Part 41: Update XXXVIII: An Adventurer and the Village by the SeaWelcome back, everyone. Let's just get right into it, with Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland. First up, we've got the requisite anime introduction.
Atelier Totori opening
And of course, a title screen. All the options from Rorona return, most importantly the Extras. The extras are a bit different in this game, but we'll cover it at the end of the update.
Like Rorona, I also have an old cleared game lying around on my hard drive. And this time, I won't be overriding it.
However, what's carried over is a little different. We get our Cole back, of course, but you also keep whatever equipment the characters were carrying at the end of the previous game. Of course, you can snap the difficulty of the entire game over your knee by importing extremely powerful equipment, but I always decided against that. I equipped everyone with all their original starting equipment, and no attached traits. Gotta keep things sporting, you understand.
Also like Rorona, you can skip the introduction. Now, Totori's definition of the intro and Rorona's is quite a bit different. Basically, in Totori, the intro is a period of three months to get settled into the game, as opposed to Rorona's skip option, which just allowed you to pass the first few events of the game. However, I would definitely not recommend this , especially if you're going for the True Ending (we'll talk about how the endings have changed under Bonus Content), but I'll explain why later.
Of course, it was never an option for an LP.
You may have noticed something similar to this in Rorona's credits. Basically, Gust's codename for each new Atelier is Project Atelierx, where x is the number of the game in the series so far. Rorona was the 11th, so it was Project Atelier11, and Totori is Atelier12. Not sure why they decided to throw this little notice in for Totori only as far the PS3 Ateliers I know, but that's your explanation for this.
Atelier Totori introduction. Video goes until Totori says "Um, we're gathering materials, y'know".
Music: Sea Breeze
That's right. I gotta spin it like this and splash this in like that, and...
*large splashing sound*
Totori! Are you okay?!
Look at you. Your face is black with ash. Are you hurt? Did you get burnt?
I-I'm fine, really.
*fade to black*
Like Rorona, you also get this little black title for each new character you meet. Symmetry, everyone.
It's not my fault, honest... I'm doing everything my teacher showed me.
So you say, but who do you think has to clean up your mess?
I'm mad at you now! No escaping today! Sit your butt on the floor, now!
I-I just remembered I have something really important to do! B-Bye!
Hey! Get back here! Geez. She learned alchemy, but if she keeps doing this every day...
*fade to black*
I made her mad again. I better apologize to her later. I can't go back just yet. I better think of something to do.
Since it's as good as any time to talk about it, Totori's voice actress is Cassandra Lee, as confirmed by her Facebook page. Before I knew she voiced Totori, I had never heard of Cassandra Lee, nor ever heard the voice before. The only role I know of her's off the top of my head is one of the girls in the K-On! dub, but I've never watched the show, so I couldn't tell you more about it than a trip to Wikipedia could.
In any case, she does a fantastic job as Totori. She has this sort of breathless, childish voice that communicates equal parts youth, ambition, restlessness, naivete, and even a degree of snarkiness, all at the same time. Just something about the voice is very appealing, so I'll go on record saying she has my favorite voice in the dub. It also helps I really the combination of grey hair and eyes that's very aesthetically nice. She's definitely one of my favorite characters in these games, and it only helps she stars in a great game.
Arland Republic, huh? What happened to the Kingdom of Arland?
I guess that's one way to avoid being the King. Just change your form of government!
It'll come up later this update, but Totori always sounds so when she's putting herself down. More on that whole subplot later...
And, of course, the obligatory childhood friend. We'll be seeing a lot of this kid over the course of the game, but strangely enough you don't need to use him much to get his ending flag.
Music: Let's Play Around
Oh, hi Gino. I was just gonna go get some more alchemy materials.
Materials? Didn't you just go gathering the other day? Don't tell me... You blew them all up again?
N-No. I didn't do that. I didn't blow them up. They exploded on their own!
Are you sure? Thanks a whole bunch! I get so nervous when I go by myself.
All right, that's settled. Let's go beat up some monsters! I can't wait!
Um, we're gathering materials, y'know.
Music: Friends From This Day On
And now he joins, just like that. Now, we can make a straight break for the world map to continue the game, but let's look around Alanya for a bit. We've got a familiar face to meet.
And no, at the moment we can't go back to the atelier. A woman scorned and all that.
