Atelier Lydie & Suelle:- The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings Review, with a comparison with the Mystery series games, (Atelier Sophie & Atelier Firis)

Atelier Lydie & Suelle Review In Few Words (Mini Review)

Atelier Lydie & Suelle is quite an improvement over both Firis & Sophie, from both the characters & story. Despite the many reused elements from Firis, they still managed to create a good game overall.

If you played any of the other mysterious series games, I will compare Atelier Lydie & Suelle with them in multiple areas. In short, it’s the better game among those in my opinion. While I quite like Atelier Lydie & Suelle. I still don’t think Atelier Lydie & Suelle is as good as the Dusk & Arland games. But at least I can say Gust is heading in the right direction. The sales of the series have been suffering for a while (this game sold 180,000 in Japan & Asia), and I hope they improve and fix the issues with the next trilogy. The producer Keisuke Kikuchi said the announcement of the next Atelier game is on May or July of 2018. If you liked this entry in the Atelier series, then that’s more of a reason to take a look at the other games in the franchise.

Some parts of this review can be subjective, especially since each Atelier fan has their own preference over what game they prefer. For that reason, I will illustrate the different aspects of the game, so that you can judge it yourself, while inserting my opinions about things here & there.

All the screenshots in this review are taken from the Nintendo Switch version by your truly (With the exception of the comparison images)

This review will contain minor spoilers.

See the available Atelier links in the following Amazon links:-

Pros Of Atelier Lydie & Suelle

  • Has the best characters design & interactions in the mysterious series so far.
  • Has more story then the rest Mysterious games.

Cons Of Atelier Lydie & Suelle

  • Switch version graphics are a bit dim compared to the PS4 version. You will mostly get used to that.
  • No English voices in the western version.
  • When the Switch version is in sleep mode, the game timer goes on.
  • The price tag for the game season pass is outrageous, even higher than games much bigger.
  • Has many fetch requests, making the game feel repetitive at times.

Atelier Lydie & Suelle Story

The story revolves around twin girls. On one hand, we have Lydie Malen, who’s demure & a good reader, but not good at physical exercise at all. On the other hand, we have her twin sister, Suelle Malen, the energetic tomboy. The difference between the girls is obvious in battles too, where Suelle is more geared toward offense, and Lydie is more toward support. The two girls run a small atelier in Merveille, the capital of Adalet, and together they aim to have the best atelier in the whole kingdom (When the game start, they are barely able to get money for food).

The trend of having two protagonists started with Escha & Logy, and continued with Shallie, but discontinued in Sophie, and we kinda had two main characters in Firis, but with Firis getting almost all the attention, making her sister Liane more of a supportive character. It’s really nice to see this happen again.

Characters & Slice Of Life

From what I played so far, the character interactions are much better than any of the two other mysterious games, it’s like they stepped up their game. If they kept on improving on the games like that. I will have more hope for the Atelier series.

There’s a reappearance of many characters from Firis & Sophie, it’s probably the Atelier game with the most recurring characters so far. I always like how recurring female characters tend to have lovely new uniforms. As long as these character have a good role, I totally don’t mind (some of the characters have that, some totally don’t, and can be removed from the game without affecting it at all).

Gameplay

A little bit after you start the game, you will be introduced to the Atelier Ranking system, which is a system the kingdom set up to rank ateliers. This is a good chance for our twin to gain reputation & win more customers for their atelier. The system is simple, ateliers are ranked from S to G, and you start with no rank at first. Once your atelier gains a certain reputation, you will be able to take the promotion exam (you get a cutscene every time this happens). Once you pass the exam, your atelier rank goes up. Raising your rank simply progresses the story & opens up new areas for you.

You raise your atelier reputation by doing small tasks. These tasks are similar to the tasks we had in Escha & Logy (and the tasks in Shallie too). For example, you are asked to collect 10 woods, or synthesize a certain item, or to gain a certain alchemy or battle level. Most of the tasks are easy & totally doable. You will find yourself naturally finishing some of them even without checking your to-do list (like how you often get a bronze trophy without aiming for it). Some of the tasks require a bit of grind to do them, but nothing too bad so far. You don’t need to complete all the tasks to be able to advance your ranking. If you played Atelier Totori, you know how ranking works. It’s just that there are no points for you to collect this time around.

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You stay in Merveille most of the time, but you leave the town to gather different materials or to do tasks. You can travel quickly to any part of the town from the quick menu. From that menu, you can see if there’s a pending request or an event, as these are marked by a !? or a star ★ respectively. When you’re gathering in the fields, you can return to the Atelier at any time from a quick menu, something I find quite convenient. The game environment is less of an open-world system, which may disappoint some of Atelier Firis fans.

