The Atelier series has gone through numerous iterations and storylines. Does Atelier Firis provide a better gameplay and story than the disappointing Atelier Sophie? Let’s find out in this review.
Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey is the second entry in the “Mysterious” narrative. The plot focuses around the Mistlud sisters, Firis and Liane, as they go on a grand expedition. Atelier Firis’ story takes place in an isolated and underground village of Ertona. Firis uses her alchemy skills and unique ability to see and gather crystals in order to help out her community. Firis eventually learns about the Alchemy Exam and explores outside of her town for the first time.
The game provides a massive world to explore with tons of townsfolk and mysteries to discover. One thing that this game does differently than Atelier Sophie is provide a more open world. Apparently the game offers up to ten times the size of Sophie’s locations. It is a grand journey that Firis must take to become an official alchemist. Along with Firis, players will be introduced to Sophie, Plachta and more returning characters.
Choice plays a big part in the story of Atelier Firis. If players are able to pass the Alchemist Exam, they can focus on any of these three aspects: Alchemy, Combat and Character relationships. You can change which of the three main paths you want to focus on through event choices. It gives the player more immersion into the game.
Battle gameplay is once again a turn-based system. Players can attack, use crafted items, heal and do much more. It hasn’t really been tampered with a whole lot and I enjoyed it.
Returning from Atelier Sophie is its alchemy system. I prefer any of the past games in the series’ alchemy system except for the one in Sophie. It is based around connecting the entire grid. The alchemy system felt like it was already fine-tuned enough before the Sophie entry in the series (I don’t think they should have massively changed it like they did). I also do not like the time system. Supposedly if you take too long, you can be automatically put into the bad ending path. I like taking my time with these games and it just isn’t that fun when you have to try to rush through a game.
Graphics in Atelier Firis are great. I feel like they took their time to create unique and diverse worlds. It is much more open and not as linear and ugly as the previous games. I didn’t notice too many drops in frame-rate. The actual look for Firis could have been a bit cuter, but I can definitely say she doesn’t look the same as past main protagonists in the series.
Something similar to Final Fantasy XV is that this game has tent/camp system. In the game, players will have the opportunity to set up their Alchemy tent in order to save, use alchemy, store found items and more. It is nice addition and should be brought into the next entry in the “Mysterious” saga.
Overall, Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey is the game that I wish Atelier Sophie would have been. It has a large universe, great characters, and has amazing new additions to the game series.
8/10 – A very fun and great entry in the long-running series.