Atelier Escha & Logy Plus: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky is the enhanced port of the PS3 version. It is the 15th game overall in the Atelier series, and the 2nd in the “Dusk trilogy” following Atelier Ayesha. The game is developed by Gust, and localized by Koei Tecmo.
The game follows Escha Malier and Logix “Logy” Fiscario, 2 alchemists who work as government officials in the R&D division in a small town called Colset. Escha is a traditional alchemist, focusing on alchemy while Logy specializes more on assembling weaponry and armour, similar to a blacksmith. Their main form of work involves completing tasks that helps the government and the town in some way such as repairing a windmill or exploring unknown places. Along the way they will meet both new and recurring characters from the previous game, and discuss about the nearby floating ruins dubbed the “Unexplored Ruins”. No one knows what these ruins contain but it is a goal that Escha and her friends believe it will be worth doing.
Because the game features 2 protagonists, you can choose to play the story from either Escha’s point of view or Logy’s point of view. The core storyline remains the same but certain events and dialogue are unique from one another. It also determines who you control when exploring, and that they must always be used in battle as well.
The game this time is primarily mission based, as opposed to Ayesha which allowed the player to go at their own pace. While this game does play and look similar to the previous games, there are some changes that enhances the gameplay:
- The turn-based battle system.
The battle system this time around has been vamped up a bit. As Escha & Logy are both alchemists, they have the privilege to use battle items as well as any battle skills they learn. Other characters cannot use items at all.
While it is still 3 characters at a time in battle, up to 3 more characters can be used as support. They don’t engage in battle directly but are able to use support attacks or skills to help out. They can also switch in during battle as well, allowing for more diverse strategy and changing the flow of battle.
Battle menu. The Move function returns, allowing characters to switch from 1 zone to another. The Change function allows the current character to switch with their backline character.
Tasks are essentially missions. There is usually 1 main task (which must be completed to progress through the game) and several side tasks in a given time period. The more tasks completed, the more rewards given but usually completing the main task is enough to progress. There are also requests which usually involves giving in different items or slaying monsters but they’re optional.
- A mixture of exploration and alchemy
As alchemists, Escha & Logy have the ability to synthesize many different items varying from battle items such as bombs, food and potions to character equipment and accessories, and other miscellaneous items that can be used as ingredients for future synthesis. As the game progresses things such as traits, stats and alchemy skills come into play when synthesizing.
In terms of exploration, gathering materials and battling monsters are the same. What’s new however is the field gauge. When the gauge is filled up, it unlocks various actions which alter the gathering or battling aspects (able to collect more materials or fight stronger monsters for example), or allow Escha / Logy to get unique or rare items as well.
Exploration screen. It is the same as usual but with the new field gauge at the left. This increases whenever a battle occurs or by gathering materials.
- A basic Day / Month time system.
The time system returns, following a 12 month, 30 days system. Whenever you are given a main task, the game tells you how many days you have to complete it. If it is finished early, the game shifts to “Free Time” where no further main tasks are given. However, you will need to give a final report near the due date so the next main task can be given. Alchemy and exploration consumes time so take note of how many days these actions take.
I really like the look of Escha and Logy, the character models and monsters are a bit more detailed and fleshed out compared to Ayesha and the previous games (on the Vita anyways), as well as not suffering from frame rate issues too much. It runs somewhat smoothly both in and out of battles. Battles are really flashy and explosive, and the ability to switch characters during battle is a huge plus for me, adding a bit of strategy as well. It does however, make them a tad too easy. There is also the fact that all playable characters are usable as soon as you get them, and you’re able to switch while exploring as well. (In the previous games, you could only bring 2 characters with the protagonist to explore, and had to switch characters back at the city / town). While it is rather convenient and again, a huge plus, it does lower the difficulty of the game overall.
An example of a skill in action. If the Support gauge is filled up, characters can help out and the attacks become a chain combo.
The music is hit or miss, I enjoyed Ayesha’s a lot but for this game there are some music I enjoy and others I don’t (luckily as with all Atelier Plus games, you can change certain pieces of music into something else from the previous titles). Same with the voices (I’ve gotten used to Escha but her random grunts during battle when she attacks are hilariously bad).
Nevertheless, Atelier Escha & Logy Plus is a solid game and already one of my favourites overall of the series (out of the ones I’ve played anyway). It adds new elements to all pieces of the gameplay that’s stable throughout the series. The game can be confusing at first but it does become relatively easy to pick up. With these new changes and elements though it does make the game easier than the previous titles (battle items such as bombs and healing items are instantly restocked once you get back to town, a feature not seen in the other games). Although boss battles can still be tough so there’s that.
Newcomers may not understand the flow of the game straight away, nor the references / callouts to the previous game (Atelier Ayesha) but it has enough content to keep them entertained throughout the entirety of the story.