On its way to the USA!

11th in the series and counting - Atelier Rorona.
Author: Andy Curtiss
Published: September 12, 2010
If you're a fan of the RPG genre (role playing game for you non-nerdlings), then you've no doubt either played or heard of the Atelier series. You've also, no doubt, struggled with how to pronounce that flipping word. The word Atelier (pronounced AH-te-Li-ay) is a French word meaning workshop or studio. Anyway, the series started in Japan in 1997 but didn't makes it's debut here in the states until 2004 (with the title Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana). Developer Gust Corporation has clearly hit gold with the series, being that they've produced 11 games in the series over the last 13 years, not including their second (and equally fun) series, Ar Tonelico. The general theme that one sees in an Atelier game is item synthesis. The games in the series tend to revolve around some form of alchemy - with some of the games even including alchemy or alchemist in the title. The visual and graphics in the series are heavily influenced by anime art style. This means the characters are usually very cute and winsome as well as brightly colored and incredibly detailed.

While technically Rorona will be the 11th game in the series, it is only the 7th game to be released in North America. It also marks the series first attempt on the PS3. And thus far, things look promising! As far as RPG's go, we all know that things in Japan work a little differently than things over here in the states in terms of what fans like and what gets released. But with that being said, it's important to point out that Rorona's sales in Japan have been impressive. Overall sales for the title exceed 130,000 copies according to Gust Corporation. And 43,000 of those copies sold within the first 6 days of release. Considering that this series doesn't quite amount to a Sqaure Enix series, that is impressive. Japanese Amazon reports that Rorona was the most purchased video game on their website on the week of July 9, 2009 (having come out in Japan over a year ago on June 25, 2009). Reviews from Dengeki PlayStation and Famitsu make the game look promising as well, as its scores were generally very positive.

Gameplay ranges from wandering around town, taking alchemy jobs from various citizens to wandering the harsh lands outside. The story, as with most Atelier games, is light-hearted and mostly upbeat. In this installment you'll be playing as Rorona, the apprentice alchemist. Your master is a lazy bum who is on the verge of losing the shop, hence why you find yourself taking jobs from anyone willing to throw work your way. Battle is your standard turn based system and it appears that Rorona is not short on additional characters to tag along, all of which have their own special set of abilities. And of course, there's your synthesis system. Recipes can be found or accidentally stumbled upon in your workshop. And the ingredients are found off enemies as well on the ground in wilds.

All in all Ateiler Rorona: Alchemist of Arland looks like a pretty cutsie title that will offer some fun battles as well as fun item creation (assuming that is your cup of tea). Combined with the number of characters, anime art style and humorous voice acting (from what the previews show at least), I can honestly say that I am looking forward to bringing you all the review of Ateiler Rorona: Alchemist of Arland when it's released in the US on September 28, 2010.