Music: The Waves Call My Name
Now, Totori's a girl, of course, but holy cow does she have a girly run. Look at those arms flailing. Our first stop is inside that building.
Video goes until the screenshot of Totori getting worried.
*thumping sound, screen shakes*
Pamela here has basically the same song attached to her she had in Rorona. It's slightly different, but not enough of one they felt the need to include on the OST, evidently.
Ugh. That hurt...
What happened? Are you okay?
No. I'm not okay! I bashed my nose against the wall...
Again? Didn't that happen to you yesterday?
Oh, nothing. Also, I asked you to stop calling me "Miss" Pamela!
For the record, Totori doesn't know Pamela is a ghost, if it's unclear at the moment. She's just Pamela to Totori at this moment, a strange woman with a perpetual motion rocking chair on her counter.
I can't explain it, but it just feels right to call you that.
If you insist on being such a stiff, I won't sell you anything.
That really doesn't feel right...
Well, get used to it. Do you know how many years it's been since I moved to this village?
Has it been that long?
Pamela has a hilarious definition of a threat, I must say.
Music: A Storekeeper in a Small Village
Pamela's running a store, of course, but we can't buy anything for a while. Not a problem, since she won't be selling anything we want for a while.
Oh, and here's the pause screen at the start of the game. I left my previous game with a little more than 850k Cole, which is a good start to getting one of the endings. But, that's actually not going to be a problem. Again, I'll explain why soon enough.
Let's check out of the wharf, which for a small area of the game, has a surprising amount of events happen in it.
Nice water. Not much going on here at the moment, unfortunately.
This is one of the few areas of the game outside of scenes where the camera is zoomed in so close.
So very grey. Anyway, enough goofing around. Let's return to the square. You get this next scene when you approach the exit to the village. Video goes until Totori says "Come on, let's go, okay"
Peter here is obviously voiced by Johnny Young Bosch, doing his voice at a higher pitch than usual. You cannot fool me, sir.
Hi, kids. Going out together again?
Yeah. We're going to beat up some of the monsters in the area!
No, we're not! We're gonna gather materials for alchemy.
You two always seem so close.
R-Really? What should I do? Maybe I shouldn't go after all...
We'll be fine, seriously. Come on, it won't be fun unless there's a little bit of danger.
Wait, if you're going out, does that mean... Ceci is home, all by herself?
Strange response, for now. But you'll soon see Totori's father is a master of disguise and escape.
I don't think it's ever mattered whether your dad was there or not. Okay, I'll just creep by later and...
Maybe you shouldn't today... Ceci was really busy and she's mad, too.
You did it again, didn't you? Oh, well. I'll hold off for today.
You always look for an excuse not to go.
Th-That's not true! It just so happens it's always horrible timing! Besides, adults know what the considerate course of action is.
For the life of me, I cannot find the song that plays after this screenshot. Doesn't seem to be on either the in-game OST or the actual OST. Odd.
I dont' really get what it means, but it rolls off the tongue. Pansy. I think I'll just call you Pansy from now on, like a nickname.
Something the matter, Pansy?
Why? What's so shocking about me giving him a nickname?
Geez. Come on, let's go, okay?
Our last stop is the appropriately named "Gerhard's Bar". Video goes until the screenshot of Totori sighing about something Gino said.
Music: Fruit Tomato
Hm? Oh, you two. What's up? You don't look thrilled. Did Ceci yell at you again?
H-How did you know?
Did you need something? You here to drink your problems away?
N-No! I'm still too young for that. I just wanted to drop by for a bit.
A tavern's no place for kids, you know?
What? Are you gonna close the tavern?
No, it's nothing like that. I suppose it wouldn't matter to you two. Then again, I just might need your help, Totori.
What kind of help?
Hmm. I may as well decide this now.
Tomorrow? Sure, I don't mind, I guess.
Thank you. Now be on your way. I've got to prepare for something.
*fade to black*
What could it be? Is it really something I can help him with?
Beats me. It's probably some easy chore if he says even you can help him.
Like I said, Totori's got a snarky streak to her. She's similar to Rorona in a lot of ways, but surprisingly ends up being more mature than her teacher for the vast majority of this game, despite being like...8 years younger, I think? Rorona's in her early 20s at the moment, and Totori's 13.
So Gerhard's gone. But that's alright, since we're firmly in tutorial land for a while. Don't worry, it's not as painful as it sounds.
