Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings Review

Keeping a long standing franchise going after 10 or more years can be tough. After a certain point things need to change or you risk them becoming stale. This has happened to a lot of titles, one could easily make a case for and against Atelier suffering this fate. With every entry offering unique concepts, new places to explore and familiar faces, Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings offers a different take and closes out the mysterious storyline. With this in mind, is this another exciting adventure or a boring rehash of concepts we’ve seen before?

Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings follows Lydie and Suelle on their quest to be the best Atelier in the kingdom and keep their promise to the now deceased mother. It’s generic enough to give players a reason to progress through the ranks, at the cost of it being a fairly bland goal. Thankfully, ranking up and earning the status of the best alchemists in the kingdom is secondary to the mysterious paintings.

The mysterious paintings allow travel between their world and the painted one by proximity and a desire to be here or there. Beyond the initial premise, the pair finds a woman that resembles their dead mother, starting an interesting narrative that will hook you long after you’re done with the help people and rank up story.

Sadly, as Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings is quick to note, these things are linked with one another. So, to find a new mysterious painting you need to level up, just like the painting needs to be cleared to open a new rank. As boring as this can be, it’s nice to have another adventure to keep players motivated besides simply chasing ranks. That being said, the chase makes up most of your adventure.

Almost all the gameplay sections are dictated by whatever random tasks are required to rank up, quests or side stories. Earlier objectives are basically busy work, including jumping a specific amount of times, selling items, crafting anything and so forth. Quests are similar to this. Someone in town needs an item, wants a monster killed or for someone to craft something and you need to figure out how to do it.

Beyond helping people, a fair amount of time will be spent collecting materials, crafting and, of course, fighting monsters. Materials is pretty straightforward. Around the world you’ll find a variety of items that can be used to craft a variety of things. As you collect items and figure out puzzles, new items can be crafted. These can be used for making equipment, completing tasks, aid in combat and a multitude of other things.

Every item will have different attributes and a numbered quality, which will dictate how good the item you create is. Better materials/abilities will result in more powerful items and vice versa. The cycle of finding materials, gaining the ability to make new things and helping others is what the series is known for and is as fun as previous titles.

As for combat, things are a little bland. Until you level up a fair amount, most fights are about trading blows until one side wins, unless a lot of time is spend collecting resources. Not only is this boring, it makes combat even less useful overall. In fact, it’s so pointless players can progress through the first couple of chapters with only a handful of fights. This becomes a bigger problem when you see how slowly you level. With it taking a good number of fights, many of which go back and forth a couple times, it quickly becomes a less important part of the experience. Especially when players can rank up and typically collect resources without bothering.

Verdict

Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings is an interesting story that doesn’t do much to make it stand out. If you love the Atelier series, want to play with some cute girls or simply enjoy anime/manga tropes, odds are this will be a winner. However, if you’re hoping for a combat driven or deeper experience, elements of that are certainly here, it just requires a fair amount of time invested. If that doesn’t sound bad, give it a go, otherwise you might want to consider sitting this one out.

[Editor’s Note: Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]