I saw the latest Atelier Iris (4th for US?) and thought it looked neat, so I wanted to start from the beginning with Atelier Iris 1. I spent about 30 hours playing it before I sent it back.
Graphics: The graphics are very dated and could've been for PS1. However, once you get playing for awhile, they shouldn't bother you much. There's a nice anime style to the art too.
Sound: There's some enjoyable music.
Story: Once you finally get a goal to work towards, I was interested at first. But then the story drags on and on and has you doing mostly fetch quests and you lose your momentum. 30 hours into the game and hardly anything has happened.
Battle: The battle system is ok, but could've been much better. Many attacks have a small area of effect, but it's hard to judge without manually targeting every possible enemy. The skills each character can use have poor descriptions and many aren't very useful. Also, the game uses random encounters which I HATE! Note that the 3 sequels have a way of limiting this or making monsters visible. The main character Klein is an alchemist and can synthesize and use items only he can use. You find more and more of these mana items during the game and it makes him very versatile which is nice.
Other: The dialogue is great! It's almost worth playing just to hear the funny things the shop owners say as you improve their shops.
There's a shop synthesis feature that's addicting because you can create new shop items with traits like "deadly odor" and "vomit inducing." I spent a few hours recording all the traits of materials and found how the basic combinations work, but how the item receives its final rating seems to defy logic. That's one thing that really annoyed me. Sadly, this re-synthesizing only improves the store rating, not the actual item. Too bad you can't improve your mana items to be more useful in battle.
Final: I wouldn't recommend this game. There's better games to spend time playing.
Oldschool style proves new games don't have it all
posted by Urganite (AKRON, OH) May 20, 2006
Member since Sep 2004
gamers (79%) found this review helpful
Atelier Iris is simply put, a game that should have but couldn't have been made ten years ago. It's refreshing to see a game in the vein of Disgaea that disdains high-end graphics and movement detail for a softer, more approachable look and more fluid interface. However, talking about graphics is really a waste of time with this game, it has them and they look nice enough, it's fairly obvious that the developer had gameplay in mind primarily. On the sound front, the game's soundtrack is simply joyous. It's very upbeat and happy for the most part, it should appeal to practically everyone, in fact I initially liked the music and the game together so much that I was literally bouncing in my seat and grinning. The game as a whole on the presentation level evokes happiness, it's difficult to feel bad playing this game even at sad points in the plot.
Speaking of the plot, it's a good plot. A little cliché, but to be honest every RPG plot is a little cliché, it becomes unavoidable in modern writing not to be emulating something. The voice acting in English is, unfortunately, intolerable. The main character sounds inebriated, in fact I've only heard about 5 lines of the English soundtrack because of how poor it is. Luckily the Japanese soundtrack is included and is preferable simply because the characters don't sound like college dropouts. It's really the same problem that Stella Deus had, only fixed by including the original soundtrack. The plot itself seems to have been rewritten from a more serious plot to a more quirky and humorous one, though it doesn't detract from the game.
However, the main thing that Atelier Iris has to make it stand out from other RPG's is its item creation minigame. Crafters, collectors, and power-gamers will all be addicted to the endless possibilities posed by the various ingredients that can be selected for each item. It's unfortunate that the alchemy portion of the game didn't include something that allowed for this type of experimentation.
Put very simply, Atelier Iris had a comical style that I enjoyed and a light hearted feel that got me hooked early in the game (such as the "4th Wall Lecture Series", where game characters pause the story and break the 4th wall to explain new game mechanics).
The game has LOTS of side quest to do that'll keep you busy for forever and a day if you decide you want to, however most of those quests are done for bonus features such as character backgrounds and picture galleries, and aren't needed to actually beat the game.
It was the middle to end of the game when the humor declined a bit and the game got somewhat more serious that I found it too cliched, and my interest began to drop. Still a GREAT game, and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a new RPG to play.