Excerpt: Whilst the RPG genre is generally one of change, Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana looked to the past for inspiration. Combat and other mechanics were simplistic, though executed to a pleasing enough degree, it’s perhaps the deep alchemy system that garnered most praise from RPG fans and kept them marching on till the end.
Conclusion: The combat system feels like a simplified version of Grandia’s, but cranked to a frantic pace that lets you complete each battle within seconds. The game earns major points for not trying to pad its running time with extraneous combat; a counter keeps track of random encounters in dungeons, and cuts them off when you hit a certain number (usually five). If you don’t feel like fighting at all, an easily replicated item allows you to cut off non-boss battles entirely.
Excerpt: In April of 2006, courtesy of NIS America, the second installment in Gust’s alchemic series, Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny was released for the PlayStation 2 system. The game features much of the same style and charm of the original, but with even more additions. So how does the sequel compare to Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana ? Well, you will have to read on to find out!
Excerpt: Atelier Iris 2 ’s visuals are much like those offered in the first game. That is to say they’re bright, colorful and have a nice style and charm to them. Characters and backgrounds are hand-drawn, giving every area you enter a storybook feel that carries a charm and life you normally don't see in games. The hand-drawn sprites (all of which are high resolution) are accented with just a touch of 3D.
Excerpt: Japanese RPGs have never really been a genre I've enjoyed. I remember when I played Final Fantasy X; having rented it for a week, I loaded up my PS2, played for ten minutes, watched movies for 30 minutes, then fell asleep. However, every now and then a game comes along which makes me want to dip my toe into the genre again, and Atelier Iris 2: Azoth of Destiny is one of those games.
Conclusion: Ok, here's the bottom line. I had a lot of fun playing Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny, I really did. Did I enjoy it as much as I did the original game? Probably not. There are a lot of nice streamlined concepts here from the item synthesizing to lack of Mana upkeep. The overworld exploring can be kind of a drag after a while and the simplified overworld doesn't help shake the linear feel.
Conclusion: Atelier Iris 2 is a very enjoyable RPG for those older players out there who are a bit tired of all the 3D RPGs that get released every few months. It’s not as good as the original but offers a competent play through. If you’re a fan of the original then definitely check out Iris 2 because you’ll feel right at home. For everyone else, rent the game prior to buying and see if it’s for you.