Something that caught my eye is that rug. What in God's name is that thing?
But enough of the village for a bit. Time for our first adventure.
Music: Following the Footsteps
Our first glimpse of the world map. Totori's world map is appropriately gigantic, but for now we're forced to that location to the northwest.
Where should we go today?
Let's see... Nuse Grove should be good. There ought to be lots of monsters there.
While it is an optional tutorial, there's really not much to explain. The one thing that is needed for an explanation will be coming up very shortly.
Video goes until the screenshot of Totori saying she's not ready.
Music: Following the Footsteps ~ The Forest
Now then, where are the monsters?
Come on, what's the problem? You can loot the monsters' bodies, too!
You make it sound gross, but I guess.
Then what's the downside?! Let's go already!
Now then, this little critter is our first enemy of the game. Initiating battles in the field works exactly the same as in Rorona, right down to striking with the staff (well, in this game, more a wand, really, but whatever), so I don't need to explain it again.
Well, no gathering places here, so let's beat up that squirrel.
Music: Yellow Zone
Well, things are looking a bit different already, so I'll go ahead and explain what's new. First up, you can't see your stats in battle anymore, which I always thought was a weird feature anyway, but still. That's gone. What's in is that MP is now separate from HP, so skills no longer use HP to activate. Totori's MP count is completely pointless in battle, since she uses her MP for alchemy instead of having skills of her own.
LP is the newest feature. LP is when a person, or persons record footage of a game in some way, then present it with comm...ah, wrong LP. What LP is that on the world map, it costs LP to move. As a general rule, you'll never run out of LP unless you're on a really long sojurn for whatever reason. If LP falls to critically low levels, that character suffers from many stat debuffs that can't be removed unless that character recovers LP.
Turn order is also in. Now you get a visual reference of who gets to go and when, so you're able to better plan strategy if you know a boss is about to use a powerful series of attacks, or when you should attack yourself. The bar below Gino's status is simply a more visual reference of the support system. Works the same way it does in Rorona, which goes for a lot of stuff in battles in this game. That's about it for battles in this game. Even though we're gimped on what we can do in this fight, nothing really substantial has changed.
Music: I Can Still Walk
But now that that short little skirmish is over, this scene plays. Video goes until the screenshot of Totori crying.
Music: The Sun Shining Through
Why do you look like you're dying and about to vomit even though we won?
I told you I'm not built for fighting. Why haven't you broken a sweat...?
That's because I train every day. This is nothing! I want to become the best adventurer in the entire nation!
Okay! My goal today is to beat up one hundred monsters! Let's do it! Yeah!
One h-hundred?! No way, I can't! I'm gonna pass out way before that!
*fade to black*
So that's what happened. Well, when you have a little punk like Sterk hounding you all the time about wanting some free time, I can see ending a long dynasty of kings. Makes sense, but it makes we wonder what happened to Gio...
Oh, and even though he's no longer the king, Gio leads the Arland Republic, but he's more a figurehead than someone with very much actual authority. It is much like, how, George Washington's career as the leader of the Continental Army made him a shoe-in for the first presidency.
*fade to black*
Perhaps I'm easily impressed, but I love the background in places of the game like this. It's a whole, vast world, and we only get to be a party to just some of it. Even with how big this game is, and how many places there are to visit, we're still seeing just a small part of it, and views like this make you realize that.
*fade to black*
Even though Totori is talking to the camera here, that's about all of the fourth wall breakage in this game. Not too sure why they bothered, to be honest.
Okay... Wait, what's going on?!
Music: Totori Goes Into a Panic
I think I picked fights with just a few too many at once. Help!
Thankfully, unlike what the end of the previous scene might implicate, we don't have any more required battles here. We've got to get to the field and explain what's new.
So, let's talk about what's new. You see the HUD in the upper left there? The only new thing we have to be worried about is that red bar. Totori completely changes how gathering works. That red bar indicates the "Day Time", for lack of a better term. When you gather materials or fight an enemy, that bar goes down. When it is depleted, it goes to the next day.
Each location has a day value of one, so you lose a day going to each area regardless of what you do there. The bar has 10 segments to it, and gathering (well, that is, examining a gathering spot and pressing square to leave it, if you don't pick up anything. If you press circle to cancel the gather, you don't lose any time) costs five of those segments. Fighting a monster only takes one segment off.
