Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey DX Review

Published on August 31st, 2021 by Gervais D.

Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey DX Review (Nintendo Switch)

Atelier Firis is the second game in the Atelier Mysterious Trilogy. While it’s okay to start the trilogy with this game, it does expose a major spoiler behind one of the main characters from the first game. Although it may not be considered as a story-ruining spoiler, it might be best to play Atelier Sophie DX before this one depending on how much it matters to you.

Story

The game stars Firis, a young alchemist who wants to better herself and explore the world. Sealed off from the outside world, Firis is fed up with being unable to see the starry skies and do what she wants. With familiar faces surrounding her, the game takes you on a journey to collect letters of recommendation before taking the alchemist exam. However, that’s only the first half of the story. It’s one of the simplistic ones and it does start a bit slow, but the amount of content offered in this game is of a satisfactory level.

Choice in Atelier Firis DX
Which would you choose between creation and destruction?

Gameplay

Atelier Firis DX keeps the concept of the first game from the trilogy but adds in a time limit that isn’t just for show. Although it starts a bit slow, it’s a game where you’ll have to head out into the world and go exploring. It’s similar to other Atelier games in the essence of gathering materials, making new items through synthesis, and battle a variety of foes. It retains these gameplay elements that make up an Atelier game while properly teaching you most of the basics. It does fall short in some teaching areas when the information could have been quite useful.

Exploration

Atelier Firis DX gives you more freedom with exploration than Atelier Sophie DX. The world is more open, there are many areas to discover, and advancing is diverse. You’ll mostly be traveling on foot throughout the majority of the game; however, there are fast-travel options available to make it easier. These fast-travel points are convenient, but far from perfect—they act more as shortcuts to get to the next area rather than jumping from one town to the next.

Traveling in this game is determined by LP. Whether you’re gathering materials from the land or walking a certain distance, you’ll be using LP to get by. It’s a lot more noticeable than its implementation in Atelier Sophie DX and critical for your adventure. Recovering LP is a matter of finding a camping area to set up your Atelier to either spend time sleeping or synthesizing. It’s an easy way to end up wasting days if you’re carefree when time is of the essence.

Moving through the grassland in Atelier Firis DX
Lots of open areas to explore.

An improvement to Atelier Sophie DX is the quest marker in this game. It’s unfortunate how such an important feature is hidden away and can be unknown to most players. The game won’t inform you of its existence and it’s certainly not simple to find even if you’re seeking it out. Despite this, the feature lets you mark active quests in the area to save crucial time with finding quest destinations. Without it, it would have been hell trying to find these destinations with the time limit you’re forced to abide by.

Time System

Time is of the essence in Atelier Firis DX and the game has a clock system to keep track of time. The time of day goes from morning to evening, ending off at night until the cycle repeats itself. The time limit given to you is more than enough time to finish the main objectives. However, putting too much on your plate and not utilizing each action can lead to the end of you. It would suck not to finish the game’s objectives within the given time, especially if you have to start over from the very beginning.

Atelier Firis DX Overworld
Time changes in the game.

Finishing the game’s primary objective isn’t the end. You’ll still be able to continue exploring areas you didn’t before and completing quests you couldn’t prior. All of this will be accessible without the nagging time limit from before. There will still be a decent amount of content and a new fast-travel method to make traveling easier than before, but it still isn’t something you’d immediately gain access to. It’s where you’ll finally be able to play at your own pace and enjoy whatever you missed or what’s left of the game to try out. Progression may take a u-turn in this part of the game, but the lack of a time limit lowers the stress.

Combat

Even though the combat system in Atelier Firis DX has additions that weren’t seen in the first game of the trilogy, it still feels like an inferior version. It keeps the turn-based style while replacing support attacks with a link attack mechanic. This link attack mechanic is a decent concept but it hasn’t felt as engaging as the battle support system in Atelier Sophie DX. The battle visuals also aren’t as stunning as the first game and the lower quality doesn’t hide. It improves the number of usable skills at your disposal so there are many more attacking options than before.

Combat in Atelier Firis DX
Choose your action and set your target!

You’ll be able to see enemies lurking in the overworld similar to other Atelier games on the Nintendo Switch. Regardless of the difficulty mode you choose, you’ll often find some of them that you’re unable to defeat. The game uses a four-party squad and you won’t find much trouble starting with a full party early in the game.

Synthesis System

You surely won’t be disappointed with the number of synthesis recipes available in this game. While the synthesis system doesn’t drastically change from Atelier Sophie, it is lacking in comparison—although not by much. It does try to make up for what it lacks with some exclusive mechanics to Atelier Firis. Not only that, but it’s also more complicated when it comes to making the best quality items. As someone who has played a lot of Atelier games in the past, Atelier Firis DX is the first game I’ve discarded the idea of synthesizing the best of the best.

Learning a recipe in Atelier Firis DX
Firis learning a new recipe.

Costumes

Atelier Firis DX has a generous amount of free costumes straight from the beginning. This number increases as you progress further in the game and some even have their own unique perks. These perks can help you on your adventure, whether it be with synthesis or with gathering. It’s one Atelier game you wouldn’t have to worry about paying extra just to change up your appearance.

What’s New In Atelier Firis DX?

The DX version of the game adds in four new vehicles such as the Submarine and Bulldozer, new exploration items, new quests, and an enhanced boss battle. The new vehicles may not be sufficient to appease everyone, but every little counts.

Bundle Details

Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey DX can either be purchased individually for $39.99 US or through a bundled package for $89.99 US. The bundle includes all three of the games in the trilogy:

  • Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book DX
  • Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey DX
  • Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings DX

Similar to Atelier Sophie DX, you’ll get a neat little bonus with your purchase. This bonus is a Digital Art Book of the character and world designs. This is all accompanied by the game’s soothing tunes to enhance the browsing experience.

Graphics and Soundtrack

You won’t find mind-blowing graphics in Atelier Firis DX—and there is a frame rate drop when the weather switches—but you will find a fantastic soundtrack and impressive voice acting in the game. Whether it’s English or Japanese, you’ll be able to switch between the two at any point in the game. Performance on the Nintendo Switch has been good, otherwise, besides the delay when summoning your Atelier.

Arrow Attack in Atelier Firis DX
This enemy’s days are numbered.

Conclusion

Atelier Firis DX gives more freedom to explore the world but straps you on time during the first portion of the gameplay. It doesn’t quite keep up with the combat, its story is simple, and the synthesis system is a bit more difficult to master, but you’ll still be surrounded by the amazing atmosphere Atelier games are known for in this game.

Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey DX gets a 7/10.

About Gervais D.

Gervais laughs at a difficult RPG while it takes its last breath as he conquers it. He's been gaming since the NES and loves to relax at the beach.