Following in the footsteps of the PSP, the Vita has been the go to place for remakes/updated ports of popular JRPGs. These range from titles like Disgaea to more niche series such as Neptunia. Among the more surprising choices is the Atelier franchise. With Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky Plus being the most recent port, is it the next big thing for Vita owners or is it just something fans can enjoy on the go?
Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky Plus takes place after the events of Atelier Ayesha in small town trying to recover after being ravaged by an event known as The Dusk. The town, with is without an official alchemist, enlists the help of the only resident who can do alchemy, Escha, and a more experienced alchemist from another town called Logix or Logy for short. Even though Logy has experience, he is use to more sophisticated tools, forcing him to rely on Escha, who lacks experience, but knows how to use the tools, in their quest to help the town and its people.
Based off the character you choose, be it Escha or Logy, the story will unfold a little differently. While the core content remains the same, you experience them from a different perspective. This offers an interesting contrast if you decide as the other character, but not enough where you absolutely need to play through the story twice.
Even though the premise is pretty straightforward, Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky Plus can be incredibly boring to start. This is largely due to the games frequent exposition dumps at the beginning. Most of the first hour or so is basically a tutorial told though character interactions and basic quests. This storytelling style isn’t bad, per se, but it can be frustrating if you already know it or just want to move on with things.
Despite the story wasting time on long explanations, a key aspect to the gameplay is time management. Simply put, there is a lot you can do and many things you’re suppose to get done, but every choice you make will impact your time. So if you decide to harvest every item in the game, you’ll be trading time for resources. Say you want to explore or fight, then that’s more time you’re spending. Thankfully you don’t need to be perfect to accomplish what you need to do, but it is something you certainly need to be aware of and work around.
As for combat, Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky Plus is far from the most complex RPG around. Naturally the combat is turn based, with attacks filling your support gauge. As your bar fills, you can either do support attacks, which do additional damage or defend, causing a specific character to receive less damage and basically tank the fight.
Regardless of how simple the combat seems, it’s actually fairly tactical in nature. Smart players will learn how to maximize the effectiveness of support actions or find a way around difficult foes. However, those just looking to move forward or don’t care about the subtle nuances might experience some challenges, but nothing that can’t be overcame by wasting some resources or time.
Speaking of resources, a big part of your adventure is going to be collecting alchemy supplies to fix the town, aid you in combat and really do most things in the game. At first the alchemy system can be a bit intimidating or in some cases confusing, but as you progress and get a wider array of resources, you can start creating items that better suit your needs. So if you want a potion that excels in a specific area and don’t want help in another area, you can tailor the recipe to suit that need. The only downside is that creating things are also based off a point system, which will dictate all the finer details.
Outside of being a tad boring and regimented, Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky Plus is not the most fluid game on the Vita. In scenes with excessive movement or just wondering around time, there is a stuttery effect that makes everything look all jittery. This isn’t much of a flaw, though it’s very hard not to notice and can be distracting if you were hoping for smoother animations or just take in the scenery while running by.
Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky Plus is going to be something that appeals more to fans than newcomers. Things like the slow storytelling and overall plot will make fans of character interactions happy, but will probably bore those interested in grander stories. While the combat is engaging, with some depth for those willing to master it, it isn’t terribly unique or exciting either. Combine this with the time management elements and you’re left with an experience that remains true to the franchise, which is great, but probably not something newcomers or those turned off by a previous installment would enjoy.
[Editor’s Note: Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky Plus was reviewed on PS Vita platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky Plus Review,