Part 1: Update I: An Alchemist and her MasterFirst, watch the opening video that plays before the title screen.
Music: Falling, the Star Light
Next, the title screen.
Simple enough. An interesting note about this title screen is that if you have cleared game data on your PS3, the "La la las" from the opening song (Falling, the Star Light) play along with the normal title screen music.
Again, pretty basic title screen stuff. New Game and Load Game should be obvious. Extra is an option that exists if you have cleared game data on your PS3. I'll address its contents at the end of this update. For the purposes of this LP, we'll be using my cleared game data. When you complete the game, you get a prompt to save. Loading this save from Load Game allows you to start a New Game+.
All this really effects in the gameplay is that I have all the money I did at the end of my last playthrough. Money should come fairly easily in this game, especially if you know how to exploit it late in the game. It's just lack of funds slows down the early game a bit, so there's no real point to not using it.
Anyhow, this plays when you start a new game.
Music: Atelier Rorona -Celtic-
Once that's over, this immediately starts. This video will carry you to the image about the Journal.
Music: Atelier Rorona
This is the first dialogue box of the game. The vast majority of conversations will happen within them, and each character has at least 2-3, with more prominent characters like Rorona having up to 7 or 8. Even though I'm sure they'll all eventually turn up in a video, I will make an effort to have all character portraits for each character in at least one screenshot.
I'm sure we won't have any customers today, either. So, I can manage things here by myself...
*a knock on the door*
Oh, did she come back? Wait, why would she bother to knock...?
*the door opens off-screen and this man steps inside*
Even though he's called "???", I'll just start calling him Sterk. Call it a hunch...Well, his name is right there in the manual in the first few pages. No real point in keeping it secret ever.
U-ummm, who are... *gasp* A-are you a customer!?
Oh no! Wh-what do I do now!? Umm...ahh...sorry! No one from this workshop is here right now...
I mean, well, I'm from this workshop, too, but...M-Master...I mean, the owner isn't here...
Oh, excuse me! D-do you want a refreshing beverage or anything. I should offer you a seat, right? Come on in...Oh, you're already inside!
It's tough to communicate in text, but Rorona for these four lines is switching back between her Panicking and Shocked images.
Oh, s-sorry. Calm down Rorona...You can do this.
Do you feel better now?
Y-yes, thank you.
Music: Unfriendly Mr. Knight
That's right. Now, if I understand you correctly, Astrid...the owner, isn't here right now.
Hm, Rorona never mentioned this Astrid person to Sterk. Odd...
No, and I don't know where she went or when she'll come back.
I see...Then, do you mind taking a message for me?
Oh, no, I don't mind. Paper and pen, paper and pen...Oh, okay, I'm ready!
The details will be explained to her in private. Please have her come to the castle as soon as she returns.
Music: Blurred View
Aghhh! Wh-what should I do!? Is it all my fault!? Did I do something wrong!?
Rorona is 17 at the start of the game. For someone her age, she's still kind of a baby when it comes to certain things, especially Astrid. But that's pretty much because Astrid is her mom / older sister in all but name. More on that later.
Hmph. You give me no choice but to come out now.
Music: Oh! Nap Time!
Every playable character, except Rorona, and most of the unplayable characters, have an intro like this. For the sake of symmetry, I'll be posting them all.
Huh...? Aghh! M-Master, wh-when did you...!?
I've been here the whole time. I was taking a nap in the next room.
But...that's kind of embarrassing. And...that's not the point right now! A Royal Messenger stopped by, and...
You don't have to tell me. I heard everything.
Oh...then why didn't you come out here!?
I'm sorry. I just couldn't help myself. I just love to see my dearest pupil panicking. Anyway, they're finally on our tail about this workshop. Hmph...
Heh. In spite of Rorona refusing to call her such, Astrid definitely is like an older sister to Rorona. She loves teasing and making fun of her, but does look after her. Even their arguments sound like sisterly squabbling. For the record, Astrid is 29 right now.
Please, hurry and go to the castle!
