Gamespot score:6.0 (Fair)

My score:7.2

(+)Pros:-Alchemy system is great, -The plot is a great change of pace from cliche "save-the-world" titles, -Plenty of interesting characters and likable dialogue, -Friendship system is a great way to connect to the characters of the game, -Tons of endings to acquire and achieve, -Overall its entertaining and funny, -Good variety of areas to explore.

(-)Cons:-Graphical style will not appeal to all, -Assignment time constraints are annoying, -Combat is dulled and flawed.

Gameplay time:20-30 hours

Game review time! Atelier Rorona is a something I have been looking forward to for a long time. Even though the game didn't get very good reviews on metacritic I INSISTED that I got this, because I am a huge fan of the Atelier series. While I have mixed feelings after playing the game, most of them lean towards the positive side. What I loved about the series stayed there (the crafting and alchemy), but they kind of changed things up a little bit...making it drastically different from my favorites of the series (Atelier iris and Mana khemia). Since Meruru is already out and this is quite old, there's little point to this review, but I'll do it anyway. Enter the world of Arland!

The plot to Atelier Rorona takes a drastic change from the likes of Atelier Iris or Mana khemia. Instead, the line of the plot drives closely to another entry in the series, Atelier Annie. There isn't any "epic moments" or "great evil that threatens the world's safety". Instead, it focuses on a single girl's personal story. You play as Rorona, a clumsy girl that is the apprentice of a great alchemist known as Astrid. Astrid is lazy as hell, and doesn't do anything to keep her Atelier alive. Rorona always complains about the lack of customers, and nothing is done. One day though, a royal order comes in, saying that the Atelier is so be taken down due to inactivity, and to keep it alive it has to perform a set of assignments issued by the big shots over 3 years. Astrid pushes her responsibility as the owner of the Atelier to Rorona, and now she has to do all those assignments by herself, despite her being a mere apprentice. Thus begins the misadventures of Rorona Frixel as a novice alchemist.

The alchemy system is deep, interesting and addictive.

Okay so if you're a fan of the Atelier series like me, the one biggest reason you'll buy this is for the Alchemy system. The Atelier series has been known for its epic crafting system, and it still stands strong. Basically, through alchemy, you mix stuff together to form something else. To make a certain something, you require a recipe to tell you how to actually make it. Once you've studied the recipe, you are ready to start synthesizing. Synthesizing ingredients come from the outside world, as you go out to gather raw materials from the wild (more on this later). Some ingredients are common market and convenience store items, those can be bought. Some ingredients even come from items you've synthesized before, making quite a loop of synthesizing items.

Of course as you keep synthesizing , your alchemy level goes up, and you can start making more complex items. Depending on your alchemy level, as you fuse lower or higher level items, you can affect that item's quality. If you are of a high alchemy level and you fuse a low item level, it will be of higher quality. The ingredients also play a big part, if your ingredients are of good quality, your final product will be better, vice versia if you're using low quality ingredients. If you try making high level items at a low level...expect higher chance of failure. All synthesized items can be turned in for quests, assignments or personal friend requests. Quests raise your reputation as an alchemist, and assignments are for saving your workshop of course.

Dialogue between characters is usually entertaining to watch.

There are a variety of quests, but these aren't too special other than to raise your reputation. Besides the usual synthesizing and gathering quests, you may be tasked to kill monsters, but that's about it. Friendship requests are the same as quests, but you take them from friends. These do not increase your reputation, but help you grow closer to your friends. These are great as you get to know them more. As you increase friendship for a character, more specific and exclusive cut scenes about that character open up, and these are entertaining to watch. The characters in the game are weird, strange and probably would never appear in an RPG, but here they are. They are certainly top it off, the cut scenes and dialogue usually please me as a gamer greatly.

Be it a pick up line from a wandering bard or a complaint from your ever-so-whiny childhood friend, the scenes are funny, you'll probably be spending your time increasing your friendship with your friends to see these new scenes more than anything else in this game. Other than that you can bring your friends out of town to gather raw materials, and they join you as party members, each with their own specialties and fighting styles in combat. Outside of town, there are a great many places to explore. Ranging from forests, seaside lakes, ghost tombs or ruins, you'll be running into many different monsters and raw materials. Awesome!

Honestly, I'm not too big of a fan of the 3D chibi graphics.

So there are flaws in this game, you could tell already by the reviews. I'll start with the obvious ones. The time constraint. To be honest its not a terrible thing like many reviewers claim it to be. Its annoying at most. Basically for each assignment and quest you take, there is a dateline to meet. Everything in this game takes time, especially traveling to other areas, exploring and gathering items. These datelines restrict us as we have to rush back to Arland to meet them, hampering our exploration. The other thing is the combat. Its dull and flawed. For one you do nothing but normal attack most of the time. Also, using HP for skills are freaking stupid, boss fights are stupid. Its boring and most of the time I like to skip enemy battles. A personal thing for me as well is the character models and graphics. The characters look like chibi models, and that's just wrong to me when someone like Sterk looks like a boy that just reached puberty in battle.

Atelier Rorona isn't the best RPG out there. It's battle system is severly lacking and its restricted by its datelines and time constraints. Still, if you play Atelier for the story and its alchemy system, you won't be disappointed. The story is a nice change of pace, delivering more of a casual feel to gamers. The characters are so unorthodox that they're interesting, and the game is overall pretty funny. To top it off we have multiple endings to encourage replayability (obviously we aren't gonna do that, we're just going to have a save file at the final 3 months to alter our ending routes). All in all, if you're a fan of the Atelier series, Rorona should appeal to you.

Happy gaming!