Out Of Nowhere Atelier Totori Plus Hits The Vita

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Out Of Nowhere Atelier Totori Plus Hits The Vita

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Never heard of Japanese roleplaying game Atelier Totori Plus? That's no surprise as its recent Vita debut came with absolutely no warning.

The Atelier Totori series has never had a huge following here in the States. In Japan, it's seen as an above-average, surprisingly deep roleplaying franchise with particular appeal to ... well, there's no other way to put it: The Atelier games appeal to those who are comfortable with the idea of sexualizing obliquely underaged anime girls. Almost any screenshot from the series will back me up on this point, and most would put a worried scowl on the face of your local police department's human trafficking division.

Despite this, the Atelier games aren't bad for Japanese roleplaying titles. At the very least, they're good enough and generally well-liked enough that you'd expect a new entry in the franchise to receive solid advertising efforts. Maybe not a building-sized billboard at the most recent gaming industry conference, but perhaps a few thoughtfully-placed internet ads. At the very least we'd expect a grassroots PR campaign that relies on games journalists to spread the word on the game's existence.

Yet when Atelier Totori Plus made its debut on the PlayStation Vita yesterday, absolutely no one knew about it. It's quite literally my job to be aware of stuff like this, yet I only found out about it because a perceptive Twitter follower happened to notice the game on the PlayStation Network Store and asked why I hadn't yet covered the game's existence. "I wasn't aware of its existence," I replied, before checking with my Nipponophile colleague Casey Loe (a professional translator and games journalist, formerly of GameFan Magazine and currently one of the hosts of the excellent Warning! A Huge Podcast) who likewise had no idea the game was scheduled for release.

This baffling lack of information in hand, I attempted to contact publisher Tecmo Koei to find out why the company had opted for a stealth launch, but was met with only silence. If the firm opts to respond at some point, I'll offer word on what exactly is going on here.

In the mean time though, those of you looking to get into a surprisingly deep Japanese roleplaying title who are willing to overlook its occasionally skeevy artwork should give Atelier Totori Plus a shot. It's quite an engrossing adventure once you figure out the basics, and can be yours right this very moment for $40. If you don't own a Vita however, you may want to look into the PlayStation 3's Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist Of Dusk. Tecmo Koei published that title on March 5, and unlike Totori it received a fair amount of exposure. That is to say, the company actually bothered to tell people of its existence before it appeared on the PlayStation Network.

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Meanwhile, I still can't play multiple PS1 and PSP games even though the useless thing should have been fully backwards compatible with the full PSN library of both sets of games on launch day. Here's my continued thanks for your continued nothing, Sony!

My girlfriend is obsessed with this franchise and I doubt even she has heard about this. I can stomach most JRPG weirdness, but this series is on it's own level. To be fair though, the blacksmith character's theme song is pretty awesome. Just give it a minute to kick in, trust me:

My girlfriend and I tend to play a lot of single player games in the same room together so I must have heard the songs from these games eight-dozen times at this point.

There a LOT of Japanese roleplaying games I've never heard of.
And a lot I'll never see either :(

This still looks pretty good.

Fappy:
My girlfriend is obsessed with this franchise and I doubt even she has heard about this. I can stomach most JRPG weirdness, but this series is on it's own level.

It is definitely a "unique" franchise, but like I said, if you can look beyond the occasionally icky sexualization, there's a solid adventure there for fans of JRPGs.

i own and like the ps3 version not sure if this one really adds anything to make me care

Earnest Cavalli:

Fappy:
My girlfriend is obsessed with this franchise and I doubt even she has heard about this. I can stomach most JRPG weirdness, but this series is on it's own level.

It is definitely a "unique" franchise, but like I said, if you can look beyond the occasionally icky sexualization, there's a solid adventure there for fans of JRPGs.

There were more than a few moments where I would glance over and yell, "JESUS, DAT CLEAVAGE!"

The only reason I'd probably never play the game myself is because I don't think I'd have all that much fun micromanaging inventories (which I know is a big thing in at least the first installment) and the combat looks repetitive from what I have seen. I'll admit though, Rorona is so hilariously stupid it is hard not to like her >.>

There's a lot more to this series than 'icky sexualization'. Isn't the latest one about a young woman looking for her sister on the cusp of the apocalypse so she won't be alone when the world dies?

