Atelier Rorona: Relax, It’s Just Alchemy

By Spencer . July 15, 2009 . 6:04pm

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Rorona isn’t a brazen heroine. She’s shy and unsure about her role as the alchemist of Arland. Actually, Rorona is more interested in baking pies than transmuting things for the king.

 

Since Rorona is a timid and occasionally aloof Atelier Rorona isn’t an epic RPG focused on flashy fights. Combat is basic, it’s even simpler than Atelier Iris. You can attack, select skills like Rorona’s angel shot, flee, and defend from a menu. That’s it unless you’re controlling Rorona who also has item. Early on this is one of the most powerful commands because Rorona and her outspoken ally Cuderia mainly heal themselves with items.

 

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Everything in battle is turn based except for assist moves. When Rorona and her allies take damage an assist meter starts to fill up. One full crystal equals one assist move, which can be used to make a partner deal an immediate follow up attack or cover Rorona from a single hit. Atelier Rorona gives players a generous amount of time to decide if they want to use their assist move to protect Rorona or save it for later. Battles freeze for a few seconds while you make up your mind. I’m pretty offensive so I usually let Rorona take hits and use assist attacks to defeat enemies faster.

 

Since monsters appear on the field you can avoid them. Fights aren’t the focus of Atelier Rorona anyway. The game is about finding raw materials on the field and combining them to fulfill requests. You’re an alchemist, not a fighter.

 

Atelier Rorona begins on year one, month one. Keep this in mind because time management is the crux of the game. Each time you enter a field a set number of days pass. The first field, the Neighborhood Woods, has multiple areas where you can search for things seeds. Each time you move into a new area, even if its in the same field you have to spend even more time. The system encourages players to carefully scour every corner for materials instead of speeding through dungeons.

 

Time is important because events have due dates. When the king sends Rorona a proclamation he expects Rorona to complete the assignment on or before that date. Front quests (i.e. main story quests) also require Rorona to synthesize items before a set amount of time passes. And time in Atelier Rorona flies. 

 

Cooking takes time. Following alchemy recipes takes time and HP. Resting takes time, often multiple days to refill Rorona’s HP. Since Atelier Rorona is open ended you can and, if you don’t have a guide, probably will waste time.

 

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I’m sure I didn’t do everything efficiently, but I figured out a few tricks along the way. First, make batches of items whenever possible, even if you don’t think you’ll need them. As long as you have enough ingredients, making one item or say five items takes the same amount of time. The limits are different with each recipe, but be sure to max out whatever you’re making for the day. Also, you don’t have to make every item. Some items, especially the king’s requests, can be purchased from stores, which can save Rorona time.

 

Perhaps, you shouldn’t worry too much about how you spend your time. Atelier Rorona is an open ended game with many endings. This might perturb perfectionists because you can’t go down every path in one run of game, but I like it now. The game’s flexible storyline makes Atelier Rorona is relaxing and should give it more replay value.

 

Atelier Rorona first grabbed attention because of its graphics and Gust did a fantastic job. However, there are little quirks like how you can’t rotate the camera and, if you’re the kind of person who notices strange video game physics, Rorona “floats” back to the ground after jumping. Also, Atelier Rorona isn’t “fully voiced”. Townspeople and even main characters may not speak when you run into them in town. During event scenes, so far, everyone talks.

 

These are minor details and they shouldn’t be taken too seriously. After all, this is a RPG where you can spend your time making pies instead of saving the world.

 

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  • wario4ever

    want so badly

  • Spekio

    One thing that should be noted is that the game is full of game breaking bugs.
    - Random resets/freezes at the end of battle, when organizing items, accepting quests, etc…
    - At one point in the game there is an event where they force you to cook something. Not having enough ingredients for at least one food item will leave you stuck at that point.
    - At a certain location running from battle makes Rorona’s skirt transparent.
    - Fortune cookie bug that can cause your character to have game breakingly high stats.

    I loved the game, and I could deal with most of the issues, but the random freezing/resets killed it for me. I just can’t bring myself to go back to the game after losing so much time. There’s only one save point and running back to it costs valuable time, especially from later areas that can take 14+ days just to travel there and back. Is there any word on if they plan to fix these bugs for the US version or maybe even patch the JP version?

    • ragolslayer

      Gust asked people to send in reports about bugs, so I’m assuming that they’re going to do something about it. Hopefully they release a patch soon.

    • http://www.siliconera.com Spencer

      I heard the game had bugs since Gust was requesting reports, but I didn’t know the game was *that* bugged. Do you know how to recreate the fortune cookie bug or any of these freezes? I haven’t noticed a random freeze yet, but I’m not done with the game either.

      I agree about the walking back home for the one save point problem. I’ve wasted time on that too :(

      • Spekio

        For the fortune cookie bug, apparently sometimes when you use them you end up with a perpetual effect where the stat bonus is applied on level up per the amount of times you used the cookies. I believe you need to save and load for the effect to show up. I’ve heard the game starts having display issues for stats that go too high, like HP over 999.

        As for the freezing, I would say it happens on average about every 4-5 hours. It find that any place in the game that hangs for a split second to load any type of data has a chance of becoming a permanent freeze.

        • http://www.siliconera.com Spencer

          Thanks for this update. Now to backup and ruin my game file trying to find these!

          Also good to know just in case this gets picked up..

    • Trotmeister

      - At a certain location running from battle makes Rorona’s skirt transparent

      Not so sure it’s a bug, and even if it is, I can most certainly live with it.

  • Ereek

    I love the “old-style” Atelier games, but haven’t had a chance to import Rorona yet. It’s sad to hear about all of the bugs, like in Lise, but on the PS3 at least it’s easily patchable.

  • mirumu

    Hopefully they’ll fix the major bugs prior to localization. Yes, I’m making some big assumptions there, but my optimism refuses to acknowledge the possibility it won’t be localized. I really want to play this.

    • http://www.siliconera.com Spencer

      There are so many adages about assuming, but I think you’re safe when it comes to Rorona.

      • Ereek

        I like this hint. But then again, you’ve been not-so-subtly hinting at this for a while.

        Would you say it’s worth the import? Or would it be better to just “wait it out?” Also, do you have any estimate on how long one run through the game is? How long have you spent? How much longer do you think you’ll be spending? You mentioned replay value.

        • http://www.siliconera.com Spencer

          Rorona is sort of like Valkyrie Profile where you can fast forward time by resting. If you just do the main quests (i.e. front quests) the game will be a lot shorter.

          I played six or seven hours so far and I plan to play it more. By replay value I mean there are multiple storylines/paths to follow. Rorona is less linear compared to the Atelier games NIS started localizing.

          Well, I would “wait it out”.

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