Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny
Update: NIS America delivers another dose of alchemist bliss. New screenshots!
Preview by (Email)
March 23rd 2006
Last Updated: 9/19/05
2D magic returns in Spring 2006.
The Basics: Atelier Iris was a breath of fresh air in the US, which had come to believe 3D was the only way to go for console gaming. It offered lush 2D graphics with an interesting and often humorous story, and the ability to turn nearly anything into a useful item, from mushrooms to bikinis.
Atelier Iris 2 builds upon the first with a more cinematic presentation that will draw you into a world set in the past before the events of the original. When magic was more common, and the world was rife with great conflicts and terrible deeds. When a man named Chaos is willing to do anything to save his sister, even if it means tearing the world of Eden apart in the process. It's up to two orphans, Viese and Felt, to use the strength of a warrior and the power of alchemy to prevent this disaster.
To do this, they'll have to struggle through unknown dangers on two separate worlds, allowing the player to switch between them at will. This will often be used to exchange important items, such as one gathering rare raw materials that the other will be able to transform into a weapon only the first one can use. Meanwhile the battle system of the original has gotten a major upgrade. Similar to the newer entries of the Grandia series, now there is a time bar that keeps track of the order of everyone's attacks, forcing you to think quickly and plan your actions well if you don't want to be crushed by the game's colorful enemies.
What do we think? The first was so nice we reviewed it twice. The dual character system sounds intriguing, and the improved battle system will offer an intensity to combat that was a bit lacking outside of boss battles in the original. They've managed to improve on the already delightful visuals of the first, even dropping the rather plain 3D map for more 2D style. My only concern is that in the midst of these new and improved aspects, the game will lose its focus on the alchemy that made the whole Atelier series so unique and fun to begin with.
··· Aaron Drewniak