Back in 2014, Tecmo Koei released the original version of Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky on the PS3. The second title in the "Dusk" series of games, it brought numerous new advancements to the long-running Atelier series, chief among them being the ability for players to choose between playing as one of two characters. In our review of the original game, we found the entry brought new life to the series but also sacrificed some elements that could have made for an even better game. So with the game getting a new Plus release on the PlayStation Vita, does this enhanced version warrant a re-purchase for owners of the original?
For those who never played the original, this entry in the series has players follow either one of two characters: Escha or Logy, who are working together to build up the developing town of Corseit. Escha is a local, who grew up at her family-run Apple farm near town living with her father and a human-like construct that's taken care of her since her mother's passing. Logy moved to the town, previously living in Central, to help out with the town's development project.
By chance, the two join the development team on the same day and end up working together to complete the tasks assigned to them in an attempt to eventually reach The Unexplored Ruins that hover high in the skies above the town of Corseit. During this process, they uncover secrets about the ruins and discover alchemy thought long lost to the world.
(Note that the remainder of this review will go into detail regarding the differences between the PS3 and PlayStation Vita versions of the game. So if you're looking for details about the game itself, please see our original review of the PS3 version.)
Although, if you've played a game in the Atelier series before, you already know the overall narrative usually takes a backseat towards building the game's world and characters. In our review of the PS3 version, we noted that the character interactions felt a little flat compared to prior entries in the series in the sense that things felt lackluster when you looked at everything in a greater detail. Atelier Escha & Logy Plus doesn't outright remedy this flaw, but the developers did add in more story events throughout the game. Of particular note is the new events surrounding the character Nio, who's now a playable character in the PlayStation Vita version of the game.
One modification I did find odd, however, was the addition of a new "emotion" system between the two protagonists where there will be two different responses when Escha and Logy are in a conversation. One will take the form of a smiley face, the other of the form of a heart. It didn't appear to fulfill any purpose outside of new dialogue that I could see while playing through the game, so it seems oddly superfluous and useless.
Exploring new areas to gather materials to synthesize new items has been a mainstay of the series for a while, and Atelier Escha & Logy Plus adds to this with a couple new areas to explore and a few new super-bosses to defeat. Some of these, like the dungeons, were available as DLC in the original PS3 version and are included by default in the PlayStation Vita version, but others like the bosses are new and exclusive to the enhanced port.
There are some issues and blemishes with the port overall, however. There were a couple bosses that had some noticeable frame rate issues, especially when the enemy in question was a larger enemy. The other issues are likely tied to the localization, where some translation mistakes from the PS3 version still exist and there's a couple sections of the in-game encyclopedia where the page stretches beyond the screen, making it difficult to read the text. Thankfully these issues pale in comparison to some of the more troublesome issues the prior PlayStation Vita Atelier ports had, but I'd still like to see future titles get a little more time and attention before release to fix some of these issues.
And for you fans of the Japanese voice track, while the English voice dub is the default choice and the only one included by default with the download, it is an optional DLC download on the PlayStation Store granted you have enough space on your memory stick available for it.
Atelier Escha & Logy Plus: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky is a quality port of the original PS3 version to the PlayStation Vita, with some minor issues along the way. It still retains all of the good and bad things about the original, while bundling in all of that version's free and paid DLC along with a pinch of new content exclusive to the enhanced port. If you played but didn't love the original, there isn't really enough here to warrant a second purchase. But if you're a big fan of the original or never got around to playing the PS3 version the first time around, I'd easily recommend picking up this "Plus" entry in the franchise.
|Includes all of the free/paid DLC from the PS3 version bundled in.|
|Nio is now a playable character in the PlayStation Vita version of the game.|
|Still includes the original Japanese voices as an optional voice track (albeit as a separate download due to space issues).|
|Some frame rate issues with a few particular bosses.|
|Some issues that seem apparently tied to localization, namely related to translation mistakes and image rendering issues.|
|If you disliked the somewhat lackluster story, this port doesn't do much to fix that inherent issue in the original game.|