Charm and Adventure Await in Atelier Sophie And sparkles, lots of sparkles. 08.17.15 - 6:47 PM
Atelier Sophie: Alchemist of the Mysterious Book is the latest in Gust's long running series currently in development for PlayStation consoles. Judging by the latest updates, the game looks to carry forward the tradition of charm and adventure found in its predecessors. Sophie herself seeks to improve her alchemy after meeting the mysterious girl Plachta and so must defeat foes and gather materials to practice. Once she becomes a skilled alchemist she will unlock a special outfit, and she won't stop until she masters the craft!
Atelier Sophie's cast is large, and Sophie will be joined by a mix of childhood friends and new acquaintances. They include:
Monika Ellmenreich, Age 17 (voiced by Aya Suzaki): Sophie's best friend who works as as a church assistant. She is from a well-to-do family and excels both academically and athletically. She often acts a big sister toward Sophie but has a whimsical side; for example she loves to sing.
Oscar Bellmar, Age 16 (voiced by Seiichiro Yamashita): Sophie's other best friend is the son of a grocer who has the curious ability to hear the voices of plants and has a great love of them as a result. He often displays great confidence and bravado but becomes deflated easily when rejected.
Corneria, Age 15 (voiced by Yui Kondo): The young proprietor of the wholesale shop in town. She is also an alchemist but must use her abilities sparingly because she shrinks in height every time she does. She has a carefree attitude and wants to become famous so she can find her father.
Harol Simons Age 27 (Tarusuke Shingaki): He runs the local clock shop, having taken the store over from his father, but he doesn't care much for the trade and prefers instead to make guns. He is often facetious, but cares deeply for Sophie who he has known for many years.
Horst Basler, Age 51 (voiced by Yoji Ueda): He runs the local watering hole, a cafe by day and bar by night, and is well connected in town so he will often fill Sophie in on rumors and requests. He opened the shop because he was lonely and wanted to create a space for people to gather.
Leone Age 24 (voiced by Mayumi Iizuka): A tailor who just wandered into town, Leone can seem aloof but in reality she just doesn't know how to express herself well. She is however very confident in her work.
Julio Sebard Leidenschaft Age 19 (voiced by Genki Ogawa): A young knight from the neighboring country of Adarett. He has a genteel, soft-spoken, and proper air about him. He also wants to learn more about alchemy for unknown reasons.
Fritz Weissberg Age 51 (voiced by Kenyu Horiuchi): A former mercenary turned traveling puppeteer. He is generally calm and laid-back, but becomes quite obsessive when it comes to puppets.
Of course, Atelier Sophie isn't all sparkles and sunshine; there will be quite a bit of battling involved too. Players must decide each character's action at the start of the turn, and these actions cannot be changed until the turn ends so they must plan ahead. A bar on the left of the screen indicates turn order, which is based on speed. Characters can use cooperative abilities called Chain Links by filling the Chain Link gauge with attacks and items, though be careful because the taking damage lowers the gauge. When characters have matching stances for attack/defense, they can pull off Chain Links like Offense Act, a more powerful combo attack with two characters and a partial Chain Link meter; Special Attack, an even stronger attack with three people and a full meter; Defense Act, a defensive posture that heals the party when everyone is in defense stance and the meter is partially full; and Special Guard, an improved defensive stance when the meter is full.
Each character also has unique skills that consume MP, as well as access to a unique set of items. For example, Oskar the grocer's son can use "Food" to attack or heal.
Sophie inhabits a dynamic world where weather and environmental factors all matter to her adventure. As time passes villagers will also progress in their lives, and monsters and items will change depending on weather and the hour. In addition, Sophie can stop by the local cafe/bar to talk to people and take on quests or find a juicy rumor. Rumors cost money but they can often point you to plentiful caches of materials. However as you explore, watch out for Sophie's LP meter as it indicates her fatigue. Becoming fatigued can seriously hamper your adventure by reducing Sophie's status.
As mentioned, Plachta is Sophie's companion and the one who catalyzes her adventure. She is the human embodiment of the titular mysterious book, and you can use the Doll Make mode to outfit her and improve her abilities. You can outfit her in four different categories, so the combinations are numerous.
Finally, it wouldn't be an Atelier game without alchemy, and Atelier Sophie brings back the staple item synthesis mechanic. You'll start creating a recipe by choosing your mixing pot, which will affect the available panels for mixing and the item's final attributes. Then you will add ingredients, being mindful of how the different form factors fit into the available panels. Next you'll try for bonus effects by placing items in the bonus square. After you add ingredients you can use points that you have accrued to add even more bonus effects. You can always get a redo if you don't get the desired bonus. Finally, you can add a special characteristic to complete the process.
When you synthesize an item you might get a new idea for an item recipe. You will also raise Sophie's alchemy level, furthering your quest to grow into a skilled alchemist.
If all that wasn't enough information you can watch the game's official trailer below: