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Atelier Lulua ~The Scion of Arland~ Review

Atelier Lulua ~The Scion of Arland~ Review

I’ll open with a small piece of honesty: I’ve never played any of the Atelier games before this one. I initially thought it was a JRPG about Luton Town winger Kazenga Lualua and his brother Lomana. Turns out that first impressions are deceptive and this is a game that points that out exceptionally well. 

Looking at the trailer and screenshots of the game before playing it, I assumed that this was going to be a classic turn-based JRPG. I was expecting something like the Neptunia games, Secret of Mana, or Skies of Arcadia. As it turns out, it’s not entirely unlike those, but it’s also a very different beast. As the title suggests, the ateliers are front and centre here. To save you googling what an atelier is, I already did it. It’s basically a fancy word for an artist’s studio, and in this game, it’s an area where you will spend a lot of your time.

 Playing as Lulua, you are an alchemist trying to follow in the footsteps of your mother, who was renowned as one of the greats. You’re not on a quest to save the world from an evil force, but merely on a voyage of personal development and friendship. It’s all the charm and niceties of a Studio Ghibli movie in a game that’s actually way more relaxing than a videogame ought to be. In the early parts of the game, you find yourself hit on the head by a flying book, with pages that appear blank to everyone except you. The majority of the main storyline deals with seeking out items cryptically hinted at by said book, and crafting items that relate to them.

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You will be doing this in a vibrant and colourful world, where even the most enormous of enemies attack you with a big goofy grin on their face. There are numerous locales and everything is cute and beautiful. It’s nice to see some traditional anime in gaming that isn’t eroge or a visual novel for a change, something that seems to have become less common in recent times. And thinking of traditional anime, the game is presented without a dub, so the purists will be happy. I do like a nice dub, but there’s something quite nice about hearing the original voice actors. Your mileage may vary here of course, but for me it was nice to hear.

Also nice to hear was the game’s music. Perfectly evocative and charming, with an opening theme that I could happily leave on as background music for everything. The soundtrack is as relaxing and slow paced as the game itself, and it echoes the fact that the time limits to complete quests have been relaxed a great deal from previous games. If you enjoyed the race against time approach that the original trilogy of games took then this might be a downside, but for me it was a bonus, allowing me to take my time getting distracted by all the shiny objects waiting to be collected and placed in Lulua’s seemingly limitless inventory. If you’re a newcomer then you probably won’t have an opinion either way, but that won’t hinder you in playing the game. I’m reliably informed that playing the earlier games will potentially give you a greater sense of the game world and characters, but as a newcomer I was able to play without feeling like I was missing out.

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How you feel about Atelier Lulua ~The Scion of Arland~ will be largely influenced by which parts of JRPGs you like most. If you are drawn mainly to an engaging story and the interaction between characters, you’ll probably enjoy it. If you’re a fan of lots of combat and fast paced action, it might not be your cup of mana. If, like me, you enjoy tweaking stats and finding the best combinations of items to maximise your characters, then you will love it. I spent more time crafting than anything else and I loved it. It took me back to the days of spending an hour in the menus of Final Fantasy VII, trying to find the perfect materia combinations and for that reason, I loved it.

8.50/10 8½

Atelier Lulua ~The Scion of Arland~ (Reviewed on Windows)

This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.

How you feel about Atelier Lulua ~The Scion of Arland~ will be largely influenced by which parts of JRPGs you like most. If you are drawn mainly to an engaging story and the interaction between characters, you’ll probably enjoy it. If you’re a fan of lots of combat and fast paced action, it might not be your cup of mana. If, like me, you enjoy tweaking stats and finding the best combinations of items to maximise your characters, then you will love it. I spent more time crafting than anything else and I loved it. It took me back to the days of spending an hour in the menus of Final Fantasy VII, trying to find the perfect materia combinations and for that reason, I loved it.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Gary “Dominoid” Sheppard

Gary “Dominoid” Sheppard

Video Editor

Gary maintains his belief that the Amstrad CPC is the greatest system ever and patiently awaits the sequel to "Rockstar ate my Hamster"

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