Atelier Escha and Logy ReviewJoslyn Walter
The entire time while playing this game I kept thinking to myself how painstakingly slow it is. After several layers of cut scenes that really don't hold any special significance or crucial tutorials, I was finally able to move around for one minute before the stockpile of cut scenes happened again. After struggling my way through the cut scenes, I finally started my first mission and completed it with little struggle and a handful of side missions. First thing I would like to touch on is that time management is a huge issue in this game just as much as creating in alchemy. The characters themselves weren't especially connecting to the audience in any particular way; I found most of them rather flat in development and two or three that had more work put into them despite the tremendous amount of unnecessary cut scenes. I think a lot of these scenes were designed for the player to get attached to the characters, but instead I just found myself getting annoyed at the over repetitive explanations. The story plot was rather weak, as in I could hardly tell there was one. After about four completed missions, I really began asking myself when the actual game would start. It wasn't until about six missions later that I was finally able to accept that this was the game.
During the whole time, the Unexplored Ruins came up more times than I could count on my hands and feet. Obviously so named because no one in the game has ever been able to reach them in the first place, let alone explore them. Throughout the entire game, the two main characters Escha and Logy attempt to find a way to build an airship to get to the Unexplored Ruins. First of all, the rationale behind going to the ruins is weak to begin with and doesn't push for a whole lot of motivation. Secondly, the amount of ridiculous side missions to complete the airship is rather ridiculous; going from gathering simple scraps of metal to building a gem for a shrine to please a fire spirit. Third, the land Escha and Logy live on is dying and no one can figure out why; it is a largely untouched topic compared to the Unexplored Ruins.
Gameplay is very simple and easy to understand for someone who is familiar with turn based combat. However, even with each character having a turn in combat, you can use other characters to aide in the response of whatever it is you're doing. In other words, if one character is attacking an enemy, you can add on attacks (support attack) with that characters turn. Likewise, when an enemy is attacking, you can choose to use other characters to guard each other and take blows for the intended target to reduce party damage. I was a fairly big fan of using alchemy items in combat which are extremely useful to save time and take on difficult enemies. Outside of combat, enemies roll around which you can choose to engage or avoid; additionally, you can't do anything besides run around and jump most of the time. You also cannot play as another character other than the one you chose despite having five other party members separate from the two protagonists. As far as antagonists go, there aren't any besides the monsters which leads to a pretty harsh conclusion; no conflict means a poorly written and boring story.
Sound and graphical effect were decent. There were times where I almost strained to hear the voice acting above the background music, and when I went to change the effects, there was no sound control which was a little odd. None of the voice acting was too cheesy, but at the same time, it watered the characters down from having a lack of reaction or sense of person. I could tell there was a lot of effort that went into the actual design of each character and each was very well done. Setting effects were enough where I wasn't disgusted at looking around, but I wasn't largely impressed by any of the surrounding game environments even when exploring new areas.
Overall, I would recommend this game to casual and young gamers who like games to move slowly instead of fast paced action games. This game would also probably be enjoyed by anime watchers who don't mind mediocre story plots and lots of visual effects.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.