Atelier, you're an odd one. You have no plot, as far as I can tell anyway, your alchemy can be needlessly obtuse at times and you can retain price like nothing else, Atelier Totori is still 30 on amazon and it came out 2 years ago but I can't not play you. Give me a JRPG with turn based combat and grinding and I'll play it forever.

The PSN on the website needs a bit of an update. Pretty sure the Vita has more than 5 RPGs...

Ehh, it doesn't really look that bad, then again my standards are a bit different. I guess I've seen too much stuff that would actually be legally questionable in some countries, not just "middle teen girls in occasionally skimpy outfits". That seems pretty tame compared to, say, the Elins in Tera.

I'm sorta new to this whole JRPG thing, it's safe to assume the whole series is Japanese w/ English subtitles right? If it hasn't had a huge following in states them I can't imagine them hiring english voice actors :S

Which I'm more than fine with, watching anime for so long one gets pretty used to skimming through the bottom of the screen while keeping up with the action.

I was turned-off earlier by the Final Fantasy series (started playing at X:2) but perhaps this will be the game to restore a little faith for me?

Hmm... well now that's intriguing. Can anyone explain game to me? Is it turn based combat? Is there a lot of micromanagement? Do I need to grind?
That might be second JRPG I buy for Vita after Persona 4 Golden, but I'm not sure if I should just drop $40.

IllumInaTIma:
Hmm... well now that's intriguing. Can anyone explain game to me? Is it turn based combat? Is there a lot of micromanagement? Do I need to grind?
That might be second JRPG I buy for Vita after Persona 4 Golden, but I'm not sure if I should just drop $40.

The Atelier games are a pretty unique subset of JRPGs. The games themselves revolve around a young lady usually striving to become a renown alchemist. So unlike most JRPGs, the goals are based on recipes and orders people make, and the set dates they must be completed. The game has a specific set of days you have to complete each chapter, and ends at a certain date as well. You forage and monster hunt to gather ingredients to synthesize recipes which you then sell, gaining you access to new recipes and goals... and the cycle continues. There is a story behind the games, but that's the basic premise of the series. The combat itself is your standard turn-based affair, nothing particularly interesting about it. It's been the alchemy and shop aspect of the game that make it stand out.

Quiotu:

IllumInaTIma:
Hmm... well now that's intriguing. Can anyone explain game to me? Is it turn based combat? Is there a lot of micromanagement? Do I need to grind?
That might be second JRPG I buy for Vita after Persona 4 Golden, but I'm not sure if I should just drop $40.

The Atelier games are a pretty unique subset of JRPGs. The games themselves revolve around a young lady usually striving to become a renown alchemist. So unlike most JRPGs, the goals are based on recipes and orders people make, and the set dates they must be completed. The game has a specific set of days you have to complete each chapter, and ends at a certain date as well. You forage and monster hunt to gather ingredients to synthesize recipes which you then sell, gaining you access to new recipes and goals... and the cycle continues. There is a story behind the games, but that's the basic premise of the series. The combat itself is your standard turn-based affair, nothing particularly interesting about it. It's been the alchemy and shop aspect of the game that make it stand out.

So it's kinda like Recettear (shop owner sim)?

Having never played a game in this series, is there one people would recommend as a starting off point?

IllumInaTIma:

Quiotu:

IllumInaTIma:
Hmm... well now that's intriguing. Can anyone explain game to me? Is it turn based combat? Is there a lot of micromanagement? Do I need to grind?
That might be second JRPG I buy for Vita after Persona 4 Golden, but I'm not sure if I should just drop $40.

The Atelier games are a pretty unique subset of JRPGs. The games themselves revolve around a young lady usually striving to become a renown alchemist. So unlike most JRPGs, the goals are based on recipes and orders people make, and the set dates they must be completed. The game has a specific set of days you have to complete each chapter, and ends at a certain date as well. You forage and monster hunt to gather ingredients to synthesize recipes which you then sell, gaining you access to new recipes and goals... and the cycle continues. There is a story behind the games, but that's the basic premise of the series. The combat itself is your standard turn-based affair, nothing particularly interesting about it. It's been the alchemy and shop aspect of the game that make it stand out.

So it's kinda like Recettear (shop owner sim)?

A more complex version of it, yes. You have to go out and get the ingredients and make the recipes yourself, not just stock a store with them. Instead of a shop to maintain, you take orders from customers with a set date to complete. There's usually one specific order that you build up to complete at the end of the chapter, with the other orders merely helping you along.

