Article first published as PlayStation 3 Review: Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland on Blogcritics.
Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland is the direct sequel of Los Angeles based NIS America’s Atelier Rorona JRPG. If you didn’t play Atelier Rorona though, you won’t be missing anything, but for those that did, Atelier Totori lets players explore more of Arland. Though the new story follows a new alchemist, a few characters do make appearances in the sequel. The new game also reworks a good amount of the issues its predecessor was panned for and the plot is a good deal less disturbing.
For the most part, Atelier Totori is a cute and charming story that uses the capabilities of the Playstation 3 well. The story begins in the small fishing village of Alanya on the Arland Republic’s southern border. It is home to the young alchemist in training Totooria Helmold. She is called Totori by her friends and family, and contrary to the wishes of her sister Ceci, she wants to become an adventurer, like their mother. Luckily Totori has her friend Gino for encouragement and a little muscle to get her started.
Totori’s workshop is where the game begins and it is also where you will need save or load your game. The workshop is also where Totori can synthesize items for combat or quests and store them in either her basket or a storage container. Luckily, the only things you need to keep in the basket are combat related items. You can access the items in your container at the shops and when you are completing and reporting on your tasks.
Totori isn’t particularly brave or strong so, luckily she gets help. You can have up to two additional party members to help you find items and defeat enemies. Each of the areas you travel to, will contain loot and monsters that either chase you or menace around. In these areas Totori can jump to higher levels and swing her staff at creatures. Smacking enemies, Eric Cartman style will give your party a surprise bonus and allow your party to attack first. The combat is pretty straightforward turn based fare with attack, special skill, use item, defend and flee, except that a well timed left or right bumper press can save Totori from assault.
Time is an important aspect to the game because, every task that you’re given has a time limit. Sleeping and traveling all take up time and must be managed. Within a short period of time Totori is able to make the journey to Arland, to obtain an Adventurer’s License and become an adventurer. Think of the beginning part as your tutorial, as time quickly turns against you once you are under the requirements of Cordelia and the Adventurer License. Your actions over the course of the adventure will dictate whether she finds the answers to her questions or cause you to take advantage of the new game plus feature. The game has multiple endings based on your relationships and ability to complete quests and make money within the allotted time frame.
Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland is not an epic story. It is a cute one though and like some similar Japanese games really tries to flesh out more ordinary and heartfelt story. The pastel anime style graphics and mostly well cast voices flesh out a decidedly girly and sappy tale. There is a good amount of voice work but not much animation in the cutscenes. The original Japanese voices are available for those that prefer them and though, the music in a few occasions can be grating, for the most part it is nice and appropriate. With all of that being said, this lengthy RPG is really only for fans of turn-based JRPGs. If that’s you, definitely pick Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland up.
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