Like every other NIS rpg I've ever played, this one is utter garbage. Meruru is another in a long line of horrible NIS games dressed up with pretty visuals. The usual nonsensical, annoying and juvenile characters and dialogue are here, along with shallow gameplay. It's like NIS develops its games for horny young boys, or maybe the developers themselves are. And to be quite honest, I'm sick of playing games where the main character is a female. I'm far from a sexist, but a constant deluge of scantily clad women, particularly the over the top anime ones that NIS specializes in, is not my idea of a hero. If you like pretty rubbish and your brain doesn't exist, then this is for you.
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The Atelier series is a JRPG based around Alchemy and exploration, in fact Atelier is French for "Workshop". The previous two PS3 entries were light-hearted JRPGs, with a very deep alchemy system. This is the 3rd entry and stars a newcomer, Princess Meruru. although she is not as likable as the previous two main characters (Rorona and Totori), she does have her own unique motivations and personality. The main emphasis this time is building your kingdom from a tiny village into a large city, by accomplishing various requests. The tight schedule means there isnt a lot of time to explore and experiment with alchemy, you will constantly be watching the due dates. Fans of the previous two entries definitely should give this one a try.