Atelier Marie Remake review.
Screenshot by Siliconera

Review: Atelier Marie Remake: Still Shows Its Age, Despite a New Coat of Paint

The Atelier series is huge, spanning numerous games across many platforms. Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg revisits the first title in the series, originally released on the PlayStation in Japan on May 1997, and brings it into the modern age with new 3D graphics and a fresh coat of paint. As a newcomer to the series, I found it difficult to navigate, though.

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Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg focuses on Marlone, a teenage alchemy student who is tasked with running her own Atelier in the town of Salburg by her professor. The young alchemist is bottom of her class and is given five years to synthesize something amazing or risk not being able to graduate.

You start out with Marlone only knowing a small handful of recipes, and it’s your job to help her learn more of them and improve her synthesizing skills over the years. This is done by not only gaining more Knowledge through books and tomes, but assembling a party and leaving Salburg to gather materials used in crafting. Everything you do in the game takes time, whether picking up a resource, traveling to a location, or synthesizing a product, which is the core gameplay element here.

Synthesizing in Atelier Marie Remake.

Screenshot by Siliconera

You’re given the choice between two gameplay modes, and once you’ve chosen, you’re stuck with it. There’s the regular mode, which adheres to the original five-year time limit, or there’s Unlimited Mode, which lets you play at your own pace and go well beyond the five years. As someone unfamiliar with the series, I chose the latter because I wanted a relaxing experience… though, it didn’t help much.

Outside of learning new synthesizing recipes, one of the main elements of Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg is completing requests and quests for the townsfolk. This is a crucial part of making money and can’t be ignored. Despite having endless time in Unlimited Mode, you’re given a time limit for each request, whether that’s crafting something or delivering a certain number of items. If you fail, your reputation suffers. So while the Unlimited Mode takes away some of the pressure created by the five-year time constraint, it does little overall to make your time feel more leisurely.

Completing a quest.

Screenshot by Siliconera

As you gather materials for requests and synthesis, you must use the handful of recruitable party members scattered around the town, each with their own stats and damage types. The more you journey with them, the more your Friendship builds, which leads to special events that teach you more about each character. This ultimately makes you feel closer to the people you choose to adventure with, and in my experience, it made going out and searching for supplies together feel more real. I cared when they were hurt, and I celebrated with them when we won tough fights.

The more you venture out for materials and engage in battle, the more you and your crew level and can explore more challenging areas. These areas are largely unlocked by talking to the residents of Salburg, who are more than happy to gossip and spread Rumors that benefit your exploration efforts. My favorite part of my time spent in Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg was traveling to new locations and discovering which resources I could pick up to unlock new synthesizing recipes. There are even minigames to discover as you explore! Though I can’t ignore how much the areas lack depth, however. Each one features a handful of enemies to defeat and a few gathering points and can be fully depleted within a couple of minutes. It’s painfully simple.

Gathering resources.

Screenshot by Siliconera

While Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg comes with new music, a fresh graphical redesign, and modern features like a Photo Mode, it’s the simplicity of the gameplay loop combined with the pressure of the time constraints that cause it to show its age. It feels like you’re playing a 1997 title, even though it’s been remade over 25 years later. It’s clear that Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg has been made to satisfy fans of the original and doesn’t do much to draw in newcomers who are curious about where the Atelier series got its start. It feels very rooted in nostalgia, and if you don’t have that, it might be a struggle to fully enjoy everything it has to offer.

Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg releases worldwide on the PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch on July 13, 2023.

7
Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg

In this "leisure adventure RPG," failing student Marie pursues alchemy, adventures, and quests while aiming to graduate in five years. PC version reviewed.

Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg may have appeal for long-time fans, but it shows its age, even after being reimagined. If you're not a fan of games that lean heavily into time management mechanics, it may not be for you.

Food For Thought
  • Voice acting is in Japanese only so bear that in mind if you prefer English.
  • I loved the friendship building between Marlone and her party members. It feels as though you're traveling with real life friends!
  • Don't forget to save your game at Marlone's desk in the Atelier.
  • Even in Unlimited Mode, time limits are a core part of the game and may make you feel rushed at points as you juggle multiple requests.

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Brent Koepp
Based in California, Brent is an Editor at Siliconera and has been a journalist since 2010. When he's not playing JRPGs or catching 'em all in Pokémon, you can find him spending time with his wife and two dogs.