From the moment that Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist Of The Mysterious Dream starts, it’s impossible to cover the smile that keeps creeping on your face. There’s something indescribable concerning the vibe of this game, in the gorgeous locations towards the way that characters communicate with each other, the only real word that come to your mind is Happiness. Especially living in everyone around you that we all do, escaping into a land of fantasy, simply to be greeted with a few of the most likable characters in recent memory provides you with a form of euphoria that many have long since searched for.
While the series may be in the 25th year of production, many gamers do not know the storyplot of Sophie Neuenmuller, the titular character of the series of Japanese Role Doing offers, or JRPG for short. This specific reviewer had not played among the numerous Atelier series games before however might have to undergo their backlog to pay off some space to see the stories told before.
From surreal dreamscapes to available fields full of monsters, to gathering materials, you’ll be hard-pressed to locate a game as enjoyable because this new chapter in Sophie’s story. That said, let’s enter into the Meat and Soil Potatoes of products, and figure out why this is one of the most enjoyable and accessible JRPG games in a long time.
Cute is exactly what We Aim For
When booting up Atelier Sophie 2, you’re greeted having a beautifully animated cutscene with a blaring anime-Esque soundtrack greeting you into the new and unknown world that you’re going to embark upon. Even for those who are not familiar with the series, the sport does a fantastic job of introducing characters to the player with an optional “Story Thus Far” chapter at the main menu, allowing everyone to jump straight into this sequel. After witnessing the opening act, which sees Sophie and her Human-Doll companion Plachta sucked right into a vortex, you’re unsure what to expect.
Well, what you’re greeted to may be the Dream Tree, and 2 new companions, a young girl, and a shopkeeper, who're willing to exceed to make sure that Sophie is ok and succeeding. That’s one of the most refreshing parts of farmville, may be the overwhelming feeling of friendliness that escapes from the expressions, words, and actions of not only Sophie but everyone around her.
Once inside the new and exciting world of Erde Wiege, you’ll have the ability to interact with individuals town, accept quests, shop and so much more. However, you get to the real draw from the game: the deeply rewarding Alchemy System.
One of the things that set Atelier Sophie 2 in addition to the crowd, aside from its aesthetic of unending kindness, is its unique puzzle-oriented Alchemy system that rewards players with extra stat boosts for finding creative methods to fill your board, almost like Bejeweled or Tetris.
Using variations of Elemental Magic, you’ll be able to create weapons, potions, whatever you can consider with embedded stat boosts that induce an exciting and fun method to keep your player engaged, as opposed to just stopping at a shop to purchase a brand new staff or sword.
Little things like this help elevate Sophie into her very own, instead of falling into tried and tested clichés, and makes her stick out in a sea of generic JRPG protagonists. She’s immediately loveable, and you wish to protect her with every fiber of your being.
Venture Forth and Explore
As you set out into the ” new world ” that you’ve been thrust into, you’ll be used by its stylistic visuals. Whilst not as perfectly refined along all the edges as many others in the genre, Atelier Sophie 2 does a great job of combining a nearly hand-drawn anime style with an old-school renaissance feel. Great attention continues to be paid to any or all from the playable characters, even though some could do with some more items of clothing to hide their assets, you’ll end up surrounded by a great crew that you’ll never tire of.
Everything pops with great colors, even though a few of the textures are on the low resolution side of things, you’ll be forgiven for looking over these small flaws within the overall run from the game. You’d be hard-pressed not to want to open Photo Mode at nearly every location that you visit, as you can customize the scene to your liking thus making you as well as your party perform some fun and elaborate items to assist you to create your new favorite photos.
The sound design can also be top-notch, featuring Anime-styled beats, combined with olden-time Renaissance music. It shouldn’t go together in addition to it will, but you’ll end up spending a little bit of additional time in the town square, simply to listen to the excellent theme play again and again.
And as the game doesn't have an English voiceover cast, japan voice cast does an excellent job of delivering on their lines, causing you to feel the emotion in their voices, which helps set a dark tone of each scene very well. If there is one word to describe a dark tone of the music within this game, the only real word that comes to mind is Jovial. Everything is upbeat, exciting and gets you pumped up and prepared for the following encounter.
The enemy design appears to have a small page out of the “Dragon Quest” book of Adorable, But Deadly. You’re pitted up against anything from little jelly blobs, Wooden Golems, Dancing Sunflowers, and each other adorable design in between. However, things get more intense when it comes to the bosses around the globe, because the first one you face changes the tone entirely from Adorable to Frightening. A towering water dragon, you’ll find yourself up for that first big fight from the game, but thanks to the excellent combat system, you’ll have the ability to dispatch it with ease.
