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

Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea: Official GBAtemp Review

PlayStation 3 2,663 views 2 likes 8 comments
Reviewed by Michael Willis, posted Mar 17, 2015
I became a fan of the Atelier series when Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland Plus hit the PS Vita back in 2013, and ever since then I've been hooked on the series. There was something about the time management and the alchemy system that captured my attention. Not too big on the story or the characters in these games but the gameplay holds me for hours. No seriously, I can play these games for hours on my day off.
Mar 17, 2015
  • Release Date (NA): March 10, 2015
  • Release Date (EU): March 13, 2015
  • Release Date (JP): July 17, 2014
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo
  • Developer: Gust
  • Genres: Role-Playing Game
  • ESRB Rating: Everyone 10 and up
  • PEGI Rating: Twelve years and older
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
    Co-operative
Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea is a JRPG developed by Gust. It is yet another game of the "Atelier" series of games and the third and final game in the "Dusk" story line.
Michael Willis

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Story

The story in Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea follows the tale of two characters, Shallistera and Shallotte, each with their own goals in mind. Throughout the story, you will be able to choose and switch between the two. Shallistera is a princess and the daughter on a tribal leader who embarks on a journey to save her home village as it dries up from the lack of any water sources and Shallotte is an ambitious girl who wants to become a proper alchemist and bring success to her deceased father's old alchemy workshop. The title of the game, Atelier Shallie, gets its name from the nicknames of both heroines.

Eventually, the two heroine's lives intersect with one another. While they both have different goals in mind, the two share their destiny of saving the world.

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Gameplay

This is where the Atelier series shines. The entire game revolves around crafting, meaning those that do not like the system will most likely be turned off by the game as a whole. Before players start crafting, they will need to go through the gathering process first. Gathering works by exploring the huge open fields in the game and collecting raw materials to use for crafting. Crafting works by using the materials to form an entirely new object, keep in mind, the better the raw materials, the better the object will turn out and thus making the character a better alchemist in the long haul (the character's skill level goes up each time a better object is created). Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that blueprints are required to form objects. Just throwing two materials together will not work at all in this game.

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The Atelier series also features a battle system as well. In a party of six, with three taking up the front line and the remaining three taking up the back, players are thrown in turn-based encounters. Keep in mind, there is very little strategy involved in battle. There's an attack command, skill command and an item command, which lets players use the items they crafted beforehand as weapons (be aware that only certain items can be used as weapons). Attacking consecutively fills up the Burst gauge. Once filled, the Burst guage triggers a Burst state, allowing players to use special skills and effects from attack chains. Attack assists also opens up a couple of hours into the game adding a bit more depth to the battle system, even though it still comes down to mainly attacking then healing, rinse and repeat.

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A new goal management system introduced known as the Life Task system, allows players to check their progress on certain tasks and missions they will be receiving throughout the game. Thanks to this, players are never lost on what to do next. Simply pressing the Select button will bring up what's next in the chapter being played. This new system replaces the time limit (think the calender system) from the past games of the series allowing players to play at their leisure without constantly watching the clock. The new system also tailors to the player's play style, for example a player that enjoys battling will be given more battle tasks. Completing these life tasks changes the field during exploration depending on the player's action giving them different kinds of materials.

Because of this drastic change, the game gives players a lot more free time than ever before, inviting newcomers along the way.

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Conclusion

Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea is yet another fantastic entry into the long running Atelier series. Fans will love the new changes to the gameplay found here, such as the new life task system or team assist feature. New players will not be afraid to tackle the game either thanks to the improvements to how free time is handled so don't unplug that PS3 just yet. This entry might just be worth checking out.

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Verdict
Pros
+ The graphics are beautiful
+ Large environments to explore
+ Numerous improvements to the gameplay
+ Life task system
Cons
- The battles are still incredibly simple
- Crafting may not be for everyone
8 Presentation
The game is gorgeous. The character models are incredibly detailed, the world is much larger than any other Atelier game before it making it an absolute treat to explore. While the character's movements are a bit stiff, it's only a small complaint in this beautiful world.
8 Gameplay
Crafting items is a blast in this game (just like it was in the previous games of the series). Throughout the game, players will have to explore, gather, collect recipes to craft, and putting items together to form new items. It's the meat of the game. Unfortunately, the battle system in the game takes a back seat.
9 Lasting Appeal
There's so much to do in this game and now thanks to the new Life Task system, players are no longer pressured by the clock as they were in previous games of the series. It features multiple endings as well making the game worth a second or third trip through.
8.5
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
Atelier Shallie shows that simple changes to the formula can still make the series feel new again with each entry. It's a blast to play and the story this time around appears to be very interesting. While it has some hiccups here and there, the game is a worthwhile experience for new and returning players of the franchise.
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