Quiotu:
snip

Great! Thanks for explanation.

Yeah, I'm going to try and keep calm during this critique, but this is not your usual level of journalism. Mr. Cavalli. First of all, referring to the Atelier series as the "Atelier Totori" series. Not a huge oversight, of course, but an oversight nonetheless.

What I can't get behind is the sexualization comment. Sure, it's there to some small degree, but not nearly as prevalent as in other JRPG's like the Hyperdimension Neptunia series and Agarest War titles. Now *those* are games that "appeal to those who are comfortable with the idea of sexualizing obliquely underaged anime girls." I mean, that statement kind of demonizes the series unfairly.

I'm not even the biggest fan of the series, but I still think your judgement goes a bit too far.

Lvl 64 Klutz:
Yeah, I'm going to try and keep calm during this critique, but this is not your usual level of journalism. Mr. Cavalli. First of all, referring to the Atelier series as the "Atelier Totori" series. Not a huge oversight, of course, but an oversight nonetheless.

What I can't get behind is the sexualization comment. Sure, it's there to some small degree, but not nearly as prevalent as in other JRPG's like the Hyperdimension Neptunia series and Agarest War titles. Now *those* are games that "appeal to those who are comfortable with the idea of sexualizing obliquely underaged anime girls." I mean, that statement kind of demonizes the series unfairly.

I'm not even the biggest fan of the series, but I still think your judgement goes a bit too far.

I'll give you that much... the crimes of this series specifically are pretty lightweight. Hell I'm a fairly big fan of the Ar Tonelico series, and that series is one of the kings of the 'artificial girl objectification' meme.

Lvl 64 Klutz:
What I can't get behind is the sexualization comment. Sure, it's there to some small degree, but not nearly as prevalent as in other JRPG's like the Hyperdimension Neptunia series and Agarest War titles. Now *those* are games that "appeal to those who are comfortable with the idea of sexualizing obliquely underaged anime girls." I mean, that statement kind of demonizes the series unfairly.

My audience primarily consists of American readers, very few of whom are familiar with those games you mentioned so when I describe the Atelier games as prone toward sexualizing apparently underaged anime girls, that's in relation to franchises my readers might actually have heard of. Not esoteric roleplaying titles that may prove your point, but may as well not exist for how popular they are here in the States.

And there's nothing unfair about demonizing the Atelier games as overtly sexual. That's their key selling point. Here or in Japan. I'm not going to debate the claim beyond pointing out that the screenshot attached to the top of the post was the least pornographic image found by a cursory Google search. If that costume isn't a glorification of nascent feminine sexual traits, what is?

Earnest Cavalli:

Lvl 64 Klutz:
What I can't get behind is the sexualization comment. Sure, it's there to some small degree, but not nearly as prevalent as in other JRPG's like the Hyperdimension Neptunia series and Agarest War titles. Now *those* are games that "appeal to those who are comfortable with the idea of sexualizing obliquely underaged anime girls." I mean, that statement kind of demonizes the series unfairly.

My audience primarily consists of American readers, very few of whom are familiar with those games you mentioned so when I describe the Atelier games as prone toward sexualizing apparently underaged anime girls, that's in relation to franchises my readers might actually have heard of. Not esoteric roleplaying titles that may prove your point, but may as well not exist for how popular they are here in the States.

And there's nothing unfair about demonizing the Atelier games as overtly sexual. That's their key selling point. Here or in Japan. I'm not going to debate the claim beyond pointing out that the screenshot attached to the top of the post was the least pornographic image found by a cursory Google search. If that costume isn't a glorification of nascent feminine sexual traits, what is?

Me thinks an article about JRPGs would attract those who are familiar with JRPGs. Honestly as it is from a person familiar with this sub-set of the Japanese game market you come off like when a major news network comments on videogames on the whole.

Yuuki:
I'm sorta new to this whole JRPG thing, it's safe to assume the whole series is Japanese w/ English subtitles right? If it hasn't had a huge following in states them I can't imagine them hiring english voice actors :S

Which I'm more than fine with, watching anime for so long one gets pretty used to skimming through the bottom of the screen while keeping up with the action.

I was turned-off earlier by the Final Fantasy series (started playing at X:2) but perhaps this will be the game to restore a little faith for me?

Most niche JRPG games have English and Japanese voice options.

