Atelier Ayesha may be a fantastic game but let's see how well its follow-up fares with Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky DX.
Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky has you choose between playing as 1 of its 2 titular characters right off the bat. No matter who you select, the story that unfolds will be basically the same as both of these chums actually work together in the same atelier. They are part of the development team in the town of Colseit and they're tasked with completing assignments which help citizens of the town and surrounding area. Although this story isn't as personal as Ayesha's, I found working as a team for the greater good to be a rewarding tale. Also, the plot takes a while to get exciting but once it does, things become very interesting indeed. Plus, there are multiple endings to strive for like in many other Atelier games. I also enjoyed the cast of characters in Atelier Escha & Logy but didn't find them to be as memorable as characters in past games, especially Atelier Ayesha.
Alchemists of the Dusk Sky's campaign is set up in a way that reflects actually working at a job as you have deadlines and get evaluated each month which grants you money and possibly promotions. I definitely appreciate this formula as it reflects past games in the franchise such as Atelier Rorona but at the same time, it feels rather rigid compared to its direct Dusk predecessor which allowed for a great deal of freedom. With that being said, filling out your tasks grid and earning bonuses is supremely satisfying as well as continually fulfilling requests for small boosts in promotion points. Overall, it's a repetitive yet rewarding gameplay loop that'll keep you hooked.
The actual core gameplay elements of Atelier Escha & Logy are fairly standard with an alchemy system that's nearly identical to the one in Atelier Ayesha. Meanwhile, the battle system is different in that you command 3 party members while an additional 3 form the back row and can perform follow-up attacks and take defensive stances to minimize damage to their allies as well as replace them. It works quite well but I miss the freedom of Atelier Ayesha's battles where you could strategically position your party members to juggle back attacks. Last but not least, exploring the world map is straightforward as there are a handful of areas that contain plenty of explorable locations each. As you explore, you'll fill a gauge that you can use to initiate field events that grant you handy boosts which is pretty cool.
Even though many of Atelier Escha & Logy's gameplay elements lack innovation and are fairly standard, its graphics and sound are fantastic. I appreciate the cartoonish character models and unlike in Atelier Ayesha DX, the characters here have mouths that actually match their faces. On top of that, the music is downright wonderful with plenty of memorable orchestral arrangements and vocal songs that make the world come alive. I especially enjoy the tracks that play during the introductory and opening cinematics.
Of course, if you already own Atelier Escha & Logy on another console then this DX edition may be a little disappointing because it doesn't offer much unique that wasn't already in the Plus version. Just like Atelier Ayesha DX, Atelier Escha & Logy DX features fast forward and run options as well as some costume DLC so it may not be worth upgrading unless you're a huge fan or this would be your first time playing it. If that's the case then the DX version makes for a great excuse to finally go on this delightful journey.
There's an old-school feel to Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky that'll make series fans nostalgic as they go on the memorable adventure within. Where it lacks in innovation, it definitely makes up for in heart.
- + Rewarding gameplay that revolves around working as a team for a good cause
- + Wonderful visuals and music
- + Story eventually becomes fantastic
- - Campaign structure is quite rigid
- - Most mechanics lack innovation
- - Basically the same as the Plus version