On the 14th of January a fan favourite RPG trilogy was re-released into the current generation of consoles. The Atelier Dusk Trilogy as it is known is comprised of Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk DX, Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky DX, and Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea DX. These games are available individually or in the special deluxe bundle. I was lucky enough to receive the bundle from Koei Tecmo and so I began my journey with Ayesha in Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk DX.
Every journey begins with a single step… or a missing sibling
The world of Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk DX is a weird one. There are green cows (that are super annoying), homunculi (that look kind of like rabbits) and a cavalcade of annoying characters that fill it all out.
You play as Ayesha, an apothecary who spends her days creating concoctions to sell to people near her little workshop. One day she is visiting the place where her little sister disappeared and BOOM she sees her sister for a brief moment. Then a chance encounter with a wandering hermit sets her off on a journey to hopefully save her sister.
Alchemist or Apothecary?
So the gameplay of Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk DX is much like its world, weird. You travel the world trying to find clues of Nio’s location. Along the way you meet and recruit playable characters each more annoying than the last (the dialogue of this game was like a drillbit straight through my skull). With each major city you visit you utilise your growing alchemy skills to try and get closer to the mystery of your sister’s disappearance.
All the while there is a ticking clock, Ayesha is given 3 years before her time runs out to find Nio. Now, this ticking clock scenario fascinated me. It’s a fun game mechanic that I don’t see used often. There are sadly several major issues that ruined the whole experience for me.
- There are so many sidequests and character events that you will forget about this ticking clock
- The time it takes to get from one location to the next is punishing. You can spend literally a week in-game time just travelling to a location and you may end up earning nothing from it.
- Alchemy itself also takes time and combine that with travelling, searching for more ingredients for your alchemy and you can be spending a lot of time doing nothing.
There is also a combat element to the game but it feels like an afterthought when 80% of the gameplay is split between forming bonds with the annoying cast of Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk DX and mixing your ingredients in your alchemy pot. In the battles you control 3 characters which do battle with a myriad of poorly designed monsters.
Ayesha’s main role is to use her alchemic wonders to heal the party and also deal damage with her various homebrewed weapons. There are then several other members that join you in the fight. My mains included the obnoxious but funny Regina who utilises bombs and her pickaxe, and Linca a muscular woman with what can only be described as a buster sword in tow. She’s an introvert and doesn’t know how to deal with people but has quite a charm all her own.
Time flies in Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk DX but I’m not quite sure if I’m having fun
When I understood what was going on in Atelier Ayesha I was having fun, the alchemy element is enjoyable. Cooking together all these ingredients to create items is decent and I found it surprisingly addictive. Unfortunately there were so many points in the game where I got lost, didn’t know where to go next, and all I could do was watch boring cutscene after boring cutscene with the all the NPC’s in this world. So here is a word of advice if you pick up this game – READ YOUR NOTES. Seriously if I had read my notes more I may have enjoyed this game more.
Now when it comes to the this remaster I have to say I’m unimpressed. The graphics are clean but the colours are washed out. The sound quality dips every now and then and worst of all the lip-syncing with the characters is terrible. There is also a dead-eyed look in the eyes of the characters and it creeped me out.
I found Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk DX to be a mixed affair. The alchemy elements were fun, the story began to grip me towards the end but then it was snatched away from me by a clock that just ran out. There is a level of replayability with this game because with your first playthrough you’ll likely fail unless you have a walkthrough so with your second playthrough you’ll have learned from the mistakes and get to your sister Nio faster. Sadly for me, I can’t go back to this search for Nio, there were too many obstacles along the way.
Stay tuned to GamEir for the next review in the Atelier Dusk Trilogy and if you’re interested, converse with us on Twitter (@gam_eir), Facebook (@GamEir), and Instagram (@GamEir). Check out our videos on Twitch (GamEir) and YouTube (GamEir) and we’ll give you all the latest content.