Embark on a journey to become an alchemist, crafting items and exploring vast regions along the way.
Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey
Developer: Koei Tecmo
Platforms: PS4, Vita, PC (reviewed)
MonsterVine was provided with a PC code for review.
Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey is the sequel to Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book, but despite a few references and returning characters, you don’t need to understand the previous game to play this one.
You play as Firis Mistlud, a girl who lives in an isolated mining town located within a cave. Firis longs to see the outside world, and when she meets Sophie and learns she has a talent for alchemy, she gets permission to become an alchemist and leave home. There’s a catch, however—if Firis can’t pass the upcoming alchemy exam, she’ll need to return home forever.
This drives the plot for the first half of the game. Firis, along with her older sister, ventures out on a journey to the distant city of Reisenberg and take the exam. You have one year of in-game time to get letters of recommendation from at least three alchemists and reach Reisenberg.
As an alchemist, you’ll spend a great deal of time crafting items. The alchemy system is simple to learn. Each recipe tells you what items you need, and then you arrange them on a grid to create the item. Your item choices, along with their arrangement, influence the final product’s quality, traits, and other bonuses. Meanwhile, everything you do—such as gathering items or fighting monsters—helps inspire Firis to come up with new recipes.
The game is split into several large regions, each of which includes items to gather and monsters to fight. Combat is a basic turn-based system, with a party gauge that builds up to let you perform combos. While you might find many enemies too difficult, especially in the first half, monsters appear on the field and are relatively easy to avoid.
It’s also important to talk to NPCs, as they frequently give you side quests. Many of these feel like fetch quests, but a few get more interesting. However, the side quest system is currently bugged, as updates often appear for entirely unrelated quests, sometimes leaving you at a loss for your next step.
The time limit is lenient enough to allow for some exploration and side quests, but if you’re the sort of player who likes to do all optional content as you go, you might want to reconsider—especially when the day/night cycle is so short, you can run around a village once or twice to watch it transition. Nevertheless, you should be able to reach Reisenberg in plenty of time.
Once you pass the license exam, the time limit goes away. In the second half of the game, you’re free to explore and craft items to your heart’s content, while also taking on special side quests to eventual pursue endings with the various characters you meet along the way.
Unfortunately, the cast of characters is somewhat bland. They all have their own quirks, as well as cute or entertaining interactions with Firis, but nothing makes them particularly stand out. Still, the story and characters aren’t the main focus of Atelier Firis—alchemy is, and that’s where you’ll find the game’s heart and soul.
The Final Word
Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey isn’t the place to look for a strong story or complex combat, but fans of item crafting and exploration will find it to be an enjoyable experience, especially in its second half.
– MonsterVine Review Score: 3.5 out of 5 – Fair