Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny
Update: NIS America delivers another dose of alchemist bliss. New screenshots!
Preview by (Email)
March 23rd 2006
The Basics: The sequel to Gust's RPG series sets you in the plotline of an alchemist that's out to prove himself and put his skills to the test. Felt and Vieze Blanchimont, the respective heroes of Atelier Iris 2 are playable and fans will discover it's necessary to switch between back and forth throughout the game's series of events. While one character goes off on adventure in distant worlds, facing off against enemies via a turn-based battle system, the other remains at home and creates items and weapons. The two characters share a common item pouch, allowing them to communicate with one another throughout the game. The interaction between both characters distant and far, allows for some very interesting gameplay and character relations.
Battles remain as traditional as they were in past Atelier games. It utilizes the Active Cost Time Battle System, which allocates player's turns primarily over speed. Depending on the strength of attacks, it's possible to push an enemy further back on the Active Cost Time bar, delaying their actions.
While random encounters are a very archaic tool in RPG's, Azoth of Destiny easens the pain of unexpected attacks with a meter that changes in color to signify the higher chances of encounters and enemy attacks.
Of course, no Atelier game would be the same without its staple gameplay element; alchemy. While Felt and Vieze are very distant from each other, their shared item bag allows for quick item transfers. Obviously, the bag also serves as several communication uses between the two.
What do we think? Thankfully, NIS America was kind enough to localize the first Eternal Mana to US shores last summer. While the game received a very low print, it's cult status still keeps it alive among hungry NIS fans. And while the first game might have introduced some rather traditional old-school gameplay, its follow-up has a much quicker battle system and more interesting plot. All while keeping the great hi-res sprites and backgrounds that made the first Atelier stand out so well. It would seem as if Gust managed to take everything that made the first game so enjoyable, and added beyond that in the sequel. Here's hoping it has a spectacular welcome when it hits US shores this April.