As far as liking this game it depends your tolerance with how "Japanese" a ting is. Because these games are VERY Japanese.

The games 'sexualize' in that odd way of giving the characters somewhat revealing outfits (that really aren't that bad) and utterly failing to draw any attention to them whatsoever. And when I say revealing, I mean really short skirts that are impossible to see under. Otherwise, it's the normal pseudo-Victorian look.

Earnest Cavalli:

Lvl 64 Klutz:
What I can't get behind is the sexualization comment. Sure, it's there to some small degree, but not nearly as prevalent as in other JRPG's like the Hyperdimension Neptunia series and Agarest War titles. Now *those* are games that "appeal to those who are comfortable with the idea of sexualizing obliquely underaged anime girls." I mean, that statement kind of demonizes the series unfairly.

My audience primarily consists of American readers, very few of whom are familiar with those games you mentioned so when I describe the Atelier games as prone toward sexualizing apparently underaged anime girls, that's in relation to franchises my readers might actually have heard of. Not esoteric roleplaying titles that may prove your point, but may as well not exist for how popular they are here in the States.

And there's nothing unfair about demonizing the Atelier games as overtly sexual. That's their key selling point. Here or in Japan. I'm not going to debate the claim beyond pointing out that the screenshot attached to the top of the post was the least pornographic image found by a cursory Google search. If that costume isn't a glorification of nascent feminine sexual traits, what is?

I think the problem here is you're calling out to what's basically an entire sub-set of JRPGs, ones that've been around since JRPGs existed. Hell, pretty much anything Gust or Idea Factory creates falls into this category. It's not that hard to find that information, in fact it's a Trope of JRPGs at this point. The Atelier series has been around a while, and has been coming to the states for a while. You're free to advertise the series about how 'icky' it is, but as you just proved... it takes a simple Google image search for anyone to go 'oh, it's one of -those- JRPGs'.

I heard about this game on Unskippable.

Lvl 64 Klutz:
Agarest War

This game's failing is that it didn't go full naughty... it strayed the path then pulled back...

I probably would have finished it if that were the case... because as it stood the combat in that game was fucking boring as a pair of balls stapled to a wall.

You americans & your biases
OK, i have to admit, costume changing & new skins are there to cater what you call sex appeal & probably previous fans
But if you ever thinking why this game is above average in japan, because of how it tells the story & how it woven
It makes crysis, mass effect, or whatever gung ho gunners & epic RPG lame story

Then again, while i have to commend tecmo koei for quick translation & release, but why aren't they put announcement for this
They already has customer angry by ayesha release, and not to mention very low advertisement

Nonetheless, day 1 buy along with soul sacrifice

Earnest Cavalli:
In Japan, it's seen as an above-average, surprisingly deep roleplaying franchise with particular appeal to ... well, there's no other way to put it: The Atelier games appeal to those who are comfortable with the idea of sexualizing obliquely underaged anime girls.

What in the actual fuck are you talking about? There's little to no sexualization of ANY of the characters of the game. The only character that ever gets sexualized are the men like Sterk (who is an absolutely deliciously handsome man, coming from a straight male.

Holy shit, I'm mad. How about you actually go play the game and see for yourself before making wild accusations. I think the closest thing to sexualization I ever saw was a brief pantyshot of Totori which lasted like a second.

Earnest Cavalli:

Lvl 64 Klutz:
What I can't get behind is the sexualization comment. Sure, it's there to some small degree, but not nearly as prevalent as in other JRPG's like the Hyperdimension Neptunia series and Agarest War titles. Now *those* are games that "appeal to those who are comfortable with the idea of sexualizing obliquely underaged anime girls." I mean, that statement kind of demonizes the series unfairly.

My audience primarily consists of American readers, very few of whom are familiar with those games you mentioned so when I describe the Atelier games as prone toward sexualizing apparently underaged anime girls, that's in relation to franchises my readers might actually have heard of. Not esoteric roleplaying titles that may prove your point, but may as well not exist for how popular they are here in the States.

And there's nothing unfair about demonizing the Atelier games as overtly sexual. That's their key selling point. Here or in Japan. I'm not going to debate the claim beyond pointing out that the screenshot attached to the top of the post was the least pornographic image found by a cursory Google search. If that costume isn't a glorification of nascent feminine sexual traits, what is?

Wow, just fucking wow. I wonder why the Escapist allows people to report on things they are clearly biased against. That's not how a professional journalist should be.