Battles

The battles system is almost identical to the one we had in Firis. The battles formation is two rows. You control the 3 characters in the front row, while the 3 on the back act as support. The support moves range from a skill attack to a support move that heals your MP or HP. It’s a nice system, but besides deciding on the formation and which character is in front or back, you don’t really control the supporting character. There’s no gauge for you to watch or anything too. After some time, you will learn that using skills always triggers the support character make a move right after that.

No Time Limit

There’s no time limit in the game at all, which makes this another friendly Atelier game to newcomers. The lack of the time limit is something I have a mixed opinion about. I like having the freedom of having no limits to synthesize & create items to my heart content. It also makes it easier to get all the different endings. At the same time, I feel like they should compensate for time limit somehow. As it takes a challenging element from the game. At the very least, removing it made the Atelier series more approachable to the average player. Although the series sales have been generally going down, not up.

No LP Or Any Fatigue Measure, So You Can Explore To Your Heart Content

Unlike the case of Sophie & Firis. You can explore the different areas as much as you want, as there’s no LP the way we had in the previous two games, where you had to rest every now & then to recover your LP, or else the character would faint. LP didn’t exactly make Atelier Sophie & Firis hard games, but it felt a bit unnecessary at times.

Painting Exploration

Besides exploring different areas around the town, something you did with all Atelier games in a way or another. You also get to explore mysterious paintings. Rather than having the two protagonists travel far away from their hometown, they visit different worlds inside paintings (thus the game has “The Mysterious Painting” in its title). The closest thing I know to that are the paintings in Super Mario 64.

Mysterious paintings is a good way to add unique worlds to the game. I hope they take advantage of it to show us beautiful worlds (I am only at the 5th painting in the game, so I didn’t get to see all of them).

No Map During Exploration

One thing I noticed while I am exploring different areas is that there’s no map to show you the parts you explored, something I used extensively in Firis (which had huge maps). The areas to explore are not that huge so far, but a map makes it much easier to reach 100% of the area, as well as to make sure you never get lost. Something that happened to me in a certain painting.

Alchemy System

The alchemy system in Atelier Lydie & Suelle is very similar to the one we had in Sophie & Firis in that you place the items in a puzzle-like grid, but with some variations. There are slots where you can’t place items at all, or where you should place a plant to get certain effects. I never liked this system much, it’s slow when you want to synthesize a lot. It also didn’t entice me much to try to create the best items ever, but I know there are who likes it, so I will leave it at that.

The Game Soundtracks

I am yet to listen to all the soundtracks in Atelier Lydie & Suelle, but the town soundtracks are better (there’s one for both Lydie & Suelle). The same goes for the atelier song (there’s one for each of the twins too). I personally disliked the atelier soundtrack in Firis, I even changed it to other tracks. Besides the atelier & town soundtrack, each of the twin has her own soundtrack for battles (I play with Suelle most of the time).

A Good Entry To The Atelier Series For New Players

One of the questions I get asked often whether it’s okay to get into the series from the mysterious games. The answer is easily yes. The games in this series are quite easy, and you could get all the endings without much effort.

If you liked the games of the mysterious series, I totally encourage you to get into the older games in Arland & Dusk. As they’re even better in multiple aspects, be it the slice-of-life element or the battles. Heck, older Atelier fans would encourage you to play some of the older games too, like Mana Khemia.

You could start the series from Atelier Lydie & Suelle if you like, and skip Atelier Sophie & Firis. You will miss few things here & there, but you will be able to understand the story well. In my personal opinion, the best experience come from playing the games of any Atelier trilogy in their respective order (People used to skip Rorona because it is buggy, before we had the plus version, so that was understandable). But I am aware not all people have the time for that.

You Can Jump Around Different Places

There’s a quick menu to move between different areas in Merveille, something that has been there in all the Atelier games I played, but also something I really complained for not having during most of the first part of Firis. The lack of a full map during exploration may annoy you quite a bit if you played the previous games.

Good Characters Design

Even before the game was released, I quite liked the design of the characters in Atelier Lydie & Suelle. I heard the characters interactions is also really good in it, so far, that’s the case for me( I will make sure to update this review once I am done with it to ).

No English Dub

There’s no English dub in the western version of the game this time, mostly because of the sales of Firis (I guess). If you’re the kind that plays Gust games with the original Japanese voices, then that won’t matter to you. Some refuses to buy the game at all for not having English voices.

In my opinion, the original Japanese voices are quite lovely, just like always. The only issue I have with them is that I have to read the subtitles to understand the story. I am used to watching Anime with subs, so I can go with that (I usually play my games with English dubs, since dubs are better done for games in my opinion).

It’s worth noting that some players refuse to buy the game not because they want the dubs, but because they feel the game is incomplete or something.

Changing Costumes

You can change the costume for many characters, not just the twin. Some costumes are obtained via DLC.

