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Community Review

blazemanx

Review: Arcana Heart

By: blazemanx Jun 26, 2011 | 313 Views | 8 Comments

One of those rare games that you always wanted to play but never knew existed.

Back when this game was on the brink of release i happen to come across it via internet ad it looked awesome so i looked it up. I saw the trailer and thought to myself " I must own this" the gameplay looked awesome and an all girl cast was a interesting change from the norm. Simply put it was money well spent and im here to tell you why.......read on.

Gameplay:

The gameplay is great. At first, you may think that the game plays slowly, due to the fact that no one in this game moves at a very fast speed while walking. However, once you learn of a beautiful little move called the homing dash, things will really start to speed up. In fact, once you and your opponent start using the homing dash, the speed of the game may hit you hard in the face. Furthermore, this game has some of the largest fighting arenas I have seen. They are large enough spanning across, but just wait until you see how high they can get. In fact, if you launch your opponent in the air, rise up to meet them, and launch them again, it seems like you are going up the length of three screens! Let me say that again for emphasis...THREE SCREENS! These large fighting arenas can really make things more interesting, and it doesn't hinder you when it comes to pulling off awesome combos. There is also this thing in the game called the arcana system. With it, you not only choose a character to use, but also the arcana that your fighter will use in battle. This will give them a different set of arcana powers and abilities during fights. With the powers of the arcana, you can perform a wide variety of attacks, that include, but are not limited to, causing lightning storms, leeching your opponent's life, and even seeing them executed! However, you also gain some nifty abilities, like creating dopplegangers, being able to triple jump instead of just double jump, and even raising your defense. Also, there are four modes of play: story, arcade, versus, and practice. Another thing is that there are two actual playing styles. There is the normal Arcana Heart, and then there is Arcana Heart Full.

This is something I feel a strong urge to include, and for my own reasons. First off, let me say that there are those people that feel that the larger the roster, the better the game will be. But check this out...this game fits right up there, if not surpasses, some or most of those games with larger fighting rosters. This game has a total of 11 maidens to choose from. However, with the arcana system, and there being 11 different arcana to choose from, this brings you up to 11 characters with 121 combinations you can make! Not to mention that each characters has eight different colored outfits, so that adds a little more variety to it, as well.

Story:

Some fighting games don't really have a central story. You just go around to different arenas and beat the daylights out of people. However, a strong central story was not overlooked when it came to the making of this game. There is a great atrocity that is going to occur in Tokyo, and each maiden, a young girl who has the power to communicate with the arcana, tries to stop this from happening. Of course, each character has their own personality, so they are all in this for different reasons. For example, one fighter may want to stop these events from occurring because she does not want to lose any of her friends ever again. Another might be in it because she has nothing better to do. Yet another may throw herself into the battle because a large organization asked for her help. However, along the way, you will have to do battle with the other maidens, to ensure that you be the one to bring an end to this series of events.

Sound:

The sound for this game is great. When you hit someone with a light attack, it will sound like you just slapped them hard across the face. Hit them with a power attack, however, and you can hear the difference...the force and sound of the hit literally echo very loudly across the arena. Lightning crashes from the skies above. Rocks crumble as they hit your opponent over the head. Strong winds gust violently across the arena. All of this adds more realism than one would expect from a 2D fighter. A few people say that the music is not that great. However, it's something I don't really mind. True, some of the songs could have been better, but for the most part, it's alright. However, you will hear songs that include a softer song in a garden, an upbeat, nightlife tune for a market, and even a jazzy kind of dance tune. A few of these tunes really add to the atmosphere of the setting, but not quite all of them do. So, yes, I will admit that some of the songs could have used some work, but it's nothing really to complain about, and it doesn't really impact the score.