VanQ:
Wow, just fucking wow. I wonder why the Escapist allows people to report on things they are clearly biased against. That's not how a professional journalist should be.

People tend to be the most negative about things that they are ashamed of themselves.

The author is just using this soap box to try and rectify enjoyment that they feel is somehow tainted or wrong, it's a natural human thing.

Quiotu:

IllumInaTIma:
Hmm... well now that's intriguing. Can anyone explain game to me? Is it turn based combat? Is there a lot of micromanagement? Do I need to grind?
That might be second JRPG I buy for Vita after Persona 4 Golden, but I'm not sure if I should just drop $40.

The Atelier games are a pretty unique subset of JRPGs. The games themselves revolve around a young lady usually striving to become a renown alchemist. So unlike most JRPGs, the goals are based on recipes and orders people make, and the set dates they must be completed. The game has a specific set of days you have to complete each chapter, and ends at a certain date as well. You forage and monster hunt to gather ingredients to synthesize recipes which you then sell, gaining you access to new recipes and goals... and the cycle continues. There is a story behind the games, but that's the basic premise of the series. The combat itself is your standard turn-based affair, nothing particularly interesting about it. It's been the alchemy and shop aspect of the game that make it stand out.

That sounds like Mana Khemia but alchemy goals were for school due dates.

I know about atelier TOtory becasue of Unskippable.
GOGO LRR team.

As for sexualization, this comes from a nation that gave us tomb rider, bitch please. You dont know what oversexualization is. in fact america is so obseesed with sexuality it does not see the forest for the trees.

Earnest Cavalli:

My audience primarily consists of American readers

your audience primarily consists of humans. this is an international website if you havent noticed. polls on this site shows that americans take up less than 30% of site visitors. well, at least for forums. to be completely biased about a subject with lack of knowledge even i, a person who dont play jrpgs, have and then claiming "but because my readers are dumb" (because yes, by claiming that they would not be albe to underand you if you used other examples is claiming thier dumb) is no excuse for poor journalism. this article is poor journalism. Its ok, your a human and humasn do mistakes. At least be man enough to admit it.

Quiotu:

I'll give you that much... the crimes of this series specifically are pretty lightweight. Hell I'm a fairly big fan of the Ar Tonelico series, and that series is one of the kings of the 'artificial girl objectification' meme.

Oh god, please don't remind be about anything Ar Tonelico, jesus the dialogue in that game was bad Especially the life extension crystal scenes

-Dragmire-:

Quiotu:

IllumInaTIma:
Hmm... well now that's intriguing. Can anyone explain game to me? Is it turn based combat? Is there a lot of micromanagement? Do I need to grind?
That might be second JRPG I buy for Vita after Persona 4 Golden, but I'm not sure if I should just drop $40.

The Atelier games are a pretty unique subset of JRPGs. The games themselves revolve around a young lady usually striving to become a renown alchemist. So unlike most JRPGs, the goals are based on recipes and orders people make, and the set dates they must be completed. The game has a specific set of days you have to complete each chapter, and ends at a certain date as well. You forage and monster hunt to gather ingredients to synthesize recipes which you then sell, gaining you access to new recipes and goals... and the cycle continues. There is a story behind the games, but that's the basic premise of the series. The combat itself is your standard turn-based affair, nothing particularly interesting about it. It's been the alchemy and shop aspect of the game that make it stand out.

That sounds like Mana Khemia but alchemy goals were for school due dates.

Mana Khemia is sort of an unofficial Atelier title, made by the same team and all.

Lvl 64 Klutz:

Mana Khemia is sort of an unofficial Atelier title, made by the same team and all.

Yep, Gust as a developer is known for three game series: Ar Tonelico, Atelier, and Mana Khemia. All have plenty of fanservice in them and involve alchemy... Gust loves themselves some alchemy.

Treaos Serrare:

Oh god, please don't remind be about anything Ar Tonelico, jesus the dialogue in that game was bad Especially the life extension crystal scenes

So you don't approve of the scenes where the main character has to insert life-sustaining Diquility crystals in his Reyvatiels' Installer Ports? Heh, you should check out the third game... the MC has to UNinstall a crystal from one of the heroines in that one. Wear headphones... you'll still feel embarrassed, but you won't be publicly embarrassed.

Why is it ALWAYS their first time?

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