March 28, 2023

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Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland – PS4 review


Review by John Hellier

Ahhh, I feel like I’ve been away for a while and just walked through my front door for months. Time for a nice cosy JRPG to review, nothing like being in your comfort zone…

Atelier Lulua is, as I just said, a JRPG brought to us from the lovely people over at Koei Tecmo (I’m not a shill, just a bit of a fanboy) and is the 4th game in the Arland series of Atelier games (yes, I’m about to explain, don’t be impatient…)

The Atelier series of games has been going on for over 20 years now, so needless to say that there are more than a few games with the title Atelier. Generally speaking, these games are split up into arcs, of which Arland is one such arc. Atelier Lulua is the 4th game in this particular arc, so possibly not the best place to jump in, but we shall get to that in time. Anyway, enough history, let’s get down to business.

Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland

Oh, I should probably mention before we go any further, that an Atelier is a workshop used by artists or craftsmen. I literally just had to Google that to make sure, so you don’t have to. In the Atelier games, the craftsmen in question are actually craftswomen, and on top of that they are all alchemists. Don’t know what alchemy is? That’s your homework then.

So yeah, Atelier Lulua revolves around the titular (*snigger* that word always gets me) Lulua, or to give her full name Elmerulia Frixell. This is a trend in the Atelier games, ridiculous names, the other 3 Arland games were called, probably in the wrong order, Rorona, Totori and Meruru…

Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland

So Lulua is the daughter of Rorona, and we start the story trying to become as good an alchemist as your mother. With this overarching motivation, we join up with our childhood friend and a wandering adventurer in order to go out into the world, discovering new recipes and ingredients as you go. On your journey you encounter characters from the previous games, and that could be a problem for newcomers…

Could be, but thankfully Atelier Lulua manages to bring these familiar characters in without needing to know who they are. This was good for me, because while I knew of the Atelier games, Lulua is the first one I have actually played. So, the writers earn my endless praise for hitting the sweet spot of accessibility while still being true to the continuity of the arc.

Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland

Now then, let’s talk about gameplay. For the most part it is standard JRPG fare, turn based combat, 3-person party, earn experience to unlock new abilities…so far so standard. Atelier Lulua differentiates itself with its alchemy side as not only do you need to fight for levels, you also need to discover ingredients for your recipes which leads to a lot of scooping up everything shiny in a given location.

Actually, this is a pro tip coming up, don’t scoop up everything. With a limited amount of carrying capacity, it is remarkably easy to fill up with low quality materials and have to return to the workshop to drop off stuff early on in the game. Later on, your carrying capacity can be upgraded and the quality of materials increases, so you will have to sell all of your low quality materials from your workshop storage. I speak from experience…

Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland

As far as graphics go, Atelier Lulua is rather pretty in a fantasy anime kind of way. Don’t expect huge cities or industrial areas, just lots of meadows, farms and forests. Monster variety is a tad disappointing, relying heavily on palette swaps to increase the number of enemy types. Not uncommon in JRPGs, but in Atelier Lulua there seems to be less models than usual.

So, it’s time for the moment of truth, the verdict. If you like JRPGs you should enjoy Atelier Lulua, nice story, in depth crafting, plenty of content to keep you going. As I’ve said, I came to this game with no prior experience with the series, and I have had a really good time with it, may have to treat myself to the rest of the series…Where was I? Oh yeah, the score.

Overall score 8/10

Oh, one final thing, for a game from Japan revolving around women, there is no fan service, I’m not sure how to feel about that…