Game Info:

Atelier Totori: ~The Adventurer of Arland~ DX
Developed By: Gust/Koei Tecmo Games
Published By: Koei Tecmo Games
Release Date: December 4, 2018 (original PS3 released on September 27, 2011)
Available On: Windows, PS4, Switch (PS3 as Atelier Totori, and PS Vita as Atelier Totori Plus)
Genre: Role Playing Game
Number of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: T for Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol
MSRP: $39.99 
(Humble Store Link)

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

A few years after the events of Atelier Rorona, Rorona decides to travel the country in search of people to help, and perhaps some willing students to learn alchemy from her. During her search, Totori, a girl from the small country town Alanya, is the first (and only) one that gets it, and becomes her student. After Rorona heads off once again, Totori continues to study, and habitually continues to both learn and explode the atelier set up in her house.

As Totori grows up a little more, she determines that she will use her alchemy skills to help her pursue her true dream: to become an adventurer, just like her long-lost mother, with hopes of finding her on her travels. So she, and her childhood friend Gino, set off on their three-week journey to Arland where they try to get their adventurer's licenses. They are then granted three years to reach a certain rank; if they make it they will be granted a more permanent license, and if they do not, then their dreams are over. Compared to the airhead Rorona, I found Totori to be a much more grounded girl, and I came to like her character very much. She is kind, considerate, and overall just a good person who you want to see succeed. And I absolutely love the English voice they chose for her.

The game is a fully-rendered 3D role-playing game (RPG), with turn-based battles. The camera is locked in place, but otherwise you can go wherever the invisible borders don’t prevent you from going. It’s not always obvious where those borders are, but you do get used to it. And in what seems to be an important series tradition, the music is simply fantastic. Everyone in my house was humming along while I was playing this game. Several tunes from Atelier Rorona also return, along with many new tracks to get stuck in your head.

Atelier Totori: ~The Adventurer of Arland~ DX

Strong Points: Charming, likable cast of characters, with many returning from Atelier Rorona; excellent English voice acting; nice art style; great music; solid crafting system; lots of the world available to explore; performance is excellent even on low-end hardware; good replay value, with lots of endings
Weak Points: Time limits affect how much you can accomplish; running out of money can become a huge problem; no antialiasing (but FXAA works great with this art style); guides and/or multiple playthroughs needed to see all content
Moral Warnings: Fantasy violence against natural(ish) and mystical creatures, including punis (gelatin blobs), squirrel-like beasts, humanoid creatures, and dragons; curse words including '*ss', 'd*mn', 'p*ss*d', 'h*ll'; alcohol use, including by playable characters (but not Totori), with drunkenness shown in some scenes; despite being underage, Totori is asked to brew alcohol; there is some suggestive dialog, including discussions of skirt flipping, swimsuits, breast sizes, and so on; there is a swimsuit contest; most of the majority female cast dresses conservatively, but there are notable exceptions with lots of midriff, very short skirts, and cleavage shown; for certain characters, breasts move when walking or in battle; underwear is sometimes visible; at least one girl is clearly attracted to other girls, with hints that another set of girls could possibly be a couple; magic is used, and crafting new things in a cauldron with components is a massive part of this game

While Atelier Totori does indeed share a lot in common with Atelier Rorona, being a direct sequel, there are also significant points of departure that make it truly its own game. For one thing, the focus on exploration and, to a lesser extent battle, is much more pronounced here than in Rorona. The world map is frankly huge, and if you spend too much time walking it just to look around, you can quickly waste all of the time you are given for ranking up, which can lead to a bad ending. Always have a specific task in mind, whether it's completing quests, meeting rank requirements, or even better both as you explore each area.

I also found that money was a much larger struggle than in previous Atelier games I played. The main source of income is through completing guild quests. Guild quests are quite varied, but not all that different from what Rorona offered. They will ask you to give them various items, or even kill certain monsters in exchange for money. The problem is, that as you need more money, each journey takes longer and longer to complete, which can cause a time-consuming cycle that leads to a game over, if you are not careful. Later in the game, selling unused ingredients (though not too much!) can also be a good source of income.

Near the end of year five (after the license extension), I ended up getting frustrated with the money grind, and downloaded Cheat Engine, which is something I almost never do, in order to get myself out of the money rut I was in. It's a very easy trap to get caught in; if I did not do this, I would never have had enough money to upgrade my equipment, which I needed to beat the bosses in order to complete the storyline. It's frustrating, but it's a big weakness in an otherwise really good game in my opinion. There are ways around this, but it requires quite a bit of planning, and not all players may figure this out without a guide. (I checked a guide later than perhaps I should have.)

