Originally this was going to be my 2011 review of Slayers Revolution until I realized the archive had not only been filled with spam – but none of it was just placed in. It replaced loads of words, character names, story beats; things I talked about and 9 years later have NO fucking idea what I was saying where it instead says shit about some stupid fucking drug.
Also, I uploaded with that as the featured image by mistake so I reuploaded moments after just now.
So, instead, you get my Atelier Totori review. This is a fun one for me because Totori was so long ago in terms of my Atelier experience. Annie was my first but it was a DS game it wasn’t a true Atelier it was a spinoff and is not officially in the main line of releases either (I do love it just as much as the main one sthough). Then Rorona was my first “real” Atelier and Totori released not that long after to my great excitement. It’s fun to be able to see my reaction to my first time seeing another game in the series as well as noticing things early on that grew more and more with the series. Also, the pictures were maintained in the archive this time so these are the ones that were actually there originally! Oh, and to be clear, this is a review of the original game – not the godawful DX shit.
Worth mentioning too – Totori STILL to this day in 2020 stands as the game that gave me the strongest feel of a true “adventure” in any video game ever. It fully immersed me in this feeling and nothing has come close since. It’s a wonderful game, and Atelier is a truly special franchise. I reviewed Meruru after this (the third of the trilogy) so feel free to check that out too, that one was actually on this iteration of the blog so its just on here regularly.
Originally Written in 2012
Atelier Totori Review
I’m a huge Atelier fanboy so this will be a long review!
Well NISA finally stopped screwing all it’s customers over and started shipping the game out, got mine yesterday and been playing it ever since. I meant to stream the entire first playthrough but my stream software had a forced update, which now makes it so I can’t use it at all even with a reinstall and the developers refuse to help. Anyway, onto the review!
And don’t worry, I made it spoiler-free.
Anyway, the gameplay and design of the game feels like a very nicely updated and upgraded version of Atelier Rorona. Rorona is still my favorite (with Annie in second), but the game as a game is much better in Totori. The world map is easy to traverse and HUGE in comparison, and the setup is much more clean-cut. Instead of entering area x or y and then going through it to deeper parts, each area is simply one part on the map and as your Adventurer level goes up you unlock more and more areas.
Speaking of Adventurer levels, this was also a very welcome and nice addition. My favorite part about it is that it gives you goals – so unlike in previous titles you never end up having a moment where you feel like you just don’t know what you should do at all. There’s always something you can be working on. While in say, Rorona, all you really had was the main assignment and the odd jobs Esty would give you. In Totori, Esty’s little sister (who is just as cute) Filly will still give you the same kinds of jobs as those, but you ALSO have the goals and achievements to collect in the Adventurer log. These reward you with various things – from free (and not buyable) synthesis recipe books and basic things like cole and XP to giving you special abilities like higher damage against a certain type of enemy, raised HP, raised other stats, and so on. Raising your adventurer level is also a big part of the game that you have to do, but it’s great because if always keeps you busy and feeling like you’re getting things done – while in Rorona it’d feel like you were wasting time a lot.
Other areas – such as synthing – has become much more in depth yet easier to do and understand now as well. It’s much more well thought out and intuitive and the traits are a LOT easier to figure out and use now as well. The entire system has been revamped but still has the same feeling to it, and it’ll make you want to keep making more and more.
The graphics are amazing, I love Mel Kishida’s art and designs and everyone knows that already, but usually it gets butchered when being ported over to something (such as anime or videogames). However, just like Rorona, they did a wonderful job of bringing his art over, but in this case it’s even more like it and much more beautiful to look at. The backgrounds and everything are wonderful and all that but the sprites and character art (such as when they are talking) is just gorgeous and a huge update from Rorona in that aspect as well. The new characters are also all designed just as well as ever.
