Review: Atelier Escha & Logy Plus: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky


A good entry for newbies

Atelier has always been one of those niche series of RPGs that gets harder to jump into with every entry. Featuring complex and often convoluted alchemy mechanics that have grown tough to break into over the years, the games have served their fanbase well, but struggled to bring in new players.

Atelier Escha & Logy Plus strips away a good number of layers from the systems that the series is built upon. Yes, it's less complex for long-time fans, but it's also the most accessible entry point for new fans looking to jump in.

Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky (PS3, Vita [reviewed])
Developer: Gust Co. Ltd
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Released: March 11, 2014 (PS3) / January 19, 2016 (Vita)
MSRP: $39.99 (Vita)

Atelier Escha & Logy Plus as an RPG centers around two alchemists on a strict deadline to prevent the destruction of their world. Built around an in-game calendar, each mission you take on will require a certain number of your limited days to complete. Longer tasks might yield better rewards, but they carry the inherent risk of running out of time to complete larger objectives as they arise. Ranging from resource collection to battle-heavy dungeons, there's a decent variety of mission types to pick from.

The most interesting aspect of this system ends up being how it impacts the party you take into missions and how willing you are to take chances as a player. If you're low on health or resources, you have to weigh the risks of pushing on and failing the mission against the multiple days it might use up to return to town, gather resources, and rest up. This risk management becomes a key part of gameplay, and kept me much more engaged in my performance than I expected.

Giving the player the choice of two playable characters from the start, one male and one female, Escha & Logy's plot follows a very similar narrative structure to Tales of Xillia. While both protagonists work together, spend most of the plot together, and go on largely the same journey, some sections are altered depending on who you play as. The variations in plot are spread pretty far apart, but having the option to have a slightly different adventure on a second playthrough is appealing.

Playing as Escha will give players a more alchemy focused, lighthearted view of events as they transpire, while playing as Logy is a more traditional, combat-heavy experience that will feel more familiar to RPG fans not versed in the Atelier's core alchemy mechanics.

So, there is one big problem with getting invested in the story of Escha and Logy. While the main plot is well-written and engaging, the opening hours of you're adventure are cripplingly unrepresentative of the rest of the game. Excited for a grand, world-spanning adventure? Better be ready for several hours discussing financial outcomes of investments, business plans, government spending patterns, and uses for awarded stipends. Seriously, the opening hours play out like a Galactic Senate hearing in the Star Wars prequels.

A fascinating story follows, but you're going to have to put a few tedious hours in to get to it. Bear that in mind.

Where previous Atelier entries have done a poor job of explaining the mechanics behind alchemy and encouraged experimentation early on, Escha and Logy does a much better job of getting players to look at recipes and describing the ways in which they can be modified. While there's still a lot of experimentation in the system, that experimentation is acknowledged early on and not left as a big, daunting barrier that could halt late-game progression. The combat is fairly standard turn-based fighting, but the prep work put into alchemy before missions adds a nice amount of variety to the number of ways a fight can be tackled.

Ultimately, Atelier Escha & Logy Plus is probably the best entry point this series has had. Sure, the first few hours are excruciating and I wouldn't blame anyone for not wanting to have to push through that, but the story of personal growth, trust, and ambition that lies behind it was well worth experiencing. The combat is a bit predictable to start, but once you get yourself stuck into the more accessible alchemy system, you'll never go into two fights with the same toolset available, which is refreshing.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

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Atelier Escha & Logy Plus: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky reviewed by Laura Kate Dale



Solid and definitely has an audience. There could be some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.
How we score:  The Destructoid reviews guide


Laura Kate Dale
Laura Kate DaleFormer Queen of England   gamer profile

Laura's gaming journey began in the 90′s when she was given a SNES by her older brother with Mario paint. From that day video games were all she thought about day or night, be it playing them, ... more + disclosures



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