The Atelier Dusk Trilogy Deluxe Pack consists of three RPGs: Atelier Ayesha, Atelier Escha & Logy, and Atelier Shallie. This is a re-release of the ‘Plus’ version of these games but with a few improvements. As well as improved graphics there are some quality of life improvements such as the ability to increase the battle speed as well as your walking speed. They're not the most exciting of improvements, but these games are still worth a look if you missed them the first time around, as the Dusk Trilogy has some of the most interesting stories and overarching themes of all the Atelier games.
The world that the trilogy is set in is a bit darker than you might expect from the Atelier series. It’s a world where crops are failing and seas are drying up. It’s a world that is slowly dying. While the games only briefly touch on this in the beginning, it’s a story point that comes into focus the further you get through the trilogy.
All three games have different protagonists and tell very different stories:
In Atelier Ayesha you’ll be trying to track down Ayesha’s missing sister who disappeared a few years ago. A mysterious stranger tells her to focus on learning alchemy and investigating the strange glowing flora. This sets her off on an adventure where you’ll have to travel across the land, investigating ruins while making friends along the way.
Atelier Escha & Logy gives you two protagonists to choose from. Escha is the usual upbeat and charming character that we’ve come to expect from these games, whereas Logy is a much more reserved and serious guy. While the story is pretty much the same regardless of who you pick, some scenes will be different as they will play out from each protagonist's perspective. You’ll learn different background information as well as see different endings depending on who you play as. They both work for the local government in a small town and use their alchemy skills to help the local townsfolk as well as investigating ways to stop the decline of the world.
Atelier Shallie also has two protagonists to pick from. Shallistera is trying to find a way to save her village that is in the midst of a crippling drought, whereas Shallotte is on a journey of personal growth and trying to find her place in the world. There are more differences between the two storylines this time around although their tales do eventually meet up and become intertwined.
In all three of these games you’ll be spending the bulk of your time venturing out into the world to gather items and fight beasts. With all the goodies that you collect you’ll be performing alchemy to create new items which can either aid you in your adventures or be used to help other people. While all three games have a lot of similar gameplay mechanics there are also some pretty big differences between them which helps make each one feel fresh and different.
In Atelier Ayesha you’ll have three years to try to investigate your sister’s disappearance, but you’ll have a lot of freedom within those years. As you explore, you’ll be given a number of different tasks which you can tackle in pretty much any order, such as beating up a load of monsters or investigating a town where all the inhabitants have vanished. The game doesn’t prompt you too much about the time-limit which is both a good and bad thing. It’s great that you aren’t made to feel constantly against the clock, but it does mean that you can run out of time if you allow yourself to get too distracted by other tasks that aren’t essential for moving the story forwards.
Atelier Escha and Logy has a more rigid structure which is similar to Atelier Rorona from the Arland Trilogy. Every four months you’re given a new assignment that you have to complete as well as a bunch of minor tasks which will grant you bonuses for successfully completing them. The amount of time you have is normally more than sufficient to complete everything you need, it’s only really some of the later assignments where you’ll need to plan more carefully.
The turn-based combat system has also been tweaked so that this time you can take double the usual number of characters into battle with you. Only three will be on the front line while the other three are in reserve, but you can switch characters in and out of battle as you please. This is really handy as those in reserve will gradually heal. This ability to switch between characters means that you can spend more time out exploring as you aren’t constantly having to go back to town to stock up on recovery items.
In Atelier Shallie they do away with the time system completely. You’ll no longer be debating with yourself about whether you have enough time to completely explore an area or if you should head back to town to synthesise more items for upcoming assignments. It’s great to be able to focus on the parts of the game that you find the most enjoyable instead of just planning out what you need to do before the next deadline.
All three games have a really different feel to them but even though they’re set in a grittier world they still have a upbeat and optimistic cast of characters. One of the great joys to be had in these games is heading back to town after a long stretch of exploring to see what new interactions there are. There are some side characters who will make cameos throughout the trilogy and it’s always a real pleasure to see their familiar faces.
The world setting of the Dusk Trilogy is one of the bleakest of all the Atelier games but that doesn’t mean that it’s a depressing story. The enthusiastic and endearing alchemists persevere through this dark world to create a warm uplifting tale that’s sure to put a smile on your face. All three games will see you exploring, crafting, and battling monsters but there are plenty of differences between each game that keep things really engaging and a real pleasure to play though.