Nearly the entire Atelier series is broken down into trilogies of games taking place in the same world with recurring characters and events. Only two of the series’ groupings were duologies: the Japan-only Gramnad Saga and the Mana Khemia games. Both of these pairs featured on the now-obsolete Playstation 2. Where the Gramnad Saga followed the naming conventions from previous titles with Atelier Judie and Atelier Violette, Mana Khemia took a step away from the usual trappings, at least externally.
Featuring the ninth and tenth games in the Atelier series, both games still exercise the mechanics of the series. Synthesis is still vital to progress throughout the games though there is a bit more emphasis on strategic combat through abilities rather than item-slinging. There are a couple of other adjustments that find their way into the formula of the series and stick, creating a foundation for the next generation of Atelier offerings to build off of and improve upon as the series grows.
As a whole, the Dusk Trilogy of the Atelier series concerns the world of Dusk and its inhabitants. The world itself seems to be dying in a number of ways- seas are drying up, lands are becoming barren, and there appear to be new dangers every day. If this sounds dismal- it kind of is. The world of Dusk is probably the darkest of the Atelier worlds. The art direction and stories of this trilogy feel grittier, despite still dealing in a lot of anime-flavored tropes and styles.
On a personal note, this trilogy is my favorite of the Atelier series that I have gotten to experience. As a horror and drama fan, this game appealed to my tastes in a strong way (despite nothing involved to actually be considered “horror”). While I have my qualms with how it was handled overall, each entry felt strong in this trilogy and the mechanics were sound. The art direction- now in the hands of an artist named Hidari- also veers toward the more ethereal feeling that the games have been sticking with since.
While the Dusk trilogy is not quite as lauded as the Arland trilogy or as current as the Mysterious trilogy, it weaves an intriguing tale that stands apart from the usual fare of the series while retaining most of the elements that make the Atelier games so unique and engaging.
A Brief History of the Atelier Series
If you count yourself among those that find JRPGs interesting, you very well may have heard of the Atelier series. Established in Japan with the original title, Atelier Marie: Alchemist of Salburg, the series has just recently reached its nineteenth entry with Atelier Lydie and Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings. While the early entries of the series didn’t make it over to US shores, the majority of the series has found localization in on our shores.
In 2005, Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana on the Playstation 2 was placed in the hands of NIS America and since then, each entry of the series on home consoles has been translated and made available across various regions. While the gameplay and format have changed and evolved throughout the series, the central concept remains the same.
Playing as an ‘alchemist’- someone who engages in the practice of acquiring and combining items to create other items with the magical process of ‘alchemy’- you are faced with an objective that requires you to expand upon your abilities to be met. As the game progresses, more recipes for items are unlocked, as well as locales to acquire items that are rarer or of better quality. Nearly all of the items your party will use are created through these items- healing items, offensive items, weapons, armor; all of it becomes the product of items that you collect throughout your adventure. Each game has a different twist on this and later entries find deeper methods of alchemy to give the player more customization in their creations, but at its base, this concept is what the Atelier series revolves around.
Throughout this overview, I’ll be explaining each grouping of games in the Atelier series. Much like the Fire Emblem overview I’ve been working on, there may be some glances of opinion and theory here and there, but for the most part, this is meant to be informational for those interested in learning about the Atelier series or possibly for those already familiar with the series who would like to take a trip down memory lane.
Whatever your reasons may be, I hope you enjoy this look at the Atelier series overall. As usual, please be aware that I make an effort not to spoil anything plot related that you wouldn’t read within the packaging of the game, but there is the occasional slip so if you want to avoid spoilers, you’ve been warned that they may exist here however minor. If you have any comments to add, questions to ask, or just want to discuss the games in each entry, feel free to leave a comment.
In this entry, I’ll be writing about the Arland trilogy, comprised of Atelier Rorona, Atelier Totori, and Atelier Meruru. While not the first games to be localized, they appeared to be the first that many had heard of the series. As some of the more easily obtainable entries to the series, they seem like the best jumping off point to explore the series from!
It’s been a while since I added to this overview, but Nintendo keeps adding to the Fire Emblem franchise- so eventually I knew I would have to expand on the original overview series I had started!
In this fifth entry to the Fire Emblem overview, I cover four games.
Okay, technically. Three of the games are part of one narrative, covering the Fates trilogy with Conquest, Birthright, and Revelation. The second entry after the jump elucidates on Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, which was not only a remake of one of my personal favorites in the series but was also my pick for top game of 2017.
With the Fire Emblem series growing in popularity outside of Japan (and a slew of spiritual sequels, spinoffs, and other iterations appearing in every corner of the gaming world), this overview will probably be perpetually growing as times allows- which works because I honestly adore the series and researching it has been immensely interesting.
If you’d like to go back to the beginning of the series overview and Famicom days, feel free to look into the first part of the overview here. Otherwise, kick back and check out my bird’s eye view into the gears of the remaining 3DS entries of the Fire Emblem series!
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for- the finale of the Fire Emblem Overview! We’ll jump from system to system, saga to saga, and see the growth of the Fire Emblem series over the last ten years- and maybe even get a glimpse into the future of the series. Get ready for a good long teaching session as we blaze through the Tellius Saga, a pair of remakes for the Archanea Saga, and the beginning of a still unfinished story in Fire Emblem: Awakening!