Graphics:

If you are one of those people that loves anime, then you should definitely look into this game. The characters are drawn in a very anime-like way. That is, until you get to the fights, in which case they lose some of that anime look, but not so much. The backgrounds are very colorful, and when you activate your arcana, they change entirely, giving you a whole new environment to fight in for a short time. Some of the arenas are just a bit plain, but, again, not all of them are, so that's a good thing to know. Arcanas, too, look very cool, and some of them even look a little intimidating. One thing I really want to comment on is the shadows. For many 2D fighters, a circle is just drawn beneath the characters, and you are led to believe those are shadows. However, the designer for this game obviously had a good idea of what a 2D fighter game's shadows should look like. They actually resemble the characters, and they move in the way that the characters do. For example, if a fighter sways back and forth, so will the shadow. If a character is walking, then the shadow will walk right along with them. These effects make the shadows some of the most realistic I have seen in a 2D fighter. When you throw all of this together, the graphics of this game come out to be something that is just pure eye candy.

Final Verdict: BUY IT

Arcana Heart is literally one of the best 2D fighters you could possibly get for PS2. When it comes to buy or rent, this game is easily one that should be bought. If you love animes, buy this game. If you love fighters, buy this game. If you love an all-female cast, buy this game. It is just too great of a game to pass up. So let us know what you think and don't be a jimmy.

 

Community Review

blazemanx

Review: Megaman X Command Mission

By: blazemanx Jun 12, 2011 | 830 Views | 6 Comments

The blue bomber's first true RPG experience.

When I first heard word that Megaman X: Command Mission was going to come out, I instantly got very excited. The first true RPG ever to grace the Megaman legacy? Would this RPG turn out to be a great addition to the series, or would it be another one of those many failed attempts at broadening Megaman's horizons? 

Story:
Well, stories were never the Mega Man series' strong point, but they at least put out a decent one. Veteran Maverick Hunters, X and Zero, as well as their new partner, Shadow, hear of Epsilon, the leader of the Rebellion, leading a Maverick uprising. So, with the assistance of Colonel Redips back at the base, they head over there to find out what is going on, and what the substance "Force Metal" has anything to do with it. Through a twist of fate, X finds himself alone and ends up in the base of the Resistance, a Giga City force fighting the Rebellion. Can X and his friends, quell the uprising and make Giga City safe for the Reploids again? Trust me -- while the story sounds simple, I guarantee that you will be surprised. Oddly enough, X changed from pacifist to a guy that'll point his gun at anyone that even remotely might pose a threat. Guess our Blue Bomber finally grew up, huh? 

Graphics: 
Decent, but could be better. They used cell-shading for the character models in the game itself, but I wish they had done more motion to the cinema sequences. One character's mouth didn't even move while he spoke . It was odd watching them have a neutral expression while they shouted death threats at the enemy. 

Gameplay:
Fluid. It has your typical RPG elements - EXP points, money (Zenny), Life, etc. Instead of armor, you equip "Force Metal". The catch is, if the amount of Force Metal is above the resistance level of the character, they will suffer in the form of LE loss, WE loss, etc. For the most part, it is a RPG and Mega Man X fused into one: each "Chapter", you go around defeating the bosses, picking up rare and not-so-rare items, and recruiting characters to join your cause. There are a total of seven playable characters, each with their own unique weapons and abilities, and each time you level up, all seven get the EXP points (unless they are dead, of course). You have your typical RPG ailments, which were changed into mechanical terms (such as 'Poison' was changed into 'Virus') and your elemental weaknesses (then again, Mega Man games have always had this factor...). And, believe it or not, brute force is NOT always the way to go in this game! Strategy is key into winning, as it will help you tremendously. Of course, if you feel brute force will work, go for it. =) And of course, Final Strike. Once you have three people in your party, depleting an enemy's life to 25% will allow you to activate Final Strike. This is basically a flashy way to finish an enemy off, but it can give you the extra nudge you need to, and dramatically boosts the amount of stuff you retrieve from battle. 

Music:
I loved the soundtrack, even if others didn't. I find myself humming the tunes along, and I'm glad that they allowed you to listen to the game's soundtrack in the Sky Room. I even went out and searched for the music online just so I could listen to it whenever I wanted to. The only problem I had was with the voices. While I enjoyed some characters voices (Marino's, Ferham's, and Mach Jentra's were well done), others made me want to gag (such as Cinnamon's). 

