When Koei Tecmo first announced that the Atelier Arland games (which are almost 10 years old now) would be released in HD for home consoles, many fans were super hyped and excited to play them - me included. I was skeptical at first but trust me when I say: I was NOT disappointed! They definitely delivered and recreated their original masterpieces with quite the number of improvements.
The Atelier Arland Series Deluxe Pack consists of 3 games - Atelier Rorona, Atelier Totori and Atelier Meruru. Each of these games contains all DLC and Extras included in their respective "Plus" version, brought out for the Playstation Vita a few years prior. While none of them contain any real "new" content since that last release, they do run somewhat smoother and have better graphics. I was very happy to see that a lot of effort was put into these remasters.
If you happen to be new to the JRPG series, here's a short summary: In each of the games (most of the time named after the protagonist(s) you play as) you collect ingredients, fight monsters and perform alchemy in order to finish tasks given to you by many different characters throughout the world. Compared to other JRPGs however, this series is rather upbeat, so don't expect too many tearjerkers.
from left to right: Rorona, Meruru and Totori
In Atelier Rorona, the first game in the trilogy, you take the role of Rorolina Frixell (Rorona for short), who desperately tries to prevent her atelier from closing down. To achieve this, she has to complete assignments given by the palace. It's not as simple as it sounds - especially since each of the missions has to be fulfilled in a certain amount of time.
Compared to Rorona, the gameplay isn't too different in Atelier Totori and Meruru - most of the mechanics remain the same. The main differences are the plot. In Atelier Totori, you travel the world, trying to find out about the whereabouts of Totori's mother, while in Atelier Meruru, you have to rebuild the kingdom and its population in order for Meruru to be able to keep on studying alchemy. Don't let that discourage you from playing them though - each game has its own charming points.
Despite the fact that the 3 games are similar in terms of gameplay, they are all incredibly fun to play. As I've mentioned earlier, the game has a rather cheerful atmosphere. A lot of the characters you meet you'll just end up falling in love with, I personally loved getting to know the support cast better. If you're not busy collecting ingredients, performing alchemy or fighting monsters, you can dress up your party members with different costumes and accessories, explore the world while listening to an amazing soundtrack, or just enjoy the beautiful visuals. The amount of items, discoveries and possibilities are endless. Additionally, all three games include dual audio - meaning that you can choose between english and japanese voice acting.
In conclusion, I am happy Koei Tecmo made the decision to remaster and release the Arland trilogy in the west.
Every entry truly received the treatment it deserved. Whether you're looking for an activity that keeps you busy for hours or something to play in your free time, I highly recommend you this trilogy, if not the Atelier series as a whole. I've thoroughly enjoyed playing each of the games and I seriously hope they're considering releasing the Twilight series in HD as well. Make it happen, Koei Tecmo!
+ beautiful HD remaster with smoother and prettier graphics
+ all DLC that was formerly released is included
+ easy introduction to the series for beginners
+ japanese and english audio
- The potential for new content was there
- Can get repetitive at times
This review covers the PS4 version of the Arland trilogy. The Atelier Arland Series Deluxe Pack is available now on PS4, Nintendo Switch and Steam. I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to Koei Tecmo for providing me with the opportunity to play these games and write this review.