Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist Of Salburg

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Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist Of Salburg – Review

Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg may not be a new gaming concept, but the charm and cuteness delivered here has inexplicably drawn me in. Developed by Gust and published by Koei Tecmo, they have brought Atelier Marie, the first-ever game in the Atelier series, to the West. The Atelier series is massive, spanning multiple platforms, with 24 mainline games and 17 sideline games, of which, 33 are remakes or ports for various titles, and with each iteration, improvements have been made.

You play as Marlone, but everyone calls her Marie. Marie is a struggling student of the Royal Academy of Magic – the worst student in the academy, and with the final exam looming, Ingrid, her teacher, lends Marie the Atelier, tasking her with creating an item to impress Ingrid within five years to pass the final exam.

While in the city of Salburg, you play with the role-playing game features. Here you will have access to various locations, all feeding off the city centre. The main places you will visit here are the Atelier, Sky Tavern, Academy, and the Weapon Shop, and more locations will open as you further the story. The Atelier is where you will perform your alchemy, crafting new items from ingredients collected from outside of the city.

You’ll acquire jobs in the Sky Tavern, and these will be either delivering items you’ve collected from outside of the city or crafting them in the Atelier. Successful completion of the jobs will award reputation and money, and as your reputation grows, more jobs will become available to complete. The money you earn can be spent at the Academy, the Weapon Shop, or on the hiring of adventurers.

The Academy offers you more recipes, alchemic items, and tools for purchase, allowing you to better your skills in the Atelier, while the Weapon Shop offers weapons and armour for purchase, and equipping yourself and your hirelings with better equipment will help with survival in the wilds outside of the city.

As you move about Salburg, you will have the opportunity to interact with the populace; hear rumours, hire adventurers, build on your friendships, and furthering your quests. Listening to rumours will further your knowledge of the world, unlocking new locations, bosses, and alike. Hiring adventurers will not only increase your survivability outside of Salburg, but will increase your friendship with them, allowing cheaper hire rates and access to their questlines.

When leaving the city to gather resources for crafting, you will be taken to a world map where you can decide where to travel to. The available locations on the world map will be unlocked through the knowledge gained by listening to rumours. Each location not only has a different variety of resources, but it also has different enemies that you will need to either fight or avoid. Choosing to fight will put you into a turn-based combat system, which is very simple with four options; Attack, Defend, Use Item, and Use Special.

You and your hirelings will earn experience from victory, which, in turn, will increase your stats and give you more special abilities. Once you choose the location you will move to it, and this will move the calendar forward.

There are also chances to come across random encounters while traveling, and these will have you finding resources or fighting enemies. Once you have arrived at your location, you will be able to move around fighting enemies and/or collecting resources.

Each action, whether it is fighting or collecting, will move the calendar forward one day, and when you are ready to leave the location, you will go back to the world map and travel back to the city, again moving the calendar forward as you go. During all these actions, you will also have an opportunity to stumble across some minigames, and these will also reward you if you successfully complete them.

Once back in Salburg, you’ll once again find yourself inside the Atelier where you can craft items from your collected resources. Crafting items will also move the calendar forward depending on the complexity, and whilst you’re busy working away inside the Atelier, people will come and visit, offering you new quests depending on your friendship level with them. This is also the only location you can make a manual save. I cannot stress enough the importance of taking the time to make one on each visit. During my playthrough, I experienced occasional crashes that unfortunately made me lose up to 45 minutes of gameplay in some cases.

While in the Atelier, Ingrid will also offer you quests via letter. These quests will give you guidance on what to do next if you need direction. Personally, I found the tutorial and the goal of impressing Ingrid within five years more than enough motivation, though the extra money from completing her tasks didn’t go astray.

With the calendar moving forward so quickly thanks to all of the actions you’ll make, the five-year time frame can seem daunting, especially with all the characters you can meet and become friends with, but don’t worry, the Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg comes with an Unlimited Mode. This mode removes the five-year time frame, allowing you to play endlessly, and it’s great for experiencing everything this game has to offer.

The graphics are truly superb, with three-dimensional models, backgrounds, and cutscenes that have a plump cartoonish look, which is incredibly cute. The models have a very distinctive bobblehead look to them that would be nothing short of what you would buy from a novelty store. The two-dimensional art used during conversations is more detailed, adding to the realistic feel of the character, and the overall bold colouring is very delightful to look at.

The sound and music are pleasant and uplifting, although there is an option to change the background music from the remake to the original, so if you’ve played it before, you can get that needed hit of nostalgia. A little frustratingly, the voice acting is only available in Japanese, but it does have English subtitles, and I did find that after some time, the music became a bit too repetitive, particularly when returning to the same area multiple times.

I was pleasantly surprised with Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg and will certainly continue playing it long after I’ve finished this review. I want to become friends with all of the characters, and learning all of their stories has me captivated. This very entertaining title certainly has me interested in playing more from the Atelier series.

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The Good

  • Easy to learn
  • Unlimited time frame option
  • 3D and 2D graphics are superb
  • Interesting friendships to be made

The Bad

  • Occasional crashes
  • Music becomes repetitive

Written by: Ashley Barnett-Cosgrove


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