Monday, 4 January 2010

Mana khemia:student alliance

Gamespot score:n/a

my score:8.3

(+)pros:-interesting character cast,- good storyline,- great protoganist,- boss fights are long and awesome,- no leveling up which means no grinding,- synthesis gets highly addictive,-multiple endings

(-)cons:-going back and forth from the workshop for ingredients can be real repititive, -most good and useful recipes are only found late game

gameplay time:30-40 hours(above average)

1st review of 2010. Woohoo. Anyway I have been following the atelier series for quite some time. Since atelier iris 2 actually. I really like the series, every one of its games is a masterpiece, well, with an execption of atelier iris 3, that game was only average. Well mana khemia student alliance should be named atelier iris 4 since it was released after 3, but they called it mana khemia, for what I dont know. To be fair, gamespot did review this, for the PS2, the PSP one which is this one is just a remake of the PS2 version. The score was 7.5. Not that I blame gamespot but here are reasons why this game should be so much better.

Mana khemia has quite a good storyline. In fact, its one that changes. The story line is about vayne, a quite boy living in the mountains who gets enrolled into al revis academy. He meets his 1st ever human friend jess and strangely and ironically gets put into some reject 2nd year's workshop group. The 2nd year is called flay and he calls his workshop the flay cave. Yep, a reject indeed. Anyway the story starts with vayne getting used to school life and meeting more and more friends, with them attending events such as school festivals and exams. The story starts out very mild, its like theres no major event taking place, but later on as vayne finds out what he really is the whole school starts to shun and avoid him, as well as crazy things starting to pop out and threaten the wellbeing of the school itself.

The atelier series has always been known for its 2D presentation for everything, well so is the same for this game. The field is presented in bright 2D colours. Its not exacty great, but its bearable. The field controls are simple, you get to run, jump, talk to people and cut stuff up to gather materials. Very normal and plain, the field controls are, but its just a small price to pay for its great story and impressive battle visuals. The 2D sprites on the field arent very pretty as well. Its like the sprites are all plain and well, just being plain. Well they can be funny at times during cutscenes, but thats about it, most of the time they are just bland and normal. Same goes to the environments, some of the areas look like they are repeated a few times over, although there are a load of areas to explore, which is good.

Battle visuals in this game are great, they are what shines in this game. The great 2D battle sprites show the characters at thier best. Thier battle poses, skills, facial expressions and stuff... its just so good. Even muppy the alien guy looks detailed, even though hes just a floating hairless guy in a floating space pot. One thing bad though in the battle, the weapons never change, thats all. Its not very bad actually , since the initail weapon designs are very good to begin with. The monsters themselves are very well designed too, ranging from the "cute" looking punis to the menacing looking dragons, they are all great to look at and fight as well. Beating up these guys with skills are another thing, cause the skills in this game are swweeeeet. Even though the skill usage and animation is in 2D, they are well detailed well executed.

Last thing to mention are spoils of battles and the awesome boss fights. Whenever you win battles in this game, you get AP, which is used to buy stat increases in the grow book. Thats right, you dont level up in this game, you just buy stats to make yourself stronger. Well obviously you have to get stronger to battle the many awesome boss battles in this game. This game has great out of this world boss battles. Firstly, the bosses themselves have thier own badass wicked skills to hit you with. Secondly, they are difficult. I have rarely been pushed so far in an RPG series before, not like in any FF game or any other great titles. Its so rare that I have to or want to save in a different file before a fight and fight the boss again and again. the boss battle themes are awesome, epic masterpieces great to hear when fighting bosses.
Mana khemia is a great RPG game for the PSP, though in the PS2, I would have given it a better score since they have AWESOME battle voices, but meh, it cant be helped. Great game overall, should be checked out by players alike.

Happy gaming.