Gamespot Score: n/a

My Score: 8.0

(+)Pros: - Brilliant synthesis system that has been built upon from the first game, - Story feels like it feels a lot more emotional and important this time around, - Improved visuals on character models, - New characters are more relate-able and likable, old characters also feel more matured, - Battle system has been improved, - Still has a load of endings, - Even more areas than in the first game (albeit some of them feel repeated and lazy).

(-)Cons: - Its a lot harder to manage on the technical side and in terms of overall difficulty, - Honestly, the time management will still screw you over.

Gameplay time: About 30 hours

If you've followed me for a bit you'll know that I looked forward to this game in like...forever. I went hunting for "Atelier Rorona" (which was nearly extinct at the time)  and spent ages looking for it just to play it so that I could follow up to "Atelier Totori". Then when I finished "Atelier Rorona", "Atelier Totori" was running low on stock as well. Tis a tough journey indeed, but here I am with an opinion of the game, at long last. Its easy to say tough, that the game didn't disappoint. "Atelier Totori" is an improvement to "Atelier Rorona" in almost every way, making it a superior, and in the end, a more enjoyable game. Fans of the "Atelier" series will enjoy it, and as a sequel, the game does its job extremely well to cater to the fans.

"Atelier Totori" takes place about 5 years after the events of "Atelier Rorona", and focuses on a young 13 year old girl known as Totoria Helmond, or Totori for short. Totori has lead a rather easy-going life in an ever changing world. Starting a few years ago, Arland has officially recognized the title of adventurers, a job for those willing enough take on. An adventurer explores uncharted areas, defeats monsters, accepts quests, and more, all to gain fame and fortune. Many around the world gather to become adventurers, Totori's mother included. She was known as the best adventurer around, but she went missing one day and never came home. 

Meanwhile, Rorona has been trying to spread the word of alchemy, trying to teach it to other talented individuals, but never managed to find one. She found Totori and Totori seemed to have talent for it. Rorona became Totori's teacher, teaching her the basics of alchemy before running off somewhere again. In present day, with the alchemy that Totori has been learning, she strives to become and adventurer, to look for her lost mother. Many areas around Arland are unauthorized to enter for non-adventurers, so this was something she had to do eventually. With her childhood friend Gino, the two start saving to leave for Arland, where they can get their adventurer licenses approved.

Meet our new characters!

As the sequel to "Atelier Rorona", you can immediately tell that many things are similar. The flow of the game remains mostly the same. You synthesize alchemy items, you turn them in for quests or to friends to increase your friendship, you pass the days on the calendar until the deadline for an event or important story scene. Though I'd say that it feels similar, there are some changes. Instead of creating a certain item (or amount of items) to pass up on a certain date, you play to increase your license level, which consists of various everyday tasks in the game, such as synthesis, hunting monsters, doing quests and exploring new areas. 

In a way, this feels a lot less pressuring than before, as you can basically up your rank by doing what you would normally do without much to push you on. With that said, to fulfill the game's main requirements to increase your license is a far less daunting task than producing certain items for the dateline in the original "Atelier Rorona". Any "Atelier" game is incomplete without synthesis, and it goes without saying that it returns in "Atelier Totori". The base mechanics are similar, you obtain recipes for some items, then you mix items required in the recipe to create said item, easy right?

There's a lot to making a bomb that explodes ice.

However, this is "Atelier" we are talking about, there's a lot more to that. Your alchemy level goes up as you synthesize more items, and having a high alchemy level ensures that your items are of the best quality. Higher level items require a higher alchemy level, and creating a high level item when you are low leveled can only spell disaster. Or if you manage to make one, it will be of low quality for the most part, though the ingredients used play a huge role in that quality balance. Low quality ingredients usually equal to low quality end products. However, if you are of a high alchemy, creating low level alchemy items usually will have it completed in high quality.

This applies to many things in the game, they all center around alchemy. If you create healing items, high quality ones heal more while the low quality ones heal less. High quality bombs do more damage in battle and can destroy obstacles in maps, while low quality ones do the opposite. Whats more, some ingredients have traits attached to them, and using these ingredients to make your items ensure that you get an extra kick out of them. If you have a trait that heals mana in your healing salve, it will heal both health and mana when used. Its the little things like this that make the system even deeper than ever, and this applies to our equipment later on, the possibilities are off the charts.

