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Atelier Arland Series Deluxe Pack

Posted by GG Goblin On January - 14 - 2019

So much Atelier.

Fans of GUST’s Atelier series of crafting-heavy JRPGs generally have a lot to be happy about. The series has been going for ages, with a huge number of instalments, and is improving with each entry. While the Atelier games may not have the massive exposure of certain other JRPGs, there is no denying that the series has a dedicated following. That following is only growing, and part of that is due to the most recent Atelier game, Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings, turning up on the Switch while before being almost exclusive to the PlayStation platforms. With these new fans, it makes sense to offer some of the older games in the series on the Nintendo Switch, and so we get the Atelier Arland Series Deluxe Pack.

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As most of the Atelier games seem to be bunched into trilogies, it makes sense to release the three Arland games together in a bundle for the new fans to enjoy. However, there is another reason for the Arland games to be re-released on Switch, and that is because there is a fourth entry in the Atelier Arland series due to be released some time this year, and as these games tend to run off of one another, offering three games that are the better part of ten years old so players can refresh, or discover anew, their memories before the new game is a good idea. The three games in the Arland pack are offered as a bundle, or are available separately which, considering the cost of the bundle, is probably for the best.

So, what does the player get in this collection of games? Well, those lucky Switch Atelier fans will receive Atelier Rorona: The Alchemists of Arland, Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland and Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland. Each of these games are offered in the Deluxe format, meaning substantial changes and improvements have been made over the original releases, and all of the available DLC for the three games is included as well. In all, that’s a massive amount of gaming, but it does come at a massive price. While each of the games are offered individually on the eShop, they will still cost £34.99 a time. To buy the Atelier Arland Series Deluxe Pack, which is all three games, the buyer will have to fork out an eye-watering £79.99, which is a bargain compared to the individual price, but still a hefty chunk of cash. For games that are ten years old, it does seem a bit on the expensive side, despite being the best looking versions of the games and having gameplay that will easily climb into the hundreds of hours.

Still, having all of that Atelier goodness in the palm of your hand will be worth the money to most. With three individual stories that are all linked together, so best played in order, and gameplay that while extensive, is perfectly suited to quick pick up and play sessions, the Atelier Arland pack will be around long after many of the more budget eShop offerings have been forgotten. And besides, it is all preparation for the next game in the series.

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Anyway, for those who are new to the Atelier games, what you get here is a game that follows the main protagonist and their friends on a JRPG adventure. This means exploring areas, doing quests and battling monsters. The combat is turn-based and does feel a little dated, which should come as no surprise as they are old games now. The thing that ties the games together, aside from the stories, is the alchemy, or crafting. Along the way, each lead character is a practising alchemist and will be gathering all manner of ingredients to craft items to imp[rove their team or as required for quests. The pace of the games is much slower than many JRPGs and players will find the stories to be more sedate, focussing on the personal goals of the lead characters rather than trying to save the world. As a result, the games are much more laid back and cheerful, making playing them quite the relaxing experience. Even the imposed time limits, which can be really limiting, are not too damaging if the player misses them.

The stories begin with Atelier Rorona in which the player will take control of the young alchemy student Rorolina as she tires to complete jobs for the King otherwise her master’s alchemy shop will be closed down. Atelier Totori follows some years later with the player controlling a student of Rorona who wants to find out the truth behind her mothers disappearance. Finally, Atelier Meruru follows the Princess of Aris as she, against her father’s wishes, chases her dream to be an Alchemist and use those skills for the betterment of the Kingdom. It’s all fairly light stuff, but incredibly endearing. Each of the games will see the main character grow and evolve, while gathering around them a team of friends. The interactions between these teams are always light-hearted and good natured, giving the games a real feel good vibe.

When it comes to the presentation, some may be worried that the games have not aged well. While they are certainly not breaking any boundaries, all three Arland games look perfectly at home on the Switch, both in big and small screen modes. There have definitely been some tweaks since the original releases, but both the gameplay and the cut scenes are nice to watch.

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The Atelier Arland Series Deluxe Pack will not be for everyone. For starters, it offers a much more sedate style of gameplay with much simpler, less impactful stories that will just not appeal to some players. I have to also say that the price points are not exactly generous, and many will scoff at paying out so much money for ten year old games. However, for those who want to explore more of the Atelier world, maybe in preparation for this years release, or those who want to explore Arland again while on the move, the Atelier Arland Series Deluxe Pack will be an investment that will keep them entertained for hundreds of hours. For the fans, this is a pack that their Switch needs.




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