As released back in 2010, Atelier Totori made numerous improvements to the gameplay from Rorona after Gust made their first entry to the Playstation 3 such as the art style and game mechanics. Now, that is now made into a Playstation Vita game that only got a release in Japan. (Image Source)
Note: Like with all the Arland games, the Plus versions were rereleased on the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch as DX on September 20, 2018. As with the Plus version, the review will cover the DX versions as well.
Believe it or not, the game took about three times as long opposed to 20-26 hours needed because my Japanese skills are only at a lower-intermediate level. Even so, it’s manageable as I was able to understand most of it just from looking up words I don’t know. In short, you should take note of the traits for the items and put its translation aside it so you know what you are making.
The main plot of this game involves a young 13-year-old Achemist named Totooria Helmold who becomes an adventurer in order to find her lost mother. While there is a good amount of humor in this game, there is also a lot of serious moments, especially when she finds out that her mother died after trying to defeat the Evil Face from potentially eating everyone in the village (the True ending says otherwise, but I haven’t gotten there yet).
On the other hand, the characters in this game are rather enjoyable. Aside from the characters from Rorona, which makes a return, there are new ones. Particularly, my favorites are Mimi and Cecilia (Totori’s older sister), although the other characters are enjoyable as well. This game also has dedicated endings for characters that can join your party (excluding DLC ones) and they are highly dependent on the event triggers and friendship levels. It’s nice to have dedicated ones as well even though you have to play the game more than once to see all the endings.
As for the battle system, it’s rather simple. Totori and Rorona are the only one that can use items. The only problem from playing Meruru first is that Totori is a lot weaker in comparison. It’s obvious that she is supposed to be a support character rather than used for attacking, which is why there is Assist Guard so another party member can take the damage instead. In addition, there are Assist abilities that can be activated depending on the action and of course, the ability to use the character’s most powerful attack once the white bar is filled.
Although the mechanics seems simple, I had some difficulties in some spots. Basically, the hardest bosses in this game that I challenged are Flauschtraut and Evil Face. I think people will have problems with the former because you need to get its attack pattern down so you can guard and make the most powerful weapons/gear. In comparison, Evil Face wasn’t too bad as I had access to Elixirs, Dimension Eggs and other powerful weapons.
In comparison to the Playstation 3 version, the Vita version was just as graphically impressive, more so on the Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch ports with the DX versions. This version basically came with all the DLC such as the music, model viewer and additional characters (Cordelia, Iksel and Cecilia). You can unlock these characters by viewing certain events. Afterwards, they can join your party from the start in a New Game Plus. In addition to the included DLC, there is one exclusive dungeon and you can now change Totori’s appearance with various costumes like this nurse’s outfit.
While Gust did a good job with the Playstation Vita port and included some extra goodies, there were some flaws. Beside the framerate problems, which happened in a few instances, I had the game crash on me about 5 times and I didn’t save! It happened when I prepared to challenge the Flauschtraut. After I beaten that boss, the game didn’t crash ever since. Also, there was also a graphical glitch when Totori opens up the chest and it exploded on her. Sadly, I didn’t take a snapshot of that, so you basically have to take my word. These issues are likely fixed in the DX versions.
Overall, I thought Atelier Totori Plus was a very enjoyable game. It had a very endearing story and enjoyable gameplay. While there were some rough edges with the port, hopefully Gust will not make the same mistakes when they finally release the Vita port of Atelier Meruru next month which also contain all the DLC content, additional costumes and an extra event. From a Japanese Learner’s perspective, it’s a manageable game. As mentioned before, take notes on the traits and license tasks and you will do fine (although some tasks are obvious like defeating a number of monsters). If you just want play the game, the localized Playstation 3 release will be fine even though it won’t have the extras.
Update: Since the release, the Vita localized release is finally out on the Playstation Network in the west, so if you think about getting it, now it’s the time. I still wonder if they fixed the crashing bug in that version… ¶