how they grew. Plus, every one of these games has multiple endings. Depending on which characters you get close to and whether you meet certain goals, you’ll get one of numerous endings. All of the optional quests and endings make for a ton of replayability, which is something I love. I adore long games with a ton to do and that’s something the Atelier Dusk Trilogy has in spades. Atelier Ryza, the latest game, which I believe has introduced a lot of people to the franchise, doesn’t have multiple endings or nearly as much optional content and that’s not bad, it’s just something I think newcomers should know.
The atmosphere is something the Atelier Dusk Trilogy doesn’t slack on. Every game has surprisingly good music and a ton of charm. The series doesn’t have any major cons or any significant features that I disliked. Though I was surprised and a little disappointed that the environments weren’t as huge and beautiful as Atelier Ryza. Now I see how Ryza has truly upgraded the franchise. Concerning actual bugs, I didn’t notice any serious issues in Atelier Dusk, only a few small things. For example, there was some lag in more crowded areas in Atelier Ayesha in addition to slight delays in various menus, and an ever present “loadning” typo at the start of every Dusk game when you turn it on.
Ultimately, I’ve had a lot of fun in my time with the Atelier Dusk Trilogy. It’s quite a ways away from being one of my favorite JRPG series, yet it is definitely worth the money for this $90 pack considering that I did have fun and its loaded with stuff to do. If you want to merely try out one game before committing to the whole series, each title can be purchased individually for $39.99 a piece. This latest release comes with the deluxe versions of the games and that means all of the content that was DLC once upon a time is included at no extra cost. It took me around 20 to 30 hours to finish each game with a total of over 80 hours by the time I was done. If you enjoy JRPGs and you don’t mind time limits or having to collect materials and craft everything you’ll need to get by, then I do recommend you consider picking up this collection. It’s got plenty of content to entertain.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
Atelier AyeshaAtelier DuskAtelier Dusk TrilogyAtelier Escha & LogyAtelier ShallieGust Co. Ltd.Koei Tecmonintendo switchPS4