Difficulty:
The game was not extremely difficult, but I did see the game over screen a few times. The bosses themselves can be a tad difficult at times, but with a correct strategy you can basically beat any boss without much effort. I ran away from barely any battles in the entire game and I had some slight difficulty with the last boss, that was about it. When all of the characters in your party die, you are given the option by the game to A. Restart the Battle, B. Load from the memory card, or C. Accept defeat and go to the title screen. For the most part, you'll be picking A so that you wont have to go back to the last save point (Which is quite nice). 

Extras:
I think the extras themselves take up 90% of the game. At a certain point, you can deploy recruited mechaniloids to the stages to gather up goodies, ranging from more money to extra weapons to stuff for the Sky Room. Oh yes, the Sky Room. A great place to hang out. Figure sets found and bought from the vending machines can be viewed here, as well as sketches drawn by Capcom artists themselves (once they are gotten, of course). You can customize the room by placing different posters, and listen to music and watch cinema sequences from the game. You can even customize X himself by changing the color of his scarf! There are secret bosses which will give you fabulous, extremely rare prizes if you beat them, secret shops with rare items, and the Challenges. Fulfilling Challenges will unlock more items for you. So, how do you know whether you fulfilled a challenge? Check the computer terminal in the Sky Room. It gives you very useful data on the challenges you have fulfilled as well as the amount of items found in each stage, the maximum attack strength you've done, etc. It will become your best friend in the game. 

Final Verdict: BUY IT

To Mega Man fans and new RPG players, this is a welcome game. It's a little simple, so RPG players that prefer hard, complex, extremely irritating-style games will be a bit turned off. However, there are truly no bad points to this i enjoyed this game, and would recommend purchasing it if you are able to find it.  

So does this game seems as though it's worth looking into? Let us know what you think and don't be a jimmy.

 

 

Community Review

blazemanx

Review: Dark Cloud 2

By: blazemanx Jun 11, 2011 | 705 Views | 2 Comments

Truly an RPG to remember.......step into the world that is dark cloud 2.

Dark Cloud 2 brings a new meaning to the word “sequel”. The original Dark Cloud was a good game, but lacking in some areas. When Dark Cloud 2 came out I rented it to see if I liked it enough to buy it. Later that day, I was literally at Gamestop buying a copy of the game. Just a few hours of playing this game made me fall in love with it! They have improved on everything from the first game, and I mean everything! After reading this review, I guarantee that you will want to try this game out!

Story:

The story is better this time around, and I could actually understand it! Basically, you are a boy named Max who loves machines and inventing things. One day, you go to the circus, trouble stirs, and now you're on an adventure to save the world! Ok, sounds a little lame, huh? Don't worry, more and more stuff is explained later in the game, as the story moves on. In your adventure, you team up with Monica, a girl from 100 years in the future. Monica is in your time to save her world from being over run by evil creatures, which is the current situation in Max's time. You end up traveling all over the land, meeting amazing people and trying to restore peace in the world. Aside from all of that, Max is searching for his mother, who disappeared one day. I liked the story a lot, except some of the cut scenes dragged on forever and ever.

Gameplay:

