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Game Info:

Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey
Developed by: Gust
Published by: Koei Tecmo
Released: November 2, 2016 (March 7, 2017 US)
Available on: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Windows
Genre: Adventure and Role Playing Game (RPG)
ESRB: T for Teen (Fantasy Violence, Partial Nudity, Language, and Use of Alcohol)
Number of players: 1
Price: $59.99
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thank you Koei Tecmo for sending us this game to review!

Note: This review is based on the PS4 Pro version and might not look, sound, and perform the same on other consoles and PC.

Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey (Atelier Firis for short) is the second in a new series called " Mysterious" by the developer Gust. As I mentioned in my review of Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book, the Atelier series of games has had numerous games across several platforms and will continue due in part to the strong hardcore fans of the series. I wouldn't be surprised if another entry in the series will be arriving later this year or early next year. You have to hand it to Gust, the very talented developer of this series, that they just keep refining the game mechanics and bringing enjoyable characters to each game. I also want to commend them for always bringing past characters into each game as cameos so that the player will feel that each game in the series has a wonderful thread between them woven throughout the world.

As I started up the game I had that same feeling I did with Atelier Sophie, it made me feel that I was entering a world different but very similar to Atelier Sophie. You play as Firis Mistlud and you live in a town called Ertona which is in a very large cave and isolated from the rest of the world. Firis lives with her sister Liane (who will be your main companion), and her mother and father.

Firis dreams of leaving and seeing the world outside. One day as she is standing by the door that is sealed shut to protect the town she hears a conversation between what sounds like two ladies. One of them says "If anyone is near the door please stand back" and then a huge explosion completely destroys the door. When they walk through the debris and into the cave, they see Firis who is just stunned and shocked. They introduce themselves to Firis as Sophie and Plachta. Firis, still stunned, introduces herself and then they all engage in a long conversation about themselves and the town. Sophie explains to Firis that she is an Alchemist and that she has been traveling the world with her best friend Plachta.

Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey
Highlights:

Strong Points: Just like Atelier Sophie this game has extremely adorable characters, creatures, and environment. The art style and sound are very well done for this type of game. Massive world to explore.
Weak Points: The timer that goes into overtime when you do recipes, gather items, and battle enemies. The game ends if you fail the final exam, no second chance to test unless you load up your last save file.
Moral Warnings: There is some language in the game. Some girl characters reveal too much of their body. Use of alcohol is in the game like in many fantasy games these days. Not recommended for younger teens or children. Enemies are very cute and disappear when you defeat them.

Firis doesn't know what an Alchemist is, and Sophie shows her by repairing the door just like it was before. Other people in the town introduce themselves, including Liane, Sophie and Plachta. As the ladies tell Firis more about the outside world and Alchemy, Firis decides she really wants to learn Alchemy and use it to explore the world safely.

Sophie and Plachta agree to show Firis how Alchemy works and invite her to come into their magical travel tent (which is much bigger then it appears on the outside) to see more. Firis is so excited and asks Sophie if she will be her teacher. Sophie agrees and has Firis try a recipe and she is successful in creating an item. After proving her skills to the town elder, Firis is allowed to leave but only if she has her sister Liane accompany her. Sophie gives Firis the magical travel tent so that she has a place to utilize for her alchemy and rest. In a years time, Firis will test her alchemy skills and take an exam that Sophie informs her about. With that goal in mind, Firis' journey to become a great alchemist begins. Along the way Firis and her sister will meet fellow travelers in need and others who wish to join them.

This game is much larger and diverse than Atelier Sophie in that it has more than one town and many more areas to explore. Each area and town are different than the others. Firis and her companions can upgrade their equipment much like in Atelier Sophie. You can either buy, or if Firis has discovered the recipe, create armors or weapons. There are so many recipes for Firis to learn on her journey it seems you are finding or learning new ones everywhere you adventure. Firis must have the alchemy level and ingredients necessary to create any recipe that she has discovered. Sometimes you will choose to buy an item because you haven't either obtained the recipe or your alchemy level isn't high enough to create the item.

The art style is very much like Atelier Sophie with beautiful coloring and character models. The developers seem to have a knack for making each area beautiful to look at and even admire. I enjoyed the way each area had added character and wasn't some copy and paste with slight changes that some developers have used in their games. It's not at Horizon Zero Dawn or Uncharted 4 graphics level, but it's pretty good. The art style is soft and has a warmness to it, rather than hard and dark coloring.

Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 86%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 10/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 78%
Violence - 8/10
Language - 7.5/10
Sexual Content - 6.5/10
Occult/Supernatural - 8.5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8.5/10

In regards to sound quality it is very pleasant and fun. I enjoyed the music, the ambient sound, voice work, and even the sounds in battles. This game doesn't have a lot of music, just the right amount which I appreciate. I don't like it when a game's music is overwhelming and distracts you from what you're doing in the game world.

The only real negative I felt was the timer mechanic. Every time you picked up items around an area, battled enemies, or made a recipe item in your cauldron time flew by. The game only gives you so much time to get to the skills necessary to take the final exam that you seem in a rush. I will say that once you pass the final exam (I'm still working on exploring and leveling up) the game will completely open up and you will be able to explore to your heart's desire.

This game is massive, especially after you pass your final exam, but make sure to save before your test, because if you fail the game ends and you will have to go back to your last save and try again. After you pass you can then go wherever you like and explore the areas you weren't able to because of the timer.

In regards to morality parents need to be aware of the language, use of alcohol, and partial nudity that is in the game. Some of the girls in the game wear shorter skirts and show a little cleavage, while others are more conservative. Even though this game is rated for teens, I would only consider it for older teens (16 and above) or adults. Parents of younger teens and children should highly steer clear of this game because of the vey revealing clothes that some of the girls are wearing, the use of alcohol in potions, and the language that some of the characters use from time to time. The game isn't gory or violent. When you battle a creature the attacks just show bright light explosions, and no blood. The creatures are very cute looking and don't portray scariness in any way.

I would say if you enjoyed the other games in the Atelier series or if you enjoy Asian animation type of games you might find this rather enjoyable. You just have to get past the timer that is present and forcing you to learn as quickly as possible and then pass the exam so you can explore more of the massive world.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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