A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea is a role-playing game where players guide a team of strong-willed individuals on a quest to restore the world from famine and other issues. They team up with a variety of allies, each of whom has a range of magical traits and skills. Along the way, players need to solve puzzles and engage in many battles. During combat, players attack with a range of weapons and spells to defeat enemies, but no blood or violence against opponents or team members is shown. Some female characters are depicted with exposed cleavage. There's one standalone mission where players are tasked with creating a tobacco pipe (which is never referenced again). The word "damn" appears occasionally in the dialogue.
What's it about?
ATELIER SHALLIE: ALCHEMISTS OF THE DUSK SEA is about a group of energetic young alchemists possessing various magical abilities who are on a quest to uncover mysteries throughout their land, while they also attempt to restore the resource-deprived world into something that's lush and vibrant. A recurring theme in the game is how reliant a society is on various resources and how blatant exploitation of these materials will lead to catastrophic consequences. Players also will team up with other characters, each with distinctive personalities, character traits, and skills, to defeat monsters during each mission. Along the way, players will have to craft potions and items thanks to the game's alchemy system and accomplish goals with the new "Life Task" system to affect the performance of party members.
Is it any good?
Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea is a challenging role-playing game. The battle sequences, which are a significant portion of gameplay, are crafted in such a way that players have to develop unique strategies for each encounter based on the monsters encountered. For instance, do you go for the powerful hit to take a creature out, or do you try to land less powerful attacks to power up your Burst meter to uncover new special attacks for the leader of the pack? Determining the right tactic to use can give players a huge sense of accomplishment, especially when your plans wind up working out perfectly and your characters escape without a scratch.
Atelier Shallie also manages to include a rather positive message about what happens with natural resources dry up. Though it doesn't harp on this idea, it introduces the subject in such a way that most players will come away with some kind of understanding about why it's so important to ensure devastation doesn't occur. If there's any problem with the game, it's that the puzzles seem like they're more of an afterthought than a fun mechanic. Many of these, such as the alchemy system and the newly introduced Life Task system, grind the gameplay to a halt as you try to figure out what needs to be done to create an item or what the best tasks for each character might be. This ruins the game's flow. But if you're willing to overlook the seesaw nature of the gameplay, you'll enjoy this RPG.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the depiction of violence in the many battle sequences. Do you think the game developers glorified the violence or not? Why do you think that choice was made?
When is a time you had to work together with a group of friends to accomplish a common goal?
What will happen to the world if resources dry up? What can we do to help prevent that from happening?
- Platforms: PlayStation 3
- Price: $49.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: KOEI
- Release date: March 10, 2015
- Genre: Role Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Use of Tobacco
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.