My Silly Days

Rarutos Avatar 1Welcome all, to Rarutos-sama’s first post as a Master of Unlocking! Unfortunately,  I’m not nearly creative or witty enough to create an interesting category name, so this video game category posting thingy will be called Atelier Rarutos! Which is obviously named after the Atelier series of games by the producer company of GUST. An Atelier is a workshop, that is generally used for alchemy in these games, so… I guess I will be synthesizing some reviews? 😀

I think I’m too biased to write a full on review for this wonderful gem known as Mana-Khemia 2:  Fall of Alchemy (Which is badly subtitled, the original subtitle in Japanese was: Ochita Gakuen to Renkinjutsushi-tachi, which is roughly translated to the Alchemists and the Fallen Academy, oh NISA, you silly silly translators.), so I will just give a brief (okay, maybe not BRIEF) summary overview of the game’s elements, what I liked about it, and what I didn’t like about it. So yeah, I’m not sure if I’ll ever start writing full on reviews, and I’m just choosing to write “reviews” like Kyuko-chan, so yeah. Anywho, enough rambling and onto the game!

The Japanese Boxart

The Japanese Boxart

As I have previously played all the Atelier games that have been localized in the United States by NIS America, I have a pretty strong opinion on the series already at hand. The Atelier series and GUST have obviously earned my great respect. Honestly, I’m not sure what it is, but I love GUST and their games quite a lot. These games are definitely not for everyone though, people that don’t enjoy JRPGs would absolutely despise it, and those that don’t like being in menus, collecting items, and synthesizing items for quite a long time wouldn’t like it much either. However, this is why GUST had moved from the mostly alchemy centered system of their previous games, and then move towards the move typical JRPG genre, with “save the world” type situations. I personally think they did a great job! I started with the original Atelier Iris, and I loved it to death, it’s only flaw was that it was much too short. However, with each new game, they got at least 5 hours longer, and now we have Mana-Khemia 2.

I absolutely loved the first game in terms of story, characters, and gameplay. It would have been my favorite Atelier game that I have ever played if Atelier Iris 2 wasn’t so awesome. And now that the second game has come out, and I’ve played through it and beaten it, I’m still not sure if I like the sequel better or not. I just know that they both are such great and fun games that I never really get tired of. The story in Mana-Khemia 2 is hardly ever serious, like in the first game. The characters are all very quirky, some of them are normal, (or at least they try to be) but the majority of them have quite extreme character traits that are played for laughs, which makes the opening song’s title, “My Silly Days” quite fitting. For example, Lilia (Or Lily, if you prefer) has got to be the biggest Tsundere I have ever seen. She litterally is on the far sides of both the Tsuntsun, and the Deredere spectrums, being extreme cases of both. It’s quite hilarious how she goes from ordering Roze around, to fantasizing about him in very interesting situations… Nontheless, she is one of my favorite characters in the game, it’s funny because a lot of the characters even call her filthy, especially since she does go to such conclusions quite easily. Obviously, the characters are quite the highlight of the whole game, as there are different “Character Quests” for each character that you do during the “Free Time” portions of the game. The story itself is interesting, as the two main characters’ (which is new to the series, as you get to choose between two different main characters, which effectively doubles the amount of playtime) stories would eventually intertwine.

In terms of gameplay, the battle system has not changed all that much from the first Mana-Khemia at all, there are still Intimate Stikes, but this time, you don’t have to end the support actions with just the main character, as anyone can do them in different combinations this time. The Unite Gauge is very similar to the Burst Mode that was in the previous game, and there are also Finishing Strikes like in the first game as well, with each character having their own unique “Limit Break” showing off their most powerful attacks. They also added an Intimate Guard, which allows for extra defensive moves which are quite a big help in battle. The battles are very very fast and fun, although they can get tiresome if you just want to move on in the story, but overall it’s a great battle system. Although the game itself is a little bit too easy, as always with GUST games. Fortunately though, there are quite a few tough bosses in the game, I’ve never had so much trouble with bosses in any Atelier game before, it was quite disappointing when the Final Boss wasn’t that tough, although that might be because it’s at the very end, and every character has probably already maxed out their Grow Books.

A Typical Battle in Mana-Khemia 2

A Typical Battle in Mana-Khemia 2

The Grow Books also make a return from the first game as the main “leveling” system, in which as you synthesize items, stat increases and skills unlock in the Grow Book, effectively making alchemy quite important for battle, (as your stats will stay low if you don’t synthesize) and not just for usable items for healing or support. However, they did include a hidden leveling up for HP and SP (which is the game’s MP), that rise after getting a certain amount of AP (Ability Points for unlocking stuff in the grow book). The Grow Book is stated to be most similar to that of Sphere Grids in Final Fantasy X, if you were wondering how it worked exactly. The Grow Book is relatively the same as the first game, with a little twist, to unlock the last Grow Book slot for each item, one must Synthesize every item to 100 Ether Level, which is tough in the beginning of the game, but gets ridiculously easy later on with different Synthesis skills. At first, I thought I was going to have a hard time with it, but it isn’t that hard at all to get 100 Ether Levels in later parts of the game.

