Sizzling on the heels of November’s Swap launch of the superb Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness and the Secret Hideout, Koei Tecmo treats followers of this long-running JRPG franchise to re-releases of the Nightfall trilogy, offered in DX editions which incorporate the additional content material and adjustments discovered within the “Plus” variations of the video games discovered on PS Vita, in addition to including a couple of new high quality of life options. The primary recreation within the trilogy, Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Nightfall DX, lays the foundations for the 2 that comply with while making a couple of notable adjustments to the established Atelier playbook.
Atelier Ayesha sees you caught up within the story of Ayesha Altugle, a younger lady with a pure present for alchemy whose sister Nio has been spirited away. After an odd imaginative and prescient at Nio’s makeshift gravesite alongside an opportunity encounter with the mysterious Keithgriff Hazeldine – what a reputation! – she strikes out on the journey of a lifetime, a race towards the clock to totally perceive her powers as a way to discover out precisely what’s occurred to her beloved sis.
Now, we are saying race towards the clock right here and, true to Atelier collection type, there’s a time mechanic at work in Atelier Ayesha; nonetheless, greater than at any level within the long-running historical past of this franchise, it is lax to the purpose of not likely being an enormous issue – except you are actually taking issues approach too slowly. The fundamental setup when it comes to the time restrict is that you have three years to unravel the thriller on the core of the sport. Each motion that you simply take – travelling to-and-fro throughout the sport world, operating errands and crafting important gear – eats away at your time, as is consistently indicated within the prime nook of your display. It is a system that is at all times performed an enormous think about Atelier video games and it was a courageous choice on the a part of developer Gust to calm down this component, because it’s one we really feel makes Atelier Ayesha an incredible jumping-in level for anybody who desires to dive into this sprawling collection of twenty-one video games.
Certainly, Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Nightfall DX is a superb all-round introduction to the Atelier video games for a handful of causes. Alongside that extra relaxed time restrict, this one lays out the basic rhythms and gameplay loops of a typical entry within the franchise in a simple to know vogue. Additionally, when it comes to the storyline, it hits the bottom operating. Historically slow-starting video games with various technical explanations and tutorials to wade by way of on the get-go, this Atelier outing manages to get the journey underway pronto; its central thriller is participating nearly instantly and, inside a really brief house of time, you and your great cow pal Pana could have hit the journey path, studying what you could when it comes to alchemy and fight as you go.
And it is that alchemy that actually is the life and soul of those video games. Greater than another facet of an Atelier journey, spending time at your cauldron, engaged on new potions and objects, experimenting and unlocking new methods wherein to craft goodies is the order of the day; it is the place all of the depth of a standard Atelier title lies. Whereas the fight is a standard, light-hearted and straightforward to grasp turn-based affair and world exploration may be very a lot contained to small areas – you will by no means wander far off the crushed path in an Atelier recreation – it is alchemy the place each component of gameplay, regardless of how fundamental when taken alone, is tied collectively in a satisfyingly deep method. It is an addictive little loop of making varied objects as a way to both proceed in the primary story or full a side-quest, heading out into the sphere to assemble and uncover new sources, preventing no matter monsters you come throughout and returning to your workspace to craft no matter necessities or new discoveries you’ve got gotten maintain of.
Whereas the alchemy right here has depth, it is also a massively user-friendly expertise; beginning off with easy therapeutic objects and transferring on to extra complicated fight aids and potions, it provides layers steadily, enabling you retain up with little or no effort while offering you the means to dig deep and experiment in case you so want.
Nevertheless, the place there’s loads to get your head round close to the alchemy facet of those video games, the moniker of JRPG is, we really feel, maybe a little bit grandiose in actuality on the subject of the Atelier collection – not less than as much as the purpose of Atelier Ryza, which actually opens issues up in an enormous approach – as, outdoors of crafting, there is no actual freedom to do as you please to any nice extent. By way of open exploration and journey, that is not likely a craving you will discover notably happy right here. There is no nice hazard or sprawling epic storyline in Ayesha. It is a small-scale, tightly-controlled recreation with an easy world map, small areas wherein to gather and do fight and a story which offers way more within the private lives, hopes and desires of its central characters than within the over-arching menace of the trilogy which is, with out wanting to present an excessive amount of away, environmental in nature.
