Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea (PlayStation 3) Review

By André Eriksson 16.03.2015 8

Review for Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea on PlayStation 3

Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea follows two girls called Shallie in their quest to stop the drought that is slowly consuming the world. Throughout their important quest the two Shallies explore friendship, get to know about responsibilities, and, most importantly, have to grow up into mature girls who are able to tackle this heavy responsibility upon them. The Shallies could not be more different, however. One of them is a reserved and calm village girl and the next in line to become chief, and the other a whimsical and hyperactive trash picker who is, beside her job, always in a great mood. Cubed3 takes this new PlayStation 3 RPG experience for a ride to see if it lives up to the series' strong heritage.

In the latest entry to the Alchemists series, a drought has spread out and is threatening all life. It has entirely consumed all water in a small remote village, meaning they have to send out their representative, Shallistera, or Shallie for short. Her quest is to go to the Oasis town where there is still water and make them give their village support. However, the Oasis town has troubles of their own that need to be resolved.

When starting off, Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea starts off with a short tutorial, and then the player gets to choose which Shallie to play as, either the calm and reserved Shallistera, with heavier focus on the quest about finding a solution to the drought problem, or the wild and outgoing Shallote, who comes with a quest more in the usual style of an Alchemists game, developing herself and exploring her talents. This basically turns into a choice between world lore exploration and personal evolution.

There is a lot of focus on making Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea tailor-made towards the player themselves besides just the choice of their main protagonist. Earlier additions to the series had time limits restricting the gameplay. Not anymore, though, with those being replaced by life task checks instead. The life task system is built upon micro-quests that range from "Killing 'x' boars" to important story events. The non-story ones, however, are unlocked through doing different feats, such as killing 100 enemies in a specific zone, and it would take hard work to get them all. However, that is not the idea. The idea, and the ingenious thing about this, is the fact that these are made to trigger quests that the player themselves finds important and fun. If focusing heavily on developing alchemy skills, resultantly it will show that in the life task system and offer a lot more quests in that department. This makes for a naturally tailor-made adventure for each and every player where focus rests on the enjoyable aspects. It is inventive, yet simple and easy to understand.

Screenshot for Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea on PlayStation 3

Other than a great questing system, Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea also offers great combat and crafting systems, both of which the series is well known for. The turn-based combat system has heavy focus on different combos, power-up meters, and time management that make the fights very complex, yet pleasing as those introduced are done so with very even pacing that never overwhelms. The same goes for the crafting; as the character levels up their alchemy, likewise the alchemy skill tree grows and more complicated skills are added to the repertoire, making it one of the most intriguing found in any game on the market, and definitely one worth investing time into developing it further.

Most things in Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea are extremely well made and player-oriented, ranging from the story to all the battle and crafting systems. However, there is one great bug to be found. There is a growth system that, whenever opened, makes the game crash and, hence, nobody can actually access it - quite the annoyance and a stain on an otherwise beautiful and well crafted title.

Overall, though, Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea is a great title. No matter if wanting a story focused on world events or personal development, gamers will be able to find what they want within, and whenever wanting to focus their energy on combat or alchemy, they can find a path that bends to their preference easily enough. It is a great experience that no one has any excuse to miss now due to the removal of the time limits, and Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea will serve as a great opening point for anyone new to the Alchemist franchise.

Screenshot for Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea on PlayStation 3

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Besides one bug that makes the growth system inaccessible, Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea is an almost flawless game within its genre, offering everything gamers might expect and want from a great JRPG. With a gripping story that can either focus on personal development or on the world at large, dependent on choices made, Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea caters to both veterans of the series and newcomers alike. The removal of the time limits found in previous games turns this into the perfect entry point to the fascinating and multi-layered experience that is the Alchemy franchise. However, it might be well worth waiting until a fix for the bug is put out to get the most from the adventure. However, if unable to wait to get their teeth into this experience, the bug is not so restrictive and most parts of Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea can still be enjoyed like they were intended to.

Developer

Gust

Publisher

Koei Tecmo

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

This actually looks really interesting. I love the Atelier games and the style in this one looks awesome!

I love that the English releases just keep coming!

I play games... sometimes.

I do strongly recommend trying it if it does sound appealing. It is no coincidence that the franchise has run for as long as it has. This is stable high quality stuff. It is just sad there is this one bug. I will definitely revisit this game once the bugfix is out just like I did with Mugen Souls Z when it was released. Hopefully it will take shorter for this one to arrive though, yet it is not as fatal as the one in MSZ that almost locked out a huge part of the content from the game. 

The difference between illusion and reality is vague to the one who suffers from the former and questionable for the one suffering form the later.

I'll probably pick it up after my next payday! Smilie

I wonder if a vita release will surface in the future because the plus versions are great too!

Is Mugen Souls good? It's one of those games i never got round to playing. XD

( Edited 16.03.2015 23:09 by Sandy Wilson )

I play games... sometimes.

Most likely in a couple of years I guess! Smilie 

The difference between illusion and reality is vague to the one who suffers from the former and questionable for the one suffering form the later.

How's the combat compared to Mana Khemia?  That was the best games they made.

It all boils down to preferences and what you liked about it. If you liked the timing of attacking you are going to love the combat in this title as a lot of focus is put on using the right moves in advance to create powerful effects once entering the power up mode.

The difference between illusion and reality is vague to the one who suffers from the former and questionable for the one suffering form the later.

How familar are you with the recent alterier games?  I LOVED Mana Khemia, and I have totori/memeru (no played, but in que) I also have whatever the dusk one is.  Any others I should get?

Not too familiar. Played them mostly at friends' places up to this point (that is still a thing Smilie ). What I can say though without accidently lying is that if you enjoy the combat and crafting systems you should totally play most other games in the franchise.

EDIT: What is worth noting is that what kept me from really getting into the franchise earlier was the time limits that existed in the earlier entries. I am a gamer who prefers to be able to take the time I need to explore and enjoy a game and not getting forced into a hurry.

( Edited 19.03.2015 22:39 by Andre Eriksson )

The difference between illusion and reality is vague to the one who suffers from the former and questionable for the one suffering form the later.

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