Gameplay is 90% of the game. If its not fun to play, then why would you want to play it? Lucky for us, Dark Cloud 2 introduces some amazing elements into the RPG world that no game has done before. First of all, the weapon system in Dark Cloud 2 is very complex and in-depth. You build up your weapons by synthesizing them with other items such as crystals and gems. There are 10 areas that you can build up your weapons in: attack, durability, flame, chill, lightning, cyclone, smash, exorcism, beast, and scale, and each will affect your weapons differently. Both characters have two types of weapons, right handed melee weapons and left handed projectile weapons. Monica can also transform into different monsters in the game them with badges that you will acquire and fight with them. For Max, he can hop in his robot called the “Ridepod” and fight with it. You can upgrade the Ridepod throughout the game and customize it however you want! Another cool element of Dark Cloud 2 was the fact that you can invent weapons and other items using Max's camera. Max can take pictures of various objects and monsters throughout the game and he can use them as ideas for an invention. You can combine three ideas to make a new invention! The more ideas you find, the more items you can make! The dungeons are as good as ever! The idea is still basically the same: you progress through each floor of the dungeon, killing monsters along the way, until you reach the boss, but now there are places in the dungeons where certain events will happen. The bosses are a little harder in this game, and there is certainly more of them! The greatest part about the boss battles, and all of the battles that you will partake in, is that you can switch to the other character at any time you want. This can be helpful if one character is about to die, or if you just want to use the other person for awhile. Georama mode is back and better than ever! In Dark Cloud 2 you find “geostones” in the dungeons that let you build different things out of your materials and place them in the lands that you travel to in order to create a lively town and to restore the future. Yes, you can travel to the future to see how your town developed! You can also paint houses in the sequel, which lets you customize even more! In Dark Cloud 2, you can collect different townspeople from your hometown, Palm Brinks, and place them in your georamas! The fishing mode is also back, but with a twist. You can raise your fish in an aquarium and race them in a competition called the “Finny Frenzy”! There is also a golf-like feature in Dark Cloud 2 called “spheda” in which you with a ball-like thing into a “time distortion” in order to receive cool items. With all of these cool new features, Dark Cloud 2 is literally one of the most innovative games ever!

Graphics:

I am a big fan of cel-shading and Level-5 have made the characters in Dark Cloud 2 beautiful with it. For one thing, you can actually see different emotions on the character's faces because of the cel-shading. Also, I felt that cel-shading made this game a lot clearer and easier to see what was going on, but that's just my personal preference. The actual environment is not cel-shaded, it is more like what you would see in a typical game these days. But that doesn't really matter because this game looks great in both areas. Another thing that I loved about the graphics in Dark Cloud 2 was how the sky looked. Level-5 have made it so that you can see the shadows cast by the sun. You can see the stunning sunsets. You can even see the atmosphere of the moon! But the best part of all was the cut scenes! There is so much detail in them that they almost look real! I really loved the graphics in this game; A+.

Music:

The soundtrack to this game was great! The music matches the place that you are in perfectly. For example, in the Rainbow Butterfly Wood dungeon, the music is really outdoor-like and you can hear little chirps from the birds. And in the futuristic Luna Lab, the music is very scientific and electronic, and you can hear the whirring of different gizmos as you frolic about the town. The music that plays as you walk around Palm Brinks is my favorite in the game. It is very lively and matches the town very well! As for the voices of the characters, I have no complaints. They were done very well and the voices matched the characters just right. The extra sound effects were also very pleasant. They were kept to a minimum, which I think is a good thing. The background music and voices are all you really need, anyway.

Controls:

Here is the only weak part of the game, controls. I felt that Dark Cloud 2 was somewhat hard to use until you got used to it. At first, I would keep on pressing the wrong button and ending up dead. This is because if you accidentally pressed the square button while in combat, you would most likely go to the first-person camera view, and would be slaughtered by enemies while open to attack. Another bad point with the controls is that in the menus, triangle is no longer the “go back” button. Instead, it is the select button (along with X). This really ticked me off sometimes when I would accidentally use an item when I wanted to go back a screen. The only good thing to say about these controls is that X is still the main button. Gotta' love that X!  

Final Verdict: BUY IT

Dark Cloud 2 has terrific replay value. Once you beat the game, you can always build up all of your weapons to their final evolutions, practice spheda, enter fishing/finny frenzy competitions, collect more ideas, or whatever else you want to do. There is also a surprise after you beat the last boss, which make your game last 15+ hours longer if you choose to pursue it! The entire game took me over about 80 hours.

Let us know what you think and as always dont be a jimmy.

Community Review

blazemanx

Review: Radiata Stories

By: blazemanx Jun 10, 2011 | 491 Views | 2 Comments

177 reasons to check out this amazing game.

Radiata Stories, can be summarized in one word. Huphenexfun. What's that mean, you might ask. Humorous, phenomenal, excellent, and fun. All in one word. Revolutionary, right? Yes, just like Radiata Stories. Well, enough with my obsession, let's get started, shall we?

