Review: Atelier Shallie Plus: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea (PS Vita).
The eternal drought has turned the once flourishing land into one great desert. The town of Stellard, thanks to the last source of water, still resists the pressure of sand, but it is also in danger of destruction. All hope in two inexperienced alchemists, but time is short.
Atelier Shallie Plus is a portable and extensive version of jRPG originally released on PlayStation 3. It is the third part of the alchemical trilogy about the world of Eternal Twilight “Dusk” and presents the fate of two young girls named Shallotte and Shallister. She is the first to strike poverty with her mother in the once port city of Stellard and dreams of gaining wealth. The second is a tribal princess who seeks help for her people who are threatened by permanent drought. Both virgins practice alchemy, and this craft soon becomes a last resort to stop the only water source in the region from drying up. Despite the gravity of the situation, the story is far from being elaborate or original. Just a simple, typical alchemical story, albeit with a message. On the other hand, it is quite pleasant to receive and can be very addictive, incl. thanks to the aforementioned girls and their friends. We will quickly like the main characters, especially for their uncomplicated, but also well-defined characters.
The game offers you to follow the events from two perspectives: the optimistic, though slightly arrogant Shallota, and the quiet, but polite and pleasant Shallistery. It is nice that such a division is not only cosmetic, despite the fact that the main axis of the plot remains the same. In the case of the PS3 version, players complained that the story is too sweet, so the plus edition brings some dramatic events. He appears, among others discrepancy between friends or Shallotta’s mother’s illness. This is a good move that extends the fun a bit. In addition, we got for free two characters from the paid DLC (Escha and Solle) and other versions of the trilogy (Ayesha and Logy). An additional storyline explaining the nature of the “Dusk” phenomenon was also included. In any case, scenario issues should be included among the advantages of this production.
Somehow it happened that they were portable Atelier Shallie debuts with us on PS Vita after the latest installment of the entire alchemical tapeworm, i.e. Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book on Vita. Despite this, the older sister from two years ago looks visually noticeably better than her successor. Character designs are much richer in detail, as can be seen from their outfits and even locations. During clashes, animations can cause a jaw drop, and the screen often flows with light and a riot of colors. So that it is not too pink, there will be a few glitches. First – a slight blurring of the image. You cannot see it at first glance, but anyone who has had contact with the original will notice it. Unfortunately, this did not prevent such problems as periodic animation drops or drawing objects on the edges of the field of view. However, you quickly get used to these inconveniences and they do not interfere with the further gameplay. The soundtrack contains a lot of catchy atmospheric melodies, and the voice actors, both English and Japanese, did their job exemplary, giving both girls voices that perfectly match their personality.
Despite the available goods in stores, it is difficult to think about the development of alchemy craftsmanship without a trip to a sun-scorched area, where all living things gasp for murder towards the travelers they meet. Our missions, although of a filigree structure, are well-versed in battle, and also take quite a large cast with them. The fighting style, dynamic despite its turbulence, resembles that of Mana-Khemia known back in the days of PS2, which allows for a rapid exchange of soldiers on the front line, accompanied by a special attack. Thanks to the team of six, the clashes go smoothly, because a tired soldier in the front can always count on a rested substitute in the rear. In addition, we have a lot of types of special attacks and other licks in combat, so we are constantly witnessing some battle animation, especially when after a series of exchanges we launch a spectacular combination at the right moment. I admit that the applied solutions lower the difficulty of the clashes, but make them much more pleasant and interesting than in the previous editions, because even in a difficult situation there is almost always some possibility of maneuver.
The alchemy system is still basically the same, i.e. we throw the selected ingredients into the cauldron according to the recipe and wait to see what comes out of it. The fun with the catalysts has been simplified. Now the card of each ingredient contains free fields, into which by pressing the selected modifier, we make the final product endowed with an additional effect, e.g. a different structure, taste, non-standard size, etc., which of course translates into its properties. A simple solution and a lot of fun. Another interesting feature is the elimination of the passage of time, which has been replaced with a feel-good bar. Depending on our actions, its level increases or decreases. It should not be underestimated, because the discouraged heroine fights poorly and makes mistakes in the synthesis. Personally, I didn’t like this solution, but it’s a matter of taste. We move the plot forward by performing scenario tasks, and they are accompanied by side orders, depending on our activity. The profits for their implementation are quite large, e.g. we can immediately advance by several levels. It is a pity that the whole system is slightly lame, because these missions get blocked when we go to the main task of a given chapter, which makes it difficult to plan anything sensibly. The creators should obviously correct this inconvenience, but they have not done it until today.
The last part of the alchemical trilogy “Dusk” is a tasty treat for PS Vita owners who love Japanese jRPGs. Eye-catching graphics, interesting characters and a light and pleasant story make it the perfect title for portable equipment (despite some minor bugs). Compared to the PS3 version, the “plus” edition does not bring much changes this time, so the purchase should be considered by people who have not had contact with the game on stationary equipment.