GAMES - Review
11:00 - 27th April 2013, by NEO Staff

Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk

Possibly the most accessible entry into the now-familiar Atelier franchise, Atelier Ayesha welcomes new gamers into the fold with a storyline separate from the previous entries. The game follows Ayesha Altugle, a herbalist who works in her late grandfather's workshop, living a humble existence in a world where alchemy is outdated. Her sister, Nio, has disappeared while out gathering herbs one day, and a chance encounter leads Ayesha on an emotional journey that explores loss, sadness and a little bit of adventure, too. Of course, how well this experience resonates with you depends entirely on how well you click with the cast.

With a multitude of endings for this 60-hour long game, that emotional link is key to uncovering everything this game has to offer. The gameplay is familiar to anyone who has played a previous entry to the franchise - and indeed, anyone who has picked up a J-RPG before. The tactical combat is deep enough to hook players in, and complex enough to keep them feeling challenged. The alchemy aspect, which sees you synthesising new items, feels a little lacklustre, but this seems in part like a concession towards accessibility for the title. There's still plenty here to like for the long term fan, and the beautiful visuals should be reason enough for newbies to hop onboard for a ride, too!

A beautifully created, haunting game, this latest entry into the Atelier franchise is newcomer-friendly, although long-term fans may find certain much-loved aspects have been pared down as a result.
SCORE: 3/5
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