When it comes to the Atelier series, it’s something most JRPG fans should be familiar with. The release of Atelier Rorona several months ago was well received as it’s the first Atelier game to hit the PlayStation 3. Because of Rorona’s success, we now have the sequel to Rorona entitled, Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland.
As with past Atelier games in the series, Totori will feature a female heroine where players will see the coming of her age as she goes through her first adventure. The plot may seem very basic but should fans of Rorona keep an eye on this one?
Improved Voice Overs / Impressive Visuals
Since Rorona was released on the PlayStation 3, I enjoyed the visuals the game has to offer. From Rorona to Totori, nothing significant has changed when it comes to the graphics. The world is still wonderful as it’s full of life and colorful environments. The illustrated bright pastel shades are exemplary as it stands out very so on a HDTV set and fans of the anime would really appreciate it. The character models, like the previous title, are anime looking and pretty sympathetic.
For the most part in NIS America’s dub work, it’s a hit and miss. Some games that they published have mediocre voice overs while others are really good – this applies to Totori. All of the characters in the game have pretty decent voice acting. The great voice work makes the characters feel more alive than ever. There are a few annoying voices but players will hear it once in a while.
Much Better Storyline
Since I started playing Atelier back on the PlayStation 2 era, I find it mediocre as it’s all about a character wanting to become alchemist. Totori has a slightly different take on the storyline. Apart from the goal of becoming the best alchemist in town, Totori has a problem. Since Totori was a child, her mother left the family as she’s an adventurer. Ever since she left, the mother didn’t come home. In the game, Totori is a teenager and she started to wonder what happened to her mother. With the help of her friends, Totori decides to become an adventurer to find her mother. Don’t worry, Totori will still have to rely on alchemy as it’s the only way for her to have money for her upcoming adventure.
Gamers who have played Rorona, they will find out that Rorona is actually referenced a lot in the game. Atelier Totori is a direct sequel to Rorona. The game takes place in a different town but later in the game, Totori and her group of friends will end up in Arland and will meet some interesting characters.
Gameplay is still intact with slight changes
Between Rorona and Totori, one of the slight changes that Totori have is the time management. If you miss a certain deadline, players will pretty much be screwed. In Rorona, the in-game clock only moves after going into an area. The time doesn’t move at all if you decide to idle in the dungeon. There’s really no pressure in Rorona involved as players can pretty much spend as much time gathering ingredients.
In Totori, it’s quite different – the more action the players does in the game (gathering ingredients, going outside to battle enemies, etc) the more time will run out. While it does have an additional pressure for players, they have pretty much three in-game years for players to reach their objective (it’s challenging!). The way the game works is pretty much the same – gather ingredients, team up with friends to fight enemies and create an item, but players can expect that they’ll do more adventuring that alchemy in this game, which is refreshing. The quests involved in Totori aren’t much strict as it’s well diverse, unlike Rorona.
While there is a time-management issue in Totori, players must know how to use their time wisely. There are things that players cannot do once the certain time period lapse. The game has multiple endings and if they wish to complete the game 100%, a second or a third play-through is a must.
Combat is Still Uninspired
One of many complaints in Totori is the combat. For the five Atelier games I’ve played on consoles, including Totori, none of them really has gotten me into it. It’s the same and dull basic turn-based battle system that we’re all familiar with. The enemies are all on-screen and players will not have a hard time avoiding them if they want to.
Can be Repetitive At Times
Majority of the time in the game, players will spend time gathering ingredients and making an item. If you’re playing the game for more than three hours straight, you might feel that it’s gets really repetitive. This is really not new to Atelier games as most of them are like this. However, there are other ways to ease up the gathering as now you can take jobs from the Pub – that way you can get money. Still, expect a lot of gathering jobs though!
Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland is twice as better than its predecessor, Rorona. While the game is far from being perfect, the new tackle to the game’s storyline is refreshing for fans of the Atelier series. The game isn’t as boring as Rorona as there’s lots of a drama and adventure involved. The gathering of items might still get repetitive but that’s something Atelier fans should already expect. If you’re a newcomer to the series and are torn between Rorona and Totori, picking up Totori would be the ideal choice for you.
[Editor’s Note: Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland was reviewed on the PlayStation 3 hardware. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland Review,