Are you fond of ultra sweetness in your games? Well, than this Japanese gathering RPG called Atelier Totori Plus might just be the game you have been looking for!
Atelier Totori Plus release
Atelier Totori Plus was suddenly released about 2 weeks ago on the PlayStation network. The game is only available as a download (no boxed release in the Europe or America). When you buy the game before April 16 you will also get some extra exclusive costumes. Atelier Totori Plus is a game in the Japanese Atelier series and is the second game in the Arland trilogy. You might wonder why Tecmo Koei decided to start porting the games with the second entry in the Arland trilogy, but the answer is a rather logical one. Atelier Rorona (the first game in the trilogy) did a lot of things right, but everything which it did bad was pretty much fixed in Atelier Totori for the PS3. So instead of making a false start on the Vita as well, they started with a high quality entry in the series.
What to do in Atelier Totori Plus?
Atelier Totori is a very open game and let’s you make your own decisions and plans. The game is full of content and variety and never really punishes you for creating your own way. There are three basic gameplay elements in Atelier Totori Plus, which are gathering, fighting and synthesis. All of these gameplay elements will cost you time to perform, where the time management comes into play. The game takes a fictional time period, in which you have to hit certain marks to be able to continue the story. This is not really something you have to worry about, since if you are taking it slow, but still complete some quests, you should be alright. The game isn’t exactly hard and gives you a lot of leeway to experiment and fool around. You can accept quest in town to gain money, experience and rare items.
Alchemy in your Atelier
The alchemy in the Atelier series is the part where it differentiates from other role playing games. It’s an important portion of the gameplay, since all gear, support items and attack items (like bombs) you will need to craft yourself. The basics are very easy to understand and the ingame tutorials are simple and to the point. You select what you want to make, the game tells you if it will be easy, impossible or that it might work, you select the ingredients (also look at the quality and the special effects) and voilá: there is your item or a piece of dust. The learning curve in Atelier Totori is perfect and there is no need to feel intimidated by the concept whatsoever, it turns out to be a fun activity.
Gathering or fighting in the field
When you go on your adventure you can select the location on your world map. It will indicate how many days it will take to walk there and what kind of products or foe’s you will be able to find in the area. When you are in the area, you can see some bushes, plants, flowers or rocks which you can harvest for their products. But you can’t do it freely, because there are also some animals walking around who would love to sink their teeth in your lovely young bones. Getting in to fights will also consume time, just like gathering items. The fighting happens in traditional Japanese RPG fashion: turn based combat with special skills and items. Normally the hero is the strongest person on the field, but here that’s not exactly the case. Totori is pretty useless in combat, expect for her ability to use items like bombs and healing salves. So it’s critical to choose 2 charachters next to you that can throw a mean punch. There are a lot of characters to choose from, my favourites would be Mimi, Melvia and Rorona. Who you have in your party also determines what cut scenes you’ll be watching.
What about Atelier Totori’s story?
You might have wondered why I haven’t touched on the story so far. Well, there is a good reason for that. The story of Totori is as followed: Totori’s mother was a famous adventurer. She left for another adventure and never came back. The main story is touched up upon throughout the game, but never is your main focus. There are multiple endings, depending on how you play the game. What is way more interesting, is the personal stories Atelier Totori tells us. The lives of Totori and the people around her are very up close and personal.
Sweet Graphics and sound
The graphics of Atelier Totori Plus are phenomenal, I would even argue that this is currently the best looking game on the platform if you are into the typical Japanese style of animation. All the main characters look amazing and show real personality with both gestures and voices. You can select a Japanese or English voicetrack for Atelier Totori Plus, which is great. The Japanese voices are filled with emotion and fun, which makes it a joy to listen to. The game is really aimed at people who like Japanese pop-culture and feeds this audience with a lot of fanservice. Atelier Totori has a lot to offer, but if you hate the whole anime/manga/J-pop/JRPG scene, it’s better to skip this one, since it’s chock-full with it. Personally I loved the style and I think everybody who is open to a lot of cuteness on the screen will fall in love as well. A minor thing that did bother me a little bit, you follow Totori for about half a decade from when she is 14, but never ages. In a game where time plays such a huge role, this is a little bit shoddy. The game has some slow down in strange (not that consuming) moments in the game, but overall the game runs good and is very fast paced.
Atelier Totori Plus review score
Atelier Totori Plus is a game which will keep you easily entertained for over 20 hours. After you finish the game, you will get the option to start over again in the New Game+ option, which has some interesting extra’s. If you want to go for the different endings, there is also a lot of replay value in this game, although the most interesting one is the ‘normal’ good ending. Atelier Totori is one of those games you will love or hate, for me it was love. I even like it better than Persona 4 Golden, the gameplay is faster, the dialogues are far more interesting and the graphics look better. The story is the weak and strong point of Atelier Totori, if you want an in depth experience story wise, you are better off with Persona 4. But if you want something light wich is funny and a good companion on the road, I would advise you to go for Atelier Totori Plus (or both).
Review score: 9.4