Originally released between 2013 and 2015 on PS3, and later with updated versions on the Vita, we can now enjoy this great trilogy on PS4. Find out more in our Atelier Dusk Trilogy Deluxe Pack review!
A trilogy of alchemy themed titles from the ‘Atelier’ series, characteristic for its gradually dilapidating Dusk world and the fascinating characters that inhabit it.
With character designs by Hidari, the Dusk world is richly depicted.
DX version features
– Quickly explore fields with the newly added ‘Run’ feature!
– The tempo of battles is improved with the newly added ‘Fast-forward Battle’ feature!
– Elements added to the Plus version and numerous past DLC are included!
Let’s start by breaking down a bit of the story for each of the three games and how they relate to each other. The trilogy is set in a land that was once home to an advanced civilization where alchemists prospered. Alchemy is now mostly forgotten, with only a few people still practicing it, and nothing but ruins of the past remain. The trilogy kicks off with Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk, with the titular Ayesha, who lives all by herself in a workshop near some ruins, making medicine for people in nearby cities to purchase. As she goes to the ruins to put some candies on her younger sister’s tomb, she witnesses her show up in spirit form, at the same time as an alchemist comes by and gives her some clues on how she could save her sister. She decides to follow his advice and goes on a quest to rescue her.
The second entry in the trilogy is Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky , and it takes place four years after the first game. Alchemy is slowly coming back in the land as more people are rediscovering it. Escha, a young girl from the town of Colseit using traditional alchemy techniques, and Logy, a young man who trained in the latest alchemy techniques, end up assigned as the two alchemists of the town for the currently understaffed R&D department. As they work together to mutually benefit from the other’s alchemy knowledge, they’ll help the city and eventually explore some mysterious ruins floating in the sky that will reveal to them ways that could help save the Earth.
The last entry in the series is Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea, taking place a couple of years after the events of the second game. On the one hand, we see Shallistera, the daughter of the Lugion village chief who’s on her way to the oasis town of Stellard to hopefully find a way to help her village with the drought that’s been affecting them. On the other hand, we see Shallotte, a young girl living in Stellard, barely making it like an alchemist and taking day jobs like cleaning up the trash in the town. After Shallistera’s sand ship crashes into town while trying to avoid a sand dragon, she ends up working for the city, which is slowly seeing the drought affecting the area, in hopes of eventually getting some help back for her village.
While the trilogy, and basically every Atelier game, follows the same gameplay formula, there are a few differences here and there to set each of them apart. One of the core elements of any Atelier game is the gathering of materials that will be used in your alchemy recipes. Gathering is done when you’re on the field by going over shining spots to pick up some materials. In the first two games of the trilogy, this gathering consumes time, so it would be wise to not gather everything you find in your path or else you’ll end up missing the deadline for your main objectives, which would give you a game over. To get to those gathering maps, you have to travel between areas on the world map. Traveling between those areas also consumes days in the first two games, bringing a more strategic approach to your expeditions as you don’t want to consume additional days because you forgot to synthesize some healing items.
You will also encounter some enemies while you’re out gathering, and battles play out pretty much in the same way throughout the three titles. They are turn-based with no active time system, so you can take your time to choose which action you decide to do. You’ll be able to attack, defend, use one of your skills, and alchemists will be able to use items. You can always see the order of turns in the battle, as well as where your action will take you for each character’s next turn, as some actions will require a longer cooldown. There is also a notion of a support system where your allies will be able to jump in for additional hits or to protect another one that’s being attacked.
To accomplish most of your goals or tasks during the games, you’ll have to do some synthesis, which is all about mixing ingredients together in the form of recipes to create objects. As you progress, you’ll gain access to more and more recipes, which all end up being used in the same way. When doing your synthesis, you’ll choose the material to use in each of the categories required for the recipe. Depending on the quality of the materials, it will help you obtain items of better quality, with some potential perks added to them.
This brings me to the final aspect to consider: how the story plays out. In the first two games, you work on time-based assignments, which means missing a deadline is most certainly not allowed. On the other hand, the third game in this trilogy drops that idea entirely, so you can choose to complete side tasks at your own pace, even going out for some gathering excursions without having to worry about not having enough time left to complete your main story objectives.
Visually, the game features some upgraded graphics when compared to how these games look when they originally released on the PlayStation 3 years old games, which basically brings the games up to par with the other games in the long-running series that have been released on the PS4 system. The traditional colorful vibe that other Atelier games offer is still present, even if you consider that the storylines have a darker tone for this particular trilogy.
If you’ve read any of our reviews for other Atelier games over the past few years, you then probably already know I quickly became a fan. I generally had a great time with them all, no matter if it was a brand new release or a re-release like the Atelier Arland trilogy we reviewed about a year ago. This trilogy is not the exception since I really enjoyed my time with all three games. I think one of the things I enjoyed the most was the simplicity of every gameplay mechanic. I’ve seen some of the games try something new with the synthesis or battle system, which always turned out good in the end, but the fact that I could just play these titles without too much complexity is something I really liked.
I also really enjoyed the story plots that felt refreshing for me, considering I had not played the original games when they were released on Sony’s previous console. There is something in those games about how the whole planet is basically in ruins, and how you’re desperately trying to recover from something that will likely destroy it, that was easy for me to dive into and continue playing through each storyline. There are also a few appearances from characters throughout the three titles that make for a nice continuation between the games without necessarily having the focus placed on the same few characters over and over again. Also worth noting is the fact that you can choose to play as either Escha or Logy in the second game, and as either Shallie in the last one, bringing some extra replay value to games that already have a ton of content.
With all that being said, if I had to choose one of the three as my favorite one, I’d definitely go with Atelier Shallie. Its story is the one that stood out the most, with the sense of crisis that comes from the fact that the only village that was seen as a potential solution for a huge problem is also becoming at risk. That feeling of urgency really got me more into the story. The major selling point for me, though, was the fact that I could do things at my own pace because there is no time limit. Time limits in the Atelier games have always been something of a love/hate situation, and I definitely prefer when I can do all the gathering or monster hunting I want without the hassle of missing a date and failing my objectives.
As for the trophies, you’ll be busy for a long time if you’re aiming to get all three Platinums. That’s right, this collection has three Platinum trophies for you! Each game obviously has its share of missable trophies, whether it’s for completing specific events or for reaching one of the multiple available endings. You can also add the fact that you’ll have to complete the second and third games as both characters, so with just this, you’re looking at five playthroughs for the trilogy. And if you happened to miss some events, there’ll be some additional playthroughs in your future!
To me, the Dusk trilogy contains some of the best Atelier games I’ve played – with Shallie in particular being a highlight. They all have great stories and gameplay mechanics that are easy to get into and enjoy the game without being overwhelmed. In the same way, the Arland trilogy started 2019 in a strong way for the JRPG genre, this pack does it again for 2020, with hundreds of hours of fun for a great bundle price.
This Atelier Dusk Trilogy Deluxe Pack review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by KOEI TECMO America.