I rented this game because I had heard really good things about the atelier series. I found quickly that this game is full of nothing but annoying characters with no development, a great plot drive that wasn't nearly driven enough. and a combat system that spelled MEH to a T. Even the alchemy system was a total bore. I got about 8 hours into this game and still found myself just going from map point to map point hoping for the game to take SOME serious direction.
As a person who watches a lot of anime (part of the reason i wanted to play this) I hated the characters. Which means a lot. I have seen these character archetypes done a million times, and ive seen them done a million times better. All the characters were bland, annoying and had zero to no relationships.
The combat was exactly as such as well. Bland and boring. Hit them with your staff or throw a bomb or two. ugh!
If you're looking for an anime style game with great graphics and crummy characters and combat system this is your game, as the graphics are the ONLY redeeming quality. and even then it isn't NEARLY redeeming enough to make this game even remotely playable.
I tried the game out and cleared the prequel story line in ten minutes or so and told myself that the nagging doubts I had about the game were just that; in this case however they were not. The game itself has a beautifully drawn art style that is particularly excellent when it comes to the flowers and plants in the game; the music is well done and the characters voices are clear and seem for as far as I managed to get, suitable to their characters. This game feels to me in the first hour of play to be a gateway game that tries to bring in people who are not into this kind of game or gaming in general I admit I did not give it much of a chance however so take that with a grain of salt. If I had Kids or a niece or Nephew in the 7-12 age range I would have passed this on to them had I bought it in a second, and I think they would truly enjoy it, but this game is not for me personally. Definitely in the Rent Before you Buy Category.