Since the Playstation 3 really hit it’s stride it seems like the Atelier franchise came out of nowhere and had a new title nearly every 6 months, the series that kick started this resurgence was the Arland trilogy which was fronted by at the time the quite charming and unique Atelier Rorona. Koei Tecmo not missing a beat has brought all three of the Arland games to the Nintendo Switch and today we will be looking at Rorona, does Atelier and Switch form a good combo or is it a bad batch? Read on to find out.
This section of the review is how the game handles on the Nintendo Switch, below this is a tidied up version of the review we published for the title when it released on the Playstation 3. Atelier Rorona looks absolutely stunning on the Nintendo Switch in both docked and my personal preference Handheld. The bright and colour laden art-style really pops and is an utter feast for the eyeballs, it’s held up brilliantly considering the age of the port, never-mind it’s roots.
The only issue I came across in my playtime was a few framerate hiccups when in the town while a few NPCs were on the screen, this seems to be a common issue with the early Atelier games but certainly far from game breaking, outside of that the game ran much smoother than it’s very first release, smooth and stunning to look at.
The nature of the game is also helped out by the pick and play nature of the Switch, this is the ideal platform for RPGs and it’s been a complete joy to reintroduce myself to the world of Arland and pick up more side quests and manage everything just a little more as I could play the game at my own pace, while commuting to work or just grabbing a few minutes while the children are quiet watching some rubbish on the main TV.
I think the pace of the game perfectly suits the console as I was able to digest more of the lore, spend more time with it’s fantastic and crazy cast of characters which really fleshed out the experience for me and made me appreciate this title alot more than I already did. I’ve always held Rorona in a high regard within the series and with RPGs in general, Koei Tecmo has given me the chance to replay this title and it’s held up and exceeded my expectations ten fold, on a system with a plethora of “Must Buy” RPGs, Rorona has made that list just a little bit longer, roll on Totori and Meruru!.
Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland Plus lets you take control of Rorona a young girl who has been forced into working for Astrid, an Alchemist. Rorona has to work at Astrid’s Atelier to pay back the debit which her parents have gained from the treatment for their sickness. When a messenger from the castle of Arland visits the Atelier with some bad news, the Atelier will be shut down in 3 years if the Atelier can not complete the assignments give to it with in the 3 years. Astrid forces the responsibility on to her Pupil Rorona to complement the assignments in the allotted time given for each one.
Let’s talk the visuals of the game the character models have been updated from the original release which had taken on more a Chibi style. With Rorona Plus they took the visual style and designs from the later games such as Meruru and applied it here, it’s a massive improvement and really brings the world and characters to life. The game has never looked so vibrant and the art style really conveys the fun nature of the series bringing it much more in line with it’s sequels.
Music is a big part of any GUST game and Atelier Rorona is no exception there are quite a few ear worms here and for long time fans of the franchise there is a collection of classic tracks you can listen to throughout. The voice acting suits the theme of the game, it’s nothing ground breaking but I have heard much worse so it’s more than serviceable.
Now it’s time to get into the gameplay and what makes an Atelier game different from other JRPG titles, Assignments!. Assignments are distributed over 3 years and each of the 12 assignments is 3 months each to complete, which is more than enough time. Assignments are a mix of Hunting monsters, Alchemizing items gathering items. along the way you get party members that are friends of Rorona those will tag along for a fee, you can lower the fee by completing Friend requests. As the game is time limit based, actions will reduce your time such as gathering material or moving from area so time management is required and can put on the pressure on but overall it’s more than manageable if you’re sensible.
The battle system in Atelier Rorona is your basic turn based combat that you’ve seen a hundred times before. The combat in this game does seem to lack a little bite and you can tell that really the focus was on the alchemy and the characters rather than the combat. It’s nothing bad it’s just doesn’t really have too much about it and lacks flair.
Alchemized items for the assignments and request will decrease your time between alchemizing the items and gathering the items you need the time can creep up on before you know its the due date. They added a bingo board system for the assignments by completing side quests you earn Stamps they mark when the line up your earn a reward. There are plenty of places to gather your items needed for the the quest and or assignments.
Overall, Atelier Rorona DX is a fantastic little title, rather than stretching to the grand story of saving the world, Rorona plays it much closer to home while providing some interesting world building which is built upon further in the trilogy, it has a fantastic cast and feels like a breath of fresh air to the JRPG genre. The Time Management and cutesy art style may not be for all but if you’re a fan of the genre you’d be a fool to pass this one up.