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Game Info:

Atelier Mysterious Trilogy Deluxe
Developed By: Gust/Koei Tecmo Games
Published By: Koei Tecmo Games
Release Date: April 21, 2021
Available On: Windows, PS4, Switch
Genre: Role Playing Game
Number of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: Teen for Fantasy Violence, Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Partial Nudity, Use of Alcohol
MSRP: $89.97
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thank you Koei Tecmo Games for sending us this trilogy to review!

The Atelier series, by Gust (who Koei Tecmo purchased and then absorbed early last decade) has been going on for almost 25 years now, and they have had a nearly yearly release cycle for most of that time. For the first 15 years or so, the series was primarily on PlayStation platforms. Outside of some spin-offs, the Mysterious trilogy, starting with Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book, was the first mainline Atelier game to be released on Windows PC in the West. (There were a couple of Japan-only PC ports for early games, but the last release of this kind was in 2000.) I don't know if you remember what Steam was like back in 2016 or so, but JRPGs (Japanese RPGs) were selling like hotcakes at that time, so it doesn't surprise me at all that not only did Atelier get in on the action, but that it was successful - they have released every game on PC since.

As became customary, each future release of the Atelier series would continue to get day one Windows releases, and each PC version tended to get better over time. Earlier versions had rather limited customization - and sometimes, earlier games had better ports than later ones. Thankfully, over time they have gotten to an overall high quality. Here, I am going to compare the original PC releases (I happened to have them all before they were pulled from Steam) and the latest Deluxe (or DX) releases of the trilogy, which is all you can buy now anyway.

First, it has to be said that this is not a proper review of the games or their content, but an overview of the technical aspects of this latest trilogy, as well as an overview of some of the changes and new content. If you wish to see what the gameplay, characters, and appropriateness concerns for each title are, please see their original reviews here:

Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book

Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey

Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings

Atelier Mysterious Trilogy Deluxe
Highlights:

Strong Points: Lots of included gameplay, which makes it a great value; includes three long, enjoyable games, which are all part of a trilogy that's connected to each other; all DLC included from the entire trilogy, along with some nice quality-of-life improvements; lovable characters; you can see the evolution of the series to the modern format clearly; Lydie & Suelle use the same save file format as the original release, so you can manually import saves
Weak Points: The first two games cannot transfer saves from the original releases; Atelier Sophie's original release had better anti-aliasing than the new version's FXAA; the new versions are only work a re-buy for original owners if you want to play the games again anyway (with the possible exception of Lydie & Suelle)
Moral Warnings: Fantasy Violence; suggestive themes and dialogue; plenty of visible cleavage and other outfits that don't cover much; language, including words like 'd*mn' and 'h*ll'; magic use; for more details, please refer to the reviews of the original trilogy

Also keep in mind that I only reviewed the original release of the final game, Atelier Lydie & Suelle, so I will be able to speak to that release the best. I also did not complete the first two games, as that would take a massive time investment for games that we already have reviews for.

Starting with Atelier Sophie DX, the new version has several more features available than the original release, as well as more PC version customizations. To start with, we have significant screen resolution, details, and input settings; far more than before. The one 'gotcha' that the original release has that no others did was a multi-sampling anti-aliasing (AA) mode, which no other Atelier game before or since offered. I love how sharp multi-sampling AA can look, but if you have powerful enough hardware, you can use virtual super resolution, if your video card and drivers support it. I did find that I had to edit the settings config file to go beyond 4K, however. (This file is located in Documents/KoeiTecmo/Atelier Sophie DX/Settings.ini.) As a result, I was able to get the same crisp lines that I was used to. Sadly, the FXAA implementation is not too great on this game.

Other features include new speed-up features, both in and out of battle, that I assure you are quite welcome. They also added a photo mode, various costumes that used to be DLC, and a digital art book. They also added a few short stories that help round out Sophie's character. Other than some subtly enhanced post-processing effects and improved shadows, the game looks by and large identical to the original PC release, just with some extra things to do, and an all-in-one package, with no extra DLC.

Atelier Firis DX's updates are very similar. All of the original DLC is included, there are more graphical and control options available, and photo mode, run mode, and speed-up mode for battles is included. There is also some new post-game content to explore as well. (If you want to go above 4K in resolution, the settings file is in a similar place to Sophie DX - just replace Sophie's name with Firis.) There are also new exploration vehicles, as well as new end-game monsters to defeat.

From what I was able to tell, the updates are modest but welcome. Sadly, transferring the saved games from the original Sophie/Firis games over to these versions is not possible, as the save file format has changed, so returning fans who want the new content will have to start over. Fortunately, the same is not true for Atelier Lydie & Suelle DX.

Atelier Lydie & Suelle turned out to be my very first Atelier game ever - I've played and reviewed quite a few since. It was also the first Atelier game to offer so much DLC to be worth nearly the initial up-front cost of the game itself. That is to say, between the many costumes, additional characters, new zones/regions to explore, and so on, there was plenty to do outside of the main product, if you purchased the DLC. Thankfully, all of that DLC - and it was quite a lot of it - is included in this Deluxe pack. Honestly, from what I have been able to gather, this game is perhaps the best value of the whole collection because of just how much content is added in. That said, if you had previously purchased all of the DLC in the original Lydie & Suelle, there is far less incentive to pick up this one.

Fortunately for me, I have an end-game save from the original Lydie & Suelle, and since this version uses largely the same engine, I was able to manually copy my saves from Documents/KoeiTechmo/Atelier Lydie and Suelle/SAVEDATA and drop them right in the same path in Documents/KoeiTecmo/Atelier Lydie and Suelle DX/SAVEDATA.  They loaded right up perfectly the first try!  All that happens is that the game recognizes a ton of new DLC when you load an old save.  Fortunately for me, this means I was able to experience the brand-new to this release Atelier Nelke episode.

Atelier Mysterious Trilogy Deluxe
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 90%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 10/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 78%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 7/10
Sexual Content - 7/10
Occult/Supernatural - 8/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Right after Atelier Lydie & Suelle the first time around, Koei Tecmo/Gust started developing their 20th anniversary celebration game, Nelke & the Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World. (I reviewed that game here: https://www.christcenteredgamer.com/reviews/pc-mac/7296-nelke-the-legendary-alchemists-ateliers-of-the-new-world-pc) It was honestly quite a charming game, with a great cast of characters. Nelke was a particular highlight, and her return in Lydie & Suelle DX is a really nice touch. The episode isn't particularly long, but that last boss is a doozy if you aren't properly prepared. Other than the new characters, most of the DLC content is very late game, and requires some serious power to complete - which is great if you are looking to get the most out of the adorable twin girl's adventure.

Morally, please refer to the individual game reviews. The new content that I was able to play was more or less in-line with the content from the rest of the games. So please, refer to those for more information. (The scoring I chose is largely based on an estimation relative to my experience with Lydie & Suelle.)

Considering the original price of each game in the Mysterious Trilogy (before they were pulled off of the digital stores), as well as the expensive DLC that some of them offered (which, again, can no longer be purchased), and on top of that the significant discount you get when buying them together as a bundle, I would say that the Atelier Mysterious Trilogy Deluxe bundle is actually a great value. These are all long, interesting RPGs with tons of content and charm. If you don't already own them in another format, and believe that the stories of girls who desire to be alchemists, as well as their growing up sounds interesting to you, then I think this pack is definitely worth a closer look. If you are interested, please read the linked reviews for the original games closely. With that said, if you already own the originals (or already beat them), then I would say enjoy what you have - the new content doesn't really warrant a re-purchase for all but the most ardent Atelier fans.

About the Author

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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