Parents' Guide to

Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey

By Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Light, accessible adventure restrained by technical issues.

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Is It Any Good?

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This enjoyable and accessible RPG is easy to pick up and digs its claws in with its scale, combat, likable characters, and ways to play the game. It's not a perfect 10 -- there are some pacing oddities, repetition, and a few technical issues -- but it's an admirable follow-up to its 2015 predecessor. As with Atelier Sophie, you'll get recipes and achieve a high-enough alchemy level to synthesize more powerful items, which can then be used in battle. This involves a grid-like system where you'll mix and match to create magical blasts, special moves, health potions, and more. The only thing better than the turn-based battles -- where you and your party of characters take turns with monstrous baddies to deplete each other's life force -- is the tougher boss fights that require more persistence, tactics, and help from others. Between Chain Bursts -- devastating attacks that automatically launch after your fighting gauge reaches the top -- and Chain Strikes -- special abilities unique to each character -- the combat rounds are exciting and rewarding.

The quests are fun and varied, and now you can make personal choices that let you play the game how you want to play -- but some quests are better than others. Plus, after a few hours there's a bit of repetition in your missions. But the combat is highly enjoyable, and so are the bigger areas to explore and new characters you'll meet. It's one of those games you continue to think about when you're not playing it. Even with the minor glitches like frame rate stutters and some "clipping" issues, where you might lose part of yourself in an object, this is a fun Japanese RPG worth considering. Especially for fans of JRPGs, this new adventure is delightful for teens and adults.

Game Details

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