Just like we did with Rorona, just pick up everything while you're here. We'll need them soon enough.
This marks the end of the area. Something you may have noticed is that this place is very small. That's because Totori subscribes to the notion that it's quantity, not quality that matters, the exact opposite of Rorona's philosophy. There's a whole bunch of gathering locations in this game, but most of them are quite small.
However, there's usually one "big" area to each major part of the overworld. A location that's a bit more elaborate than the others, has a few screens, and / or has its own music. Those ruins from the previous scene are a perfect example of this.
If you try to leave this place via that exit, you'll get a short scene where Gino wants to try to explore beyond it, but the stone says that it's dangerous past here and unauthorized people are not allowed past. It's voiced, but there's really not much point in including it. When we get to the major mechanic of this game, I'll talk about it more.
When you've gathered the last of those three spots, there's literally nothing else to do here. When you exit from where you came in, you get this scene. Video goes until Totori says "I hope Ceci isn't mad anymore".
I'm so tired... I can't take another step...
Come on. I know you can do better. Let's go tomorrow bright and early. I'll train you while I'm at it.
What? N-No thanks! I gathered a lot, so I think I'll be fine for a while!
H-Hey! Wait! He never listens to me.
Awww Totori's always so depressed when she talks about herself at the start of the game. But, if there's one thing Totori does have going for her, is that Rorona is her teacher, but I'll let the game explain why in due time.
If I do become one, I'll gather all sorts of items, make all kinds of stuff, and go find Mom. I should go home... I hope Ceci isn't mad anymore.
Our first non-CG look at Atelier Totori. The game prompts you to move everything into your Container, which you really should do. No point to having it in the Basket. You can also get a Basket and Container tutorial, but we've gone over this, so there's no point.
Our penultimate scene for this update happens after that tutorial, or lack thereof. Video goes until Totori says "I wanted to listen to his stories about Mom..."
Music: Family Memories
Another father. This guy is voiced by Kyle Hebert (pronounced like "A bear"), who has done a TON of voice acting (he could easily give Laura Bailey a run for her money), mostly in anime and Japanese games, but I like to think of him as the current English voice for Ryu from Street Fighter. There's quite a difference between this guy and, say, Evil Ryu, always yelling about Satsui no Hadou.
D-Dad. I didn't see you there...
Hahaha. You're pretty cruel. I've been sitting here since this morning.
I-I'm sorry! You have so little presence, you're easy to miss... Wait, no! I mean, um... Oh yeah! Where's Ceci? Is she still mad?
Ugh. I made her mad again... Oh, were we having fish pie tonight?
Yeah, she made your favorite. I think she wanted to make up, too.
I'll apologize to her tomorrow...
Good girl. Eat your dinner and go to sleep. It's way past your bedtime.
Hm, he could give lessons to Batman on getting away. He's good.
I wanted to listen to his stories about Mom...
Music: Mr Rooster's Appearance
Our final scene for the update is rather long, but it's adorable as hell, even if it doesn't seem that way at first, so it's recommended viewing. Video goes until...nah, wouldn't want to spoil a rather important scene. You'll know.
Okay. I should start synthesizing with the materials I gathered yesterday. Maybe I should read my notebook again to make sure I don't make the same mistake.
Good. I've got it now. Let's do this!
Of course, we start off with the basics. You're railroaded into making a Healing Salve, which is a good idea to make, anyway. Everything with synthesis is the same as Rorona (with the exception of MP replacing HP when something is made), but I'll talk about the major difference at the end.
Well, here's something new to talk about, actually. See, some items (not the Healing Salve), have better, or different effects depending on the quality of the ingredient. The Mandra Root would have to be of abysmally crappy quality (which I'm not sure is entirely possible) to not get HP Recovery S, so we don't have to worry about that.
However, keep this mechanic in mind when making more elaborate stuff.
Here's the major change. Unlike Rorona, where you got the first five traits on an item when it was made, in Totori you can select what traits you want. However, you have to keep in mind you can't have more than five traits on an item, and the Cost. Cost allows you to apply traits at your discretion, but only if you don't go over the Cost count.