Graphics - The graphics in this game, as in any tri-Ace game, are amazing. Character models are smooth, landscapes are detailed richly and painted with many different colors. Appearance changes when you equip different armor. Every character is detailed and have specific little facial features and whatnot, making them distinct.

Story -  The story is lacking, but its still above average compared to some of the crap I've seen before. The story follows a young boy, Jack Russell, and his misadventures and accomplishments. As the game starts, Jack is a very immature boy, and he is conceded as well. Meeting with the other two main characters in the game in the first 10 minutes (Ridley Silverlake, Ganz Rothschild), he immediately gets cocky with Ridley and slightly disappoints his captain, Ganz. Some events unfold, and Ridley has a ritual performed on her that has never been performed on a human before by the Lord of the Dark Elves, Lord Nogueira, to save her life. Eventually, Jack must pick a side to follow, the elves, dwarves, goblins, and orcs, or the humans. The game has two different endings and one is awesome and one in my opinion sucks. It seems to me the one that sucks is merely there for an optional path for fun, and not for storyline. Other than that, you are pulled into a struggle for humanity and blablabla, you have to go save it, and someone else in the process. Simple, but sweet. Also, JackxRidley, if you didn't notice in your manual... I love it.

Controls - Simple, yet complex at the same time. Camera angle is adjustable, and it is very well placed even if you don't adjust it. Controls are simple, O attacks, Square does a special, X backsteps, Triangle is menu (as usual). L1 brings up your clock out of battle, in-battle it allows you to issue commands and use items. R1 locks on to the targeted enemy. X kicks objects and people. Simple and easy to get used to.

Music - Frankly said, the music in this game freakin' rocks. I have yet to find a piece I didn't like. The bigger boss battles and some of the optional ones are the best ones I've heard. The ingame music is very good too. Generally happy music that will keep you in good spirits, except when you enter more dangerous places such as castles and sewers. Everything sounds like it was produced by an orchestra, which is always a plus.

Characters - One of my favorite parts of this game. There are 177 characters available for recruiting, and the difficulty of getting them varies from super easy (Talking to them) or extremely hard (Getting to a certain place at a certain time or you wait till the next day, some are missable, some you have to recruit all of the other members of the race/guild they are in). Getting them all nets you very little in the long run, all you get is a picture of the mains under a certain tree, but I enjoy it since I am a JackxRidley fan and am also a fan of Ganz. All the characters have personalities that are unique and fun. Some characters range in being completely useless (Clive) or one of the best in the game (Elwen, Valkyrie, Galvados, Gil). Amazing recruiting system, I hope they implement it in the next game (if there is one *crosses fingers*)

Gameplay - The best gameplay you can get in a hack-and-slash. Out of battle, you can interact with almost everything and everybody, whether it be by talking or by kicking. Kicking is my preferred choice. Kicking the typical person will piss them off and they will duel you. It's fun to beat up on the people that tick you off, like Ridley at the beginning (I love her though as a character, she and Jack are the best characters in this game). Talking with them usually gets you a more friendly response though. In battle, it is straightforward. As you use your weapon choice (can choose from 1h sword, 2h sword, axe, or spear) you learn new skills, and you can assign them into your combo depending on how many CP (Combo Points, I guess) the weapon has. Each new attack costs a certain amount of CP to use in the combo. After you have set up your desired combo, inbattle, tap O repeatedly and Jack will commence the combo. Square fires a special of sorts, called a Volty Blast. Everytime you or one of your teammates lands a hit on the enemy, you get 1 Volty Point. When you get 10, you can use a Volty Blast. Eventually, if you learn all the skills of the weapon choice, you get a Super Volty, resembling Overdrive or Limit Break from FFX and FF7. To do these attacks, press Square and X at the same time when you have 100 Volty Points (Max). Also, you can learn links, to change your formation and give your party certain benefits and abilities. If you link with people long enough, you learn their skill. Equipping this to you allows you to master it to make it occur more often/make it stronger, etc. Also, inbattle, X allows you to backstep and dodge enemy attacks. Eventually you will be given guild missions to build your money and EXP. Most of these are optional, but I would do them anyway for the EXP. This game excels in the gameplay department, even with an optional dungeon you have to go through to get all the characters. You will recognize some bosses there from tri-Ace's previous hits, Valkyrie Profile and SO3.