In order to gain more power for battles, you both gain levels through experience points in battle, but also both buy, find, or especially forge equipment with the help of Hagel, a recurring non-player character (NPC) in the series who mans the blacksmith. You can forge the materials in your atelier, and you give them to Hagel who then makes them into powerful weapons and armor. Each piece of material can have one or more traits on them, which is the real secret to powerful equipment. So, the game becomes a cycle of gathering, forging, combat, completing quests, and so on in order to meet the requirements to rank up and find out what happened to your mom.

The timeline itself is quite a bit more at your own pace than Rorona was, with that game's strict quarterly check-ins. The rank system itself is also pretty neat, with basically a large list of things you can do listed in your notebook, and you then choose to complete whatever you like, usually a combination of battle, exploration, quest, and library tasks. Library tasks are almost entirely about learning and crafting new alchemy recipes, with the rest being related more to the adventuring itself. It's a fun system, and I like it more than the rigidity I've found in other Atelier games to this point.

Like many other Atelier games, there are a ton of endings. I was surprised how many scenes in the game are dependent on some combination of character actions and being at the right place at the right time, or some other mysterious set of requirements. I did not see all character interactions, which lead me to watching several missed endings on YouTube. If you follow a guide it probably helps, but I try to avoid that when I can, and this series makes avoiding guides difficult if you intend to do everything on a single playthrough.

Like I pointed out in my Atelier Rorona DX review, there are several items that are basically critical to maximizing what you can do in the time you are given. If you play Rorona first, you are likely to recognize them. These include the Secret Bag (allows you to put items collected back in the atelier without going home), the Traveler Shoes (reduces time used when traveling – HUGE time saver), and the Flying Carpet (doesn’t send you home when you are defeated in battle, also a huge time saver). There are plenty of other handy things, but if I were to play this game again, those would be what I would make sure I synthesized as soon as it were possible.

From an appropriateness standpoint, Atelier games are relatively light on issues compared to many of their RPG contemporaries, but certainly have some. The violence is quite mild, but present. A couple of scenes have blood, but these are rare, and can even be missed if you don't trigger the events. The enemies you defeat (who just disappear with a splat-like sound) are forest creatures, slime-like things, dragons, and so on. Some demons and such are also included. Alchemists create items through combining items in some quasi-logical way, and the effects are often magical, combustive (bombs), or healing, poisonous, and more. While most items are generally used to create more items, there are quite a few that can make your life easier in battle as well.

Atelier Totori: ~The Adventurer of Arland~ DX
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 88%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 10/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 74%
Violence - 6/10
Language - 7/10
Sexual Content - 6/10
Occult/Supernatural - 8/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Occasionally, you will hear or see a character use a curse word. I noted '*ss', 'd*mn', 'p*ss*d', and 'h*ll'. Several characters get drunk in at least one scene, and Totori is asked to brew alcohol that she is too young to drink at one point. There is a beach scene and swimsuit contest. There is some suggestive dialog, including discussions of skirt flipping, swimsuits, breast sizes, and so on. A majority of the female cast dresses conservatively, but there are exceptions. Underwear is occasionally visible, and skirts can be quite short at times. You can also unlock outfits that include bikinis and so on. They are optional to change into, of course. Some of the girls' breasts bounce when they walk or are in battle, but not all. One girl is clearly attracted to other girls, though it is shown in just a few scenes. This same girl theorizes that another set of close friends could be in a hidden relationship. Most of the game does not revolve around these issues, but they are there.

The PC port is reasonably solid, with great performance overall. I was happy to see that the rendering resolution is the same as screen resolution, unlike Atelier Rorona, which is locked at 1080p. It would be nice if they would fix the other game(s). You could tell that the game itself is based on an older release than Rorona, which is based on a newer rerelease than Totori is, because the interface is much less intuitive and informative than it is in that game. Nothing is game breaking, and I never had the game crash on me. It performs so well that the game plays great even on my lower-powered GPD Win 2 at a 720p screen resolution, which has integrated Intel video. This system is much lower than the minimum system requirements on the Steam store page, but still runs great.

Atelier Totori: ~The Adventurer of Arland~ DX is a nice, fun, though slightly flawed RPG and sequel that feels different enough from other Atelier games that I have played to feel like its own thing. While you could start with this entry, and in some ways it's better than Rorona, it is a direct sequel, so I would recommend starting there first. If you enjoy it, then I would encourage you to come check this one out. Overall, I found it more engaging than Atelier Rorona, which had a hard time keeping my attention, despite the money balancing issue. Of course, consider the appropriateness issues, as always. If they aren’t an issue for you, then I would encourage taking a closer look at Atelier Totori: ~The Adventurer of Arland~ DX. If you like what you see, you may want to consider buying the deluxe pack, which includes the entire trilogy at a significant discount.

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Jason Gress

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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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