Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey is one of those games that opens up as you go along. The first part of the game is dedicated to becoming an alchemist. You need to prepare for the test. You don’t get to really do whatever you’d like. It’s only after that where players get to do what they want and, if they enjoy the game enough, prepare for a second run through the game.
The postgame is where Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey lets you catch up. All of those quests you missed, bosses you weren’t strong enough to beat, and things you wanted to explore are ahead of you. There’s no time limit, so you don’t have to worry about completing everything in a year. It’s a freeing experience. Bosses drop at least a thousand gold each time you beat one, eliminating money woes. There isn’t any major story content in the second half, so don’t expect any revelations. One of the main purposes of this part of the journey is to go through character-specific quests or visit Sky Island.
Though, the expanded roster is rather important. Sophie and Plachta make brief cameos throughout Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey. We’re teased with the notion of the duo joining Firis as her teacher. Except they abandon her the second the group leaves Ertona, only making a repeat appearance at the final exam. In the end game, the two can finally join the party and give us the alchemist adventure we want, which is much appreciated. The two are locked characters, which means you have to have them around, but you still have three other member slots. This means you can still have three people of your choosing hanging around.
When you feel like you’ve had enough of Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey’s postgame, it’s easy to trigger the ending and start a new game plus adventure. What you need to do first is get Firis involved in one of the character events. Do enough to trigger that ending with that man or woman. Send Firis back to Ertona and head to the iron door. Head to it and the game will “end,” allowing you to go ahead and begin a new game plus file.
Once you complete a game in Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey, the unlocks start. The Very Hard difficulty immediately become available once you’re done and, since you can change the difficulty level at any time, can be switched right away. When a new game plus file is created, you are guaranteed certain items and effects in the new game. Best of all is knowing all costume effects apply to any costume Firis is wearing, letting you go through the game dressed however you like. Having the Item Synthesis proficiency level remain unchanged is helpful too, as is knowing you’ll have all your money and the non-exploration tool equipment characters have equipped. The only other carry-over is non-key item decorations being present in the Atelier. But, what might be the most valuable part is the ability to go ahead and skip the prologue, jumping right into the meat of the game on your subsequent runs.
You’ll always have plenty to prepare for in Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey. I know I spent much of the first part waiting for the moment when no deadlines loomed so I could do all the character sidequests and other activities for fun. When things opened up, I savored the opportunity to waste time, see what I’d missed, and prepare for a second run. Which is quite an enjoyable process, considering how much carries over and what you can enjoy the next time around.
Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey is available for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and PC.