Its Cordelia! Wait...did she even age?

Alchemy is one thing, but story is another. If you enjoyed the easy-going story of "Atelier Rorona", you won't be disappointed, there's still a lot of that going on here, though the main meat of the story is way more serious this time around. The early 60% of the game feels like the original, but later on, things get more emotional, serious and eventually it feels like a different game, when Totori has to battle an epic creature. The change of pace as the game proceeds eventually feels great, and I felt that it was something that the game could use.

Character models also look VASTLY improved. We had this chibi theme going on in "Atelier Rorona", in "Atelier Totori", everyone looks fleshed out and more importantly, so much better! They looked like proportionate 3D anime characters now, which really improves the experience. The new characters are more likable than the old ones in my opinion, they are different in personality, but in the end they all feel like they belong in the same family as the characters in "Atelier Rorona". We have a cocky young lad, an easy going happy-go lucky powerful young woman, a funky ass scientist and a tsundere very similar to Cordelia.

Great to see old faces again!

Some old characters also make a re-appearance. Rorona, without a doubt is back as Totori's teacher (though she doesn't appear until quite some time has passed), Cordelia is now the guild's main counter as the license giver. Iksel is now the head chef of Arland's Sunrise Cafe, and ol' Sterk is still as grouchy as ever, though with the disbandment of Arland's knighthood, he has become more of a wanderer now. Some old shopkeepers also make a return, but since the game is about Totori, it takes place in two places, Arland, and Totori's home town, Alanya, which is more of a quite fishing village. Arland is the town of familiar faces, Alanya is a place for the new ones.

The battle system has improved for the better. No longer do you use HP for skills (which was a questionable mechanic in my opinion), but everybody has mana now. Totori is the main star here, just like Rorona in the first game. She is one of the only two characters in the game who can use items in battle, which is a HUGE factor in terms of how a battle can turn in your favor. And in case you're wondering, the other character who can use items is of course, Rorona, our heroine from the original.

Defend! Defend our cute little Totori!

As Totori is the star  of every battle, every time an enemy attacks her, you have the option to defend her with any of your other 2 characters in the party, and every time she attacks, any of your other characters can follow up with her's. An additional stat, LP, acts as an endurance meter. When your LP runs low, your characters start to fare worse in battle, and they are at full strength when its at its maximum.  MP now exists as a gauge for skills, and the fourth bar below your character's stats in battle act as a super gauge, for super moves when they are maxed out (you probably won't see this unless its a boss battle).

Battle only takes place outside of town (obviously), and there are a lot more areas for you explore this time, same ranging so far away from town, it takes a month for you to get there and back. Time spent in these areas is now calculated differently. When you enter the map, a day is split into 10 segments. Gathering items takes up 4 segments of a day, while battling monsters usually take 2, so on and so forth. You can now spent multiple days in a map, so spending your time wisely is a must (the game spans across 6 years in comparison to the previous game's 3). Oh yeah, endings, like the old game, there are tons of them, and it all factors to the events you managed to finish and your friendship with certain party members (thank f**king god you can skip the credits now).

Sterk is still broken as f**k

As you can tell, the game is huge, and that means that there's a lot more to manage, so much to the point that its sickening. The time constriction might be less than before, but 6 years to complete the game 100% is very very difficult, even for someone like myself who finished both Rorona and Meruru pretty much 90%. "Atelier Totori" is the hardest out of all 3 games, in my opinion. And well, that leads to me saying that the time management is still a factor in "Atelier Totori". There's too much to do, and while I said that its EASIER to meet the game's minimum main requirements, its still tough as hell to go for anything more than the main requirements. You want the true end? You better work your ass off for it.

"Atelier Totori", being the 2nd game in the Arland trilogy, proves to be a great improvement over the 1st game. You can see the differences over the 1st game, and you'll oggle at them. Better visuals, better combat, more exploration, and better game mechanics overall make this a much better game. However, this isn't the series's maximum potential. Stay tuned for my "Atelier Meruru" review.


Happy gaming!