There are many genres of games that I enjoy but I hold a special place in my heart for Japanese RPG’s. With that said, I went into Atelier Ayesha with high hopes. Not only would it be the first real JRPG I had played in a long time, but it also had that beautiful anime intro. The question was however, could Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk live up to my expectations?
It should be made clear right away that Atelier Ayesha is a JPRG from core to surface. You’ll find outlandish outfits, over the top reactions, beautiful music and the clumsy yet lovable protagonists. To top that all off you have the cute voice acting which to some, may find annoying fast. This all works in favour of Atelier Ayesha and really helps to fill out the world. There is a lot going on but you will be eased into it all at a fair pace as best it can to allow you to keep up. All of this fits into a living world that has an art style you would expect.
Though I could enjoy the visuals and sounds for some time it’s sadly the strongest point of the game. Atelier Ayesha falls short in terms of other aspects included gameplay and design choices. True the gameplay is a standard chase of forward moving, talking to people, completing missions so on and so fourth. The issues start to turn up in the every day tasks of Atelier Ayesha. With alchemy being a huge part of the game you will need to find ingredients and craft the requested item. This is your main source of items and where you’ll get the majority of quest items. It’s not a bad system, it’s just tedious and uses a lot of your time. Speaking of time, let’s talk about my main issue with Atelier Ayesha. The timer.
Some games give you time limits now and again. Sometimes there is a limit on a quest or you need to get out of a building in time. I can live with that. Atelier Ayesha however, has a time limit on the whole game. Not just select parts but the whole game. Want to travel between to locations? add a few days. Want to learn some skills? add a day. Mix up some items? add days. Now don’t get me wrong in those cases, it’s fine. The time doesn’t get added to during battle or where exploring cities or locations which is good. So why do i dislike it so much? well given that one of the key gameplay elements is looking for and picking up ingredients you would think it wouldn’t take to long right? Well think again. Want to pick those flowers so you can make a healing drink? Go for it but get ready for four days to get added to the timer. Yeah, it’s bad.
Thankfully the battle gameplay saves Atelier Ayesha a bit and by a bit, I mean a bit. Don’t be fooled by how it looks on the surface. It looks like and plays like a turn based battle system but it’s really a real time battle system. Yeah it’s a bit confusing. That aside though battles are rather fun and my favorite part of the game. The fight to stay up to date with your level however is another question. Resting is another issue, can you guess way? It adds days. Yup.
Ranting aside, how much does Atelier Ayesha good points fair against it’s bad points? The truth is it’s going to be hit and miss with this title. Some people might enjoy the always on timer and rather annoying little bits here and there. Others, like myself, will hate them. Giving a final view on how much fun I got from Atelier Ayesha however does lead me to say that for all it’s mistakes, it’s a good game. I hate the timer. I dislike some elements but it’s a beautiful game with a story to support it. Still, it’s far from prefect.
Let’s just hope any squeals remove that bloody timer.