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Atelier Mysterious Trilogy Is Perfect Alchemy On Switch

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Courtesy of Koei Tecmo

Atelier Mysterious Trilogy Deluxe Pack

Developer: Gust Co. Ltd.
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Release Date: April 22, 2021
Available as: Digital and Physical (Asia Only)

The Atelier Mysterious Trilogy Deluxe Pack

The Atelier series is yet another one of those JRPG franchises that have been around in Japan for many years since the 90s. The first game to be released in the west, Atelier Iris, was an underrated classic among other underrated JRPGs throughout the 2000s. Since the release of Iris, each game from the Atelier series was released in other regions yet it remained a relatively unknown series until the release of 2019’s Atelier Ryza. Due to the success of Ryza, the Atelier series sold more copies than it ever had before, prompting both developer Gust and publisher Koei Tecmo to release some of its older titles to a general audience.

In April 2021, Koei Tecmo released the Atelier Mysterious Trilogy DX Pack for the Switch and PS4, containing the “deluxe” or complete versions of Atelier Sophie, Atelier Firis, and Atelier Lydie & Suelle together. Each game was originally released during the span of three years, from 2015 to 2018. 

Atelier Mysterious Trilogy Deluxe Pack titles
Atelier Mysterious Trilogy Deluxe Pack – Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

Once Again, The Compilation Is Packaged Like A Perfect Alchemy Result

Except for Lydie & Suelle, this is the first time that all three games appear on the Switch console, making the Mysterious Trilogy a definitive collection for Switch owners. While all three games were on the PS4, having all three in one collection plus its added deluxe content may also be a choice for PlayStation owners.

Much like the Ninja Gaiden Master Collection, the physical version of this compilation was exclusive to Asian regions as it was exclusively digital in other regions, which is a shame because the physical version comes with goodies that I don’t think the digital ones come with. A digital soundtrack for each game is included with codes to download and just like NGMC, there are all three games as well as bonus digital artbooks for each game bundled on one cartridge. The art books are a charming touch, featuring promotional art pieces and concept art.

Atelier Sophie DX

atelier mysterious trilogy dx pack sophie title screen
Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book DX – Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

The first one of the Mysterious Trilogy, Atelier Sophie was a revolutionary title in the series, introducing many mechanics that modern Atelier games would include in current titles. The alchemy and battle mechanics, coupled with its “semi-open world” gameplay, are some of the main draws of Sophie but also of Atelier in general.

The general gameplay of Atelier is based on alchemy over traditional RPG battles, with the latter used as a method to gather ingredients rather than a main form of gameplay. Sophie, for example, will occasionally need to fight enemies as certain monsters drop required ingredients to craft. The story will only progress when Sophie crafts required pieces integral to the plot, meaning that Sophie will need to explore the town daily, take requests, and interact with NPCs to find motivation in creating new recipes.

atelier sophie cutscene
Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book DX – Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

Atelier Sophie Features Talking Books And An Aloof Alchemist 

As the game was originally released on the PS3 in 2015, the game has shown its age in its animations and character models, with the characters often appearing “doll-like.” It’s not exactly “low quality” but it’s interesting to see the origins of Atelier before Ryza and it’ll be interesting to see the upgrades in gameplay and graphics throughout the series in this compilation.

What’s even more peculiar is the game’s audio default to the Japanese language, despite there being an English track. Surprisingly, the English voice track isn’t terrible as each voice matches the characters well. The alchemy mechanic, which is the main gameplay element of Sophie, also requires strategy as players handle light puzzles to get the most effect out of their product.

atelier sophie cutscene gamplay
Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book DX – Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

Fighting Monsters By Moonlight, Failing Alchemy At Daylight

When Sophie isn’t practicing alchemy, she’s bashing cute slime creatures in the skull with her comrades. The combat system is simplistic, with a classic turn order system for all participants in the current battle. The player can identify when an enemy is going for their most powerful attack and switch stances accordingly, offensive to deal more damage and defensive to protect themselves and others. This mechanic gave me Bravely Default vibes, rewarding the player for being observant to the ebb and flow of battle.

Overall, it plays well on the Switch with a steady framerate, although it’s not a graphically intensive game, to begin with. From a first look, there’s a lot to explore and it’s enough to understand the core gameplay, the personality of the main characters, and how the daily operations take place. I wasn’t too sure of what the general story was, however, aside from a talking sentient book I had to assist.

Atelier Firis DX

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Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey DX – Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

There’s a lesson in many JRPGs that goes as follows: Always make time for them because it’s the slowest genre to get anything done at any given time. Not all JRPGs are equal, most definitely, but some take at least an hour of exposition, story, and cutscenes, before the player can get into some action gameplay-wise.

In the case of Atelier Firis, this was most certainly the case as the game took almost 40 minutes before it went anywhere and I was able to fully do anything as the titular character. Even so, within the recording, I wasn’t able to get into any actual combat in-game, but this was for good reason. The one thing Firis taught me was that the Atelier series truly prides upon alchemy being the main gameplay with combat being a secondary source of resources should the time come for it.

firis cutscene gameplay
Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey DX – Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

Firis’s Story Is More Sincere Than Sophie’s At First

The story of Firis involves a young girl of the same name who was born and raised in a closed-off mining city. The mining city is secluded from the outside, protecting its inhabitants from danger, while designated hunters are assigned to provide food and materials to the small village. Firis, having been born and raised there her whole life, never set foot outside which was a dream she has had for years. 