The Season Pass

The season pass of Atelier Lydie & Suelle is priced at an outrageous $79.99, which is more than the game price itself. I personally don’t understand the reasoning behind this pricing. Even AAA games’ season pass are usually priced at $50 maximum (unless I am missing something).

Here are the contents of the season pass:-

    • Secret Synthesis Research Journal
    • Adventurers’ Tales
    • New Area Lotus Blossom Pond
    • Nights of Azure 2 Tribute Area Nightless Ruined City
    • Nights of Azure 2 BGM Pack
    • New Quest Loads of Exp Quest
    • New Quest Piles of Coll Quest
    • Playable Character Lucia
    • New Area Ventus Mines
    • Blue Reflection Tribute Area Blue Sentiment Land.
    • Blue Reflection BGM Pack
    • Battle Mix Secret Teachings
    • Playable Character Ilmeria
    • New Area Claudel Prairie
    • New Outfit for Lydie, Suelle, Firis, Sophie, Ilmeria and Lucia

While the season pass is certainly expensive, some of the DLCs are nice to buy separately, like the Coll & EXP quest, which make it easy to gain EXP & money to get separately. Playing with Lucia is also nice.

Sales So Far

From the numbers I saw so far, the game sales sold 180,000 copes Japan & Asia. Which I guess are good numbers. At least enough to keep the series going. This is a generally good game, so I hope it does better.

See the available Atelier links in the following Amazon links:-

The Switch Version

While Junzou Hosoi stated that most people are getting the PS4 version, you may be curious about the Switch version, which is the version I got. The first thing you may be wonder about are the graphics, which are a bit darker than the PS4 version. That annoyed me the most at first (I mean, couldn’t they make them lighter with a filter or something). They’re also blurry a little bit. I got used to that after some time, but it was very obvious. Since there’s an update to the Switch version that improved the graphics, posting the YouTube videos that compares the different versions of the game may not be the best way to go here. For a detailed picture comparison between the different versions of the game Switch, here are pictures comparisons of the different versions of the game, both Japanese & English. Thanks to Mazzuolo for allowing me to use the pictures for this post. ^^

Japanese-1.0.4-Start-Cutscene-Docked

Japanese 1.0.4 Start Cutscene Docked

Japanese-1.0.4-Start-Cutscene-Undocked

Japanese 1.0.4 Start Cutscene Undocked

Japanese-1.0.4-Forest-Docked

Japanese 1.0.4 Forest Docked

Japanese-1.0.4-Atelier-Undocked

Japanese 1.0.4 Atelier Undocked

Japanese-1.0.4-Atelier-Docked

Japanese 1.0.4 Atelier Docked

English-1.0.0-Start-Cutscene-Undocked

English 1.0.0 Start Cutscene Undocked

English-1.0.0-Start-Cutscene-Docked

English 1.0.0 Start Cutscene Docked

English-1.0.0-Forest-Undocked

English 1.0.0 Forest Undocked

English-1.0.0-Forest-Docked

English 1.0.0 Forest Docked

English-1.0.0-Atelier-Undocked

English 1.0.0 Atelier Undocked

English-1.0.0-Atelier-Docked

English 1.0.0 Atelier Docked

While the Switch version’s graphics was acceptable. I think there’s a chance the game could have looked better, especially giving how more demanding games were ported to the Switch, like Doom (I know it’s an inferior version to the PS4, but it still counts).

It’s worth noting that some players got frame rates issues, but I barely noticed any frame issues from what I played. Both in version 1.0 and the updated to version 1.02, which is the latest version we have in the west by the time of me writing this review. The latest Japanese version of the game is 1.04), which has brighter characters and a crisper graphics. According to the pictures by Mazzuolo (I think version 1.02 brought these improvement to the west, butI am yet to try it thoroughtly).

The Switch version has an issue where the game clock continue running while the system is sleeping. You can see this issue in the following screenshot, where I clearly didn’t play 400+ hours (I don’t know if I ever spent that much time on a game). I don’t know if this bug exists in the PS4 version, but I hope it gets fixed.

Should You Get The Switch Version?

Despite any possible problems, it was very difficult for me not to get the Switch version, despite the fact I knew the PS4 version was going to have the better graphics, and despite the fact I had 20% discount code for PSN. You just can’t beat the portability of the Switch (I am aware some players don’t care for portability). It turned out my decision was right, as I am finding myself playing it in many places. I find it easier to fit a bit of gaming here & there in my schedule with handheld devices too).

As I said above, the inferior graphics in the Switch version annoyed me at first, I can easily see that the graphics in my Switch version is inferior to my PS4 Atelier Firis. I eventually got used to it. There are times when the camera was so close to the character where I notice the graphics again, but other than that, I ended up fine with the graphics.

If you really care about portability the way I do, then get the Switch version without thinking about it.

