The latest title in the Atelier series and the next game in the Mysterious series is coming to PS4, Switch and PC (Steam) as Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of Magical Dreams. This preview is based on my time playing the pre-release build of the PC version.
This 25th anniversary installment takes place between Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book (the previous title in the series) and Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey 2016. Even if you haven’t played the game before, you will be able to understand it thanks to the summary available to you before starting. Of course, those who have played it will have another chance to enjoy the relationship and secrets shared between protagonist Sophie and the Plachta doll.
An adventure in another world with new friends
Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream Screenshots and art
I was excited to find out what adventures Sophie and Plachta were going to have this time around, only to learn that Sophie’s doll friend had disappeared at the beginning of the game. Fortunately, when Sophie gets lost in a new world, everyone she meets in the village is kind to her. Her first goal is to find a real life partner, teacher, and family member Plachta with the help of new friends. A new character after the next begins to appear, such as an alchemist also named Plachta, or Ramizel, a woman who shares the same name as Sophie’s grandmother, giving the game a lively feel. right from the start.
The story takes place in Erde Wiege’s dreamland. This mysterious new world created by the goddess Elvira contains the town of Roytale, inhabited by people gathered across time, both past and future. This makes coming up with the idea of identities for characters like Plachta, the alchemist, seeming familiar in some ways that are very natural despite looking different from the Plachta doll, or Ramizel, given her own common name. she. It’s interesting to imagine these theories to be true and speculate on how all of these characters would interact on a daily basis if they all lived together. The characters in the game are also aware of this, with the story progressing as the characters interact in ways that are never too obvious and shy.
A new world depicted in a warm hand-drawn style
The main town of Roytale has many different buildings. Although there is no municipality, it is certainly a large town. Its towering water meter is a unique design that reminds you that you are in another world. While by no means lavish, the carefully curated hand-drawn-style graphics bring even more warmth to the game’s fantasy setting.
Facilities available in town include Pirka’s Emporium, where you can buy and clone items, friend-run stalls selling unusual items, as well as other shops stocking items. that Sophie and her team will find useful on their adventure. Crystal Sparkle Pavilion is also present, a food hall where you can accommodate residents’ requests. These quests are an important source of funding, so you’ll have a much easier time getting through the early part of the game if you make it a habit to always complete them as you progress through the story. Some of the requests come with simple stories, but many are for you mainly for money or high quality materials. You can easily remember to take care of them as you work your way through the story, as the required objectives are marked on your map and list.
Atelier Sophie 2 Screenshot (February 2022)
Speaking of convenience, although Roytale is a big town with a lot of area to cover, most of the facilities you will use are concentrated in one spot. It is built in a way that emphasizes efficiency rather than discovery. Events also take place along the main streets, giving the impression that the creators have gone to great lengths to cut down on pointless work whenever possible, including within the game’s system.
At first glance, the game’s dream world doesn’t look too different from the regular world, including the town of Roytale. However, once you start doing things like controlling the weather with alchemy tools or teleporting to locations using cracks in space, the world starts to feel more mysterious.
Significant environmental change through fieldwork
The in-game weather can be dramatically altered using special Alchemy-generated Landscape Stones. For example, changing the weather from clear to rainy will not only cause rivers and lakes to appear, existing lakes will also rise much higher. These types of changes are not only spectacular to see, but also act as a necessary mechanism to proceed. For example, you may need to first raise the water level of a lake before freezing it with snow to make it walkable. I’m excited to see what changes happen every time I control the weather on a new map for the first time.
Changes in weather also affect what types of monsters spawn and what materials you can collect. Monsters also provide a variety of materials, which means that manipulating the weather should have a big effect on gathering materials. You also check out the types of monsters and materials that will appear on each level from the world map, so check it out if you find yourself needing materials to progress through the story. If you have collected a document before, the locations where it can be found will be highlighted. Of course, this also means that your destinations won’t be marked if you haven’t collected the materials before, which results in a little time spent searching for them as you play through the story. That said, I just need to find locations on the world map with incomplete crawling information and explore potential spots to figure out what I need.
A new mechanic has also been added to hunt for materials, something called “Main Gathering”. These dazzling collectibles will trigger mini games like roulette, and doing a good job with them will allow you to apply optional properties to materials or earn coins etc. You’ll want to use the info demonstrate this system to sum up the best items.