I'm not in the mood today...Will you go there for me?
But I can't! They asked for you.
The Rorona Angry image is one of my favorites in the game. That's really the only image I could think of when I think of someone like Rorona getting mad.
*Astrid walks off*
Master! Wait! You can't...!
Said Journal is the only place in the game you can save. This game does not auto-save, so you'll be using this a lot throughout an average playthrough. As you can probably guess, we're going to be seeing a lot of this little workshop.
Well, Astrid's not going anywhere. Guess we'll just have to go ourselves to find out what's what.
Music: Let's Go Out
Our first glimpse of the town map. As you can see, we can only go to the workshop or the castle at the moment. We'll be taking in the sights next update once the game officially begins.
This video will go all the way to the end of the update.
Going to the castle...
Music: Entrance to the Palace
Why do I have to do this? I mean, she always makes me do everything...
*shiver* I'm getting nervous. That messenger guy was scary...
You know, I never really paid it too much attention back when I first started playing this game, but Rorona has to be an awfully sheltered girl. I can almost see someone like her getting scared by Sterk at first, but the fact she's still apparently afraid really speaks to her lack of interaction with people who aren't even that much older than her (Sterk's 28).
And even still, there are a couple more characters in these games that are even more socially inept than her. Then again, I could definitely see this as something meant to develop Rorona's character over the course of the game. Anyway.
Another new character. We'll be learning her name soon enough, but her role in this game is either negligible or very important, depending on what ending you want.
Y-you scared me!
I-I'm actually from the workshop...This guy... Oh no, I forgot to get his name...Umm, well...
The workshop? Oh, I know what's going on now. Come with me. I'll show you the way.
*fade to black*
There he is. That's the guy you're looking for, right?
Y-yeah, yeah, that's him!
Sterk! You've got a visitor.
*The woman walks over*
I think you scared her, Sterk.
With that scary look on your face. You have to be nice to girls, you know? Well...have fun.
*The woman walks off, Rorona walks over*
(He looks mad...)
What are you doing here? I thought I asked for Astrid.
Well, she said she wasn't in the mood, so...
Umm, do you know her?
She's just an old acquaintance... I guess I should introduce myself to you, then. My name is Sterkenburg. I'm a knight of this castle.
Sterk here is voiced by Liam O'Brien, one of only two voice actors in this trilogy that officially confirmed they were the voice for their character on their Facebook account. That said, there are definitely characters who are pretty obviously voiced by a certain voice actor, because many of them in this game are pretty prolific and / or have a distinctive voice. Same with the Japanese voice track.
Something interesting to note is that Sterk's voice is fairly high in this game, but gets deeper in Totori and Meruru. I'm not sure if the voice director told him to deepen his voice for each successive game, or if O'Brien's voice just got deeper. Either way, it's a nice touch, I think. Oh, and his last name is pronounced "Crahn-ack".
I know it's a bit long. You can call me...
Rorona's got a thing about nicknaming just about everyone. This is certainly not the last time we'll be seeing this little character trait.
...Please call me Sterk.
Sterk doesn't think much of his real name. Pretty much no one ever calls him by his full name, but he introduces himself by it.
Awww, Sterky is much cuter... Oh, and my name is Rorona. Pleased to meet you.
Likewise. Anyway, about the workshop...
That's right! Why are you closing down our workshop!?
...Those are terrible things to say.
We will give you assignments to complete and make our final decision accordingly.
The kingdom will assign a job to the workshop. Such as...
This is when the most important tutorial starts. The game will cover the most important mechanics quickly enough, but I think I can do it a bit better. First, take a look at this image.
The way Assignments work is simple. When an Assignment ends, Sterk will give you a new one. This may ask for creating items, hunting enemies, or gathering specific materials. When you want to turn your work in, visit the back room of the castle and speak to Sterk to hand them over.