Vita Version For Japan Only

The Vita version of Atelier Lydie & Suelle is only available in Japan only. So if you played Atelier Sophie & Firis on the Vita, you won’t be able to continue playing the series on it, unless you know Japanese. I won’t claim to know the details of porting games to PS Vita, but it doesn’t seem that hard to release the game on the Vita in English digitally (I could be wrong here). Not releasing the English version on Vita betrays those who started playing the series on it. It could have been a good way to say goodbye to the dead handheld.

Comparison To The Other Mysterious Games:- Atelier Sophie & Firis

Connection Between The 3 Games

In case you’re wondering how the 3 mysterious games are connected. It’s like the case of Arland, where the country of Arland was the loose connection between the 3 games in the trilogy. For the mysterious series, the word “mysterious” is the connection here. The book in Sophie was mysterious, the paintings in Lydie & Suelle are also mysterious (who could create paintings like these). However, the journey in Firis never felt mysterious to me. The loose connection between the 3 games makes it totally possible to pick any of the game & start with it if you like.

You Can Jump Around Different Places

As I said earlier, jumping between different places is something that distinguishes Atelier Lydie & Suelle from Firis. It was my pet peeve in that game. You can even return to the Atelier with a push of a button while you’re exploring & gathering.

Is It Better Than The Other Games?

This can be very subjective, but I like Atelier Lydie & Suelle better than Atelier Sophie & Firis. It has better character interaction, better battles (though they’re almost the same as Firis). The story is richer. Even though it’s still not on-par with the Dusk & Arland series.

The game doesn’t have the immersive feeling I felt while playing Firis at times, but maybe there will be something like that in the rest of it.

Reused NPC Models

Just like the other two games in the series, Atelier Lydie & Suelle also have reused NPC models. It’s not a bad thing or anything, but it’s very noticeable that I can’t help pointing it out. I personally think fixed cameras are the best for games with limited budgets like Atelier games, where you can reuse models more easily. and where it’s easier to use certain models without being obvious about it. The main thing I like about having control over the camera is the ability to look at beautiful sceneries the way you want, something I did every now & then in Firis (some of the sceneries in that game were so good).

Nighttime Is Much Less Annoying

Another thing that improved over Firis is that you can enter houses even at night. Back when I played Firis, I had to walk aimlessly for some time or sleep just for morning to come, or else I won’t be able to enter a certain home to trigger an event or something. I personally l don’t believe should be that realistic in those aspects. While you still can’t use stores when it’s nighttime in the game, you can at least deliver an item or trigger an event.

The Music Stays The Same During Exploration

While exploring outskirts & outside areas, there’s no sudden change in the music the way it happened in Firis. This annoyed me a bit when I played it. It also broke the mood for me quite a bit.

The only part in the whole games music change is when you interact with a shop owner to buy from them, but that’s predictable, so it’s fine.

No Open-World System

If you liked the open-world aspect of Atelier Firis, then you may be disappointed to know that they removed that part in Lydie & Suelle. You leave the town to do exploration & all, then return to it whenever you’re done, so on & so forth. I find managing your time & planning things easier when there’s a town you go back to, but I also like when you go on an adventure & reach different places. However, I am not a big fan of open-world games in general. They don’t captivate me that much compared to linear games (I played Atelier Firis, Nier:Automata, Mario Odyssey & Witcher 3 if you are curious about the open-word games I played).

No Time Limit

As I mentioned above, there’s no time limit in Atelier Lydie & Suelle. Meaning that with the exception of the first part of Firis, the Mysterious atelier games don’t have any time limit at all.

No Dub

The western part of this game doesn’t have English dub, which depending on your preferences. It could be a bad thing, or something you don’t care about at all.

So, How Does Atelier Lydie & Suelle Stacks Up Against The Rest Of The Atelier Games? (Personal Opinion)

Here’s where Atelier Lydie & Suelle in my list of the best to least favorite atelier games. Note that despite me having complains here & there about some of the games, I liked all the games, but to a different degrees.:-

“Ayesha > Totori > Rorona Plus > Escha & Logy > Shallie > Meruru > Lydie & Suelle > Firis > Sophie”.

If your own ranking of Atelier games is similar to mine, then it could help you judge Atelier Lydie & Suelle even before you play it.

A Final Word On Atelier Lydie & Suelle

Atelier Lydie & Suelle is the best game in the mysterious series so far. Fans of the older games may also find this the best in the mysterious. I recommend them to try it, but not to have their hopes way up. People new to the series are way more likely going to like the game, especially with how friendly the system is.

I hope the low sales figures don’t mean Gust stops releasing Atelier games, especially in the west, that the next trilogy does better.

I hope you liked my Atelier Lydie & Suelle review, and see you again in another review. ^^

See the available Atelier links in the following Amazon links:-

Sources & Useful Links

See Also:-

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