Atelier Ayesha does handle to deviate from what’s come earlier than it within the collection, nonetheless, transferring fairly noticeably away from the fan-servicey type of characterisation older entries have been recognized for. Relaxation assured you may nonetheless hit the dressing room – straight from the primary menu in reality – to decide on all method of moderately skimpy apparel for Ayesha to put on do you have to so select however fortunately, this is a component that, from this level onwards, is placed on the back-burner and it makes the sport a lot extra recommendable to youthful folks hoping to leap into their first JRPG in consequence.
Talking of these central protagonists, whereas Ayesha herself comes throughout a little bit too helpless, ditzy and forgetful at occasions for our liking – particularly in comparison with among the stronger leads from earlier video games – she is surrounded by a really robust solid of wonderful feminine characters. Marion, Wilbell, Odelia and Linca are all fiercely highly effective, well-written characters, every with their very own agendas, life circumstances and hopes and desires that are satisfyingly examined by some first rate writing over the course of this roughly thirty-hour journey. We must also point out the robust voice-acting right here; it is not a totally voice-acted recreation, however what there may be will get delivered very properly.
As we already talked about, the fight in Atelier Ayesha is a straight-forward turn-based affair, nevertheless it’s additionally fairly addictive, enjoyable and fast-moving. On prime of the standard array of particular assaults and varied objects which you’ve got rigorously crafted to tackle the battlefield towards your foes, social gathering members can transfer across the battlefield to get the benefit or strike out with vital hits from behind enemies. Your staff also can carry out varied assist strikes utilizing a meter that builds by way of a number of ranges as you efficiently land assaults. A timed button-press as you assault will then line up one in every of your social gathering to comply with your preliminary strike up with one other, or maybe bounce in the best way of an enemy to defend a weaker member of the staff. Stacking offensive strikes as much as completely batter residence the benefit is nice enjoyable and, whereas it is fairly old-school stuff by immediately’s requirements, it stays participating with the assorted assaults and spells trying uniformly glorious.
Actually, graphically, for a recreation initially launched in 2012, this one actually does nonetheless look fairly nice throughout the board. For certain, there are some PS3-era background textures in cities and villages however the primary characters, areas, monsters and battle results work properly right here, particularly within the Swap’s handheld mode. By way of options, too, this can be a recreation that goes out of its approach to be accommodating. Quick journey may be very shortly out there for use from any level within the recreation world, there is a fast-forward operate to assist zip dialogue alongside – particularly useful in case you’re returning to the sport or planning a number of playthroughs – and a run choice to assist with speedy navigation of areas; oh, and remember that tough mode for individuals who discover default just a bit too forgiving.
By way of efficiency on Swap, Atelier Ayesha runs just about completely in docked and handheld, and enjoying in moveable manages to cover among the extra dated facets of these barely long-in-the-tooth background graphics. All-in-all, past the tiniest little bit of stutter right here and there in among the bigger cities, it is easy crusing all the best way for this one. That is additionally a recreation that fits the moveable nature of the Swap completely, with its check-list type of gameplay and skill to simply save everytime you need making it ideally suited for bite-sized chunks of playtime.
Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Nightfall DX is a superb jumping-in level for newcomers to the collection. It is a welcoming begin to the Nightfall trilogy which hits the bottom operating while dialling again the standard time restrict facet of the sport, gently easing gamers into its core alchemy in addition to firmly establishing the gameplay loops and methods that are carried on all through the 2 follow-up video games. It is by no means actually going to fulfill probably the most ardent RPG fan as its exploration is simply too contained and managed and its fight not ferocious or participating sufficient for battle-hardened gamers. For everybody else, its alchemy is a factor of depth and wonder which creates a satisfying core to which all these lesser components feed into in a satisfying method. With a powerful – if moderately small-scale – story backing the entire thing up, Atelier Ayesha is a simple suggestion for these trying to get invested in a light-weight and breezy, warm-hearted JRPG collection.