And from that onto the characters – the best part about Totori is that it almost stars the entire main cast of Rorona, including of course Rorona herself! If you get the $3 DLC you can even have Iksel and Cordelia in your party again (I’m avoiding using any DLC for my first playthrough though). But, even without DLC, many of the characters are available to party with anyway, like Rorona and Sterk. Pamela is back as well, being as cute but stupid as ever. Basically everyone is back with new – more mature (as they are older) designs. Sterk looks especially badass now and Cory is two times as cute – oh and she now runs the ‘adventurer’ desk at the castle alongside Filly who works the requests counter. They also used all the same voice actors which is great because they did an amazing job in Rorona (especially Rorona herself who has by far one of the cutest voices on the planet). This’ll make me sound kinda like a baby, but I was honestly, I’m not sure of a word, but pretty moved once I heard Rorona’s voice again. Something about the charm of these games makes it really nice to hear that adorable and unique voice again and I really felt like I was back in Arland ready for a fresh adventure once again – instead of just playing yet another video game.
But more importantly, the actual Totori characters that are unique to this game. So far I love all of them except the retarded main boy (hey, just like in Rorona!) who I want nothing to do with. First new favorite, well, it’s Totori of course. She’s just completely adorable and very much like her “teacher” who happens to be Rorona…which also explains her outfit being so much like hers. She’s a hick in a backwater village but she has a nice family (the sister is even partyable if you get her DLC) and is loved in the town. She wants to become an alchemist adventurer because of her long lost mother who is a legendary Adventurer who has been missing for some years. Her design is super cute, but not close to how cute Rorona is, her voice is great as well though.
There’s a new girl with a rather…extremely large protrusion between her legs (even for a hentai that would be extremely…puffy) which you see every time you have her use her starter skill as she shoves her butt (and the other side) in your face when she catches her weapon, she’s really cute but she dresses like a gigantic slut. She’s one of my favorite new characters though, she teases and pranks everyone and was born with barbaric strength so she wields a gigantic axe (seriously, it’s fucking huge).
I think third place of my favorite new people (so far where I am in the game) would be Mimi. She’s another noble like Cory and she’s not my type at all, but she’s a rather cute Ojou-sama type if you give her time to open up, it’s clear she just wants to be friends with Totori and is like a very young child. However – in battle is where she really shines, she’s got a really badass animation for her basic attack and skills, as she uses a lance and does some cool spinny and stabby shit.
The story is also much more interesting now, instead of just “run this workshop lol thats all”, there’s a much deeper story about trying to find Totori’s mother, and her trying to become a famous adventurer and alchemist as well, with a lot of other mini stories going on at the same time.
The locations and music are just great too. The areas are as nice to look at as ever and now far more intricate and larger, the music is really nice as well (as with almost every Atelier game). There are now a lot more zones with JUST items too, instead of 90% of the world being made up of monster-infested locations. There’s also now a much deeper system to all that, as you are ‘mapping out’ new locations the higher level you get, so you take note of landmarks and things along the way as well for extra adventurer points and so on. It really encourages you to explore, not only for the incentives, but also simply to see all the great scenery. Oh and they brought back the entire strip of shops and castle from Rorona! Now it’s been updated and looks even better though, but it’s nice to see not only the characters but the areas from the old game as well (including some of the same gathering points too!).
All in all this is a definite buy if you like Atelier games at all, liked Rorona at all, or even just like RPGs period. It’s still as unique (even moreso I’d say) as ever in it’s focus on a normal person doing nothing amazing. There’s no saving the world, no hero, no main enemy, you’re just a relatively normal girl and her pals she makes along the way, and the gameplay is once again focused on the synthesis of items rather than battling anything. However – if you haven’t played Rorona you need to do this before touching Totori though, as Totori IS a direct sequel to Rorona, there’s not just cameos and things but the entire setting and story draws from the direct effects of the ending of Rorona.
So 10/10 for me. Just as charming, more beautiful, and better designed than Rorona – which was an already amazing game.
oh and play in english, the dub for both rorona and this is awesome.