Fun Factor - You will enjoy this game so much you will probably end up playing it 4 times through, if not more with all the missable characters. Don't pass up the opportunity to play this excellent game from tri-Ace, you can't live without it.

 

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Final Verdict: BUY IT

Do not waste anymore of your life not playing this hit by tri-Ace. This game is filled with charm and comedy, i often found myself laughing out loud at some of the things that go on in this crazy game. So let us know what you think of the game and review and don't be a jimmy.

 

Community Review

blazemanx

Review: Mana Khemia Alchemists of Al-Revis

By: blazemanx Jun 7, 2011 | 317 Views | 5 Comments

Take all the great features from previous Atelier games while removing their flaws, and you have this gem.

Mana Khemia, Alchemist of Al-Revis, also known as Atelier Iris 9 to some, is the latest installment of Gust's old-school alchemist based RPG. The previous 3 PS2 games that NISA localized for us were all fun, but had their fair shares of flaws. This game however, renewed the emphasis and importance of alchemy like the earlier PS1 Atelier games did, and keeping many key features from the newer Atelier games, while removing most of the flaws from those games.

Story
The story itself is somewhat slow. In fact, story seems almost non-existant at first. You're just some random kid who was invited to join the prestigious Al-Revis academy for alchemists, and the rest of the game's plot pretty much revolves around your school life. The pacing is divided from story events, to classes and free time. You have to complete your class assignments to move on, if you do really good you might have free time to do whatever you like, and finally a story event happens at the end of each chapter. Bits by bits of the story and the enigmatic past involving the main character and his cat companion gets slowly revealed throughout each chapter's event scenes. Eventually it leads to some interesting plot twists you weren't expecting. Overall, while the story won't win any academic awards, it's decent enough to pay attention to, and despite slow pacing, I believe it works wonders for this game.

Sound
Ken Nakagawa, the composer for the previous Atelier games, have outdone himself in this title. If you've played any previous Atelier games, you should be able to pick up to his style and can instantly recognize the similarities. The music fits each scene perfectly, with the happy tunes inside the school, to goofy music from humorous cutscenes, to serious themes from dark moments and so forth. The game also has over 3 main battle themes, a tough foe music, various boss themes, and a lyrical final boss theme. They range from upbeat themes, to rock, to sad, to fierce depending on the opponent. Not only that but the game's intro movie and certain events during gameplay also contain many J-Pop songs, and whether you're a fan of J-Pop or not, they sounds pretty good that it shouldn't cause anyone to turn their volume off. 

The sound effects are mostly the same from previous Atelier games. There are of course plenty of new sound effects for some new special moves here and there. But for the most part you should recognize all these if you played any Atelier games. 
 

Graphics
This game is a 2D games as you would expect. The sprites and mapping tiles were for the most part recycled from Gust's library, but important story characters are all new. The maps now make use of depth of field, which you can see trees or whatever in the background moving at a different pace than the screen, which is nice.

However the special moves and animation received a huge improvement, things are definitely smoother and eye candy is everywhere. Some special moves contains some pretty impressive 2D animation scenes as well. Long story short, if you're a fan of 2D, this game delivers them in great style. If you're not a fan of 2D graphics, you might learn to appreciate the aesthetics and simplicity of these graphics, as they certainly gives off a feel that 3D graphics cannot grasp.

Gameplay
If you've played any previous Atelier games, you would know exactly what to expect from this game. As you've noticed on the summary for this review, I claimed that Mana Khemia takes the best features from previous Atelier games while removing their flaws, now I'll explain how.

