Welcome to a world of mystery, apothecary and alchemists. Welcome to Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk.
Here the story follows Ayesha, a lonely apothecary (or herbalist) who’s younger sister Nio went missing three years ago while out gathering herbs. As Ayesha went to pay her respects at the ruins where her sister was last seen, she sees an image of Nio calling out to her. When she disappears, a mysterious man by the name of Keithgriff, tells Ayesha that Nio is still alive but in order to save her, she must learn the art of alchemy. Ayesha decides to overcome her fears as she embarks on an adventure that will take her across unexplored lands to learn the secrets of saving her sister.
Atelier Ayesha is the 14th game in the Atelier series however its storyline does not connect with any of its predecessors. As an Atelier virgin, I didn’t have any expectations or preconceptions of what would happen, I just hoped the game would be enjoyable.
First thoughts I had were about the graphics and it sticking with a rustic anime feel. The subtle JPOP intro and instrumentals complimented the game very well. I liked that Ayesha can add to her party up to two characters who can help her gather herbs, collect items Ayesha cannot pick up, and fight quite cute but extremely angry monsters.
Whilst the controls for the game are simple, I felt a little bombarded with all the ‘how-to’ gaming information. Keeping track of the various tabs, options, potions, and what to do next may confuse you slightly. Thankfully Atelier Ayesha does try and group together the different things you learn and get told during the game.
When you press ‘select’, you access Ayesha’s notebook. Here there are four tabs which help you keep a track on what your next goal is and which tasks need to be completed to earn XP. In order to review Ayesha’s and her party’s equipment, you’ll need to press the triangle button. This also gives you information of what items you have, the characters statuses and access to a library, where every item, monster or character you interact with is listed with detailed information. Ayesha gains XP through fights, collecting items and interacting with a character which is used to level up all characters within the party.
The game is a pleasure to play as the storyline gives you just enough to have an idea what’s going on but not too much for you find it pointless. However I have to admit that it doesn’t get my determination to complete this game into overdrive as much as I would like. Now I do only have one major grumble regards to the gameplay and that would be the static camera and the games tempo. With the game being in third person, I admit that I automatically feel slightly cheated that I can’t move the camera around.