Through Some time and Space
It’s refreshing to determine an RPG that doesn’t follow in the footsteps of its many brothers and sisters. Rather than the overarching story being about finding and killing God, or the other standard JRPG tropes, you’ll end up on a mission to not just end up, but to locate your friend and perhaps even your Grandmother, before she had your mother? It may sound just a little confusing initially, but it’s quicker to swallow than that.
At the beginning of your tale with Sophie, you find her and Plachta sucked into a vortex close to the Dream Tree, which is a tree that is bigger than life itself. They are then transported towards the new world of Erde Wiege, which is also referred to as Realm of Dreams. In this new land people do not age, and they can remain until they accomplish their dreams. You run into old favorites, in addition to new faces, and even, just possibly, your Grandmother. She taught you everything you’ve ever known about the realm of Alchemy, so you’re excited, nervous, and happy to put down on the mission to find her, as well as yourself in the process.
As you move through the storyline, you’re come to vast, open worlds and introduced to a cast of over-the-top characters which are just like loveable as Sophie herself. You’ll navigate the planet, gather materials, craft new weapons and items, and so a lot more things. The battle system in particular is really a stand-out example of how to make something old feel new again, as you’ll be able to make use of your standard attacks, magic, block, items and flee, but the choice of Twin Attacks.
What this means, is you’re able to craft your team as high as 6 different characters and some without anyone's knowledge, that you’re able to swap out within battle, do super-powerful combination attacks, and take hits for the lower-powered teammates. It’s a great way to help to keep all your characters in balance, because they all gain experience points, helping you discover the dynamics between all of the different characters, too.
The easy exploration is another area of the game that excels above most. You’d be able to have just about anyone pick up Atelier Sophie 2 and have a great time with it, even when they simply wanted to go out and explore the planet and gather materials or fight some monsters, it’s one of the most assessable JRPGs which has emerge in recent memory. Although some may balk at its insufficient in-depth item, skill, and strategy management, it’s nice to determine a game such as this come out and be extremely welcoming to people and also require never played a JRPG in life before.
As someone who is much more familiar with the genre, you’re still able to make things as difficult as you’d like, with an adjustable difficulty slider at the outset of the game. For all those looking for a more relaxed experience, throwing on Easy and breezing through battles, exploring the lands and the like will discover themselves fully engrossed and having a great time, and those who want to get up and private with all of the details that the game provides can put Very difficult on from the beginning.
Getting lost within this stunning world is not hard, and it’s a terrific way to release a little bit of stress from the hustle and bustle of the real life. You could expect to pop in for just a few minutes to grind out some experience points and gather some Princess Grass, but the next thing you realize, you’ve been playing for 4 hours and not even realizing it.
You’ll have you ever gotten lost further and additional in to the world and story of Sophie, even if you try your best not to do so. And for those players that are less skilled, or this may be their first JRPG, there are many tutorials that will help you along the way, as well as ways to setup Automatic Alchemy to obtain the best stats that you could inside your items.
Lots to Love, Little To Dislike
As praise has been gushed upon this game thus far, there are a few points of frustration which do appear along your journey. As the game is stunning and was mentioned previously, there are several lower resolution textures plus some pop-in that may detract a little bit from the overall experience.
As the thing is a loving world, carefully crafted, and walk up to a tree with a resolution that looks more gelling a Nintendo 64 game, you might be removed from the immersion of the world. The rest of the world is rendered in loving care and detail that this bit of inconsistency might not be also noticed, as you’re consuming sights and sounds unknown.
Finding some materials would be a little bit easier too if you were in a position to set a search marker in it, instead of exploring and finding them within the wild in what sometimes seems like hard luck. Sophie, you’re an alchemist, you could conjure up a notebook to create life a little bit easier when we’re looking for extra wheat.
The only other, marginal complaint that comes to mind may be the quantity of invisible walls in the world. After receiving treatment to games such as the Legend of Zelda: Breath from the Wild and Elden Ring, you might try to jump off of a ledge, or perhaps of the side of the staircase, simply to be blocked by a hidden wall that won't permit you quicker access compared to set path that the developers occur play. While slightly disappointing, it’s not enough of a deal-breaker to create this shine less than it does.
These would be the only stuff that spring to mind when it comes to thinking of flaws, and even at that time, it had been hard to come up with them, because it felt like it was a little bit of nitpicking.
It’s been quite a while since a JRPG came out which was this engaging. Finding new materials in the world, brewing together new items while using intuitive and deep crafting system, battling monsters, and forming bonds with your teammates through well-told story events and a whole lot.
For a sequence that's been hiding within the shadows and deemed a cult classic franchise for quite some time, Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist Of The Mysterious Dream proves that though it may be the underdog inside a genre saturated with lots of, many entries, it may come out from the shadows and prove that it’s a one of the kind experience. Whilst not the most groundbreaking game you’ll ever experience, you’ll be passing up on an invaluable and worthwhile time should you skip out on this game.