games / Reviews

Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland (PS4) Review

June 24, 2019 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland
The 411 Rating
Community Grade
Your Grade
Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland (PS4) Review  

I’ll admit first off that I’ve never played an Atelier game. This long running, since PS2 I think, RPG series has never connected with me. It’s not that I avoided the franchise but there were usually better/more famous RPG’s out there and Atelier was never really talked about. So, when this game came up for rotation I thought “Why not? It might be time to expand my horizons a bit.” Well….it didn’t turn out great. While nothing is really inherently “bad” with this game, I just did not connect with it at all.

Honestly, this’ll be one of my shortest reviews for the site. I didn’t get too far in the game, only about 15 hours or so, because the story was just boring me to death. You play as Lulua, the daughter of a famed alchemist. You are also training to become an alchemist when a magical book literally falls from the sky that only she can read. She can decode the book to unlock new alchemy recipes and ventures forth into the world to unlock as much as she can.

On its face, the actual story is fine. However, Lulua’s personality is somewhat inconsistent, usually annoying and/or immature. She kind of reminded me of a Compile Heart/Hyperdimension Neptunia protagonist, which isn’t exactly great.

The book, called the “Alchemyriddle” (yep…that’s what it is called) is actually an interesting idea. You have to actually have to go out and figure stuff out. This usually means gathering the right ingredients, talking to certain NPC’s, visiting the right town/area, and so on, but still, it’s probably the most unique thing in this game and it was compelling for a while.

Meanwhile, the battle system is pretty bog-standard JRPG stuff. You have 3 characters and you can see the turn counter as you play. You have a variety of attacks and skills, which use MP. Lulua (or other alchemists) can do an interrupt attack, once it charges up, to kind of break up the enemy flow, like killing them before they might get an attack off or healing a character before they may die, even if it’s not your turn. Aside from this though, it’s mostly all stuff you’ve seen before, especially the support structure of other passive characters

As far as the actual alchemy system this game has, I found it a really mixed bag. The game throws a tutorial out at the start of the game that has paradoxically too much info and not enough info, at the same time.

If the system was simple like “Throw 2 (or more) ingredients in a pot, cook them and see what happens”, it would be great. It’s not though. There are multiple stages when you can add things, to strengthen/alter the concoction. There is also a whole elemental system (fire, water, light and dark) to contend with and different ingredients, even qualities of the same ingredients, can impact the final result.

Honestly, I just never quite got a handle on this system, which is really the bulk of the game. Creating stuff with the book is relatively easy and fun, but creating stuff just on your own is a big hassle. There’s a lot of variable you have to keep track of and they throw a lot at you, from the start, making it an information overload.

The final score: review Good
The 411
Honestly, I’m not the right person for this game but I don’t think it is necessarily “bad”, it just didn’t connect with me. Considering how long the series has been going on, it has to connect with some people, it’s just a bummer it wasn’t me. Still, this is a well-made enough game and should keep certain JRPG fans busy for a while.