There's really no "Try" here. You either complete the assignment, or you get a game over. Although Rorona is the hardest game in the trilogy because of the whole Assignment mechanic, it's still not very hard at all. The major point of this game isn't to beat it. The point is combine completing each Assignment with working toward the ending you want. You get an Assignment on the first day of every three months for three years, the first Assignment being the only exception. So, on 1/1, 4/1, 7/1, and 10/1, you'll get a new one.
As you can see, the HUD also tells you how much time you have left. As long as you're not completely spaced out, deadlines should never really sneak up on you. There's a few assignments that shouldn't take you more than a week to "Pass" them, where others are going to be a little more time-consuming. And there's no way you'll get around missing the deadline. The game will prevent you from doing anything that would take you past the deadline date. You will always be back in town on the deadline date.
The game says every Assignment requires alchemy, but this is not strictly true. Also, if the request is asking for items, you can turn in any number of items to Sterk until you reach 10 stars. There's only one Assignment where you can lose stars.
The bottom part of Rorona's status screen has everything you need to know about the progress of the current Assignment. The most important part is the 10 stars. You only need three to pass an assignment, and there's three levels. 3-5 is passing, 6-7 is better, and 8-10 is the best. The number of stars after three is irrelevant to progress in the game, except when it comes to endings, which I'll explain in the next update.
Sterk will explain this mechanic in dialogue soon, but here it is now. Trust Level is also irrelevant when it comes to progress, except for endings. But to give you a brief overview since I'm explaining the core mechanics here anyway, you take jobs from the woman at the front desk of the castle that we met earlier, and for every two requests you fulfill, your percentage goes up by 1%. Failing to turn in requests by the due date, or accepting a job, and later talking to her to abandon it, will result in it going down. Don't do this, as failing because of the due date will lose you fewer percentage points. Unless you're going for the 100% Trust trophy, there's no point in going over 80%.
You have a grace period of about a couple weeks to get used to the game's mechanics and how to play it. Like I said, this game is not hard to beat at all. This game is really more about the characters than anything else.
Okay... So what if we fail an assignment over the next three years?
Then we will close down the workshop immediately.
Senior Esty, the lady you met earlier, can help you with interacting with the townpeople. Anyway, I know that was a lot of information to take in all at once, but please make sure to tell Astrid.
And now we finally have a name for that receptionist. She's a fun character, and more important, loves trolling Rorona.
Y-yes, of course. I better go back before I forget... Excuse me!
*Rorona runs off*
Why Composer's Corner? Well, in the Extra choice I mentioned at the start of this update, you can unlock the entire game's soundtrack for your listening pleasure. Along with the music, the composer for all in-game songs (except the opening and ending themes), Ken Nakagawa, left some remarks on each song. His comments are pretty random, but they usually deal with himself, the song itself, or just something on his mind. I'll be including all his comments on each song heard during the course of an update, even if the song itself wasn't in any of the videos. All italics after a song are his comments.
Atelier Rorona -Celtic-
An arrangement of the workshop song. As you can hear, the whistle phrase in the intro gives this song some Irish flavor. The song also has a unique sound, similar to an Uilleann Pipe.
Let's Go Out
This is used in town. I didn't know much about the game when I created this song. I was told to make something Celtic, and the town used steam generated power...The actual concept of the town in the game was completely different than what I had in mind.
Entrance to the Palace
You can only go to the entrance of the castle, so this song only portrays the entrance... Nah, I"m just joking. This song should sound high-and-regal, like a great castle.
Unfriendly Mr. Knight
He's supposed to be very serious, like a knight, but he has a gentle side as well. Combining two opposites is the most challenging theme to work on...I think they could've made it a little easier for me...
This is the main theme of this game. It was actually supposed to be used on the title screen.
Oh! Nap Time!
Nap time is awesome...but I realized it was a waste of time when I grew up.
The gentle harmonica is like a smooth Jazz. You can't make a song like this electronically...Actually, the harmonica sound in this one wasn't actually played on a real harmonica.
Falling, the Star Light
I was asked to make a song for a title that I wasn't familiar with, but I did it! I had all these ideas to create this song, but they were overturned because some people didn't like them, and... Anyway, I hope you all like this song!