The Atelier Arland Series Deluxe Pack brings together 3 games in one great bundle for the PlayStation 4 or Nintendo Switch. This bundle offers a chance for people to revisit this popular JRPG series and to see how far it has come since the PS Vita version.
If you are visiting this series for the first time, then it is recommended that you play each game in order. Each one follows on from the other, so you risk some spoilers if you jump between them. Another benefit of playing them in order is you get a chance to see how each game develops and improves from the previous.
In each of the games, you play an alchemist who is thrown into the spotlight for different reasons. Firstly, you play as Rorona who under the guidance of Astrid needs to complete timed quests for the King to prove the importance of alchemy to the kingdom. Set a couple of years after the first you play as Totori who is searching for her lost mother in the city of Arland. Finally, you have Meruru who wants to use the power of alchemy to build her kingdom. Each one of these characters has a different personality and storyline which gives you a different experience each time.
What I really liked about this game is the anime vibe visuals. The games are all bright and I would say they had a charming feel about them. The narrative scenes have fantastic artwork and the array of characters throughout the game are great. You are not getting realistic graphics, but the game looks good and runs pretty well. The anime style may not be for everyone who doesn’t play many of these Japanese games, but it fits for this game.
Gameplay involves completing quests normally within a set time and to complete these quests you will need to collect material, engage in combat with monsters out in the world and then synthesis items both for quests and to aid your character. Doing this in each game is simple enough and is a great introduction to the normal grind of JRPGs. However, if you want to play through all 3 games then the systems can get a bit repetitive and may start to feel like a bit of a drag.
The biggest challenge of this game comes with time management. Every action uses up time and consumes some of your character’s energy. Seeing as most quests have a time limit on them you need to keep track of everything you do. Moving to new areas, fighting monsters, synthesising items and resting all uses up time. You need to make sure you have time to complete each quest and make it through the story.
Every now and then you will find yourself needing to fight monsters to get around the world map. The combat takes on a turn-based approach with mastering the strengths of your crew being the key to success. As you progress through the game you will unlock more characters to take into battle with you. As the side characters are great in this game it’s fun to take new ones into battle. To get the most from this game you just need to understand that it doesn’t take itself too seriously.
The best parts of this game are the great array of characters you will come across during the story and the detailed story behind each of the main characters. The main alchemist storylines are well developed, and you will enjoy these as they unfold across the 3 games. This bundle contains a lot of content but is best taken in small doses to avoid any fatigue.
This isn’t the most traditional JRPG out there as the slower pace to the grind is a nice way to enjoy the story. The character stories are well thought out and I enjoyed playing through each of the games. The time management element makes the game interesting and keeps you on your toes as you go. Overall, this bundle is certainly worth playing through and brings the series up to date on modern consoles just in time for the next game in the series to launch.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*