The school system is back as well, in which one must attend classes, and do assignments based on alchemy or combat, and if you get good enough grades, you can get enough free time to do character quests or sell items at the Bazaar. Character quests are mostly for character development and determines what ending you will get. In this one, you can do all the character quests for each character (which is different from the first, in which you can do all character quests except the last one for all characters except the one who you want the ending for), and just choose who to talk to at the end to get their ending, which makes getting endings quite a lot easier.

The music is mostly in the same style as the previous Atelier games, very fantastical. I personally do love the music in these games, Achiwa Daisuke and them do quite a good job. The music in Mana-Khemia 2 doesn’t let me down at all, also, I absolutely LOVE the fact that you can change the battle music to battle themes from even the first game after beating one of the character’s story. It’s simply bliss to be able to choose awesome songs like Nefertiti and Repulsion for battles.

Graphics aren’t ususally a big deal to me, and I’m quite a big fan of 2-D graphics, which is probably why I am drawn to these games so much. In battle, the sprites are very detailed, it’s quite amazing. I normally don’t care about graphics or anything though, so I don’t have too much to say. The dungeon design is overall good in my opinion, I didn’t have any problems with it at all, or did I feel like it was getting repetitive, even though we did have to run through the same dungeon several times, but like I said, I’m just biased I guess. XD

I have to add this one little thing though, honestly, the thing that had me the most disappointed about the game, was the opening movie. They totally got rid of the animeness and used CG, and placed a random dragon in it for half the movie, despite the fact that said dragon has NO screen time in the game at all whatsoever, unless you count the mooks you fight. Needless to say though, My Silly Days is awesome, although it’s not Shimotsuki Haruka like all the previous ones that came out here, it’s good enough. Marie gets some props though, she sang some songs in the first Mana-Khemia as well, so yeah. Anywho, check out the opening below. 😛

Anywho, overall the game is simply awesome. I truly love Mana-Khemia 2 and all that it gave out to me. It’s also the longest Atelier game I have played, as I effectively clocked about 85 hours or so until I fully beat the game. Which is great! Most of the Atelier games only lasted 30-40 hours, and felt too short, so I was very happy with this revelation. Love the two main character system, makes the whole thing longer, and you get to see things from different perspectives. Great game, was very sad to see it end, but I think it’s a good thing that I did finish it the day before my summer ends, as I won’t have as much time for other games anyway. It’s a good game to end the summer with, and I’m glad that I got to use up my last two weeks of summer on it.

In terms of summer, I think I have beaten the most games I ever have in any summer vacation. Yay me. Next game on the list is Muramasa: The Demon Blade, which just arrived at my doorstep yesterday. I’ve already started, and I haven’t quite gotten into it yet, but it’s really a lot more actiony than Odin Sphere, but we’ll see as I progress! Anywho, thanks for reading my first post! Hopefully it wasn’t TOO much of a read.

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~ by Rarutos on September 11, 2009.

5 Responses to “My Silly Days”

  1. Nice review. I dunno though, that seemed like a full-on review to me. ;D

    I’m also a GUST lover, so seeing that you loved this game so much pretty much makes me want to buy it. 😀 Now I just got to play the first one…

    Oh, and the game’s not about the Fall of Alchemy? Damn, that ruins my theory of where it went in the Atelier storyline… XD

  2. You could say it’s SOMEWHAT the fall of alchemy, but that’s not really the case at all.

    The only thing that falls is the school really. And the decreasing in the amount of mana in the world doesn’t exactly mean that alchemists need to stop synthesizing stuff… Alchemists can be alchemists without mana. Besides, there are still quite a few important mana in the story either way, and the fact that Marta wants to get rid of the alchemy classes for the next year isn’t brought up that often, and it becomes irrelevant quite early in the story.

  3. Hahah cool I have this game too and the first just haven’t beat it yet but yeah I love alot of NIS’s games too.^_^

    • Well, I do like what I’ve played of Nippon Ichi’s games so far, like Disgaea, and I pretty much own all of them except Disgaea 3 (which I plan to own eventually), but I am much more of a fan of the GUST produced games than the NIS produced games. 😀

      But yeah, a lot of the games they publish are great for sure.

  4. Nice post. I know nothing about GUST games and reading what you wrote helped me understand what the Atelier series is all about.

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