An exciting battle system that emphasizes both attack and defense
The Atelier series is known for its combat music with a surprising edge when compared to the overall atmosphere of the game. The new Twin Action system allows for combined moves that bring a sense of speed to battles making for a fun and exciting time when augmented by the nimble sounds of guitars and drums. Battles are activated through the symbolic encounter system. Exposure to monsters roaming around a stage leads to a battle seamlessly without the screen going black and transitioning.
The battles take place in the form of a command battle, where the fastest characters act first. These usually involve using skills like attacks and buffs or using a number of different items that you can craft with alchemy. The strength of the items you create will greatly affect your strength in battle, so like the previous games in the series, I spent more time crafting the items than I did. Grind out the levels.
Your team consists of three frontline warriors and three backline support members. You can use 1 TP, obtained through actions such as attack, for Twin Actions where frontline and backline characters take turns acting, a type of assist move that backline characters have . Choosing to attack both frontline and backline characters will result in the two switching back and forth and dealing extra damage. TP can also be used for Protective Support, where a backline character will block an attack intended for a frontline character, minimizing the damage you take from enemies.
You’ll have a hard time linking Dual Actions and Support Guardians together unless you’ve saved up a decent amount of TP. Proper defense becomes essential when fighting tough enemies, so it’s important to adapt your tactics to the situation and figure out whether to attack or find loopholes while playing. defense. One factor that will help you make this decision is the enemy aura or barrier. When an enemy is surrounded by an aura, it becomes harder to deal direct damage, forcing you to reduce its durability with attacks that take advantage of its weak points. Destroying an enemy’s aura puts the enemy in a stun for one turn with greatly reduced defense. Party members can perform additional actions during this time, which provide an opportunity to deal massive damage, such as Twin Action attacks. Using Dual Action on enemies with aura will also allow the second attacking character to bypass their aura and deal direct damage, so you may also find yourself in situations where you can Use your power to defeat your enemies.
For when you really need a massive attack, two of your party members can join forces and launch a Dual Trigger attack. Performing Dual Actions will raise your Dual Gauge and the Dual Trigger will become available when it reaches 100%. Not only are they powerful, they will let you enjoy a variety of animations. It’s all a joy to watch, whether they participate in a hilarious interaction between the two characters or see them perform perfectly synchronized combos.
Create powerful items through puzzling console synthesis
Synthesis (alchemy) in this game takes place as a console, so while choosing ingredients can take time, it’s easy to craft items through a system like this puzzle. Synthesis is also not limited to Sophie, as Plachta also has access to it. The material consists of alchemical elements with attributes such as fire (red) and wind (green) that have different shapes, like puzzle pieces. The basics of compositing involve placing these elements so that they fill a panel without overlap. The attributes of the elements set will affect the effectiveness of those attributes your crafting item holds, and reaching a sufficiently high efficiency level will boost your finished product’s effectiveness by one rank.
Catalyst and Reversing Dashboard will help you achieve these improved synthesis levels. While they’re a bit too complicated to explain in detail here, using catalysts makes it easier to level up or max out effects. Boosting the catalyst makes it easier to create powerful items by enlarging the plates or making alchemy elements easier to place. The reverse panel starts with a missing section, making compositing more difficult. However, in exchange, they don’t limit the maximum effect level to the point where they can lead to effects that would never appear on regular boards. Since these increase the difficulty of normal sized plates too much, I would recommend approaching them after strengthening the catalyst and increasing the size of the plate.
There’s a lot to learn in this game, whether it’s fighting, synthesizing, or collecting, and it’s hard to master. However, there is a level of forgiveness in its design so you don’t feel stressed even when you don’t fully apply yourself, to the point where you can feel like you’ve mastered the game even when you still have room. to improve. It might be extreme to say that the game feels like a polished version of its predecessors, but it seems like the refined culmination of over 25 years of improvement.
As for the story, it is clear that Sophie, Ramizel and the two Plachtas are the key characters. If you’re a fan of the previous game in the series, then the dreamlike interactions between the four characters that have been magically brought together in this alternate world will be enough to grab your attention. your mind. In particular, this new Plachta will surely consider Sophie as her aspiration as an alchemist. The highlight of this game will likely be watching her grow as an alchemist as she follows in Sophie’s footsteps.
Hiroaki Mabuchi is a freelance writer for IGN Japan. This article was translated by Ko Ransom. .
https://www.ign.com/articles/atelier-sophie-2-final-preview Atelier Sophie 2: Final Preview