Each ingredient has a Cost level, with late game items obviously having more than early game ones. The Cost you get after the item is made is the average of the Cost counts of the ingredients. Next, you can't apply incompatible traits. For the Healing Salve, I can attach traits that increase quality or boost effect, but I can't attach traits that would, say, lower an enemy's defense, because that's not what the Healing Salve does. Cost and compatible traits are VERY important to keep in mind when making awesome stuff later on, so just sit on it for a while.
In this example, Wound Healing is free because it's an inherent property of the Mandra Root. That's about all for alchemy in this game.
Phew. You didn't mess up today.
Wah! Ceci! You were watching me?
I was gonna stop you before you caused another explosion, if need be.
Really? You said that yesterday, too.
*fade to white*
Music: Pilgrimage ~ on orgel
Rorona's original voice actress is back, thankfully. That's one thing I love about cartoons and video games and such, when a voice actor returns for a sequel or whatever. It may seem dumb, but it really gives me a feeling of continuity. Perfect example is Kevin Conroy, THE voice for Batman since the early 90s. He's been The Bat longer than anyone who has portrayed the character, and remains a fan favorite even 20 years after he started. You can't top that kind of nostalgia.
To me, a child of the 90s and the Super Nintendo, he's Batman. He will always be my impression of the character. The Metal Gear Solid series is another perfect example of this, when the same cast that voiced the characters back in 1998 still return when they're needed. This rule is suspended, however, when there's a good reason to use someone else, like a massive age gap.
Wait, no! That's twirling. You have to swirl it. Like this. Swirl... Swirl...
O-Okay! Swirl... Swirl...
Good. That's how we swirl! Next, take this bluish grassy thing and sprinkle it in. Like this.
Bluish...? This one? Sprinkle... Sprinkle...
Good job! Totori, you're a natural!
*item made noise*
Ah! D-Did I do it?
D-Did I really? I really did alchemy?!
Huh? Wha?! W-Why are you crying?
Huh? What did you say?
Everything you said was really easy to understand, Teacher.
Teacher... Me, a teacher... C-Can you call me Teacher again? Go on! You can do it!
Huh? S-Sure. Teacher?
Say it like this. Teeeeacher!
Ah yes, Rorona loves Totori. Absolutely adores her. It's not only cute, but it's very heartwarming, and definitely one of the best parts of this game to me. Of course, we'll be learning more about it as the game goes on, and it leads to, while not part of the canonical events of this game, my favorite scene in the trilogy.
H-Hey! Please don't jump on me!
*fade to black*
I was there, but I couldn't follow anything you two were saying.
And of course, Totori, like a good student, treats Rorona with the utmost respect. Then again, given what we know, Rorona should feel proud of being called a teacher.
Regardless, I thought she was a bit different.
I can't deny that...
I don't know... I wish she'd stop by and say hello every now and then.
Too bad we won't be meeting her for a while, but it'll be worth the wait when we get there. Anyway, getting back to the game...
We don't need any stinking tutorials. Everything is exactly the same in the workshop as it was in Rorona. The couch where Totori and Ceci were sitting on at the end of the previous scene is where you go to rest, and we've already seen the desk where you save.
You know what also makes Totori great? She can do this on command.
And it's voiced, even in English. Huzzah!
A world of adventure awaits...
A Day in the Life
Unfortunately, Composer's Corner is going to be a lot more uneventful this time. The reason is there's no composer commentary for each song. But it will return...
Let's Play Around
Friends from this Day On
The Waves Call My Name
Following the Footsteps
I Can Still Walk
Following the Footsteps ~ The Forest
The Sun Shining Through
A Storekeeper in a Small Village
Totori Goes Into a Panic
Pilgrimage ~ on orgel
This is the game's Extras menu. The first four choices should all be self-explanatory, but the bottom three are where it gets interesting. Ending makes my life so easy. Basically, you can view any of the endings you've already seen, which eliminates my need for creating several saves that retread a lot of ground I've already seen (seriously, I saw that scene with Astrid and Rorona at night like 50 times. My God I was getting tired of it), so that's very nice.
Bonus Voices is another interesting option, but one unfortunately I cannot take enjoyment in. Basically, every member of the Japanese cast has their own little thing to say to the players, but the problem is that it's all in Japanese, which I do not speak a word of. This is my failing.
Model is actually DLC, for free, of course. It's about what it sounds like. You can view all the 3D models in the game from anything you've seen already, which includes all the characters and monsters. Pretty neat, but that's about it.