Her hopes of seeing outside are dashed away until she meets none other than Sophie and Plachta, the two protagonists from Atelier Sophie. Sophie in this game plays an advisory role to Firis, teaching her about alchemy and how to use alchemy to help others in need. She also assists Firis in perfecting her alchemy to fulfilling her dream of going outside the city walls.

firis sophie cutscene
Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey DX – Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

Firis’s Endeavors Takes Place Some Time After Sophie’s

It was at this point that the gameplay began to take root, with Firis assisting the villagers and helping their problems through crafting items that they need and request. One task requires Firis to help a fellow miner break through tough rock, so she finds out how to craft a bomb by inspecting rocks that have ammunition properties. 

While the lack of combat is largely due to the seclusion of the village, protecting them from a monster ambush or any related cliches, it also provides a point that a JRPG doesn’t need battles to have fulfilling gameplay. While, yes the cutscenes became a drag and made Firis a slow burn causing me to go over recording time, I also felt inclined to help everyone knowing what I knew of Firis through the many cutscenes. She’s a kind and emotional girl who hates to be underestimated whether it’s by her parents or her neighbors, even if they want her to be safe.

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Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey DX – Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

Atelier Firis Takes A While To Get Going But That’s A Good Thing

There are improvements over the first game aside from the story, which was the way the camera functioned. The movement and animations of Firis felt more natural than the confined space that Sophie left me feeling. There were no areas of the village that were gated through loading screens as the entire area was loaded in one sitting, making traveling seamless. 

Although I didn’t get a chance to see the combat for Firis myself, I could imagine that it would be similar to that of Sophie’s gameplay. I wasn’t too bummed that I didn’t get to experience for it was at this moment that the charm of Atelier is within its alchemy and the relationships between the main character and the world surrounding them. It would be up to Atelier Lydie & Suelle to see if my hunch would be correct.

Atelier Lydie & Suelle DX

lydie and sophie title screen
Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings DX – Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

It turns out that my gut instinct was correct within the first ten minutes of starting Atelier Lydie & Suelle as it combined the best of both Sophie and Firis. The former in that the game begins with the twin sisters gathering for materials, then creating their first alchemy in the first ten minutes, and having players get a chance to fight monsters shortly after. 

The latter draws inspiration in building up a story between the twins and their estranged relationship with their fathers (though not up to the dire level that Firis brings with the protagonist and her parents).

lydie and sophie cutscene
Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings DX – Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

Child Negligence: The Anime: The Game (Not exactly, but…)

To put it bluntly, their dad is a bit of an idiot, actually, more like a lot of an idiot. He is introduced early on in the story as unreliable, botching up alchemy leaving it for the girls to clean up, scolding them for taking too long with gathering materials, and stealing their earnings to buy more paint. The relationship between the twins and their dad sums up as follows, the elder sister Sue calls him an “idiot father” and Lydie follows suit. It’s all played for jokes, but it shows how much the twins depend on each other to get anything done.

That’s because the atelier that they run is in direct competition with the largest atelier in the city, which puts a dampen on their business as they have to scrounge for scraps and any requests to make ends meet. Compared to the previous two games, the sisters are adequate as alchemists, almost on par with Sophie in the beginning, yet it doesn’t stop them from starting a small fire.

lydie and sophie gameplay
Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings DX – Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

Yes, There Are Early Fights In Lydie And Suelle

However, an inkling of good fortune is given to the twins as they discover a mysterious painting that they end up getting sucked into upon examining it. While in the world left behind the painting, they find rare materials that they otherwise would not have found in the real world, while also ending up fighting monsters that occupy the area.

The battle mechanics for Lydie & Suelle is like Sophie before it, following a battle order system that can be affected by a character’s action. There aren’t any “stance” changes, making the battle simplified to the point where the player can focus on strategically planning their offense and defense. Some skills will allow the player to move faster on the next turn order while others will delay the enemy’s turn order. 

lydie and sophie gameplay 3
Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings DX – Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

Lydie And Suelle Offers The Same Familiar Atelier Alchemy 

I didn’t realize it at first with Sophie, but the Atelier battle system reminds me a lot of Grandia in which players participate in “real-time fights” according to the turn order. The difference is that while in Grandia, actions can be interrupted with careful skill management, Atelier is more traditional with its turn-based system like other RPGs.

Like the previous games, the battle and gathering system is but a supplement to the core of the game being alchemy, with a familiar alchemy mechanic from the previous games present in this game. The one thing I can say about this game and all three games is that each of the gameplay features is familiar to each other, which is obvious considering they are all sequels of each other, but the Atelier series is a prime example of “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” which leads to the conclusion…

Atelier Mysterious Trilogy Closing Thoughts

Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings DX opening
Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings DX – Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

The Atelier Mysterious Trilogy DX Pack is the best way to experience the trilogy of Atelier games that began with a story about a junior alchemist and a talking book and ended with a story of twin girls and their paintings. The most unique thing about the trilogy is that each story is self-contained, yet the protagonists from each of the games return in some capacity, meaning that fans of each game can see the character development of their favorite characters past their original game. 

In most trilogies that have standalone stories, this is a rarity yet it keeps each game interconnected within each other. It also gives a player the incentive to continue playing their games of origin to fully appreciate the character development. While the core gameplay within each game remains relatively the same, it is the stories involving each new character in each new story that keeps the Mysterious Trilogy a fresh experience across the board.

The Atelier Mysterious Trilogy Deluxe Pack is available on the PC, PS4, and Switch.

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