Our Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland Review covers the 21st entry in the long running RPG Atelier series. Play as Lulua as she undergoes an adventure to learn the secrets of her family’s homeland while aiming to be a famous alchemist.
Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland Review
Developed by: Gust
Published by: Koei Tecmo
Release date: May 21st, 2019 for North America and Europe
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PS4, Steam (Reviewed on PS4)
Price at time of review: 59.99 USD
Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland Features
- Lovable & Animated Main Character- Take control of Elmerulia Frixell better known as Lulua.
- Irradiated Colors & Scenery – Each level and town are filled with such warm bright colors as well as pretty clothing that characters wear.
- 3D turn-based combat
- Exploration & Synthesizing – Gather or buy materials to create items from them.
- Slice of Life – A pleasant RPG world to explore through story and adventure.
Story and Setting
The story follows Lulua, the daughter of the renowned Alchemist Rorolina Frixell, living in Arklys, a small town at the border of the Arland Republic. Lulua’s journey on becoming a sought after Alchemist will take her beyond her humble abode once she acquires the Alchemyriddle, a mysterious book that only Lulua can read it’s contents. The Alchemyriddle helps progress the story and provides extra quests for those players who want to go off the beaten path. At first, Lulua will be accompanied by her childhood friend, Eva Armster. As players progress through the story, more of Lulua’s friends will join her party and adventure.
The game revolves around a combination of a quaint idyllic scenery and the interactions of the NPCs with Lulua. It deepens the immersion as players get closer with the super formal Refle or the saint-like Father Benon. Lulua lovable and comical personality combined with her mannerisms will warm their heart as they play.
Players control Lulua and her party in turn-based combat as they travel the world. You spend time fighting monsters and collecting materials. The game features a “slice of life” feel that is reinforced by certain “guilds/town request” locales that allows the player to undertake side quests and simply visiting the NPCs to promote interactions. These tasks range from finding and/or purchasing materials obtained from enemies or out in the land.
Eventually, after completing so many quests players can take a test so they may be allowed to take on more difficult side quests. Every so often after the player interacts with the NPCs they are rewarded with a new merchant or new items that can be purchased. I found this to be rewarding as there is incentive to getting close with the characters inhabiting the world; in addition to the quirky shenanigans they get into adds an air of lightheartedness that compliments the pastel bubblegum aesthetic the world possesses.
I did find the camera to be quite annoying when Lulua gets near walls or picks up a material in an awkward angle. It forces the camera to zoom in on the character or stutter as if its stuck on the wall. Players can remedy this by moving away from the problem area or manually zooming the camera.
Collecting materials and participating in fights will allow players to add recipes to their book. These recipes will be in riddle form giving players some hints on how to decipher them. Make sure to head back to Wagon Atelier once the book icon glows or during the visual prompt to be decipher the recipe. Once it is decipher players will gain access to the recipe and may use it to synthesize new items.
Battles are your typical turn based fight, those with high speed will take action before those with slower speed actions. Players can select:
- Attack: Standard regular attack
- Skill: Use one of the character’s Active Skills; requires MP to use.
- Item: Use an equipped item; Only alchemists have the option.
- Defense: Guard against incoming attacks to reduce damage sustained until the next turn.
- Switch: Replace an Attacker with a Follower.
- Flee: Attempt to escape from the battle; may fail. Not all fights will allow you to escape.
During the start of your game, the only few options you have will be the very basic options that were stated above. Your options in battle will expand during normal story progression so make sure you read the tutorial of them and in case you forget use the in game guides to refresh your memory. It is imperative that players understand the basics to mastering the battle system. Battling monsters will provide experience for the party members so remember to battle often to level up the party.
Battling is simple enough to understand and once the in battle options opens up, it gives the players a lot of mechanics they can use to their advantage. It really helps utilize the full team as oppose to other games where you can only use 3 or 4 of them and having the rest of the team benched until a main party member is weak enough to swap out.
Gathering & Synthesizing
In the wild, players have to gather materials from select locations like trees, grass, bodies of water, rocks, and more. Gathered items are synthesized into new items by using the Wagon Atelier back any town. Gameplay revolves around gathering materials during exploration, synthesizing materials in town and progressing through the story. As players progress through the game, the Alchemyriddle will help them learn new synthesize recipes. Gathering takes a while to become accustomed to as players develop the proper tools to be able to gather at new locations or use new tools.
Synthesizing looks daunting at first glance and can definitely put the player out of their element. Pay attention to the tutorials of them and practice often. It really is quite straightforward after you try your hands at it several times so don’t be discouraged at first look.
In this game, time passes whenever the player moves throughout the outside world, battle, gather, or synthesis. Time of day will impact which monsters will spawn in an area so be sure to take your time exploring and battling to see all the possible monsters there are in the game.
Audio and Visual
Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland features a great soundtrack that’s a nice compliment to the game’s setting. I find myself peacefully zoning out simply listening to the music while im playing. The opening and credit songs are worth just idling in these screens for the pleasure of listening to them; I let them play out a few times before starting my gaming session.
Graphically, the game delivers an delightful explosion of colors and warm palettes. I can lose myself as Lulua roaming around the quiet town. I personally really enjoy all the characters outfits and accessories that they wear. I felt that added an extra touch to really enhance the NPCs and they all look super cute.
I highly enjoyed exploring every new area and allowing the time to past so I see how the area looks in each time of day. Nothing beats a dawn and dusk image. The colors really pop and if you manage to get into a battle, so you can see it a bit better.
The graphics aren’t world ending amazing like some titles, however, the graphics have painted a pleasing picture allowing players to easily and quickly seeing the overall image. Like most things if you look more closely at them you’ll see the shortcomings. In addition, if you play attention to Lulua’s head adornment it clips into her character model in several places, which is a minor annoyance.
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