For starters, the emphasys and importance of alchemy, which was always a deep part of any Atelier game's well , gameplay. As I've mentioned, you have to take classes and pass them to advance. These classes for the most part are like tutorials that teach you the basics of the game, and depending on your performance you get a grade for it. The higher the grade, the more stamps you get on your...report card I guess. If you match the quota for your report card, you won't have to take any more classes for the rest of the chapter. Later, once most of these tutorial classes are done, they will involve a wide range of tasks from alchemy, to battles, to gathering items.

During free time, instead of classes, you can take on jobs, and these works exactly like the guild job system from Atelier Iris 3, where you either hunt down a powerful monster or gather/create certain items, or items with certain attribute, and give them to someone, with money as your reward. Once you're done with all available jobs you can spend time gathering items through mining, digging, fruit gathering and more. The cafeteria also have an NPC that spread rumors, and depending on the rumour you chose for him to spread, will give you a permanent bonus, until the rumor gets changed. Bonus range from battle bonuses, to parameter increase, to discounts at stores. You can also spend time with your teamates to learn more about them, their past, their troubles, or simply goofy cutscenes. 

Alchemy for the most part is the same from the previous games, except for one new feature. Each item made through alchemy will have an ether level, and depending on the level, the condition of the item or ability the item contains will be affected, while the effect will remain teh same. This means that when making higher level items, you could get different attributes on the newer items to inherit depending on what ability the ingredient had, which leads to more possibilities. This make use of Atelier Iris 3's common skill feature, where each equipment can have up to 2 skills. Mana Khemia broaden on this and give you 3, 2 support skills and 1 common skill. Common skills are skills you can use in battle, such as healing, elemental spells, or support spells. Another new feature for the alchemy system is that each ingredient, when making the item, will have a wheel spinning, and depending on the element you land you, can affect the either level to go either up or down or no change. You can also enlist the help of your teamates, and each have various effects while creating items, such as auto increments or decrease of ether level, to changing all elements on the wheel to a certain color.

You no longer level up in this game, instead you have what's called the Growth Book. It is very similar to Final Fantasy X's sphere grid system, but instead of attaching nodes, you have to create items through alchemy. If you have made the item at least once in your lifetime, the node will be open, and you can fill in the nodes with AP earned through battle to increase your stat or learn new skills. This means that your parameters and battle prowess is now all dependent on alchemy, so you will be forced to go deep into the system if you wish to make it through the game.

The battle system take Atelier Iris2 and 3's time card system. The order is determined by the cards. However now you once again have SP for your specials instead of a skill gauge that everyone shares. During battle, you can have 3 characters fighting at once, while have 3 in reserve. You can tag your reserve in once their card if lit up. Characters in reserve will regenerate their SP at a fast rate. It's not a problem as SP gets consumed very fast in this game, meaning you will have to swap a lot to balance out everyone's SP. You can also do things such as support attack and defense, where a character automatically do an attack after an action and tags in, or a reserve character shielding you from an attack. All these actions can only be done if your reserve character's card is lit up, once someone is tagged out, they will need time for their cards to fil up.

The burst system from AI3 is also back, but went through a much needed fix. Instead of each hit filling up 1 node on the burst gauge, all attacks only fill up a tiny bit, while exploiting enemy weaknesses will fill it up by a large margin. Once burst activates, you will get a condition for your final burst. The condition varies from attacking, using certain element, to buffing allies and more. The final burst gauge next to the burst gauge will fill if the condition is met, and once maxed, you can do a Final Burst, which is like a character's super move. Doing so will automatically end burst mode so use it when its almost over. Your final burst also gets carried over from battle to battle if you haven't used it, so you can automatically use it once your burst gauge is filled in your next battle.

 Final Verdict: Buy IT!

One of my all time favortie RPG games this game has multiple endings depending on which character you spent the most time with during freetime. The game also has a bonus dungeon where you can fight cameo battles from Atelier Iris 3, which is a nice fanservice. Last but not least, you will have to do a lot of exploring if you wish to complete the item list. Beating the game wil unlock the game's OST, art gallery, character art, item and enemy list and ending list. 

I think this is a MUST for any RPG fan so you guys should totally check it out. Let us know what you think and dont be a jimmy.

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