• April 23, 2021

Atelier Sophie: the Alchemist of the Mysterious Book DX Review (Switch)

The game: Sophie’s studio: Alchemist Mystery Book Genre
: JRPG, simulation/building system
: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam and PS4)
Developers | Publishers: Gust Koei Tecmo
Age Rating: US Teen | EU 12+
Price : US $39.99 | UK £32.99 | EU €39.99
As part of the Atelier Mysterious Trilogy Deluxe Pack (released on Switch and PS4) :
US $89.99 | UK £73.99 | EU €89.99 Release date
: 22. April 2021

The evaluation code used is largely due to Koei Tecmo Europe.

It’s no secret that I’ve been a big fan of Atelier games since the release of Atelier Rorona: the Alchemist of Arland in 2009. Most games in the series were released on Playstation consoles, but this trend was interrupted by the release of Atelier Lydia & Suelle: the Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings on the Switch in 2017. Luckily for us Switch owners, the older games have been released in trios, starting with the Arland trilogy. And after the twilight trilogy, it was now the turn of the mystery trilogy.

The trilogy consists of Sophie’s studio: Alchemist of the Book of Mysteries, Phyris Workshop: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey and Lydia and Suel Workshop: Alchemists and mysterious paintings. All games will be in DX version, meaning new content will be added to the games and all DLC will be included.

Let’s look at the first game. And if you are interested, you can also find a detailed concise manual on our website: Sophie’s Workshop Summary Guide

We meet Sophie and Plachta

Sophie Neuenmuller lives in a town called Kirchen Bell and tries to practice alchemy. She tries, because since the death of her grandmother, who was an orphan, Sophie has no one to teach her. She is often lonely until she finds a book. A mysterious book that flies through the air and can talk! And then I thought: Only books from Hogwarts have a life of their own! After finding a book that introduces itself as Plachta, his life changes.

Sophie visits her grandmother’s grave.

It seems that the book was once human, and that she was a very good alchemist. When Sophie manages to come up with new recipe ideas and write them down in a book, Plachta slowly begins to remember her old life. This memoir is the main one, Plachta’s memories take up a lot of time.

Meeting with Plachta

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Sophie is the studio’s usual protagonist, a cheerful, bubbly girl who is perhaps too trusting for her own good. As in any Atelier game, she has many characters on her team, such as Oscar, who loves plants, and Monica’s friend Sophie, who is a good fighter. We also see some familiar faces as Logie takes the forge in hand.

Studio Series

When you play a game from the Atelier series, you can’t help but compare. If you go through them in order and look for the last game released in the video game era, a lot has changed since the Twilight trilogy.

If you’re playing the game for the first time now, having enjoyed the last few Ryza games, you’ll notice a significant difference. The series continues to evolve, so that, for example, the city of Kirchen Bell seems like a fairly empty place compared to the city of Ashra-am-Baird in Rysa 2.

Sophie is a happy, bubbly girl.

With Ryza, the series has definitely evolved into a more simulation-based experience, while retaining the excellent elements of the previous games. In this review of Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book DX, I’m going to talk about the direction this 17th installment is taking. The play of the main series makes a difference in development.

In the Mystery Trilogy, there is no specific time when certain conditions must be met. That’s probably the biggest difference, it gives you a sense of freedom, you don’t have to search for the point of no return if you can’t finish the story properly. Like I did with Ayesha when I found out I didn’t have time to find her sister Nio. Time management is not a problem, deadlines are not a stumbling block.

Time plays a role in Sophie’s studio, but in a different way. This affects what the people in the city do, and also changes the monsters that are present. The weather is another factor, I’ve seen sun, rain and storms, and that too brings out different enemies. For Sophie too, time passes differently. There are five days in a week: germ, bud, flower, fruit and seed. The last two days are the weekend. A month has 30 days, or six weeks. BTW, great way to spend the week, only three days at work and two on the weekend. I could get used to it too!

Eliza from the bookstore wants to see a special book.

The other difference is that you don’t buy books to learn new recipes, you get ideas from everywhere. You never know when Sophie will come up with an idea that will allow her to create a new item. Of course, certain conditions must be met before you can see the light bulb above your head, but these conditions can even be met by things in your daily life. I found that the first few hours of the game were a little slow, it wasn’t until you had fully completed the beginner recipes that the game opened up.

You can see who is where on your map. I have found that everyone you meet in Kirchen Bell has something to tell you. It may not be an actual cutscene, but everyone interacts with you, and even though the city isn’t very lively, it still makes wandering around more enjoyable, because I remember in previous games most of the people you meet have nothing to say.

World map with church bell in the middle

Main components Synthesis and control

If you’ve played studio games before, you know all about the features, the effects, the quality of the ingredients, etc. This game does things a little differently. Each element you use has a specific grid value and grid color.

The way you stack and arrange objects on a kettle determines the result, the properties or the quality level of the object. It may sound complicated, but it’s actually easy to do, and I found the process very satisfying. So much so that I’ve put together a detailed guide, which you can find here: Sophie’s Workshop summary guide.

Synthesis in a real cauldron

They also changed the combat formula. Of course, this also changes with each studio game. In this case, you choose whether you want defensive or offensive support, give your orders to everyone, and then watch the battle unfold. I like that, lots of time to think about what to do. The downside is that once the map is set up, you can’t change anything. There are so many things in the combination of normal attacks, skill attacks, support attacks and special attacks that it took me a while to figure out what was possible.

Battle of Orders

The café is once again the centre of the town. Here, Mr. Horst has offers for you, but he also sells rumors. They could be anything: In the beginning it is mostly general information. Fortunately, this is a less expensive rumor, as Cole (in-game currency) is hard to come by. Later on you can buy more expensive rums, special items to collect, special monsters to fight, etc.

Investigations and rumours

Each main character in the game has a friendship level. To increase this level, the character must either be part of a group that is active in battle or offer them gifts when you see them in town. Each character has their own likes and dislikes for the items they receive, which can affect not only how quickly they level up, but also the gifts they give you in return. This all adds to the development of the characters and makes Sophie’s friends all the more real.

Sophie and her friends Monica and Oscar

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Additional features in this DX version

Rest assured, Sophie’s workshop: Alchemist of Mystery Book DX is another solid volume in this series. This is the game where the series takes a turn towards what studio games are. Influenced by time, weather, lots of people, lots of shops and workshops. And now you can even give people gifts! For the first time, the games evolve towards simulation, with lots of fighting and crafting to spice things up.

There’s a good storyline, doll making is integrated into the gameplay, and making friends in battles and giving gifts makes you feel like you’re part of Sophie’s life.

Special outfit from her grandmother’s childhood.

The graphics, as always, are stunning. I’ve played this game before on my Vita, and it looks really great on the Switch’s screen. Remember that you can use Japanese and English voices in the settings.

This DX version adds additional elements that make it the most definitive version: There are new episodes and scenes where Sophie wants to look more like her grandmother (including her grandmother’s outfit in her youth). Addition of 3 new boilers and a dash function. Additional soundtracks have been added, as well as an additional meeting place, the Archives, and six new puppet builds.

Plachta is more beautiful than ever in her new body.

Supplement

It’s fun to follow Gust’s journey with his studio games, from the Arland trilogy to the Dusk trilogy to the Mystery trilogy. Additionally, all of these games are now available in their respective editions on Nintendo Switch.

Sophie’s studio: Alchemist of the Mysterious Book DX takes the series to more simulation-like elements and presents us with a beautiful life story. No wars or horrific events, but a good and interesting story that follows a young girl who wants to learn to become a great alchemist.

Final Judgment : I like loose.

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