Atelier Totori Plus was first released in Japan in November as an enhanced port of Atelier Totori, and the first I heard of the localization was back in February, here. Then last week when I was
trolling on Reddit researching, I noticed some rumors of it being up on the PS store. And there it was, without any announcements or anything by Tecmo Koei.
Atelier Totori Plus revolves around the use of alchemy to create medicine, weapons, armor, and other items. By using ingredients with different traits and qualities, you can transfer different attributes to the items you create. This allows you to customize pretty much all of your items and their effects, from making a cure-all that can boost stats to a weapon that can poison and steal health.
The majority of your activity will take place in either your workshop doing alchemy or out in the many areas of Arland battling and gathering ingredients, especially after you gain the ability to teleport to different areas of the towns, rendering walking around towns next to useless.
Battling consists of using Totori and two other characters to take turns attacking and using abilities. Every character except for Totori can use various assists, which vary from taking damage for her to inflicting damage. Aside from Totori and Rorona, no one else can use items.
Time is a major element in Atelier Totori Plus. While you pretty much have free reign as to what you do, you have three years to get to a certain rank, and only two years after that to finish the game. And pretty much everything takes time, from traveling and battling, to doing alchemy and sleeping. Thanks to the multiple flags you have to set to get the true end, while you’re technically able to achieve it in one playthrough, its pretty close to impossible without the use of a guide. However, the game has more than enough to do to warrant a New Game+, which lets you keep your old equipment and money.
As far as the story goes, it is well-written, and very apparent, however, unlike most RPGs, it’s not the main focus of the game, instead taking a back seat to the alchemy and exploration, as well as interactions with the characters and smaller, optional events and objectives. There are several party members for you to choose from, which all have different flags to set and different endings to view. Unlike the original, Atelier Totori Plus also lets you recruit Iksel, Cordelia, and Ceci into your party.
The graphics of the game are stunning, and really show off what the Vita can do. And while it is sort of fanservice-y, …actually, I don’t really have any excuse for it this time, so I’m just going to leave it at that. It won best Playstation game for girls in Japan though, so I guess it was all right. That being said, I wouldn’t suggest showing this game off to your friends or co-workers (unless they’re really understanding).
Atelier Totori Plus also comes with quite a large assortment of soundtracks.
The game runs pretty smoothly on the Vita, the only thing I noticed was a slight pause every time you chose which items to gather.
Let me say first that I had never before played any of the Atelier series before, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, especially after seeing the swimsuit costumes. I kind of liked the way that the story was sort of in the background and you could do whatever you want. Even though you only have around six years to finish the game, unless you’re going for the true ending you rarely feel rushed, and even if you get the bad ending there’s way too much stuff for one play through anyway.
I’m kind of disappointed in the lack of attention Tecmo Koei gave Atelier Totori Plus. I wouldn’t say there’s enough difference in the PS3 game to justify buying both, so the majority of buyers will probably be people who didn’t buy the PS3 version. Without any announcements by Tecmo Koei, many of those buyer will probably never even hear of this game.
I might even go so far as to say that this one of the best (localized) Vita jrpgs currently available, second only to Persona 4 Golden. I think it’ll probably take me another two or so playthroughs to get through everything, then I can start looking forward to when Atelier Meruru Plus gets localized.