Well, there’s a lot of game in this collection! The Mysterious Trilogy contains three games; Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book, Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey, and Atelier Lydia & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings.
Lots of alchemists and mystery then. But what is it all about? Well, the Mysterious Trilogy is a remastered collection of past games, complete with previously released DLC and some other bits sprinkled in. At their core, the games are centred around the titular heroes who have to collect and create various concoctions which they then use to their advantage in turn-based battles. This loop of exploring, collect, creating, and fighting is core and runs through all games.
Thankfully, it’s good fun. The games all look great, despite some tonal differences in each which helps add to the variety. Combat is rather typically JRPG turn-based fair, with a number of your party taking actions, and selecting various enemies to attack who are doing the same to you. One of the key components here, particularly as you start to get into the meat of the game, is what you’ve created. The alchemy aspect is (perhaps obviously) a major component.
The alchemy aspect is referred to as ‘synthesizing’ in the game. It’s not as simple as just chucking various items together. You choose a cauldron and then place your items in a Tetris-style arrangement. There’s a colour-matching game at play here also, along with certain items in certain places boosting the efficacy of the output. It’s far more complicated than I initially gave it credit for.
As this clicks, so do further intricacies in the battle system. Combination techniques start to play a bigger part, along with the reward of seeing some rather fantastic battle animations (opposed to a standard character moving forward and ‘swiping’ the enemy).
Story-wise, each game builds on what I understand to be fairly detailed and deep lore. The first title (Sophie) sets the scene nicely, as Sophie is a novice in the world of alchemy and finds a mysterious book that helps her restore her lost memories. Firis introduces a new character and joins up with Sophie in order to help convince her parents she has what it takes to become an alchemist. Finally, Lydie & Suelle hear a strange voice coming from their basement which is coming from a weird painting. Their journey takes them to a number of places to discover the secrets of different paintings.
All the various colours and cel-shaded style visuals really pop, and the addition of a photo mode supports this too. With the variety of locations you visit across all three games, you have an enormous amount of opportunity to take lots of photos. Across the three games, there’s a massive amount to see and do, so there is a lot of value for your money with Atelier Mysterious Trilogy. The game does a nice job of introducing you to all of the mechanics, and explaining things like the time-cycle (some things you do expend time) but this isn’t always the case, which makes it a great intro to newcomers.
Reviewed on PS4